Before Christmas I thought that I just have to go for it. In a year or so I will be back at work and I will never have this time again. So this month my online story for children, A Child Like You, launched and my fingernails are bitten down to the skin with nerves over whether it will work or not. Why should children read it when there are so many other great books out there.
In honour of Kate's much loved and lamented Listography I have decided to present this post as a list:
5 Reasons your kids should read A Child Like You
1. An Everyman for ChildrenThis is the story of Jessica Chance, who is constantly being told who she is and what she can and can't do. All stories are essentially about finding yourself - and this is so important for children. Jessica is so full of other people's, often negative opinions of her that she can no longer see who she is and what she is good at. This story is about how she finds herself - with a bit of magic thrown in.
2. They can read it on their smartphonesThis is the future don't you know. I may still be waiting for my hoverboard but the machine with access to the entire collective knowledge of the human race (and lots of picture of cats) is in my back pocket - well it would be if I wasn't sitting down. Children love to read on the go - they love technology - they do not have the emotional attachment to books our generation has - no matter how hard we try to force it on to them. I wanted to write a story kids could read in between texting and writing "I love Justin Bieber" on their Facebook page.
3. It Encourages CreativityThe good thing about using a blog to tell a story is that you can create a community. I have space for children to send in their art and writing and have the chance to share it with others. I have some competitions planned, as the story develops, which will get children coming up with their own ideas.
4. Cross GenreThis isn't a novel so I can stretch the genre as much as possible. I guess a blog is more like a magazine. As well as the chapters of the story, there will be recipes and arts and crafts ideas to enhance the story.
5. Bite-sizeThere is a lot of talk about children having small attention spans these days. I don't think it's the whole story: I think we all do. I know I find it harder these days to settle down and read a whole novel. There just never seems to be time. This story is going to come into bite-size chunks so you can read a little bit at a time, in between other things. A bit like a soap opera - or catching up on a favourite blog.
Oh and I almost forgot the best one: IT'S FREE
So if you have children aged around ten or eleven then get them to have a look, the first instalment, Chapter 1a, is live. Here is a sneaky preview:
It was a bad idea. I knew it as soon as I turned into the alley. There was nothing down there – nowhere to hide except for an old skip full of empty cardboard boxes from Supersave.
I should have kept running.
I looked around the corner, then pulled back quickly before I was seen. I could hear their whoops and shrieks as they rounded the kerb and picked up my scent. I peeped round again. It was too late to keep running. If I tried to make a move they were sure to catch me.
There was only one thing for it. I pulled myself up the side of the skip, my feet scrambling about trying to find a foot hold.