Rabbits & Bunnies in Picture Books

In the run up to Easter, I’ve found some super bunny themed picture books to pop in a bag with a chocolate egg for Easter. So hop on over and take a seat to choose your favourite one from my bunny line up.


What Small Rabbit HeardSheryl Webster (author) & Tim Warnes (illustrator); Published: OUP Oxford, 2 Sept 2010.

An adorable rabbit who just wants to play. Follow Small Rabbit having fun whilst his mum is running along behind him trying to keep up and look after him.

CLICK TO BUY What Small Rabbit Heard


The Rabbits John Marsden (author) & Shaun Tan (illustrator); cover design by Tony Gilevski; Published: Lothian Children’s Books, Hodder Children’s Books, 16 Sept 2010.

A picture book aimed at older children and adults depicting the effects of colonization on the environment. Although not a cheery bedtime read and this book has attracted much debate and criticism due to the subject matter it remains an extremely relevant topic in today’s political climate. The quirky illustrations successfully add to the impact of the message.

CLICK TO BUY The Rabbits


The Rhyming RabbitJulia Donaldson (author) & Lydia Monks (illustrator); Published: MacMillan Children’s Books, 24 May 2012.

A glittering publication filled with rhyme and a gentle story of how being yourself and being different is special. To successfully distinguish between the character’s rhymes and the story the text is written in part rhyme and part prose accompanied by clear and vibrant illustrations.

CLICK TO BUY The Rhyming Rabbit


The Black RabbitPhillipa Leathers (author/illustrator); Published: Walker Books, 6 Mar 2014.

I love the contemporary illustrations in this original rabbit and wolf tale. Rabbit is afraid of his own shadow but soon finds out that his shadow is his best friend.

CLICK TO BUY The Black Rabbit


That’s Not Funny Bunny!Bethany Rose Hines (author/illustrator); Published: Top That Publishing, 18 Feb 2015.

The message this story conveys is clear. Don’t try and be something you’re not, always be yourself. The lovable characters, text repetition and soft illustrations all help to make this an easy book to remember.

CLICK TO BUY That’s Not Funny Bunny (Picture Storybooks)


Big Bad BunnyMelanie Joyce (author) & Maurizia Rubino (illustrator); Published: Igloo Books Ltd, 1 Dec 2014.

A rhyming story about a new bunny in the wood who persists at creating havoc with his loud and rude behaviour but goodwill and kindness from the other creatures prevails in the end. A sweet story with bright illustrations. Sadly the rhyme at times feels a little out of sync but the message is spot on.

CLICK TO BUY Big, Bad Bunny (Picture Flats)


Lion vs RabbitAlex Latimer (author/illustrator); Publisher: Picture Corgi, 7 Feb 2013.

A brilliant and funny story which keeps you chuckling beyond the last page. Lion is a bully. So who is brave (or tricky) enough to stop him being mean? You don’t want to beat a bully with fists or weapons so it’s a delight to see how the clever rabbit thinks differently to the other animals and ends up out smarting the lion.

CLICK TO BUY Lion vs Rabbit

I won’t rabbit on anymore (oh groan) but don’t forget to carrot rate your books with Ralfy Rabbit (book by Emily MacKenzie).

Sources: Library or private copies.

 

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk.

 

World Book Day 2016

A Book in the Home

Welcome to World Book Day, the day when a fantastical array of characters set off for school across the world. I dropped off Harry Potter (books by J. K. Rowling) and Claude with his faithful friend Sir Bobblysock (books by Alex T. Smith) this morning and after the previous day’s mad scramble around the shops I welcomed a huge sigh of relief that I’d actually managed to pull the costumes together in time.

It was hard to ignore the new found murmur of excitement in the playground this morning. World Book Day had evidently lifted the fun factor of school a notch or two. I saw big smiles as each child took on the role of their favourite children’s book characters with hidden thespian confidence. Dressing up is a fun way to engage children with books but what do children really think about books? What do books mean to them?

For World Book Day I wanted to try and capture a small insight into how books have impacted on some children’s lives so I decided to ask around and do a quick investigation to test the water. The question I asked the children was :-

“What do books mean to you? For example this can be a feeling, a place or time that you link with books.”

