fiction and other writing

Archive for the ‘Children’s fiction’ Category

The Tamarisk Tree

This year I thought I would wish all the children who follow my site a Happy Christmas with the gift of a story. (I have actually recorded this story but wordpress want more money for me to upload the recording.) If you’d like a copy of the recording send me an email. I hope you enjoy it and wish you a happy, safe, socially distanced, hand sanitised, Christmas.

The Tamarisk Tree by Penny Luker

She stood tall and proud in a dry sandy area; not quite a desert. A small community of houses surrounded her.

Jacob loved her beauty. She provided shade during the hot months and a focus for the local people, who would often sit beneath her branches. There was not much for an eleven year old to do, so he would pick up any small twigs that she dropped and whittle away at them with his knife.

‘Thank you for your gift,’ he would always say, as he sat beneath her branches, practising his craft. He made tiny statues of people who lived nearby or characters he’d read about in books. In his way Jacob was content, although he would’ve liked more children to play with.

Matthew was a young teenager, who lived in the same village. He was angry at being stuck in what he considered to be this hell hole. The heat was oppressive. There was nothing to do and no-one of his age to hang out with. His parents worked at the observatory in the desert and he was often on his own. He watched Jacob sitting under the tree and sneered at his efforts.

‘I’ll show you how to carve something properly. I’ll be back but you’ll have to move.’

A few moments later Matthew came back with a saw and told Jacob to get out of the way.

‘You mustn’t damage the tree,’ said Jacob. ‘She provides us with shade and beauty.’

‘She provides us with shade and beauty,’ Matthew mimicked. ‘Move!’

Jacob stood back, helpless. Matthew was much bigger than he was.

He ran to his home to fetch his mother, but she was busy and told him to keep out of the way of that nasty boy.

When Jacob got back to the tree one of its beautiful branches was on the ground and Matthew was about to chop another.

‘Wait. Why not carve the branch you’ve cut before you take more from the tree? That is, if you can actually carve and not just hack branches off,’ shouted Jacob from a safe distance.

‘Of course I can carve. I’ll show you,’ and Matthew marched off in the direction of his home, with the large branch.

Jacob ran to the tree and wrapped his spindly arms around the trunk.

‘I’m so sorry I didn’t protect you,’ he cried.

He went indoors and came back to the tree with a small jar of honey and spooned a little onto the cut on the tree.

‘I don’t know if this will help but my mother always gives me some when I’m poorly,’ he said.

When Jacob’s mother came out to see what the fuss was about she was extremely angry that the tree had been mutilated and marched straight round to Matthew’s house. There she found him sweating and swearing at the wood as he tried to shape it into a statue with a large blunt knife. She left him in no doubt that she’d be speaking to his parents tonight.

Jacob sat back down under the Tamarisk tree and fell asleep in it’s shade. Soon he was wakened by Matthew.

‘I’m going to be in dead trouble with my parents because of your mother. You better make this branch into something beautiful so they think my cutting the tree was not such a bad thing. Here. Get on with it or you’re dead meat.’

‘I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to. Such a large branch would take months to carve. With my tiny pieces of wood it takes a few weeks. I’d be happy to show you how to carve a small piece, but only with wood that the tree offers you; the bits you can pick up from the ground.’

Matthew stomped off, dragging the branch behind him.

Later Jacob said to the tree, ‘I am sorry that he’s hurt you so much,’ as he went indoors for his supper.

In the morning he was outside with his mother, when he looked up and saw his beloved Tamarisk tree covered in pale orangey- pink flowers.

‘Look how beautiful the tree is!’ said Jacob. ‘I thought it might die with that damage.’

‘No, she is strong. I’m sure she’s going to be fine. Matthew might have hurt her but someone showed her kindness – with my best honey, I believe.’

Jacob looked up but his mother was smiling.

As for Matthew, his parents were indeed cross with him. They gave him the perfect punishment. He must carve a statue of the Madonna and child and work on it everyday until it is beautiful, when it will be donated to the village. He has promised he will never damage the tree again and can often be seen sitting with Jacob underneath the Tamarisk tree, learning his craft.

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FREE Children’s e-books this weekend.

Enjoy some free children’s e-books. This weekend only.

Desdemona, the dragon without any friends and Picnic in the Park are for younger children (2-5 years) Enjoy reading and discussing them with your child.

The Green Book, Tiny Tyrannosaurus and Pablo the Storytelling Bear are for older children. (5-11 years) Enjoy sharing the books with your child or they may prefer to read alone.

Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads always welcome.

Picnic in the Park

Come and meet the animal friends, Petunia, Isabella, Cyril and Nathan. What did they find when they went to visit their local park? Picnic in the Park is a short story for younger children to enjoy and explores litter in our local environment.

You can find the ebook here.
It’s $0.99 on Amazon.com and £0.77 on Amazon.co.uk. Of course it’s free on Kindle Unlimited. It’s a very short story to read to a younger child.

