Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Child Observation Notes: “Caitlin I”

on May 5, 2022
(Photo by Vitolda Klein, Unsplash)

The assignment for my children’s literature writing class was to find a child that I did not personally know, observe the child, and to take notes. Trying not to look like some kind of pervert, I sat in the children’s section at Barnes & Noble, chose a little girl who was about 12 years old, and took notes on her appearance, body language, behavior, interactions with others, and anything else that seemed important.

Child Observation Notes

by Dawn Pisturino

There was nothing extraordinary about the young girl sitting on the carpeted floor with her knees bent, an open storybook in her lap. She looked like a typical American teenage girl with her slinky blond hair swept back into a high ponytail, a short-sleeved green tee clinging tightly to small, firm breasts, and white sneakers protruding from the legs of crisp blue jeans.

A small boy with sandy hair who looked about three years old sat on the floor to her right, eagerly listening to the story she was reading. A girl about five years old with light brown curls stood impatiently to her left, energetically bouncing up and down with one finger in her mouth as the girl turned the pages of the book.

The girl, who could have been named Caitlin, smiled brightly as she read to her younger brother and sister. An aura of simple goodness radiated like the points of a shiny white star from her smooth, unblemished face. Her small, impish nose wrinkled up with laughter, and her hazel eyes sparkled with mischief as she pointed her finger at a silly picture. She held up the book so both siblings could get a clearer view.

When the younger boy and girl grew tired of the book, they scampered off. Their mother turned from her conversation with the sales clerk and said something sharp, but Caitlin answered lightly, ” Don’t worry, I’ll take care of them. Nothing will happen.” She followed them around the colorful racks of children’s books, unhurried and untroubled, showing no signs of resentment or frustration at being held responsible for her younger brother and sister.

She was slim and light on her feet, her posture fully erect. She could have been a young dancer or gymnast. With graceful movements, she picked up her younger brother and whirled him around in the air, making him squeal with delight, while his curly-headed sister danced around and begged for a turn.

It was a touching glimpse of family bonding and a rare reminder that happy families do, indeed, exist.


The next part of the assignment was to write a short story based on this profile, which I will present in the next post.

Thanks for reading! Writing for children can be fun and rewarding.

Dawn Pisturino

July 8, 2008; May 5, 2022

Copyright 2008-2022 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


28 responses to “Child Observation Notes: “Caitlin I”

  1. aparna12 says:

    Wow. This is wonderful ! I could actually visualize the girl with her siblings. It’s a fantastic description. ♥️♥️♥️♥️👏👏👏👏👌

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Awesome story Dawn. Congrats on taking this leap of faith with your writing! 🙏🏼🤗👏🏼

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a vivid and enthralling description, Dawn. Can’t wait to read the short story. 👏😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. elvira797mx says:

    Wow! Wonderful story, Dawn. Thank’s for share.
    Have a lovely time!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful description,..very natural and flowing observation of your young subject. It was entertaining and well- done Dawn.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. balladeer says:

    Looking forward to the story!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love this assignment and your take on it!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Michele Lee says:

    A fine job of observation and description, Dawn. I could easily see the scene unfold and visualize the people/characters you described. Appears to be a rewarding class and experience. ✍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  9. what a wonderful story you are creating Dawn! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  10. spwilcen says:

    Hmm. How much benefit of doubt or self-projection was involved here? No matter. I go now to read your story.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Neal Saye says:

    I love seeing that there are indeed happy families.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. ‘Writing for children can be fun and rewarding.’ There is no doubt about that statement, as all dedicated parents can testify.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Iowa Life says:

    The implication I picked up from the two pieces, and that is supported by statistics, is that what used to be the norm is now the exception (the nuclear family).

    Liked by 2 people

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