All the responses are from children aged 12 and under. I have to admit I was expecting some negative or indifferent comments interspersed between the positive ones so I wasn’t one hundred percent sure where this blog would take me before I got some answers. It turned out that books are pretty popular (in case you hadn’t noticed). Some of the answers are a little random as you may expect from children but overall it emerged that most of the children associate books with bedtime, their favourite books and a happy time. I thought these results deserved being made into this A4 poster as a nice addition to any reading nook.

Book Poster

Feel free to copy and paste to print out.

Kindle or book for kids?

 

Kindle or Book for KidsSo far I’ve resisted the Kindle urge and continue to cling to the faithfully printed pages which I can open up and touch; where I can fan through the remaining chapters and not stare at a soulless percentage figure; where I have the choice to peek at the last lines with a dramatic flick to tease myself into thinking I know how it ends, where there’s no scrolling through endless digital pages which look eerily familiar to all the previous ones. However sometimes I do wonder if I’m missing out or getting left behind in the dark ages. Could the slim line word generator make me a quicker, more avid reader?

For me I won’t be defecting to the Kindle side anytime soon as my current “mother of two” lifestyle gives me no need for one. I’m happy with my chunky literary fascinations knocking each other off my busy bookshelves. If you’d offered me one fifteen years ago however it may have been a different story. I may have welcomed the ease of such a svelte device in my overcrowded commuting bag.

As a determined writer on the other hand, sometimes the magnetic allure of its promises can be very tempting. When Amazon launched the Kindle Fire for kids coupled with their Kid’s Book Creator my mind started planning a whole new fantasy world of its own. Exciting! Was this the revolutionary kick start I needed? The book creator would enable little old me to publish full colour children’s illustrated digital books. At first I was ecstatic at the prospect of publication being at the command of my own fingers. Could the power of the send button be the answer to my success? I felt sure I could conquer the digital networks of such a program and present my stories in an instance to the real world.

Until the first signs of doubt set in.

I soon hit the brakes when I started asking myself basic questions. What type of books am I writing? Picture books. Who is my target audience? That will be four to seven year olds and their parents. Of course by this stage a whole new set of questions tumbled out of my mind. How would the illustrations look on screen? Do the parents want their children to have more screen time? When would a parent deem it ok for their child to read from a Kindle? Or do they, like me, prefer the printed alternative?

Suddenly it was looking less and less like the best forum to launch my books.

With the way I feel about books I struggled to see how a digital picture book could be more captivating than its printed version. How a solid flat screen could compare to flipping the floppy pages of children’s books which of course have the added advantage of doubling up as hats or towers whenever the need takes hold! So I resorted to considering the practical advantages as a parent.

When would I be tempted to read picture books to my children from a Kindle or iPhone for example? The only time that I thought a children’s e-book would have its advantages over a printed book, was on holidays. Travelling with children inevitably involves taking a myriad of unnecessary items plus the kitchen sink, so a skinny, lightweight screen could be welcomed to ease such a heavy, bulky load. A Kindle would mean I could take one or even two different picture books for every night of the holiday without having to arrange a separate shipment for them. A definite advantage but is this enough to make the e-book option more attractive overall?

For now I’ve chosen to embark on the traditional publication route but I haven’t dismissed self-publication forever. Perhaps there are merits to pursuing both? I’m sure the debate will continue to rage on in my head for some time and I know as a children’s writer I’m not alone with this conundrum. Feel free to offer your thoughts.

Potty About Penguin Picture Books

Yeh it’s Penguin Awareness Day! I confess, I am penguin potty and just adore these comical, clumsy little creatures but how have these photogenic stars managed to bag their own National Day of celebration? Is it their cute waddle? The way they flap their flippers like an excited child? Perhaps we admire their brave, reckless abandonment as they throw themselves off cliffs into the thrashing sea? Do we empathise with their affection for one another? Or are we in awe of their endurance of cold, harsh conditions? There’s no doubt they are fascinating creatures which have captured the hearts of millions of us but beware Protect a Penguin Day could become the harsh reality if we don’t do our bit for global warming – Emperer Penguins are now endangered, warn biologists, The Telegraph.