Pablo wins a Readers’ Choice Award from Connections eMagazine

The Connections eMagazine runs an annual Readers’ Choice Award and Pablo the Storytelling Bear was nominated for the Children’s Chapter Book category. Imagine how thrilled I was when it won joint third place in its category. It was awarded a bronze Readers’ Choice Award, which is now on its new cover.

The story of Pablo the Storytelling Bear is a mixture of magic and real life for polar bears, who are struggling for survival in some parts of the world. Pablo is a magical bear, aided by Gertrude Hermione Humbug. He tells Bill about how polar bears survive in the wild and what happens if they live in a zoo. Of course the magic element allows some fun to be incorporated in the stories.

You can read this story for free on kindle unlimited and it’s only £1.99 for the ebook and £5.00 from Amazon here.

If you enjoy reading, take a look at the other winners in the Connections eMagazine, (link above). I shall certainly be reading some of the winners’ books. The current edition also has some 100 words flash fiction, which are fun. Why not have a go and write a hundred word story, yourself?

Book Review: Yoga Fox by Sylva Fae

This is a beautifully illustrated book about a fox, known as Scaredy Fox, who wants a new name. He sees a group in the park doing yoga and decides to try it. For all of the yoga moves he makes up new names and tells them to his animal friends. Will his friends be impressed and rename him? What is lovely about this book is that children can try out the yoga moves. I would recommend this book for younger readers. I’m sure they’d love it.

This book is available from Amazon in paperback for £5. or on Amazon’s Kindle for £1.99 here

My visit to St Oswald’s CE Primary School, Cheshire

On Monday I was lucky enough to visit the Owl and Deer classes at the lovely St Oswald’s School in Worleston, Nantwich. I read stories from Desdemona: The Dragon without Any Friends and Pablo, The Storytelling Bear. The children listened to the stories and then asked lots of questions about the stories and about how I set about doing the writing process.

I told the Owls my idea for the next Desdemona story and they talked about some of their ideas. What great imaginations they have!

Some of the Deers were discussing ideas of what we could do to help polar bears survive and showed their caring and scientific side, while others were discussing what Minty or The Enormous Bear might get up to next.

The book is available here.

The book is available here.

If any children from St Oswald’s (or indeed anywhere else) want to write a Desdemona story, a polar bear story, or write ideas about how we can help polar bears survive, do send them to me. I will try to publish some on this site. I’d love to see your drawings too. In the meantime here’s a story to read.

A story from Pablo the Storytelling Bear
Bill is given a small, cuddly polar bear, called Pablo, for his birthday. Little does he know this magical bear can tell stories. Here is one story from the book.

The Enormous Bear’s Recue

‘Why have you been sent to your room, Bill? It’s only 4,o’clock and too early for bed.’
Bill climbed on the bed and threw himself heavily onto the mattress.
‘Don’t you start on me. You’re supposed to be my friend.’
‘I am your friend. Tell me what happened,’ said Pablo.
‘I wanted to play with Emily’s Lego people but she wouldn’t let me. She said she was playing with them and was in the middle of a game, so I shouted at her and told her she was selfish. Mum sent me to my room, so I could think about how I’d behaved, but I really wanted to play with the Lego people.’
‘Sometimes when we want something really badly, we don’t think of the consequences. Let me tell you what happened next to Enormous Bear.’
Bill plumped up the pillow, put it behind his back and settled down to listen to the story.

