Wednesday 18 May 2011

Children's books

Recently there has been a plethora of babies being born, the wonderful Ruaidhri who was in such a hurry he couldn't wait for the midwife and had to be caught by his father, Molly and Phoebe both beautiful little girls and, of course, in a few weeks time Noah will be making his entrance to make my daughter's family even more perfect than it is now. When I found out my gorgeous daughter was pregnant I was determined to buy him his first book (how could I not?!). I asked Charlie what book she would like and there was no hesitation: 'It has to be The Hungry Caterpillar, that was my favourite!' And so it was. It is a book we can recognise from the main character and many a parent has sat and read the story to their child. Remember those perfect moments when they sit on your lap engrossed in the story. You can now buy clothes which bear the Hungry Caterpillar logo on...oh the commodification of childhood...but this is not the place to discuss that.

What I did want to talk about was an epiphany I had, probably one that has already occurred to you, but I wanted to share my version. I am lucky enough to write books for children and I also teach people who wish to write books for children. At the moment the world is full of doom and gloom and austerity, not a good place to be a writer you would think. However, (here's my epiphany) with all these babies being born (and will continue to be born) there is always going to be a need for children's books whether they are the hard copy or an e-copy! Children will need books, good stories that wrap them in a hug, stories that challenge their view on the world and stories that provide sanctuary to escape into. Perhaps, therefore, being a children's writer (aspiring or published) is a good place to be because you know there will always (or maybe eventually) be a market for your work.

So keep writing, don't stop, the children need you!

This is the 'Candy Man' as sung by Sammy Davis Jnr. It was used in the film of Charlie and Chocolate Factory, one of my favourite books and films but also the Candy Man epitomises what it is to be a children's author 'who can make tomorrow and put it in a dream'. Enjoy