Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’
It will come as no surprise to you to discover I love books. Reading them, and writing them has always been such a huge source of enjoyment to me. And as a mother and a teacher one of my passions is instilling a love of reading for pleasure in children – something that is not always easy.
Luckily there is such an amazing array of talented new writers around to help! One of them – James Hallsworth, a father of two who writes fun, rhyming storybooks for young children – sent me a copy of the manuscript of his brilliant new children’s book, Mrs Vyle.
Mrs Vyle has been illustrated by the fantastic Helen Braid (who illustrated A Monster Ate My Mum for me) and contains all of the ingredients for a book that children will love.
Here is a summary of the book taken from James’s web page..
A strange and unpleasant new teacher has arrived in class. Pointy claws, sharp yellow fangs and skin that is definitely bit green: could she be a monster? Join the smart and brave classmates as they reveal the truth about their slobbery, smelly and green-ish imposter – despite the snooty Molly. But who can help them overcome the terrible Mrs Vyle…??
It’s written in rhyme which helps the story to flow perfectly, and James is currently very close to the 250 pre-orders he needs in order for Mrs Vyle to be published with Britain’s Next Bestseller. So if you love slobbery monster-teachers, cheeky children and books that are fun and silly, then visit his site, pre-order the book and make his day! Check it out and get more information here…
A MONSTER ATE MY MUM
Written by Jen Faulkner
A children’s book, written in rhyme, looking at Post Natal Depression from a child’s perspective.
First Edition, published on 18th October 2013
Print version: £7.49
An important subject, and one that can be tricky to talk about, is Post Natal Depression, which affects between 10% and 15% of new mothers. To highlight this important issue and to facilitate its discussion comes the story ‘A Monster Ate my Mum’ by Jen Faulkner.
As a sufferer of Post-Natal depression herself, Jen knows how debilitating this illness can be and just how much it affects the whole family, especially siblings. Watching her older children see her suffer and finding it hard to find the right words to explain to them what was happening to their mum, Jen took to something she knows well, her love of writing.
She wrote a rhyming story talking about PND, as seen through the eyes of a child, to help her children understand what was happening to her. She hopes to help other families affected by the illness with the book. The central character, a young boy, goes on a hunt to look for the monsters that have taken different parts of his mum. He looks for her smile, her laugh, her spark.
“Excuse me but have you eaten my mum?
I want her back I want some fun.
I want to see her smile, my mum.
Is she in your big round tum?”
The boy learns that they didn’t mean to eat his mum and that in time, all of the things they have taken will be returned.
“No she’s not here I just ate her smile.
I’ll give it back after a while.
I’m sorry I was hungry you see.
I don’t know where your mum could be.”
Aimed at children across the age range from 2 right through to 12, the initial response from the first appearance of the story on her blog instinctivemum.com has been amazing, and included an invitation to read it aloud on BBC Radio Bristol during Dr Phil Hammond’s Saturday Surgery show. More information can be found on the blog: http://amonsteratemymum.wordpress.com
Currently available through this link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/jen-faulkner/a-monster-ate-my-mum/paperback/product-21257893.html
Jen Faulkner is available to discuss her PND journey and the story it helped to create.
For further information please contact Jen Faulkner: firstname.lastname@example.org or @MonsterAteMyMum
Now, I’m not sure if I’ve banged on about it enough, but I recently I self published my A Monster Ate My Mum poem. The response so far has been overwhelming and I’m thrilled. It’s an amazing feeling to know you have reached out to people and are helping others that have suffered or are affected by post natal depression. The process of self-publishing has been exhausting, but extremely rewarding, and now I’ve done it once I am confident it will be easier next time. And…oh yes…there will be a next time!
Which brings me to today’s poem for Prose4T, hosted by the lovely and tremendously supportive Vic Welton Now this is very much a work in progress, but I wanted to get a feel for whether it would work or not. The idea was originally called ‘The Why Monster’ and was intended to focus on a children’s tendency to always ask ‘why?’ Over time it has developed into more of a magical, imaginative adventure story and, as I’ve just written a book about monsters (did I mention that already?!) I have changed it to a cowboy…but who knows, it could end up being a pirate or a spaceman!
So here is the beginning, let me know what you think…
The Why Cowboy
Alf sat down and had a look,
Wanted to read his favourite book.
It was on a shelf, way up high.
‘Not now,’ said mum. Alf wondered ‘why?’
He loved that book, he loved to read.
It was a very good book indeed.
He wanted that book, he wanted it now,
The challenge was to think of how!
He heard a small voice in his ear,
A cheeky voice that whispered clear,
‘Let’s climb the mountain, reach up tall,
Let’s get that book, not be so small.’
A little cowboy was at his side,
‘Hello!’ The little cowboy cried.
Alf looked at mum, and then the book.
He went to climb, she went to cook.
The shelf was on the playroom wall,
Oh how Alf wished that he were tall.
