This puppy is just for Christmas

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I I’m a fan of everything Carol Thomas writes, for grown-ups and for kids. We’ve done her first picture book, Finding a Friend, in my book club, so I was excited to see a sequel is out. And I’m a sucker for a Christmas book. So I invited Carol to chat …

Hello Lexi, thank you for having me on your blog to chat about the release of my latest children’s book, Being a Friend at Christmas.

It is the second in my Little Pup series of books, but each can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone story. In this book, Little Pup is looking forward to his first Christmas in his new home. But he remembers the dogs he has left behind in the shelter. He has a plan to ensure they have a happy Christmas too, but he needs Father Christmas’ help to make his wish come true.

Being a Friend book cover

Aimed at under 7s, the text is purposefully rhythmic and written in rhyme to make it accessible to its young audience, who can join in and anticipate words and phrases. The pictures are bright and colourful. I illustrated the book myself and had great fun capturing the puppy’s thoughts, feelings and expressions. The book has been described as the ideal gift for all young dog lovers, which is lovely to hear!

As I like my books to be shared and to inspire a conversation, the story also carries a message about being kind, thoughtful and generous. These things are important all year round, but especially at Christmas. At the end of Being A Friend, there is an opportunity for children to make their own Christmas wish.

I always love hearing from readers. At the end of Finding a Friend, readers were asked to name Little Pup; I enjoyed hearing all of the wonderful names he was given. This year, I hope to hear all about the Christmas wishes Little Pup has inspired. If readers would (with help from their parents and carers) like to get in touch, they can do so here: https://www.carol-thomas.co.uk/contact-me/

Thanks Carol! If you’d like to meet the pup, check out this cute book trailer: https://youtu.be/q8Yhj7AfwPE

And of course, here’s the purchase link: http://getbook.at/BAFAmazon

About the author:

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and has taught in primary schools for just over twenty years.

Carol writes for both adults and children. Her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

To find out more about books by Carol Thomas:

https://facebook.com/carolthomasauthor

Hop on board another bus journey and a giveaway

Since meeting author and primary school teacher Sue Wickstead at an event, and remembering playbuses from my own childhood, I’ve followed the playbus series for a while now.

Glora’s story is, at heart, an old fashioned tale of learning to play together. But to me, this series is much more than the individual plots, it’s about the discussion topics each book opens thanks to the true stories behind the books, from general topics like

  • Where were the playbuses?
  • Why did children need them?
  • Are there any playbuses left today?

To more specific topics

Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Daisy Daydreams Bus Rhymes and Jokes (Open to UK Only)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494377/

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Blurb

Gloria is a special Playbus. She is painted with bright colours that makes her stand out. Now she is ready for a summer of fun, but will Max enjoy the adventure. Why don’t you join in the fun, too?

Author biography

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author and writes children’s picture books with a bus theme. She has also written a photographic history book about the real bus, which is where her story writing began.

Sue once worked with a playbus charity based in Crawley. This led her to write the photographic history book about the project. The ‘Bewbush Playbus’ book was published in 2012.

Sue then began to write a fictional tale about the bus. ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name and has now been followed by more picture books which all indeed have a bus connection as well as links to her teaching journey.

Gloria is the most recent book and is based on the summer play-schemes which operated during the school holidays providing a safe place for children to meet and to play.

She is also an award winning author.

Blazing a path in women’s football

Those of you who’ve followed my blog for a while will know that as a former rugby player myself, I’m passionate about encouraging girls into sports. Last year, I featured a book about Gaelic football (“Izzy’s Magical Football Adventure”) and that author is working on one about Camogie which I’m really looking forward to, so when I heard of a new picture book about Lily Parr, I was desperate to get my hands on a copy. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Lily Parr made women’s football possible. I still struggle to believe that women’s football was banned when I was born (Ok that rather gives away my age)!

I do want to add that although the book is about women’s football, this should be read by all young football fans, regardless of gender. There is nothing pink or fluffy about it. Pure grit and determination.

Trailblazer is written by Elizabeth Dale and illustrated by Caroline Coroa, and as part of the publication book tour, I’m delighted that Carolina has agreed to chat to us.

1.Trailblazer is about real events and real people. What research did you do to ensure that you illustrated them correctly?

