Casey Bruning

Cover of When I Grow Up, I Will Shine by Casey Bruning

Canberra author, Casey Bruning, is all about talking to kids and really listening to what they have to say. Her debut picture book, When I Grow Up, I Will Shine, was inspired by conversations she had with her young daughter. Casey believes that if you take the time to listen to your children, you’ll be consistently amazed by what they have to say.

Casey Bruning feels that the qualities you have as a person are more important than the job you have. Through her book, she encourages children and adults to reflect on these qualities and hopefully be able to provide deeper, more meaningful responses to the age-old question: ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’

Casey Bruning has been writing stories since her early teens, so what else can we learn from this first-time published author?

What inspires your stories?

I’m inspired by the world around me and conversations with my family, particularly my daughter, Kaylee.

playground with child on a slide and two girls helping each other
How do you help other people?
What are your tips for students who just ‘don’t know what to write’ when they’re faced with a blank page?

It can be daunting to start writing from a blank page. I like to start by listing my ideas in dot points, figuring out what I want in my story or document then adding the detail.

Remember, you don’t have to get it right the first time.

a girl and her father doing science experiments outside
What do you want to learn?

It is a part of the writing process to do multiple drafts.  

Which topic do you most enjoy writing about and why?

I like to write positive stories that inspire the imagination of children. I like to leave the narrative open so they can apply it to their lives. Every child deserves a safe and happy life.

When you think about people reading When I Grow Up, I Will Shine, how does this make you feel?

Seeing someone read my book or hearing stories from people that have read my book fills my heart with joy. It is such an honour to know someone has connected with the messages in my book.

To know I may have brightened someone’s day is magical.   

Two girls planting new trees outside
How do you care for the earth?
Do you have anything else you would like to share with children, their parents or their teachers?

Yes – trust your instincts.

It’s important to live life according to your instincts and what you feel and know is right for you.

And … eat cookies and cream ice cream. It’s the best! (But save some for me.)

Most importantly, always ask yourself: What can I do to shine?

If you ask yourself this question, you can guarantee you will shine.

Find out more about Casey Bruning, and keep an eye out for events and new books on her website or on her Instagram page.

You can buy your own copy of When I Grow Up, I Will Shine through most online retailers, including Amazon AU and Book Depository or, better still, support your local independent booksellers, such as The Book Cow, by heading in or ordering through them.

If you are after more books with heart, check out what Karen Hendriks has been up to lately or find the perfect read for any age in Susanne Gervay‘s extensive collection.