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The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley Blog Tour

Posted By Jacob Hope, 11 April 2020
Updated: 11 April 2020

The Youth Libraries Group are delighted to be part of the blog tour for Amber Lee Dodd's The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley.  The book sees the Bradley family besieged by a curse which results in every house they live in being destroyed.  On moving to his thirteenth home, Noah is determined things will be different...  Throughout the blog tour, Amber has been exploring different curses as they appear in fiction and history.  Here she discusses Beauty and the Beast.

 

This was one of the very first movies I ever saw. I remember loving the teapot and being ever so slightly scared of the beast. Beauty and the Beast is another classic morality tale. With a curse created to punish and teach a character a lesson. During a storm, an old beggar woman arrives at a castle during a ball. She offers the host, a cruel and selfish prince, a rose in return for shelter. When he refuses, the old woman reveals herself to be a beautiful enchantress. And then swiftly punishes the Prince for his selfishness by transforming him into a terrible monster and his servants into household objects. She casts a spell on the rose too and warns the prince that the curse will only be broken if he learns to love another, and earn their love in return before the last petal falls, or he will remain a beast forever. Spoiler, it all ends alright, much to my younger selves disappointment. I remember being very upset when the lovely talking teacups turned back into boring people and the scary beast ended up being a standard handsome prince.

 

Explore some of the other curses Amber has been discussing and don't forget to check out her brilliant new novel The Thirteenth Home of Noah Bradley.

 

 

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Tags:  Blog Tour  Reading  Reading for Pleasure 

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The Science of Poetry with Dom Conlon

Posted By Jacob Hope, 09 April 2020

We are delighted to be joined by poet Dom Conlon who energetically discusses the science of poetry and its ability to help communicate complex information and questions about the world which surrounds us.  Dom's incredible collection of poetry This Rock, That Rock is published by Troika and features brilliant illustrations by Viviane Schwarz. Chris Riddell describes the collection as 'quite simply out of this world!'

 

 

Anyone who likes Star Trek will know that what I’m about to say is true: when it comes to science, art matters.  Whether it’s ‘enjoying’ the Data’s poetry about his cat, Spot, or watching episode after episode where the crew indulge their creative sides on the holodeck—it’s clear to see that art plays a major part in Federation life.  As it ought to.

 

But it isn’t just that we should all hope for a future in which we are free to enjoy art. It’s that art, and in my case poetry, can help bring about that future.

 

When I visit a school one of the things I can’t help but talk about is space. I love space. I’m a keen (albeit amateur) astronomer and I have even written a book which is entirely inspired by the Moon.  This Rock, That Rock.

 

I tell the children that though I’m supposed to talk about poetry, I’m the sort of person they can distract with a few well-placed questions. Accretion disks? The mathematics of extraterrestrial life? Is Earth flat? Did we really go to the Moon (yes)? Bring. It. On.

 My answers, however, almost always return me to poetry because it’s in the sometimes structured, always searching poetic form that I can make myself understood. And more importantly, it’s through poetry that everyone finds a way to express themselves.

 

Poetry has, as many of you will attest to, the reputation of being difficult. I hear this a lot... but mostly from adults. It’s hard to understand, they say. I don’t know what the poet means, they say (who cares, I reply). I don’t like poetry, they say. All these concerns and yet poetry is the tool we reach for in order to teach young children about life. It’s the form scientists sometimes use when they want to explain the beauty of their ideas. It’s certainly how I approached my part in the book Viviane Schwarz and I made together.

 

So what’s the science behind this?

 

To answer that we need to turn to... poetry.

 

Specifically, a poem called ‘Nothing In That Drawer’ by Ron Padgett.

I won’t print the poem here. Mostly because I don’t have to. By giving you the title I’ve also managed to tell you the entire poem. The title is repeated fourteen times to form the poem. I love using this in schools. It starts the whole ‘what is a poem?’ debate nicely but also (after lots of ‘oh no it isn’t’, ‘oh yes it is’ shouting) allows me to point out that the poem exists in the imagination of the reader. There is no complex language, no imagery you’d need a PhD in classical Greek to access. There Is Nothing In That Poem which excludes anyone from forming an opinion.

That’s because poetry is about the poet expressing themself in their own way. Using their own language. And just as we all find the type of music we like, so too can we find the type of poetry we like. The type which speaks ‘to us’.

