Having read so many different books to my own children at bed-time I knew what made them laugh and what they thought was boring. It is not only the story that is read, it is more the way that the story is told. Giving the characters the right voice and attitude can make the story even funnier than it actually is! If the story contains a moral to be learnt by the listener, that moral should be highlighted and explained to the children but never in a serious way, some things they must understand for themselves. I always started my reading off by telling the children to ‘listen carefully’ as I would be asking them questions at the end, having three very competitive children who all wanted to win, it was very rare for them to get a question wrong! This always made story time far more interesting.
Out of all the books I have read to my children the one that stands out from the crowd will always be ‘The Gruffalo’. Julia Donaldson created a wonderful rhyming story in this amazing book and we read it so many times that every one of us could re-tell the story without even looking at the words.
These types of books are quite rare but Julia has a great talent for writing and seems to know exactly what children enjoy, she truly deserves her success.
Eventually the children and I virtually ran out of books to read as we had read every one of them over and over, that was when Charlie and Sam were invented....
There is no better sound than that of a child laughing out loud as he or she reads a story! Very few stories contain humour that a child can appreciate, yes many books are fun to read and interesting but don’t allow the child the opportunity to laugh out loud.
There is no doubt that my own inspiration came from the TV series ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and the characters of Del Boy and Rodney which was one of the funniest series ever produced. I wanted Charlie and Sam to be like those characters, yes the story line has to be good, but the banter between them was uppermost in my mind and children had to understand that humour and love the characters because they were so funny!
My first published book ‘Charlie Ant: The Cake’ was a simple story to introduce the characters of Charlie and his best friend Sam, the second book ‘Charlie Ant 2: The Wizard Ant’ shows the reader the humour between these two characters and how it develops to make the main characters so loveable! The third book (now in process of publication) is called ‘Charlie Ant 3: Scrambled Eggs and Chicken’ which I hope will keep the children thoroughly entertained for many nights. Of course, it is also very important for the parent to enjoy the story as well as the characters, which makes the reading experience for all to be a happy and fun time.
What makes a successful children’s author? Is a very good question…..
It is not enough just to write a book and have it published, that is only the beginning! Yes it is a proud moment for any author, but the idea is to sell those books and considering how many children’s books are published every year, how does one get their books noticed, no matter how good they are?
I have come to the conclusion that it does take a long time and maybe, in years to come the Charlie Ant Book Series will become a popular favourite with all children and their parents. I will continue to write the stories as I enjoy writing very much and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that, one day they will be read and enjoyed by children all over the world……..