It’s hard to take penguins for granted in our house, whether it’s on a scarf, disguised as a biscuit tin or peeping out of a picture, there’s usually at least one in view in some form or another! So as I haven’t been able to resist passing on the love to my children and we’ve been enjoying some fantastic picture books about them lately. Each book has been rated out of ten by my nine and six year old boys but it seems they’re all very popular in our household judging by the lack of deviation from a resounding ten all round!



The Night Iceberg – Helen Stephens (author/illustrator); Published: Alison Green Books 2010. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

Tofta wanted her iceberg to be a place she could call her own … until a penguin appears followed by his entire family & friends so she soon finds out that sharing with others can also bring a lot of pleasure. A story to be read again and again with illustrations to be admired.

CLICK TO BUY The Night Iceberg


Penguin – Polly Dunbar (author/illustrator); Published: Walker Books 2007. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

A beautiful book which uses simple but striking illustrations and hints of humour to convey the importance of actions speaking louder than words. It’s not what Penguin says (which is not a lot), it is what he does that says everything!

CLICK TO BUY Penguin


Up and Down – Oliver Jeffers (author/illustrator); Published: Harper Collins Children’s Books 2015. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

From the well known author of Lost and Found, yet another beautiful story of the friendship between the boy and his penguin. Penguin is determined to fly high but how will he do this? Will he fail? Will the boy be there for him if he falls? The classic conundrum of how to allow a loved one to find the confidence to fly the nest whilst trying to keep them safe is written with true Oliver Jeffers’ eloquence.

CLICK TO BUY Up and Down


Blown Away – Rob Biddulph (author/illustrator); Published: Harper Collins Children’s Books 2015. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

An effortless rhyming story about Penguin Blue and his adventures with a kite. With gorgeous vivid, contemporary illustrations that invite you to study each page, it’s easy to get pulled along with Penguin Blue on his journey.

CLICK TO BUY Blown Away


Could a Penguin Ride a Bike? – Camilla Bedoyere (author) & Aleksei Bitskoff (illustrator); Published: QED Publishing 2015. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

A very fresh approach for a factual book about penguins as the facts have been cleverly weaved into a fun story. Could a penguin go bowling, ride a bike or join a choir? You can find out from this book how a penguin might fair in these and many other situations he could find himself in if he came to stay with you.

CLICK TO BUY Could A Penguin Ride a Bike?


Penguin in Peril – Helen Hancocks (author/illustrator); Published: Templar Publishing 2013. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

Three hungry cats on the hunt for a penguin to catch them some fish. But the penguin doesn’t want to catch fish, he just wants to get home. The full colour illustrations bring his story to life as the cats chase the penguin around town.

CLICK TO BUY Penguin in Peril


The Not-so-Perfect Penguin – Steve Smallman (author/illustrator); Published: QED Publishing 2014. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

Often the things we love about others are their imperfections. Percy is no exception. Percy is always acting the clown while his sensible friends are being very sensible and always raising their eyebrows at him. However when Percy goes missing one day they soon realise that it is his playful ways that they love. A sweet story about true friendship and accepting others.

CLICK TO BUY Storytime: The Not-So-Perfect Penguin


Cuddly Dudley – Jez Alborough (author/illustrator); Published Walker Children’s Books 2007. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

You can never get enough hugs! Everyone wants to cuddly Dudley but Dudley gets a little tired of the constant attention and just wants to be alone until he realises that sometimes a cuddle is all he needs.

CLICK TO BUY Cuddly Dudley


Dragon Loves Penguin – Debi Giliori (author/illustrator); Published: Bloomsbury Childrens 2014. Rating: 10/10 – 10/10

Knowing that things happen for a reason. What happens when a lonely egg and a egg-less dragon meet? A heart-warming tale of an unexpected friendship. You can feel, see and read the quality of this book.

CLICK TO BUY Dragon Loves Penguin

As an extra penguin treat I’ll leave you with this wonderful blog from Making Them Readers reviewing the book 365 Penguins by Jean-Luc Fromental and Joelle Jolivet.

Source: Own or public library.

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  Amazon.co.uk

It’s a New Page in My Book!

Why is it that everyone suddenly starts to think about what they want in life at the start of a new year when every new day gives us that same opportunity to start afresh?

“Little by little one walks far.” Peruvian proverb.