 

And that’s where poetry comes into its own. It enables us to express our truth. Whether about how we feel or what we see, poetry is a tool we can all use. It’s also essential for communicating the future we want.

 

So here’s how it works: Stop imagining the future. Start imagining the present. Imagine it’s a present in which you speak the truth of your work using the simplest language and the minimum number of words. Imagine it’s a present in which you don’t worry whether you wrap that truth in sentences. Imagine it’s a present where the power of your words is measured in the response of your audience, an audience free to respond in their own words. Their response will be a truth you need to listen to because it will do one of two things: it will shape your poetry or it will shape your truth. Either of these will change the future.

 

This is what happens in the schools I visit. Sometimes that truth is personal, about how we want to live or how we feel. Sometimes it’s about understanding how the universe works. The children, once in the free and non-judgmental world of poetry, respond in beautiful and powerful ways. They can use poetry to touch the heart of a scientific principle, sometimes in surprising ways. It’s guided by two famous quotes by Einstein:

 

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

 

“If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

 

The six-year-olds I’ve met understand poetry more instinctively than many adults. I am constantly learning from them.

 

 

Tags:  poetry  reading  reading for pleasure  science 

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Saving Winslow Interview with Sharon Creech

Posted By Jacob Hope, 10 March 2020
Updated: 10 March 2020

Sharon Creech was the first ever American winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal with her novel Ruby Hollerin 2002.   We were delighted to have the opportunity to gain an exclusive insight into her new novel, Saving Winslow, which publishes with Guppy Books in May 2020. Cover design, cover illustrations and chapter heads are by Sarah Horne.  

 

What can your readers expect from Saving Winslow?


This is the story of 10-year-old Louie, determined to save a tiny, orphaned donkey, and of quiet, quirky, unintentionally hilarious Nora, who is drawn into the cause.

 

Saving Winslow sounds wonderful, what was the inspiration for the story?

 

My grandchildren have rescued several orphaned lambs, bottle feeding them day and night in their home. I’ve been inspired by witnessing their tenderness and growing empathy as they cared for these fragile creatures, but I chose to write about a donkey instead of a lamb in case my grandchildren wanted to write their own stories about their lambs.

  

Family is at the heart of many of your books, including Saving Winslow – why do you think it’s a theme you come back to?

 

My own large family has always been important to me and I’ve always been curious about other people’s families, whether large or small, close or fractured. Families launch us and shape us in so many ways.

 

You were the first American to win the Carnegie Medal with the Ruby Holler in 2003 – what did this mean to you?

 

I was deeply honored to receive the Carnegie Medal, an award from my adopted country (I lived in England for twenty years) and selected by librarians. The award brings attention to books and readers. It is because of dedicated librarians and teachers in the U.K. and U.S. that I am able to continue writing books, and I am forever grateful to them. We need school and public libraries for the benefit of our young people.  

 

Where do you write?

 

I write at home, in a large, square, many-windowed room filled with books and with photos of family and fans.  The room overlooks a wooded area where I often see foxes, deer, birds, squirrels and chipmunks. 

 

 

 

Tags:  Carnegie  children's books  Reading  Reading for Pleasure 

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World Book Day 2020

Posted By Jacob Hope, 28 February 2020
5 March 2020 is World Book Day and this year as our annual Twitter campaign we will be promoting poetry. We would love as many people as possible to take part. (1) Tweeting about your favourite children's poet/poem/poetry collection (2) Quoting lines of poetry from any of the above (3) Getting creative and Tweeting Book Haiku where you describe a favourite book in Haiku Don't forget to use the #WorldBookDay hashtag and to The best tweet will get special prize so put your thinking caps on! Attached to this post is a graphic which has been designed using this year's livery, please use this in your tweets so that these get more traction and also so that you can tag in various other accounts. You can save this by right clicking on the image and clicking 'save image as'. If you tag in @youthlibraries we will try to retweet these throughout the day! Do let us know your own plans for World Book Day too!

Tags:  Poetry  Reading  Reading for Pleasure  World Book Day 

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Lollies Announcement!

Posted By Jacob Hope, 06 February 2020

Now it is fourth year, the winners of the Laugh Out Loud Awards - popularly known as the Lollies - have been announced tonight.  The awards were created by Scholastic, the children's publishing, education and media company, and recognise the funniest children's books.  The winners of the awards are decided by children and the scheme has a reach across over 6.5 million children.  

