At the age of six, my daughter was a good reader for her age, but refused to start reading “proper books” with chapters and no pictures. She was bored with “Horrid Henry” and fairies saving a rainbow yet once more and insisted that she was old enough to read proper books, but every one she tried was “too difficult”. It wasn’t she couldn’t read them, it was the concepts and storylines; they were all designed for nine and ten year olds. There was another problem too. She wanted to read about girls, yet all the books about girls we could find were twee and dull. My daughter is happy to read about a princess, along as she is a Ninja Princess; happy to save rainbows, as long as it involves a good sword fight or perhaps a well-planned heist.
After a few months of this, my lovely daughter stopped reading. We tried most of the “first chapter books” that people recommend; all met with disinterest. So I asked her exactly what she wanted in a “proper book”. After much though, she wrote down:
“Dragons, princess, zombies, vampires, ghosts, but not spiders and it should be funny and scary and have fighting in it.”
We couldn’t find such a book with concepts and vocabulary suitable for a six year old – so I wrote one. I had written novels before, but not a children’s book, so I had help from my daughter to find the right level. There were other issues too; my daughter was terrified of the idea of ghosts and very frightened of spiders. So I added in the concept of happy ghosts and theatrical spiders that love to perform. I POD published a copy and gave it to her. It was a success. After critical review by my daughter and re-writes, my daughter considered it just right. To quote “I can’t believe you wrote this Daddy, it’s just like a real book”. She started going upstairs on her own without fear of ghosts and asking politely if I would remove the spider from the bathroom, rather than run away screaming. She started reading again and now, two years later, is a firm fan of Holly Short (from the Artemis Fowl books) and Hermione Granger. This is how I ended up writing and epublishing a children’s book. I was amazed by the joy of my daughter at having a book written for her and how much I enjoyed the whole process. I recommend parents who write do this for their children.
TL:DR I wrote a children’s book to help my daughter and it worked.
What are you working on next?
At the moment I am writing the second Porridge Castle story - Elise and the Dragon. I am also starting a chikdren's science fiction aimed more at 9-10 year olds called Captain Bunce and the Crabulons. Again I will looking to my daughter for guidance on vocabulary, story etc.
Dave Trellis, world-weary steward of St Catherine’s allotments, copes nicely supporting the small, covert community of off-world visitors that live thereabouts.
Dave just wants to get on, do some urgent lawn maintenance and get back to the misery. But first he must find a way to save the planet… Again.
Welcome to the world of Dave Trellis…
Elise and her annoying dog Smorg explore the twisty tunnels and tottering towers of Porridge Castle. A magical place of happy ghosts, giant dancing spiders and rude signposts. Where the flying cows roam and a flame-proof hat is essential in case of dragons. Yet things are going wrong, the magic is running out. Can Elise and her companions solve the mystery of the missing magical gold Gloop?