I’ve been asked the question, why write books for children? Is it because it’s easier than writing for adults? Well I wouldn’t have said so, but it’s a good question.
I’ve always like to pretend that there’s a bit of magic in the world. As a teacher I found that children felt the same way. When I read stories that contained magic, children listened. They listened to lots of other things besides, but magic was one of the favourite themes. Of course adults also have magic in their literature in the fantasy or sci-fi genres, so why write for children?
Some years ago something magical happened in my life. My son and his wife had their first baby and I became a Granny and soon I had a second grandchild. After a few years I decided that I wanted to give them a present that they would remember, but not something that was bought. I wanted to show them how much I loved them. It was natural to write for my grandchildren and I had a lot of expereince teaching at primary school level, so I had a good understanding of the right level of language for the age group. The important thing, I felt, was to write as they would speak. I need to stress that the books were for my grandchildren and not about them.
The Green Book and Tiny Tyrannosaurus are chapter books which are suitable for a bedtime reading session. They are suitable for 4-11 year olds.
I wrote the stories about an ordinary family, doing everyday things but then added the magic. Each week I published a chapter on my blog and when I’d done about twelve, I looked to see if they would make a book. At that point I revised and rewrote chapters. Each chapter stands alone as a story, but they do all build up to a longer story.
I’ve had lots of feedback while I was writing and many more people started to follow my writing blog. Now that they are published I’ve only left the first chapter of each book free to read because Amazon doesn’t allow you to publish anywhere cheaper than you have with them.
You can buy the books from Amazon.
Since then my daughter and husband have had two children and so there’ll be two more books over the next two to three years. I’ve already started writing the next book. I hope to post the first draft of the next book by the end of July, so watch this space and do feel free to comment.
Recently my grandson read one of the books to me. It was such a treat. I can’t tell you how that made me feel.
Mum came to school the other day.
Teacher said that I’d been bad.
I listened to her rant for ages
and mother looked so sad.
But when the teacher tried to stand
I couldn’t help but giggle;
I’d stuck super-glue to her chair
which made her knickers wriggle.
She sat there while my mother smiled
and said sorry for her plight,
but when unstuck and free to walk,
I decided to take flight.
This was a writing exercise in our Winsford Writing Group. The leader of the session, Elizabeth Horrocks, said to write something using naughty, but not obscene words as children liked that. The above is my effort. We only had 10-15 minutes to write. Why not have a go and put it in a comment here?
‘Empty your pockets,’ commanded the Goblin.
So she shoved her hands into them deep;
then she turned the bright sunlight that shone in his eyes,
into a long, icy night’s sleep.
She took out a humbug, made of rats’ tails,
to sooth her sore cackling throat;
then in his dreams she showed him her spell book
and her best moth-wing long coat.
Her boomerang star she threw to the sky,
and caressed her spare twigs for her broom.
Sneezing the magic dust into the air;
her light globe lit up the room.
‘My pockets are deep for my cloak is so long.
How much more would you like to see?
I could show you an eye-ball or a child’s smile
or could wake you, to ladybird tea.’
A star bumps his head and the Goblin awakes.
Laughing eyes stare into his own.
He blows out the globe and flies to the moon
to ponder the sights he’s been shown.
This was a writing task set by Liz Picken: to write a poem based on a list.- things you might find in a witch’s pocket.
A very happy 2013 to everyone who pops in here from time to time. I have just updated The Green Book, which is published for free on a separate page of this blog.
It’s also available in hard copy from www.Lulu.com for £3.99. In the book there are illustrations and the formatting is different from the blog version. It will soon be available from Amazon.
The book is suitable for primary aged children from about five to ten years old. If any young readers read the story I would love to hear from you.
A new short story for older readers will be posted next week which I hope you will enjoy.
I don’t usually review children’s books but I’m going to make an exception for this book of ghost stories. I first read it to children when I was teaching. The class were nine to eleven year olds and without exception sat enthralled. I would be wary of reading this to younger children, because in spite of it being intended for children several of the stories do not have a happy ending. Some are quite haunting (forgive the pun).
My copy of the book went missing from the classroom. I was disappointed because I thought I might read it again sometime, but if a child ‘borrowed’ it, then that can only mean that more reading followed, which must be a good thing. Browsing on Amazon the other day for a completely different book, this one was advertised for one penny plus postage and so I treated myself. (As far as I can tell you can’t buy it new anymore.)
There are forty-two stories in total and some are better written and more exciting than others. The stories are short, easy to read and enjoyable. My favourite one was, ‘The Ghostly Gardeners’ by Ruth Cameron. I even remember it from reading it years earlier. A young boy finds a secret door in a wall. I won’t tell you what happens next as I don’t want to spoil your reading.
Most of the protagonists are children and this helps children identify with the main character. Mary Danby, who edited the book, chose the tales well, as they are varied, which is quite an achievement with over forty stories.
I would highly recommend this book for young people and although I’m not young, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a book of quick reads, entertaining, scary, but not too scary. It would be great for reading round a camp fire.