The Kids and Family Reading Report: UK edition, found that nearly two thirds of children aged 6-17 chose books that make them laugh to read for pleasure.  There are three categories in the Lollies.

The winners were selected by a shortlist chosen by a panel of judges including Michael Rosen, Alison Leach, Scott Evans and Andria Zafirakou.  Teachers and their classes, parents and children were then encouraged to get involved to read and discuss the books and cast votes for their favourites in each category to determine the winning titles.

The Winners this year are



(1) Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book

Ten Fat Sausages by Michelle Robinson and Tor Freeman

(2) Best Laugh Out Loud book for 6-8 year olds

The World's Worst Children 3 by David Walliams and Tony Ross

Congratulations to all of the winners!

(3) Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds

I Bet I Can Make You Laugh by Joshua Seigal and Tim Wesson

 

Congratulations to all of the winners!

 

 

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Tags:  Awards  Prize  Reading  Reading for Pleasure 

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Reading Research and Pyjamarama 2020

Posted By Jacob Hope, 05 February 2020
Updated: 05 February 2020

New research carried out by Opinion Research, January 2020, has shown that more than a quarter of a million primary school children in Britain are experiencing literary poverty.  The UK's largest children's reading charity, BookTrust, defines this as a child who is read to or with for plesure, for less than 15 minutes a week outside of school.

 

14% of school children aged 7-9 are currently falling into this category with a further 17% on the cusp, being read to or with for less than half an hour a week.  6% of children aged 7-9 fall into the lower category of literary poverty, with their parents or guardians never reading to or with them at all.  50% of UK children aged 7-11 read for less than one hour a week.

 

In response to these findings, former Children's Laureate and twice CILIP Carnegie Medal Winner Anne Fine has launched BookTrust's annual Pyjamarama campaign to call on families to rediscover the joy of reading.

 

'Sharing a story with a small child is a sanity-saving, calming comfort. Reading to an older child becomes addictive. It’s a shame that so many of our children are missing out on such a simple and enriching pleasure. Books furnish minds and change lives – and always, always for the better.'

 

Pyjamarama invites Primary Schools and Nurseries to sign up allowing children to wear their pyjamas all day on Friday 5 June, celebrating the bedtime story in return for a £1 donation.  All funds raised will go towards helping BookTrust ensure that every child experiences the life changing benefits that accessing books and reading can bring.  Gemma Malley, Director of Communications and Development for BookTrust says:

 

'We know that reading for enjoyment is closely linked to academic development as well as building confidence and resilience and children who are read to are much more likely to read for enjoyment themselves. ' 

 

For more information visit the BookTrust website here 

 

 

Tags:  BookTrust  Reading  Reading for Pleasure  Research 

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YA Reads To Recommend

Posted By Tanja M. McGuffin- Jennings, 20 January 2020
A question often asked in libraries is "What would you recommend I read?". The answer I give is 'How long have you got?" as there are so many wonderful books out there waiting to be discovered. I was just wondering today about what YA reads I would think of first if asked for recommendations and I would choose those that have stayed with me, that I've recommended to others who in turn have told their friend 'You must read this.' One book that fits that description is the wonderful 'Rosie Loves Jack' which is full of heart and courage. Our school office staff have borrowed it and passed the word on to students and different book groups. I would also include books that make you think, demand an emotional response, transport you to other worlds, wrap you up in beautiful lyricism, challenge you with twists and turns and offer secrets and lies, danger and mystery. 'The Places I've Cried in Public', 'The Lost Witch' and 'The Burning' all deal with the damage caused by toxic relationships. 'How Not To Disappear', 'We Were Liars' and 'There Will Be Lies' all have surprises and clever characterisation. 'Stars at Oktober Bend' is about healing through friendship and understanding while 'Shadowscent' and 'Throne of Swans' offer intriguing new worlds, one based on scent lore and one inspired by Swan Lake. With exciting new titles being released all the time, I know there are plenty more gems out there waiting to be appreciated. What YA titles have stayed with all of you? What would you recommend that everyone should read in 2020?

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UCLan STEAM Children's Book Prize 2020

Posted By Alison D. Brumwell, 16 December 2019

 

In 2018, UCLan Publishing, in partnership with The British Interplanetary Society, set up the inaugural STEAM Children’s Book Prize. It’s a unique award as it is the first book prize to focus solely on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) in children’s literature, from Early Years to Young Adult. It covers all genres, with the 2020 list of nominated titles including a wide range of subject matter in four categories: Early Years, Middle Grade, Young Adult and Information.