The cowboy said ‘We need some stairs,
Let’s use your cuddly toys and bears.’
To be continued…
I am so excited to be writing this post to let you know that I did it…and that I am officially a self-published author (even though no-one has actually purchased the book yet lol!) My last post detailed how I was planning to spend all day Friday tackling the self-publishing technological minefield until the book was for sale. I was very nervous as I’m not at all IT trained, and have learnt most of my skills through blogging and being self hosted. I was however, determined not to be beaten.
The day started with a visit to my oldest friend who has just given birth to her first child, a beautiful baby boy, and so the publishing had to wait. It was so worth it though as he was absolutely gorgeous and cuddling newborns is always so wonderful. We chatted childbirth, breastfeeding and nappies before I left them to feed and nap.
Having spent most of the day before in email contact with Helen Braid, my illustrator, I felt confident that I had all of the correct files I needed, and in the correct format. I had the front and back covers as separate files, as well as the inside of the book, all in PDF format and in high resolution. If you ever need to send someone a file that is too big for an email then I can highly recommend using mailbigfile which is just amazing. You can email large files and the recipient can easily download them via the link. Brilliant! It was perfect for us on Thursday as the files did need to be adjusted and then resent. Helen was amazing! I think it was a learning curve for the both of us.
So, down at my desk I sat. I had already set up an account with Lulu and had chosen the size of the book (21.59X21.59), the binding (saddle stitch, only option for a small book), full colour, and for it to be printed on basic grade paper. This last option disappointed me a bit, but because I haven’t yet got an ISBN I had no choice. Lulu do offer free ISBNs but Lulu then become the publisher and I wasn’t prepared to hand that over! So I decided (with the awesome help of @wombat37 again!) that as this was my first project it was better to start small and work on it. Once my ISBN comes through I can then add it to the book and distribute widely through Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as the Lulu marketplace. I clicked on ‘choose file’ (at this point just the inside of the book) and then clicked ‘upload.’ I sat nervously staring at the screen whilst it uploaded. It began by saying it was going to take 15 hours which I thought was a bit excessive, but in the end it only took 20 minutes or so!
The next challenge was the cover and this is where I first stumbled. Lulu do let you upload and add your own covers, however they also make a cover for you which you have to change if you don’t like it. I went to ‘browse files’ and tried to upload the PDFs of the front and back covers. It wouldn’t let me. I clicked and clicked and nothing worked. On quickly reading the help files (would’ve been handy if these files had been available to read sooner!) I discovered that the front and back covers needed to be in JPEG form and not PDF. These I had, but on uploading them it became apparent that they were not in a high enough resolution. I knew it was Helen’s son’s birthday and really didn’t want to have to interrupt the celebrations, but I had no choice, we needed those JPEGs to be in a higher resolution or I couldn’t continue. Helen, as always, was just amazing and it didn’t take long for my phone to ping with an email containing the covers in high resolution JPEGs. One quick and easy upload later and the cover was complete. And then, with a couple more clicks this message appeared…
Now I’m not ashamed to say that at this point I did sit at my laptop and have a little cry. I couldn’t explain how I felt; I felt such a amazing sense of achievement mixed in with feelings of luck and joy that I was better and had been able to have the drive and commitment to see this book through. I’ve never really felt as proud of myself as I did in that moment. I’ve always been very determined, especially when I believe in something, and I believe in this book so very much.
The next thing I had to do was set a price, based on what it was going to cost Lulu to print the book. I found this very difficult as I always undersell myself, so I have taken a lot of advice on the price, and I think I’ve got it right! I ordered myself a copy and paid a stupid amount of money so it comes as quickly as possible, I will not believe it’s actually published until I hold a copy in my hands. (and see that the paper isn’t as bad as I think it might be) Today’s post hasn’t arrived yet, but I think I’m being optimistic in thinking it will be today; I’m hoping for it to be here by the end of the week. And when it does arrive, and I can see for myself how it looks and feels, I can spread the word and start marketing and publicising the book. I’ve already got several brilliant bloggers who have said they would love to review the book, and Netmums would like to feature it on their blog and website with a giveaway. It is PND awareness week in November and I hope that my press release (hopefully writing this today, do not know where to start as always!) will be available so that everything is good to go to coincide with that week. As I have said before, I’m not very good at ‘bigging myself up,’ but I hope A Monster Ate My Mum will help families who have been affected by Post-Natal Depression, and that in itself is motivation enough to shout about the book from the rooftops.
So many people have supported me in this process and I am so thankful, I couldn’t have done it on my own. Once I have my copy and have checked it’s perfect I’ll let you all know…and then, if you’d like to buy the book, you can here…
The next jobs I have now are to write that press release…and to upload the book onto Kindle Direct Publishing as an ebook, which hopefully I can do this week! If you’d like to keep up to date with everything please follow me on Twitter @MonsterAteMyMum 😉
Radio Shows and a Story.
