The dictionary is like a time capsule of all of human thinking ever since words began to be written down. And exploring where words have come from can increase your understanding of the words themselves and expand your understanding of how to use the words, and all of this change happens in your thinking when you read the words.
I get wonderful letters from kids and teachers. I must have the best readers in the world.
Books and people are hard to compare.
My sister called her pillow a pilgo. My brother called his pacifier his nimma. But I don't think I was much of a word generator myself.
Part of being a fiction writer is being able to imagine how someone else is thinking and feeling. I think I've always been good at that.
Sometimes kids ask how I've been able to write so many books. The answer is simple: one word at a time. Which is another good lesson, I think. You don't have to do everything at once. You don't have to know how every story is going to end. You just have to take that next step, look for that next idea, write that next word.