This proverb is etched on a necklace I have. It appealed to me as the words resonate with how I deal with those moments when everything I want to achieve seems overwhelming. Writing a book is one such enormous task. A picture book may be short but there are still many aspects to consider but I find if I break each step down into bite sized chunks it becomes very satisfying when I can gradually tick them off as completed.

I’m finally about to turn a new page in my quest for publication. I have two picture books which are now ready to offer to publishers. For the past year I’ve been learning a great deal about format, style and expectations followed by the necessary tweaking in the hope that it will put me in good stead. Yet at the end of the day I know it’s down to me to dig out the confidence to put myself forward for criticism. So for 2016 I’m preparing for the barrage of rejections that everyone says is an inevitable part of the course and the lack of explanation for those rejections as well as conjuring up an endless dose of patience out of thin air; but above all I’m preparing to believe in myself and the possibility of that chance of success.

You could say my 2016 is starting to sound a little bit gloomy and a great deal more scary but a New Year is about having hope for something better and a new day is about putting that hope into action. So every day of 2016 I will be focusing on any new progression that I achieve, big or small. I will see the New Year as empty and waiting to be filled with endless possibilities and I‘ll be keeping my eyes on where I ultimately want to be. This way, each little day to day progression becomes a part of something much bigger.

There are two picture books I know that I think every little girl and boy should read as they echo these sentiments perfectly.


Little by LittleAmber Stewart (author) & Layn Marlow (illustrator); Published: OUP Oxford 2008.

This book is one of an adorable series of books about bravery, patience, trying new things and growing up but this is the one which has particularly stuck in my mind. It’s a story about Scramble the Otter who is trying to swim. He sees everyone else doing it but just can’t seem to do it himself. Until one day he’s shown that by taking little steps he can go a long way.

CLICK TO BUY Little by Little


Some Dogs DoJez Alborough (author/illustrator); Published: Walker Books, 2004.

This book manages to say so much in very few words as well as being fun, funny and written in rhyme. It’s about trusting and believing in yourself.  Just because someone else believes something is impossible doesn’t mean it is.

CLICK TO BUY Some Dogs Do

So whether the New Year helps you kick start some lost enthusiasm, move on from the loss of a loved one or achieve a burning ambition I wish you all a very happy and successful New Year.

Sources: personal or library copies.

 

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  Amazon.co.uk

The Life of Stories

Christmas TV

There was a point in time for me when Christmas TV had morphed into a disappointment of repetitive re-runs for children. However over the last few years this has been changing with many more new adaptations of children’s books appearing on our lounge screens; The Gruffalo and Mr Stink being fabulous examples and the good news is that it looks set to explode with the BBC’s recent partnership with The Reading Agency, Book Trust, National Literacy Trust, Society of Chief Librarians and The Scottish Library Information Council; who together are driving the “Get Reading Today” campaign. These are all major influencers in the book world so we could be in for some magical delights… or are we?

At first glance the idea of showing children TV programmes to encourage them to read more books sounds like an oxymoron. Some might say we are losing sight of what the essence of a book means to the literary lovers amongst us. I know I always try and impress on my children to “read the book before you see the film.” I’m not always one hundred percent successful with this but I try and I will persist to try because I want my children to develop their own inner pictures of imagination. Once you’ve seen a film it’s incredibly hard to erase those particular pictures and characters out of your mind. I want my children to imagine and think for themselves and not to be told what to imagine and think.

So why are so many trusted literary supporters encouraging TV adaptations? Where is the value in a screen production? The value comes from sustaining the life of the story within a book. Films are about portraying an interpretation, a message, a visual example of someone’s imagination in motion. Reading a book first and then seeing the film can be hugely rewarding as it provokes you to question, compare and marvel at the characters coming to life but there are also times when seeing a film first can encourage reading too. A film can ignite a fascination in a book which was previously of no interest. It can help children to look at the story on a whole new level and bring previously unnoticed stories to their attention. For children who struggle to imagine inside their heads, a film can present ideas of how to imagine but most of all it will bring another story into their world that helps them to learn and grow. I enjoy how reading a book allows my mind to run free but as a writer, for me it is also about how to tell a good a story; stories which I hope one day will be experienced, heard and lovingly remembered. The life of a story is bigger than any book so adapting a story through different mediums such as TV can only be a good thing as it offers both children and adults the opportunity to enjoy the story on their own terms in an artistic medium that they love.