As a librarian, I value any educational initiative which removes barriers and promotes inclusion. By highlighting the importance of STEAM subjects, this prize recognises children and young people benefit immeasurably from developing critical thinking skills and having the opportunity to explore their own creativity and ability to innovate. Asking why and how, and learning to problem solve effectively, is at the core of STEAM and is celebrated in each of this year’s shortlisted titles, including The Longest Night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge, overall winner of The STEAM Children’s Book Prize 2019 with The Infinite Lives of Maisie Day.

STEAM Children’s Book Prize 2020 shortlists

 Early Years:

Arty! The First Artist in Space                      William Bee                                                       Pavilion Books

Why Do We Poo?                                         Harriet Blackford                                              Boxer Books

Lifesize Dinosaurs                                        Sophie Henn                                                     Egmont

Suzy Orbit Astronaut                                    Ruth Quayle & Jez Tuya                                   Nosy Crow

A Place for Pluto                                          Stef Wade                                                         Raintree

Astrogirl                                                        Ken Wilson-Max                                               Otter-Barry Books

Middle Grade:

The Train to Impossible Places                    P.G. Bell                                                             Usborne

Mega Robo Revenge                                   Neil Cameron                                                     David Fickling Books

Fire Girl, Forest Boy                                     Chloe Daykin                                                      Faber & Faber

The Longest Night of Charlie Noon              Christopher Edge                                               Nosy Crow

Wildspark                                                      Vashti Hardy                                                      Scholastic

Race to the Frozen North                            Catherine Johnson                                              Barrington Stoke

Lightning Mary                                             Anthea Simmons                                                 Andersen Press

YA:

Beauty Sleep                                                Kathryn Evans                                                    Usborne

Earth Swarm                                                 Tim Hall                                                              David Fickling Books

The Quiet at the End of the World                Lauren James                                                     Walker Books

The Starlight Watchmaker                            Lauren James                                                     Barrington Stoke

Nowhere on Earth                                         Nick Lake                                                            Hodder

The Chaos of Now                                        Erin Lange                                                          Usborne

Information:

The Usborne Book of Planet Earth             Megan Cullis & Matthew Oldham                       Usborne

Science You Can Eat                                   Stefan Gates                                                      DK

The Beetle Collector’s Handbook                 M.G. Leonard                                                    Scholastic

Science is Magic                                           Steve Mould                                                      DK

The Marvellous Adventure of Being              Dr. Max Pemberton                                          Wren and Rook

Engineering Scribble Book                           Eddie Reynolds & Darran Stobbart                   Usborne

I was honoured to be invited to judge The STEAM Children’s Book Prize 2020, alongside fellow judges Dom Conlon, Ros Harding and Ralph Timberlake. It was a difficult choice to whittle down a brilliant selection of over 70 nominated titles, but we managed to arrive at shortlists which exemplify the best of the best: from the lives of renowned English palaeontologist Mary Anning and Arctic explorer Matthew Henson, to fusion bananas (only the creative genius of P.G. Bell could dream this up) and books about dinosaurs, digestion, dung beetles and otherworldy marvels, I’m sure we’ll all enjoy our next few months of reading. I encourage school librarians and teachers to explore these books with pupils and incorporate them into their teaching and learning across all key stages.

The winners will be announced at the Lancashire Science Festival at the end of June 2020. In the meantime, it’s full STEAM ahead!

 

Tags:  children's books  Reading for Pleasure  STEAM 

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Students at Millfield meet Danny Rurlander, author of 'Spylark'

Posted By Jacob Hope, 10 December 2019
Updated: 10 December 2019

Students at Millfield Science and Performing Arts College were delighted to have the opportunity to talk with debut author Danny Rurlander about his exciting new thirller, Spylark.  Thank you to Mel Bleakley and students at Millfield and also to Danny for this great content.

 

We were recently lucky enough at Millfield Science and Perfoming Arts College to host author Danny Rurlander on a book tour to promote his first novel. Spylark is an exciting adventure story, set in the Lake District, about a boy who accidentally uncovers what he believes to be a terrorist plot whilst flying his drone.

We learned that Danny was first inspired to become a writer at the age of ten, when a teacher gave him an exercise book and asked him to write a story. He quickly filled the whole book and realised that writing was what he most wanted to do. He told us, ‘I always had this desire at the back of my mind, from when I was 10 years old, I always thought that I would love to write a novel.’