Radio: Radio is the wireless transmission of signals through free space by electromagnetic radiation of a frequency significantly below that of visible light, in the radio frequency range, from about 30 kHz to 300 GHz. These waves are called radio waves. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space.
Where do I begin with my #magicmoments post this week?! Just too many wonderful things have been happening recently and I feel so incredibly lucky.
The last couple of weeks have been challenging in many ways, the antidepressants have clearly taken a while to completely leave my system and I’ve been like a toddler struggling to manage my emotions. I have effectively been learning to feel again and have gone from manic, uncontrollable laughter, to sobbing over something trivial. There have been panic attacks, sleepless nights and a lot of doubt over whether I could do it and live without the tablets. It was almost as if I felt like I had at the very beginning, the illness dealing one last cruel hand. One last challenge to be overcome. It’s horrible how your brain and body can play tricks on you. You can tense your body for a second because you’ve trodden on a piece of Lego and this can trigger your brain into entering full on fight or flight mode and spark off a gigantic panic attack. Thankfully I am learning to dismiss these attacks and carry on as if they’re not actually happening, thus hopefully convincing my brain that I am not in any serious danger and that there is no need to go quite so crazy with the release of adrenaline! It’s a work in progress!
One thing that has helped me immensely through this time, and has been an integral part of my recovery since January was having the opportunity to attend an art therapy group once a week, with other ladies also suffering from post natal depression. I was referred by my health visitor and as I have always enjoyed being creative, but recently haven’t been able to find the time or the motivation, I was looking forward to starting, and I hadn’t looked forward to anything in a very, very long while. It was called My Time My Space and was funded by a project called Creativity Works. ( http://www.creativityworks.org.uk ) It was to be held at the local Children’s centre for two hours every Friday morning, with a crèche provided. It really was going to be my time. The group ran for twelve weeks and finished just a coupe of weeks ago. The artist who attended had blogged about our sessions here: http://elementalanita.wordpress.com
Each week was magic. Time to be me. Time to be creative, to fill my brain with thoughts other than the dark ones that had plagued it for so long. We talked. We listened. We shared and empathised. (as well as drinking tea and eating A LOT of cake!) We made amazingly creative things, brooches, necklaces, paintings. It was during our last session that I was asked to go onto the radio by Philippa, who works for Creativity Works. It was to be an interview with Dr Phil Hammond on BBC Radio Bristol and I was to talk about my experience of PND and about My Time My Space. I jumped at the chance. Excitement obviously quickly turned into nervousness, but I knew that I desperately wanted to speak out, to be as honest as I could be about my experiences of PND and hopefully help others. I had also read my story ‘A Monster Ate My Mum’ http://instinctivemum.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/the-monster-story to Philippa and she thought we should try and have it read out on the air too.
So, skip forward to this past Saturday. I’d prepared, and I knew exactly what I wanted to say. Philippa picked me up and we drove into Bristol talking animatedly about the project and how amazing it is. She is clearly very passionate and enthusiastic about what she does and about helping women who are suffering. We parked at BBC Radio Bristol and sat just outside the studio, watching Dr Phil deliver his Saturday Surgery show. I’ve never been inside a radio station before and imagined endless hustle and bustle, however as it was a Saturday it was surprisingly quiet; a few workmen, a couple of people on their computers, a radio presenter and his producer.
Sitting there watching the show, listening to the guests that were on before us didn’t really help my nerves. I was so frightened I was going to bumble my words, sound stupid, or swear! We were asked to go in and Dr Phil asked me how honest I wanted to be, and I replied, ‘As honest as possible, ask me anything.’ I hoped that by being honest I would help others. So many women suffer in silence or find it hard to admit they are ill. I wanted to show that there was no shame in it, that it can happen to anyone, and that with time you can get better. Very honest questions were asked, and answered as openly and honestly as I could. The nerves went and I wished the interview could continue for longer, as there was so much more I wanted to say. And then the true magic moment happened, I was asked to read my story. The book I would love to be published to help raise funds for My Time My Space and help children whose mums suffer. The traffic report was read out and then it was back to me. Is it wrong that I got lost in my own writing? I could hear my voice shaking, I could see my hands trembling, but I was doing it…me, who one year ago had all of my confidence zapped out of me by this cruel illness. I was reading something I had written on the radio, to thousands of people. And in that moment my confidence came back! With a massive great big bang. And it felt amazing. It’s a little bit addictive being on the radio and already I’d love to do it again! It took a couple of hours for the shaking to stop, but the texts messages and phone calls I received from friends and family made me swell with pride. (Sorry if I’m going over the top a bit here, it’s not often I big myself up lol!)
There is nothing quite like challenging yourself to do something that makes you step out of your comfort zone. And then there is nothing quite like achieving it…and enjoying it!
You can hear the interview through the link below until 11th May. Please have a listen, we are on about one hour and twenty minutes into the show.
And thank you, as always, for reading x