So watch out this Christmas for Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Billionaire Boy by David Walliams coming to BBC, Countdown to Britain’s Favourite Children’s Books on Channel 4 presented by David Walliams and Fungus and the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs on Sky. However let’s not forget that the BBC campaign is so much more than screen adaptations. Read this article, “BBC launches year-long campaign to get the nation reading” to see the documentaries, interviews and live events planned on both BBC radio and television all aimed at encouraging reading.

Audio Book Review: Billionaire Boy by David Walliams.

Fabulously Festive Picture Books

I couldn’t resist putting together a list of some of my favourite Christmas themed picture books around at the moment. Some excellent present ideas. There’s nothing better than reading a Christmas book to add to the excitement and anticipation of the family festive spirit. As usual these have been rated by my two boys of 6 and 9 years. The first rating is from my eldest.


Father Christmas on the Naughty Step – Mark Sperring (author) & Tom McLaughlin (illustrator); Published: Puffin 2013. Rating: 6/10; 8/10.

Who’d have thought Father Christmas can be naughty too! This is a brilliant spin on the usual Christmas Eve tales and a lesson in how to say sorry – something every child can relate to – and worth remembering that even Santa has to say sorry sometimes too!

CLICK TO BUY Father Christmas on the Naughty Step


Norman the Slug who Saved Christmas – Sue Hendra (author) & Paul Linnet (illustrator); Published:  Simon and Schuster Children’s UK 2015. Rating: 10/10; 10/10.

Norman is a surprising yet adorable hero for Father Christmas. He’s a very thoughtful snail who does a good deed and expects nothing in return. Although I can’t help feeling a little sad that Father Christmas completely forgot about Norman. Nonetheless it’s a fun, happy story with cute illustrations and all in all a humorous delight to read.

CLICK TO BUY Norman the Slug Who Saved Christmas


Socks for Santa – Adam and Charlotte Guillain (authors) &  Lee Wildish (illustrator); Published: Egmont 2015. Rating: 8/10; 9/10.

Santa gives out millions of presents every year but nobody stops to think about giving Santa a present – except George. George is a little boy who reminds us that Christmas is about giving and not receiving.

CLICK TO BUY Socks for Santa (George’s Amazing Adventures)

 

The Tooth Fairy’s Christmas – Peter Bently (author) & Garry Parsons (illustrator); Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books Ed. 2015. Rating: 10/10; 10/10.

Beautiful bold and bright illustrations accompany this sweet rhyming story about how the Tooth Fairy and Santa help each other out one Christmas Eve.

CLICK TO BUY Tooth Fairy’s Christmas


Tales from Christmas Wood – Suzy Senior (author) & James Newman Gray (illustrator); Published: Lion Children’s Books 2015. Rating: 8/10; 9/10.

As the animals of Christmas Wood are busy preparing for the upcoming Christmas festivities, this magical collection of five stories and pretty illustrations shows that Christmas is about gathering together and spending time with friends and family closest to us with the final story depicting a pretty nativity scene to remind us of the meaning of Christmas. A longer than average picture book which could be read over several nights.

CLICK TO BUY Tales from Christmas Wood


The Christmas Carrot – Alan Plenderleith (author/illustrator); Published: Ravette Publishing Ltd 2013. Rating: 9/10; 10/10.

He’s running for his life as everyone wants a bite of the Christmas carrot. Enjoy some light-hearted fun with this funny and engaging vegetable chase.

CLICK TO BUY The Christmas Carrot


Kipper’s Christmas Eve – Mick Inkpen (author/illustrator); Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books Ed. 2014. Rating: 9/10; 10/10.

The lovable character Kipper charms the socks off us again with another gentle, heart warming story which captures the warm festive glow of friendship, anticipation and excitement perfectly.

CLICK TO BUY Kipper’s Christmas Eve


The Lighthouse Keeper’s Christmas – Ronda & David Armitage (authors/illustrators); Published: Scholastic Children’s Books Ed 2014. Rating: 7/10; 5/10.

George has an unexpected Christmas stranded at the lighthouse. How will Santa know to come to the Lighthouse? How will Mrs Grinling reach them? Christmas songs, decorations and treats (including chocolate biscuits for breakfast apparently – perhaps this should be made into a national Christmas tradition!) but the best presents are the things that matter most to each of us. Making Christmas special no matter where you are.

