The Boy Next Door
Roald Dahl day
Celebrating one of the greatest Children's authors of all time, on what would have been his 99th birthday.
As a child, I devoured every book of Roald Dahl's that I could get my hands on, and these stories, coupled with Quentin Blake's illustrations, were magical.
Ten Tremendous Roald Dahl Facts
"I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn't be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”
― Roald Dahl, who was born on this day in 1916
How to draw Mr & Mrs Twit, by Quentin Blake
Influential pre / early teen books
A little blog post about my Top 3 most influential books during my pre teen / early teen years. I remember reading Judy Blume's Forever at the age of 11 in my last year at Junior school. This book was my introduction to sex. It was going to take me another 6 years before I had it all figured out. My first foray into the Classics came with Emma, but it was Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre that caught my attention. This is when I really began to appreciate the English language and its beauty. I always knew I wanted to write, yet I didn't realise words could depict feelings and emotions so exquisitely. Robert Swindell's Daz4Zoe captured my imagination at the age of 14. It's a story of young love and hope through trial, tribulation, prejudice and social divide. The last sentence of that book was the catalyst for much of what I wrote and school projects I worked on in my remaining years at Senior school.
As an aside, I'm listening to some great tunes today - Kelly Clarkson "Mr. Know It All", Florence + the Machine "Shake It Out", Delilah "Go", Lil Wayne "How To Love" and Beyonce "1+1".
On the hunt! Part 2
I'm still no closer to finding the only book I never finished. I remember I was reading Randy Powell's "Is Kissing A Girl Who Smokes Like Licking An Ashtray?" just before so I thought maybe he did a collaboration with his wife, but I can't find anything to suggest he did. Then the name Melvin sprung to mind again so I checked out another teen fiction writer I was into at the time - Melvin Burgess. Now I'm convinced it was a collaboration he wrote with someone but I've had no luck with that theory yet. I've even searched for books he may have wrote with Randy - but nothing. So the hunt continues...
On the hunt!
I'm on the hunt for the only book I never finished! All I can remember is it's written by a husband and wife, Melvin springs to mind but that could be the main character or the husband's name, it has a mega long title (well, for a book) and it's teenage fiction. It didn't hold my attention and I only started it the day before I had to hand it back to the library. In those good old days when I was a youngster, there was no internet and no homework until you went to big (Senior) school and our local library was where we spent many a rainy, cold Saturday afternoon. I could easily have 10 books on the go and a reading list that went on and on and on. I wasn't much into tele but I loved reading!
As and when I find this book, I'll let you all know. I intend to give it another go. If I can read Lord of the Rings at the tender age of 11, I can certainly finish this one!
Meeting real authors
I've been asked to talk to Year 6s about being a writer and author back at my old Primary & Junior school in Warmley, which is really exciting. Some of my old teachers still work there, one of whom encouraged me to get a story published at the tender age of 6 (Mrs Thomas - aka Joy Parfitt - but she will forever be known as Mrs Thomas to me) and another (Miss Nichol) who helped us make our very own books for a school project - books I still have! It suddenly dawned on me last night that I met some real live authors when I was about 11 and kept a diary of this - hmmm useful research... Pat Hutchins, Ruth Brown and the legendary Dick King-Smith all came to our school during what we aptly dubbed "Book Week". We also had a wacky talk from one of Quentin Blake's friends (illustrator for Roald Dahl) that I remember fondly. He was pretty off the wall - and so were his trousers! At the time, I do believe I thought it was Quentin Blake himself, but that would have been too amazing.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.