‘I don’t know how much you know about polar bears, but they feast on seals and fish that they catch, and build up their bodies. When it’s winter the pregnant females dig a den and sleep through the very coldest weather. So they sleep or rest for months and their bodies need the fat that they’ve built up while hunting to survive through the winter months. They stay inside until their cubs can survive outside. The other polar bears carry on hunting, but they adjust how quickly they move through the coldest months or when they have no food.’
‘I couldn’t do that. I eat everyday and I like to snack, but you don’t eat at all, do you?’
Pablo smiled, ‘Toys get their energy from the people they’re with. You get yours from food. The Enormous Bear gets his from food too, but he stores it in his body, because where he lives gets unbelievably cold. It’s not an easy life, but he sees beautiful places. Anyway Enormous Bear made his way to Hudson Bay where many polar bears gather to wait for the ice to form. On the way he got hungry again and when he got to the tundra, he started searching for food. He went down to the beach in the hope that the waves had brought in some food to the shore, but he couldn’t find much. The ice should have formed by then, allowing him to go hunting, but although it was cold, the ice hadn’t formed and so without thinking he carried on walking.’
‘He had to really, because he still needed to look for food,’ said Bill.
‘What you don’t know is that nearby is the town of Churchill and that the people of the town are not too happy to have bears strolling around.’
‘Do polar bears attack people?’ said Bill.
‘Not usually, but one or two have done. The people of Churchill have learned over the years how to live with the polar bears. They adopt a policy of scaring the bears by throwing things at them, making loud noises or firing blanks, which makes the sound of a shot, but doesn’t hurt them. Then the bears run away out of town.’
‘They don’t shoot and kill them, do they?’ asked Bill.
‘Not normally. They really try not to. Anyway Enormous Bear kept on walking towards the town. The Bear Conservation patrol spotted him, just as he was raiding someone’s bin. The Enormous Bear grabbed the bin, tipped it up and was having a good rummage through to see if there was anything to eat. He was concentrating so hard, that he didn’t hear the warnings or see the things thrown at him to scare him away.’
‘Oh no! They didn’t shoot him, did they?’
‘Well they did, but not in the way you’re thinking. The patrol could see he was an enormous bear and they worried he could do a lot of harm, so one of the men loaded his special gun with a tranquillizing dart and fired it at Enormous Bear. He really didn’t know what had happened to him. Then they loaded him onto their van and took him to Polar Bear Jail.’
Bill laughed, ‘There isn’t really a place called Polar Bear Jail is there?’
‘Oh yes. The polar bears are kept there until the helicopter comes and lifts them in the air and carries them away from the town, but leaves them still close enough to get on the ice when it comes. That’s what happened to Enormous Bear. He was so big that they were worried about him travelling in a net underneath the helicopter, but it wasn’t a problem. He had to be tranquillized for the journey, so he wasn’t frightened. Then the conservation patrol removed the net and left him sleeping, not far from the sea.’
‘Wow, whoever thought of that is amazing. They kept the people in the town safe, but they didn’t kill the bear. I’m glad he’s still alive.’
‘So is he, but he doesn’t really understand what happened.’
‘Did he get any food?’
‘He didn’t have to wait that long. The ice began to form and he was able to go hunting, so he’ll survive another year, but each year the ice comes later and one day there won’t be enough time for the bears to build up enough fat to survive the winter.’
‘That’s terrible. Can’t we do something?’ said Bill.
‘All I know is there are people who are trying to help polar bears survive. I expect you’ll learn all about that at school one day.’
‘Thank you for the story Pablo. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I feel better now.’
‘That’s good. In a way you’re just like the Enormous Bear. He did something he shouldn’t. He went too near humans and was put in Polar Bear Jail, which is a bit like you being sent to your bedroom. Then he was put back somewhere safe, so things were back where they needed to be. So how are you going to get to that position?’
‘You’re telling me I must go and say sorry.’
‘Indeed I’m not,’ said Pablo. ‘If you’re not sorry, don’t say it, but I wonder how Emily is feeling after you shouted at her.’
Bill looked sad for a moment and then he climbed down the ladder from his bed.
‘Thanks Pablo,’ he said as he went downstairs.

Pablo the storytelling bear – Brand new children’s book

Bill loves polar bears and receives a small fluffy bear for his birthday. At first he is a little underwhelmed, until he realizes that his little bear, Pablo, has been given the gift of storytelling. Pablo tells him stories about The Enormous Bear, who lives in the wild, and Minty, a cub, who lives in a zoo. Add a touch of magic to the mix and stir.

This is an ideal book to read to a child over Christmas, or let them read it themselves. It contains seven short stories and a few little pictures (black and white).

The ebook is only £0.99 from Amazon UK or $1.33 from Amazon.com.

It’s FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

The paperback is available from Lulu for £4.50 (plus p&p). Available from other bookshops shortly.

Do you like dragons?

This is the story of Desdemona, the dragon without any friends. Will she learn how to make friends? Will she find out who is important to her? Here’s the first page to read.

Once there lived a fine dragon, whose scales were blood red. She stomped over the land making the earth tremble and she gobbled up tree branches and shrubs as she moved.
Sometimes when the town of Wrex was quiet and all the little people were fast asleep she would pop her head over the city walls and roar.
“ROAR!”
Then the people would run out of their homes screaming and screeching. Desdemona, for that was her name, would watch the little people running in all directions, frantically trying to find out where the noise was coming from, and she would laugh.

Desdemona is only available to read in paperback format (at the moment) and is £8.99 from Amazon. Here’s the link.

Book Review: Rainbow Monsters by Sylva Fae

This is a charming little book, written in rhyme. The characters are the colours of a rainbow, so will help children learn their colours. At the end of the book there are puzzles for the children to work out. This is a book for young children; beautifully illustrated.

It’s available in paperback from Amazon at £4.99 and on Kindle at £1.52 Here’s the link.

Fantasy, Short Stories, Children’s Books and Poetry

Just a reminder that all my e-books are free on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited all the time. If you don’t have K.U. then the ebooks are still reasonable.

The Truth Finder is £2.35 and $3.06. A young adult fantasy novel.
The Mermaid is £1.58 and $2.04. A book of original short stories for adults.
The Green Book is £1.99 and $2.58. A children’s chapter book. Great for bedtimes!
Tiny Tyrannosaurus is £2.01 and $2.06. A children’s chapter book.
Nature’s Gold is £2.00 and $2.59. A poetry book of varied forms of poetry.
Autumn Gold is £2.01 and $2.60. A poetry book. Poetry to enjoy.

All the above books are also avaiable in paperback. Desdemona The Dragon Without any Friends, a children’s picture book, is also available in paperback for £8.99 and $12.46

Why not check out my books? Here’s the link to Amazon. UK and here’s the link for USA

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