Children’s Books

In this pandemic, children have had their lives affected in many different ways. Whether it was doing school on-line or missing school field trips or being exposed to Covid, many have spent a large proportion of their time on-line. Children’s books are meant to challenge their imaginations and provide stories they can relate to.

Illustrations Are Important

Illustration from Shirley Hughes children’s book The Nursery Collection

As a children’s book author, I know how important it is to have illustrations with the story. The story comes alive when children can see the characters which ignites their curiosity. Movies and videos for kids don’t always allow them to use their imaginations. Imagination is a powerful tool and helps the child create or use their mind to imagine what could be or what the characters could do.

Writer’s Tool Kit

Writers of children’s books really need to appeal to children and can do so by challenging their imagination and use of descriptive words. Books can have simple wording or use more complex phrases again to challenge the child’s mind. One useful tool for the children’s book author is the use of colorful illustrations. Children are fascinated by different color images. In the story above, the child is not just walking down a path but is wearing bright-colored shoes, pink overalls, with flowers, her pet dog and cat, her doll and last of all her baby brother all in the same scene. There is a lot going on in this scene. The reader can discuss with the child when reading the book together which is what the author had in mind.

Stories That Children Can Relate To

Rupert Bear in his famous yearly annual for children

Happy Endings

Children like stories with happy endings. With Rupert, children can look at the world of adventure and fun through different animals who are dressed in brightly colored clothing. These animals would not be like this in real life. However, the characters are helpful to children to think about the world they live in and their friends and family in a different light. They will want to join Rupert and his friends on adventures too!

Sally with her children’s book The Fairy Hollow Chronicles illustrated by Barbie Warwick

The Best Part

By making children’s books colorful, interesting, challenging and fun to read, children are off to a great start in the world of books. They will enjoy reading as they get older and venture into longer books with no illustrations. Most importantly, children’s books help children begin their journey into language which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.

What Is The Inspiration for a Character in a Book?

What is the inspiration for a character when writing a book? Inspiration can take many forms and ends up providing the author with characters that can be used in the book being written.

Inspiration Helps Authors with Book Titles

What Inspires the Name of a Character?

When I first started thinking of ideas for my children’s book The Fairy Hollow Chronicles, I took inspiration from my own children to create the characters. My daughter loved fairies when she was very young so that provided me with the idea for four fairies. Adventures are always fun when you are a child so the idea that the fairies had to go on an adventure was born. Then, the names came easily as I chose names of her friends from elementary school.

Characters from the Fairy Hollow Chronicles – Christy, Katie, Megan & Lizzie

What Should Characters Wear?

Authors need to describe their characters. In The Fairy Hollow Chronicles, the four fairies are tiny so it was easy to have them dressed in ballerina tutus with their hair in buns. Ballerinas always wear buns. Young girls who take ballet enjoy wearing the tutus and having their hair in buns. The mayor in the book needed to be in a suit as he means business. The idea for the toad came from various stories I read as a child and also the toad character fits the mayor character perfectly.

My mother dining out with friends in Vancouver – What could they be talking about and how do they know each other?
Pages from The Fairy Hollow Chronicles
Pages from The Fairy Hollow Chronicles – Fairies dressed as ballerinas.

Photographs

Ideas for other books that I am writing came from photographs. Sometimes a photograph can inspire an author to write a story based on what might be happening in that photo. The photos from WW2 in England are an inspiration and ask me to write about what the young men and women in the photos are laughing about, worried about, thinking about and how the war affected them. As the daughter of parents who went through WW2, I am intrigued to include in my book these points to round out my characters.

My mother and her friend in 1935 – A photograph for inspiration – What is going on in this photo?

Inspiration is the Summary of Many Ideas

The inspiration for characters in a book comes from everything including family, friends, photos, artwork, current fashion, and the author’s imagination. By using all these ideas, the characters come to life which makes enjoyable reading for all of us.

Social Media Is Really Anti-Social

When Social Media first came out, I thought the name wasn’t appropriate for there isn’t anything social about it. As human beings, we need to interact face to face with others so we can have conversations, watch our facial expressions and understand what we are saying to each other.

