I had a great time meeting new friends in six primary schools across Hull last week. It was brilliant to see children so engaged and answer such great questions about writing, inspiration and the specifics of the book they’d all been reading! Best of all though were the impressively creative and moving new ideas about the different directions ‘finding’ could have taken had The Finding of Freddie Perkins not been about Freddie at all…
There were ideas for finding people, new connections, lost love, hidden talents, precious items, safety and much much more. What a privilege to create together!
Off on the 1.40 to Hull ready for two days packed with school visits. Across six primary schools, I’ll be speaking to more than 250 children in years 5 and 6 about The Finding of Freddie Perkins. I hope they’re excited about meeting me but I doubt they’re as excited as I am to meet them! It’s all part of the brilliant James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Award that the book’s been shortlisted for. I’ll let you know the highlights of my visit when I’m back…
Rabbits, macaroons and purple shoes – all together in one weekend. And yes, this really was research!
With my second novel at final checking with an expert in “something key to its narrative” before submission… I’m now on to researching and writing the third. I’m particularly enjoying imagining the world of this new story. And sometimes a little visualising – or even tasting – helps things along just marvellously!
I have a new book out with BRF and The Children’s Society. A Good Childhood – Valuing children in today’s society includes seven small group sessions for Christian groups. It helps them explore what childhood is like for children growing up in the UK today and what the church’s responsibility is to them – whether they are inside or outside its doors.
The Children’s Society is one of my favourite organisations so it is always an absolute pleasure to work on resources such as Christingle for them. This book was no exception – fascinating and challenging.
Preview the foreword, introduction and first session here.
Find out more from BRF, order the book into your store or purchase it from most online retailers. (£7.99)
New to The Children’s Society’s? Visit their website to read more about their brilliant work.
Easter is behind us but rabbits are still a constant focus in my house. There’s the dog called Rabbit of course. But now there’s a new one. An actual, official rabbit called Mr Bunley Hopkins who has come to live with us in Ilkley today. Here he is (with a bonus photo of the original Rabbit to ensure there is no jealousy between them as they get to know each other)…
It may simply be a Beatrix Potter style affectation, but my pets (and often other people’s) are an intrinsic part of what inspires me to write children’s stories.
(As are rabbits in general come to think of it… I have my own story with them which I am always more than happy to relate to anyone who asks… and often to people who don’t.)
This rabbit – Mr Hopkins that is – is named after my favourite poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. If you haven’t read any of his writing – Manley Hopkins that is – you’re in for a treat. If he’s an old friend of yours, you’ll understand why I’m a fan.
Rabbits don’t feature in the poet Hopkins’ writing… but I’m not the only author to find their look, movement and personalities inspiring.
Here are some of my favourite rabbity-reads… you might like to explore them too:
The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Toulane – Kate DiCamillo
And of course… all The Tales of Beatrix Potter are incomparably magical. But especially the ones which feature bunnies!
I’m just about to read Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire which I understand to have been translated from the original ‘Rabbit’ Mrs. Bunny used by Polly Horvath. I’ll let you know if it gets a rave review from me and my rodents soon…
Right, I’m off to check in on how Mr Hopkins is settling in.
A writer’s life is more grammar than glamour, but there are plenty of truly happy moments. In the last week, I have had four of these – as a result of four separate stories that have reached me about Freddie Perkins and the new friends he continues to find wherever he goes!
Wednesday – News from a friend who sent Freddie to Australia that his down-under host likes him so much she wants to pass him on to everyone she knows.
Thursday – A friend of a friend’s son dresses up as Freddie for World Book Day – I still don’t know exactly what he wore but this was lovely news!
Saturday – I get a text at breakfast from a friend forwarding on this one from her friend who is also a teacher, ‘I have just sat in the lovely spring sun and finished reading The Finding of Freddie Perkins – and I LOVED IT!!! Thank u – will be a big hit with my class – our next story to share’.
Yesterday – My pastor’s wife told me that one of her sons had been at a library event where you had to pick your favourite author. He later told her, ‘I wanted to pick the Freddie Perkins lady but I couldn’t quite remember her name and you had to be able to spell it!’
Yes – more grammar than glamour but such a privilege to be involved in all these stories of connection.
And another inspiration to finish editing the next novel!
Liz was delighted to visit some of her favourite readers in York on Saturday 1 February. Katie and Liz wanted their photo taken together (with Freddie) but actually spent most of their time talking about another book they both love – Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess and Katie’s recent modern dramatasiation of the story using Sylvanian Families characters!