I didn’t start from zero. Elizabeth Dale, the author, and Kim from Maverick Books sent me an amazing compilation of info: websites with history, photos, names, events, etc. They were very careful with who was who, especially the Dick Kerr Ladies team and Alfred. There are plenty of websites that tell us events and stories of women in football since the beginning of 1900s in Europe, Americas, Africa, etc, so I started my research to find out more about women’s football worldwide and why UK and French female teams were so famous at the time. Then I focused on the girls of Dick Kerr Ladies. As they use uniforms most of the time, I needed to find physical and personal characteristics to distinguish them from each other. When you “know” someone it gets easier to draw, so the more I learned from them, the more their personalities would appear in the pages. As they didn’t have many pictures in 1900s, it’s even more impossible to find about a specific person, so I tried to find as many as I could to refine expressions. I was always thinking if they could ever imagine one day someone was going to research their lives and draw about it. I feel very honoured to do so.

 
2.You include a wide variety of clothes worn at that time. Were there any problems depicting them? 

I have a degree in fashion, and I was always very curious about fashion history in Europe. I already knew the consequences of World War I in the wardrobe of people. It was nice to revisit some books and see those nice hats, silk dresses, pearls, and tuxedos. I also use Pinterest for research faster. The challenge was the colors. As the photos from those decades are all black and white, I had to keep an eye on the croquis and old fashion magazines to draw. 

 3. Were the headlines you include in the illustration of the US newspapers, real headlines from the time?

 They’re part of Elizabeth and Kim’s research. Lily was a star; my impression is that every newspaper wanted to highlight her at some point. I received the headlines with the briefing, and I had to research images so both could work together. 

 4.The final double page spread – showing that female footballers today are playing due to the struggle of the ones who went before – is very moving. Was that scene your idea and was it difficult to get just right?

The scene was part of the briefing too, I also found it very moving to imagine that girls who play now have the support from those ladies. 

 5.You portray the football action scenes very well. Are you a football fan? Were you aware of the fascinating story of Lily and her team-mates struggle before you read this book?

Thank you! I played football after school for some months when I was 15, as left-wing, though I was a terrible player. In Brazil, we have a very strong soccer/football culture, especially at school. Even if you don’t like it you always end up learning something or you have a friend that is “sick” about it, as we say there. My husband and my brother-in-law helped me with some scenes by playing FIFA. We paused some moves so I could sketch. Marta, for example, is a very famous player worldwide today and she’s left-footed as Lily was, I studied her playing a little bit to improve the sketches. I also took care of the book “flow” to make sure Lily was well placed as left-footed. I remember seeing something about Lily’s statue being revealed last year during the Women’s World Cup in France, but I didn’t know much before the book.

6. Do you and the author have plans for more books e.g. to make this into a series?

 That would be great to have more of Lily and her team-mates! Florrie Redford, Alice Kell, and Alice Woods, for example, have nice stories to tell too. If Elizabeth and Maverick decide to make this into a series, I’m super available to work on it and, of course, learn more and improve scenes and characters.

Why Sparky made me cry!

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while will know I’m a big fan of Sue Wickstead’s bus themed picture books. Not only are they based on the real play buses which were around when I was younger, but she writes so nicely. This is an old-school, gentle, tale of inclusivity and it made me cry. I love it. In fact I’m welling up again just writing this.

My only niggle with Sue’s earlier books was they were quite text heavy for the age group, but this one is absolutely spot on.

There are not enough straightforward inclusivity tales for younger readers, and the fact this is based on a real story makes it even better. If you are wondering, the real buses were designed to be accessible for disabled children and the slide was originally intended to be a fire escape giving a fast exit for them. This book should be in every reception classroom.

And Princess Anne, who was a patron of the original project has a copy of it. Fabulous!

Author Bio

Sue and I at a very cold Crawley WordFest

Sue is an author and a teacher and has written six children’s picture books, all with a bus included somewhere. Having been able to share her first book, ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, she decided it was time to think about writing a book for younger readers.

Blurb

Sparky isn’t your typical double-decker bus. Behind the dragon and magical paintings, she’s full of fun and adventures for all children. Jump aboard to find out what makes Sparky so special.

Purchase Links

You can order on Amazon UK or US , or you can get a FREE 3D bus template with book orders from Sue Wickstead’s website or if you message her https://www.suewickstead.co.uk/

Get in touch

Facebook: -Author Page https://www.facebook.com/storiesSue/

Facebook  -Playbus page https://www.facebook.com/BewbushPlaybus/

Twitter https://twitter.com/JayJayBus

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jayjaybusbooks/

Web site : www.suewickstead.co.uk