Using the Ipad for business

Are We All Addicted?

Social media has been a tremendous help with the pandemic. As we haven’t been social throughout this time, we have seen friends, family and participated in meetings, classes and ceremonies on-line.

Office Face-to-Face Meeting before Covid

From the time we wake up until we go to bed, we are constantly on our cell phones or other mobile devices. Addiction explains why people still drive and use their cell phones. They are addicted to know who is calling or they just have to make another call or send another text. Everyone knows not to use a cell phone when driving because the driver must concentrate on the road at all times. Addiction has taken over and people can’t stop using the cell phone when on the road which has caused tragic accidents and sometimes death.

On the cell phone while studying

I’ve also noticed people on cell phones when walking down the street sometimes never look up. I had a near crash with one person who wasn’t looking where she was going but madly typing away on her phone. Fortunately, we both didn’t get hurt but she should have paid attention to where she was walking instead of being so distracted.

The Proof of Addiction

Computers for Office Staff

A new book written by Adam Atler, a professor at NYU, is called Irresistible. He lays out the evidence for the hidden danger in our lives called behavioral addiction. From tracking social media “likes” to constantly counting our steps, we are being guided by the technologies we use.

Instead of letting addiction rule our lives, we can take steps to live more productively. This behavorial addiction is preventing us from forming meaningful relationships, raising empathetic children, and separating work from sleep and play. Who would have thought a decade ago that Facebook would attract 1.5 billion users? As the author suggests, many of these users wish they spent less time on the site. Also Instagram users spend hours uploading and liking sixty million new photos every day on the app. More than twenty million people daily count and monitor their every step with a small wrist-bound device.

Suggestions he makes include workplaces shutting down at six pm and disabling work email accounts between midnight and five am the next morning. Games, similar to books with chapters, can be built with natural stopping points. Social media platforms can demetricate which is removing the numerical feedback allowing damaging social comparison and chronic goalsetting. Children can be introduced to screens slowly under supervision instead of all at once. Our culture needs to make space for a work-free, game-free, screen-free downtime to make it easier to resist the lure of behavioral addiction. This will result in us communicating with others directly which will make us happier than any screen time or device could ever do!

SOURCE: Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology And The Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter

Opportunities for Young Women in WW2 in England

Women today do not know how far we have come. It wasn’t that long ago that women were raised to get married and that was it. No career was to be considered. Not even university.

A Job in London


While researching my book Olive’s Obsession based on Olive working at the Beaver Club in London during the war, I have found that there were not many choices for young women. Olive, who in real life was my mother, went to Pitmans’ College in London to learn shorthand. She then went on to learn typing and worked as a secretary for such amazing companies as Quaker Oats and the EverReady Battery Company. The Ever Ready Battery Company got bombed during the war and very fortunately all the staff were gone as it was night time so no one lost their lives.

Life in London

Olive and her friend in London in WW2

My Mother always said that she was in London working but did not see a lot of war going on. She maybe said that so that we, my sister and I, growing up would not think she had suffered. They all suffered severely especially with the bomb shelters being in the tube at any hour when the alarm sounded. Also, the lack of food and rationing books that had to be presented when purchasing food. Everything was for the war effort.

Voluntary Work in the Red Cross

Volunteers in the Red Cross

What Were Your Opportunities?

As for the opportunities, you were either a teacher, nurse or secretary. You were expected to marry young otherwise you were considered an “old maid” which many dreaded. If you were a member of the aristocracy, then you were expected to marry high up. No career was in the cards for you. That explains why volunteer work became popular with the aristocracy as they were appearing to do good for the lower classes. The class system existed in Great Britain at the time.

Ladies Having Tea in London

I plan on researching about job opportunities in World War II for young women to find out what their lives were really like.

Hard Cover Books Versus E-Readers

I remember when e-readers came out such as kobe and kindle. I wasn’t too happy with thinking that books would be read on an electronic reader. Where would the feel of the book be and the joy of turning pages to find out the rest of the story?