Danny told us that Spylark was inspired by the books that he had read as a child, such as Swallows and Amazons. He remembered reading it to his own children and felt that they struggled to connect with the story as it was a little old fashioned for them. This gave him the idea to write a modern day version of it. He likes the idea of looking back at literature from the past and making it accessible for a whole new audience.

We were unsurprised to learn that his favourite subject at school was English. He has always loved reading and felt that he understood the power of narrative and of telling a story. When asked whether Spylark had a moral, Danny told us that he sees the lesson of the story as being about Tom – the main character – finding himself, in that he has to learn to live with his disability without feeling sorry for himself.

Danny learned to fly with the University Air Squadron division of the RAF whilst studying for a degree in English Literature. He used this experience while writing the sections of Spylark which involve the drone. He said, ‘if you can get above something, then you can see the patterns, and that is the key to the story.’

Danny’s favourite character in the book is Jim Rothwell, who he describes as a mentor character, similar to Dumbledore in Harry Potter. Danny says that Jim is the wisest character in the book, who despite having had some bad experiences, is very kind. Jim has a way of looking at the world that helps Tom to make the right decisions. Danny says that the character of Jim is a combination of people who he knew when he was young and who had a positive influence on him. Although Jim is a minor character in the novel, Danny feels that he is an important one.

As a child, Danny loved the Tintin books by Herge. He said that he found them to be very inspiring, especially as they were so well researched, so that everything that appeared in the books was based on real events. What Danny liked most about them was that every time he would read one, he felt like he learned something.’

The main character in Spylark, Tom, is partly based on Danny himself. He said that he has a tendency to do what Tom does, which is to withdraw from conflict. Tom also shares Danny’s dislike of confined spaces.

Danny writes late at night because he also has a ‘day job’ as a vicar. He says that he writes in his spare time, when other people may be watching TV, as it is his way of relaxing. He believes that writing for children is a tremendous responsibility, as the books we read when we are young, stay with us throughout our lives.

Finally, we were really excited to hear that Danny is currently writing a second novel, which he says is a ‘kind of’ sequel to Spylark and is set around Morecambe Bay in Lancashire. We are very much looking forward to being able to read the next instalment of the adventure!

By Emily, Evie, Isabel, Joel, Lily and Sophie – students at Millfield Science and Performing Arts College, Lancashire.

 

 

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An Interview with Jaclyn Moriarty, author of 'The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone'

Posted By Jacob Hope, 14 November 2019

Followers of Jaclyn Moriarty's work will know her work by its characteristic, left-of-field humour and the extraordinary sense of character that she builds.  We were delighted to discuss her work and latest book, The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone.  

 

1.   Can you tell us a little about Bronte Mettlestone and the adventures she is forced to embark upon?
 
Bronte Mettlestone was ten-years-old when her parents were killed by pirates.  This did not bother her particularly.  She hardly knew her parents. Bronte had been raised by her Aunt Isabelle and the Butler, her parents having abandoned her as a baby so they could run away and have adventures.  But now Bronte’s parents have left a will requiring her to travel alone throughout the Kingdoms and Empires delivering treasure to her ten other aunts.  The catch is this: the will has been bordered in Faery cross-stitch which means that, if Bronte doesn’t follow its instructions precisely, her hometown will crumble to pieces. 
 
2.    Precocious beyond her years due to her upbringing, Bronte is an intrepid female lead. Throughout the book, she must visit an impressive assortment of aunts.  Were you conscious of creating a matriarchal society and what were your reasons?

That’s a great question. I didn’t start the book thinking, ‘I am going to create a matriarchal society,’ I just decided that Bronte was going on a journey to visit her ten aunts. (I grew up with six aunts, and I’m one of five girls who’ve all grown up and had children—so we’ve become aunts ourselves. I think this might be why I’m fascinated by aunts.)  The more I wrote, the more I liked the fact that most of the characters were women, that these women had various careers, stories and secrets of their own, and that many were in positions of authority. I also liked the fact that Bronte, like most children, was only getting a tantalising glimpse of the complex lives of these aunts. 
(But the world in which Bronte lives is not really a matriarchal society – there are men in positions of power there too. There’s just a bit more of a balance there than in our world …)  
 
 
3.    A ripping yarn that hearkens back to serialised novels of 19th Century, the novel is also a rites of passage with a sense of Bronte's maturation and emotional growth, how important was it to allow her to tell the story in retrospect for achieving this?