CLICK TO BUY The Lighthouse Keeper’s Christmas

There’s so many fantastic books out there to choose from. What are your favourite Christmas picture books?

Source: Private or public copies.

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

Picture Book Craft: Everyone is Carrot Rating

Wanted Ralfy Rabbit Book Burglar 2

WANTED! Ralfy Rabbit Book Burglar by children’s author and illustrator Emily MacKenzie (published by Bloomsbury Publishing 2015) has been awarded a googolflex carrot rating in our household. We got the idea from Ralfy himself who loves reading and gives every book he reads a special carrot rating. So I thought perhaps by spreading more of Ralfy’s carrots around, his love of reading could become infectious and encourage many more children to read.

So please follow the instructions to print out your own Little Book of Carrot Ratings to help make bedtime reading even more fun.

Step 1: First you will need some carrots… a maximum of five per book rating. Here are twenty four on one page so print onto card as many times as needed.

Carrots x24

Step 2: Next cut out the carrots individually and put blu tac on the back of each one so they can stick to the score cards.

Carrots Cut

Step 3: Cut one piece of A4 orange card in half to make the front and back covers for your book.

Step 4: Print out the following two carrot score cards. Cut out and stick onto card of any colour. You need one score card for every book being rated so this image can be printed multiple times as required. The score card has room for the title of the book, a space to draw a picture about the book and a maximum of five carrots.

Carrot Rating Sheet x2

Step 5: For the book cover, print the following image onto a sheet of paper and stick one onto one half of the A4 orange card. (I’ve included two cover images as I needed one per child).

Carrot Book Cover

Step 6: Punch a hole at the top left hand corner of the front and back covers and any carrot score cards. Use a split pin or treasury tag to attach them together so it is easy to undo and insert a new carrot rating at any time.

Little Book of Carrot Ratings

Now your Little Book of Carrot Ratings is complete and ready to help you rate your books from 1-5 carrots. Five being the most delicious! The carrot scores can easily be removed and changed at any time and enough carrot score cards can be added until the novelty wears off.

It’s very simple to do. Have fun!

PB Craft Ralfy Rabbit


CLICK TO BUY Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar

 

 

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to  Amazon.co.uk

Child Authors: Learning from Children

Express Yourself Through Writing

Lately, my eldest has been devouring books like a caterpillar expecting an immanent leaf shortage. So much so that despite his shelves being laden with books his hunger for new, uncharted territory is proving hard to keep up with. With our library being a decent drive away and not wanting to rush out and buy new ones each time, I had a brain wave (they may be scarce but they do happen!). I remembered that my husband had read a fantasy fiction book called Eragon a few years back by the author Christopher Paolini who was fifteen years old when he wrote it. I thought perhaps it would be a good contender to satisfy this insatiable hunger. So we sifted through some old boxes in the garage and managed to find Eragon and Eldest, the first two from a series of four books. Both are fairly hefty books so I gave myself a pat on the back for successfully slowing him down until Christmas!

My eldest and I share his bedtime reading of Eragon and it keeps us both suitably engrossed. Some sentences sound a little over written in places to me but the story line is original and the vocabulary is impressive. It is hard to imagine a fifteen year old wrote such a book. As an older writer I like to think that life experience is my advantage in that it has given me greater empathy and expanded my mind since I was fifteen years old. However being a parent, I can also see many advantages for a child to read a book which is written by a child. So my curiosity has been tweaked.

The age of an author is not something a reader would readily know. It’s not emblazoned across their book cover (thank goodness!). Nor is it normally of particular importance to the reader – if the book is good, the book is good regardless of the author’s age. However, who is it that truly knows what makes a child tick? Who knows what is cool, awesome or totally pants? Who knows the latest hot topic in the playground? It can only be a child of course. They don’t have to rely on memory; they are the ones in the thick of it. They are experiencing childhood right now and by recording such moments their points of view can become an invaluable source of understanding for other children.

An excellent example is Help, Hope and Happiness which was written by Libby Rees when she was nine years old. Having gone through the pain of her parents getting divorced she wrote the book to try and help other children cope with divorce. Similarly nine year old Alec Greven’s idea to write How to Talk to Girls came from his playground observations and desires to help his classmates get credit for their chat up efforts. Jason Gaes wrote My Book for Kids with Cancer when he was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma at age seven. It’s a book which continues to help many children of all ages.