Paperback Books to Read When Travelling

Paperback Travel Reads

Even though I travelled at the time, I always took a few paperbacks with me and was able to read them on the trip. Some of the travellers I met really loved their kindles as they could load many books on them at a time. This saved carrying extra books in their luggage which was an advantage. There is also the concern with the radiation level emitted when holding the e-reader near the body. This also happens with the constant use of cell phones though the public doesn’t accept t

The Joy of Reading Books

However, I have always loved to read books and turn pages into each story. It’s great to be able to hold the book and flip the pages and carry it with you to read when you can. This is what influenced the sales of e-readers. It was originally thought that many would use kindles and printed books would become obsolete! The public have continued to read books because they enjoy having the book to hold, read and flip through. Printed books won’t go out of style as we all enjoy them too much. There is a place for both e-readers and printed books in the reading world which is a good thing for book lovers everywhere.

My new children’s book The Fairy Hollow Chronicles

Debutante’s Lives in WW2

While researching information for my book Olive’s Obsession, I found a fabulous book called Debs at War: How War Changed Their Lives 1939-1945 by Anne de Courcy.

Debutantes

I was amazed to learn how little the debutantes knew about life. They had been sheltered for most of their young lives. Their main goal in life was to find a good match and marry very well. The higher up the better! Then war came along. Many had servants and maids who did everything for them. All of a sudden, they were thrust into the war effort. Some went into nursing, some worked for the Women’s Voluntary Association, some became pilots and some drove ambulances. One deb was asked what she knew about the gas tank. “It was full of oil and hair,” she replied. Her chauffeur had taught her this but instead of saying hair, he had said air! As for support from their parents, many didn’t dine with their mother or father until much older.

Debs in their evening dresses in 1939.

Life Influencers

The sole influence on their lives was Nanny. They learned all her mannerisms which carried them through life. They were challenged during the war to use skills they didn’t know they possessed.

Female pilots in WW2.

Chosen Paths

Imagine going into culture shock from your world where the lady’s maid looked after all your clothes to one where being inspected for head lice was routine. Some went on to Bletchley Park or became Land Girls. Most went into the Services – as FANYs, ATS, Wrens or WAAFs. The class barrier had existed in England but it dissolved under the love and war or continued on to in superiority to those less wealthy. No one was catering to them when they volunteered.

Character in Book

I will be having a debutante as one of the characters in my book. More details to come.

The writer's desk

How Do Writers Know What To Write About?

As an avid reader, I was always fascinated how great writers could keep you spellbound and conjure up such amazing characters that you got so caught up in the story that you couldn’t put the book down! As I begin my author’s website, I will be writing about various topics in my blog and relating to the books and articles I plan to publish. Human beings are fascinating. What makes people tick, why they do the things they do and the differences between good and evil are all part of stories and plots that keep us interested.

How does an idea begin? As with my first book, it could be something that happened personally to the author. It could also be a newspaper headline, a documentary on TV, a photo, the weather, or something that causes the writer to want to take the idea and add more to it. My first book is called the Fairy Hollow Chronicles. It is the story of four tiny fairies who live in Fairy Hollow and are to attend their Coming of Age Ceremony the next day. They must first complete their Fairy Quest. I got this idea from my daughter when she was small. She loved fairy stories. I decided to write a story which would incorporate challenges, goal-setting, positive thinking and a a happy ending! Though this book is mainly a Children’s Early Reader, adults reading to children will enjoy it.

From my background as a public health inspector and previous food safety blog writer, I plan to write about my experiences being the first female public health inspector at the health units where I was employed. Memoirs can be written many different ways. They are interesting to the reader because the author usually lived the experiences so a firsthand account is better than imagining an event happening. I encountered sexism in the workplace, the glass ceiling and lack of professional recognition for my contributions in the field. However, I did make many friends along the way and have some fabulous experiences such as being an international conference speaker in countries from Great Britain to Lithuania. That will be a timely topic for the another blog!