Thank you!  I liked the idea that Bronte was telling the story two years after the adventures took place.  This means she’s still a child with some of the sensibilities of a child, but that she also considers herself a little wiser and more world-weary, thanks to her travels and experiences. There’s a big difference between ten and twelve, and I like the way children are constantly leaving their younger selves behind, and trying out new selves.
  
4.    You've written now for middle grade readers, teenagers, young adults and this year had the adult novel, Gravity is the Thing published, are there ways as a writer you adapt your approach for the age groups you write for?

I’m pretty sure a more sensible approach to a writing career is to stick to one genre and one audience, but I love jumping between them.  Also, I keep changing my mind.  I’m a Libra, so I blame the stars for my extreme indecisiveness. 

I was writing Bronte and Gravity at the same time and this was a deliriously happy time.  In the mornings, I’d go to a café and let Bronte tell me the story of her adventures, and in the afternoons I’d come home and listen to the voice of Abigail, the narrator of Gravity. Mornings seemed magical and full of possibility, and afternoons were more thoughtful and grounded in the emotional reality of grown-up relationships, loss and hope.  I don’t think I needed to consciously adapt my approach because the stories and their narrators, and the mood of the day, did that for me.
 
 
5.    Characters and world-building always feel incredibly compelling in your books.   Does this require significant planning or do both 'grow' and develop organically through your writing process?

Thank you again - you are lovely.  World building seems to vary between books for me.  With the Colours of Madeleine trilogy, I spent years drawing maps and collecting features of the world before I started writing.  With The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone, I wrote each chapter in a different café in my neighbourhood without any planning—I just let Bronte discover her world as she journeyed around it.  (After the first draft, though, I did spend a bit of time trying to make sure that Bronte hadn’t made any mistakes.)
I usually spend a lot of time talking to characters inside my head, trying to get to know them and choosing favourite songs etc for them, but some characters—like Emily Thompson in the Ashbury books, and like Bronte herself—are already completely themselves before I’ve even met them.
 
6.    A sense of magic permeates a lot of your work, whether in the gothic musings of students at Ashbury High in Dreaming of Amelia, in The Kingdom of Cello, the faery cross-stitch in The Extremely Incovnenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone and in the Spellbook that Listen discovers in The Spell Book of Listen Taylor.  Are you attracted towards the magical?

 
That’s very perceptive of you… I am extremely drawn to the magical.  My mother has always made magic seem perfectly possible, and she is still so matter-of-fact about fairies in the garden that I find myself wondering.  My favourite books have always been those that are set in a realistic world like ours, that are emotionally authentic, and that have magic all around the edges.

'This Book will make you Fly, will make you Strong, will make you Glad. What's more this book will Mend your Broken Heart.' 
The Spell Book of Listen Taylor

 
7.    Your dad used to commission you to write stories, do you think this played a part in why you Liane and Nicola all became authors?  Were there any particular books that made an impact upon you as a child and have influenced your work? 


It’s funny because Liane and I are always telling the story of how our dad noticed we loved writing and decided to commission us to write books rather than giving us pocket money—and we talk about how special it was to have our father taking our writing so seriously, and how it gave us the motivation to finish and polish our work, and how it made writing seem like a viable career option, etc, etc—but Dad never commissioned Nicola to write. (She was the youngest and got pocket money for free.)  So Dad likes to take credit for all of our writing careers, and Liane and I like to give him the credit, but I guess it was actually possible to grow up to be an author in our family, without the commissioning …  

Books that had a huge impact on me as child and influenced my work include the P.L. Travers Mary Poppins books, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway books, and E. Nesbitt’s The Phoenix and the Carpet.  There were plenty more, I could be listing titles for pages.

8.    Are you able to give any clues as to what readers can expect in The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars, the next book which published with Guppy Books here in the UK in Autumn 2020?

The Slightly Alarming Tale of the Whispering Wars is a kind of prequel to The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone.  It’s set before Bronte was born, in the time just before the Whispering Wars.  In the town of Spindrift, the Kingdom of Storms, a boy named Finlay lives in the Orphanage, and a girl named Honey Bee lives in an exclusive Boarding School.  Finlay and Honey Bee, like the Kingdoms and Empires around them, are about to go to war. 

 

 

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Tags:  Fiction  Interview  Middle Grade  Reading 

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