Thursday, 16 February 2017

Our Family Story

When i decided to get the Hollie and Figgs book published, I had no experience as an author; in the publishing trade, marketing or advertising.
My background has been working in psychiatry and being a mum.
I am passionate about anything creative, and love to paint pictures as well as write these days.

Here is Holly my youngest daughter at four years of age, reading to her favorite cat Polo who is sadly no longer with us.
Books have always been apart of our children's life right from the start.

How it all started
When both my children were young I would write the first few words of a story and use their imagination to finish it off. It was fun to do and i also loved to see what they created.

Its great to keep some stories that they wrote as children. We can have a giggle at them, but its heartwarming as a mum to hold the stories in my hand and remember those precious times.

I always read stories to the girls at bed time and have some cherished memories; and when they could read themselves, they insisted on reading to me as well.
We had hundreds of children's books all around the house. It was rather messy at times but creative, colourful and inspiring. Some of their favorite books I have saved in their keep box for when they get older.

To experience your child read stories and get enjoyment from the whole experience is extremely satisfying. I do hope parents are still doing this amongst the pressure of the digital era.

Some of my girls favourite books. 

Here is a selection of some of their favorite children's story books which I have saved in the girls keep boxes. Going through them has brought back a lot of cherished memories. 
An absolute favorite, Baby Bears Nose by Penny McKinlay is about a baby bear who gets told that will get his daddy`s nose, so he goes in search of it,

Another Simon and Schuster book, A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza. Choco is a little bird who lives all alone and goes in search of his mother.
These books hold special memories and have been read many times.

Another favorite is a set of small hardback books by Elisabeth Ivanovsky. When the girls were very young, they could hold the small books in their little hands, and being hard backed meant that they could turn the pages a lot easier.
Good Night Pierre Bear and Let`s Visit Grandma were amongst their favorites.

Some others included The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and  Wheres Spot, by Eric Hill. A book called Birthday Bear, i cannot remember the author, but I remember my daughter wanting to read this one every night. It`s kept in the loft in her keep box. It`s a bit tatty now, as it has been read and enjoyed many times. Holly loved the Mr Men series by Roger Hargreaves. Mr. Tickle and Mr. Silly were her favorites.
The great classic, Winnie the Pooh by A.A.Milne became a special book as she was extremely fond of Eeyore and still has an Eeyore beanie which sits beside her bed.
This book featured is Eeyore has a Birthday.

My eldest daughter loved interactive books especially one called Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen.
You can Swim Jim by Kaye Umansky is a humorous rhyming book and always made Holly chuckle. Thomas the Tank Engine Story Books by Wilbert Audrey was always a favorite and they had a train set to go with it. We would often make up our own stories using the carriages.

Another favorite, later on, was The Polar express by Chris Van Allsburg. The book was written in 1984 and the film was released in 2004 when Holly was 8 years old. It`s still one of her favorite Christmas films today.
The Borrowers by English author Mary Norton is a children`s fantasy novel, first published in the 1950`s, is still very popular today, and there have been several adaptations in television and film.
Children love to read about fantasy and this book involves miniature people who live under floorboards in a house.

Both my daughters loved fantasy stories and especially ones they can relate to. So Alice in Wonderland became a front runner. It is written by Lewis Carroll and would you believe it was written in 1865. Unbelievable!! 
Alice the main character falls into a rabbit hole and then the adventures begin. It`s a tale that plays with logic. This is what is so appealing.

These are just some of the many treasures we found and enjoyed. There were hundreds of amazing picture and story books to choose from.

Later they upgraded to junior novels like Tracy Beaker by Jaqueline Wilson and Lizzie Mcguire books by Jasmin Jones.
When they got a little older I would read the Harry Potter Series of stories to them until they wanted to read them on their own.

Life can be a challenging place for young children to grow up in and having some magic and fantasy in their lives relieves the harshness of what lies ahead.
It is something I hold dear to me and when my daughters were young, I often made up magical and fantasy stories which involved a princess or a little girl with their names. They loved that the main character had the same name as them and there was always a happy ending.

Their dad would make up funny stories and rhymes, sometimes being a bit too energetic before bed, but Holly loved it; wanting more and her dad would always oblige.

We have always had pets; several cats and a dog called Jasper who sadly died when the girls were very young. Their pets often entered into their story writing or in my story telling.

I tend to read mostly nonfiction books now, but writing Hollie and Figgs has rekindled my interest in children's literature.
Figgs is of course based on our cat Tiggs, and in the book Jasper our dog who sadly is no longer with us is also featured.

Both girls are now grown up and continue to be very creative in what they do. I am sure their early experience of reading to them, encouraging reading, writing creatively, and their love of books has influenced them and helped to develop their personalities in a positive way.

I really hope that parents still engage with bedtime reading and encouraging their children's imagination and creative writing as it holds so much pleasure and fond memories for us.


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