Another one I’m particularly interested to get my hands on is The Strand Prophecy written by Brianna and Brittany Winner (otherwise known as the Winner twins). The book tells the tale of Strand the superhero with a troubled past battling to save the world. Though not a self help book the twins wrote this book when they were twelve years old despite both having been diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. In a past blog on dyslexia (The Dancing Book) I once wrote “if you think differently to the average person, you have the power to achieve more than the average person so how can we teach children with dyslexia to draw out their unique abilities?” What an incredible example these twins are of what can be achieved and overcome. Since publication they have also became co-founders of the non-profit organisation Motivate 2 Learn which aims to promote literacy and inspire children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

Child authors have been getting recognition since way back. One of the most well known being Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl written by Anne as a Jewish teenager in hiding during the war. It was later published in 1947 and gives a true view of what it was like to live in constant fear of being caught whilst simultaneously attempting to maintain a small sense of normality in her childhood.

One of the youngest, if not the youngest writer was American born Dorothy Straight who was just four years old when she wrote How the World Began which was published in 1964. Obviously this and many others are exceptional examples of young writers. After all most four year olds haven’t even mastered writing single letters let alone a whole book! So don’t expect miracles from your tiny tot but if they do love writing let them write and express themselves in their own way. They may surprise you and have something outstanding to say. Something which could one day help many children navigate their way through the confusing path of childhood.

Children’s Author Museums Around the World

Last week I posted a link on my Facebook page to an article announcing that Astrid Lindgren’s apartment in Stockholm, Sweden has been opened for small tour groups to view as a museum of her life and where she wrote her famous children’s books about Pippi Longstocking.

So why do we find it so fascinating to walk the floorboards of an author’s home, see photos or read about events in their lives? Are we just nosy? Or is it natural curiosity? Perhaps it is like being given a glimpse into a successful mind or the hope that we can just walk into their world of fantasy and take a little of their magic home with us.

Despite most of us gaining access to only a very small percentage of published children’s books in our lives, of which many are also limited to our immediate culture, children’s books are a great credit to the universal desire to teach, entertain, support and communicate with our children. Children’s books are something we can all relate to as having contributed to our childhood learning so it’s not surprising that many museums have been set up around the world to commemorate the lives and imaginations of some of our most famous children’s authors who have in turn touched our own lives. So next time you’re out and about on your travels, here are eleven museums which may tickle your taste for childhood memories or create some new ones for your own children.

Anne of Green Gables Museum – Park Corner, P.E.I., Canada

AUTHOR: L.M. Montgomery; BOOKS:  Best known for Anne of Green Gables.

Grimm World – Kassel, Germany

AUTHORS: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (otherwise known as the Brothers Grimm); BOOKS: Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretel and many, many others.

The museum opened summer 2015 .

Hans Christian Andersen Museum – Odense, Denmark

AUTHOR: Hans Christian Andersen; BOOKS: The Emporer’s New Clothes, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid and many, many others.

Kinglsey Museum – Clovelly, Devon, UK

AUTHOR: Charles Kingsley; BOOKS: Best known for The Water Babies.

Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House – Massachusetts, USA

AUTHOR: Louisa May Alcott; BOOKS: Little Women, Little Men and Jo’s Boys.

Musee Herge – Louvain-la-Neuve, Brussels, Belgium

AUTHOR: Herge; BOOKS: Tintin.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art – Amherst, MA, USA

AUTHOR: Eric Carle; BOOKS: Best known for The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Very Busy Spider and many, many others.

Tampere Art Museum Moominvalley – Tampere, Finland

Author: Tove Jansson; BOOKS: the Moomin series of books.

The Lewis Carroll Centre – Cheshire, UK

AUTHOR: Lewis Carroll; BOOKS: Best known for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – Great Missenden, UK

AUTHOR: Roald Dahl; BOOKS: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Fantastic Mr Fox, James and the Giant Peach and the list goes on!

The World of Beatrix Potter – Cumbria, UK

AUTHOR: Beatrix Potter; BOOKS: The Tale of Peter Rabbit and his many friends such as The Tale of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher plus many, many others.