I was asked the other day why I chose to write books for children, instead of perhaps tackling the adult or teen market. And even though I hadn’t thought about why I was drawn to children’s fiction in any great depth, the answer was simple: children’s books were my first, closest, most unfailing friends. The stories I read in my middle grade years are woven so deeply into the fabric of my heart, I carry them with me wherever I go, and I wanted to pass that gift - that love and forever-friendship - onto a whole new generation of readers, whilst still retaining much of the classic style of telling stories that I cherish so dearly.
Some of my earliest and most treasured memories are of being read to by my Mum (something I believe is vitally important for young children), paying a visit to the local library eagerly searching for the perfect book (again, something I believe is important), or curled up in bed at night reading by the light of my trusty bedside lamp. Without ever having to leave the comfort of my bedroom, I was able to race through mid-western meadows with Laura Ingalls-Wilder, explore the delights of Cherry Tree Farm with Enid Blyton, fly through powder-blue skies with James and his Giant Peach, and speed though the English countryside on a madcap adventure with Toad, Ratty, and Mole as my companions.
Those precious books were my life-line, my best friends and constant, loyal companions. We moved around a bit when I was a child, and in-between trying to fit in to new schools and neighborhoods (I won’t even mention the horrid nuns at my strict convent school), missing my parents who worked full time and always seemed busy, and an older sister, who for her own reasons had little time to spend with her lively, inquisitive, possibly annoying little sister, books provided a safe place for me to land. They nurtured me and comforted me and created a rich inner world for me to inhabit. I always knew that no matter how fierce the upset or turmoil in the real world might be, my imagination, ignited by the stories I pored over, would always offer hope and a safe place for me to hide.
I truly love books, and that love was instilled at an early age by having access to and reading heroic, inspiring, and enchanting tales by such classic children’s authors as Beatrix Potter, Noel Streatfield, Roald Dahl, and the beloved Judy Blume. Some books take you on enchanting journeys you could only ever imagine in your wildest of dreams, whilst others introduce you to characters just like you, with struggles and worries just like you, who comfort you and give you strength when things all around seem to be crumbling. The infinite possibilities and timeless companionship the right book can offer a child can never be underestimated and should be sought out at all costs, like the Holy Grail.
And I urge children not to be put off or deterred if the only books they have encountered thus far have been rather dry, curriculum-based school books that they didn’t connect with and struggled to wade through. As much as I adore reading and books, I certainly don’t fall head over heels in love with every tome I pick up. I hated some of the books I had to read in school; I found some of them so boring, and the characters depressing or just not my cup of tea. But I had the good fortune to know that not all books are created equal; you just have to find the right one(s) for you. Look for a book on whatever it is you happen to like (soccer, swimming, dancing, tales of adventure, fashion) and just see what a huge difference the right topic or author can make. We can’t all be expected to embrace every TV program or enjoy every flavor of ice cream, now can we? And books and their authors are no different.
So that is why I chose to write for children…because a simple story really can make an enormous difference to that one child it touches; that and the fact that I’m an overgrown kid who still believes in fairies, gets beyond excited on Christmas Eve, and essentially never really grew up.
Do yourself a favor and release your inner child today! And be sure to pass on the precious gift of reading by sharing one your favorite childhood books with a young person you know and care for.
B.A, Keating is a writer, ex-ballet dancer, and children’s author. Her books include ‘Tales from the Land of Forever’ and ‘The Academy – First Year’. Visit www.bakeating.com for more details.
Dearest Reader Friends,
Just wanted to let you all know that my Goodreads Giveaway is now open. Enter today for a chance to win a signed copy of my second children's book 'The Academy - First Year'. Here is the link, in case you missed it. Good luck
I also wanted to add this link to Bookworms for Kids Blog. It's a wonderful resource for young readers and their parents.
Would you like the chance to win a singed copy of my second children's book 'The Academy - First Year'? Click on the Goodreads link below and enter for a chance to win.
Dearest Reader Friends,
Happy New Year!! I hope you all had a blissfully magical Holiday season and that 2016 is treating you well, thus far. Have you made any New Years resolutions? I didn't make any as such, just an objective to do more of the same in 2016: more writing; more reading; more creating; more laughing; more time spent in nature; more advocating for those without a voice, and more time spent with those I love to be around. I did, however, take a moment to write down a list of all the things that I did NOT want to drag into 2016 with me - it's time to let that negativity go! In with the new and out with old, that's what I say.
Another wonderful ritual for the New Year that I started a few years ago now is keeping a "memory jar". Throughout the year, my family and I pop mementos from days out, vacations, birthday celebrations, or just things that made us smile into the jar and then on New Years day we sit down and open the jar and reminiscence about all of the wonderful things we did together during the past 12 months. We then place our precious mementos into a scrap book and our year is preserved for all time. It's something fun and meaningful for all the family
Thank you to all my reader friends for your support in 2015. I am hoping to get back into my writing room this week and continue working on my third children's novel 'The Wood at the Bottom of the Garden Gate' which I look forward to sharing with you all this Summer.
Wishing each of you a year filled with laughter, love, friendship, luck, inspiration, and peace.
Dear Reader Friends,
I hope this post finds you well, and that you are all enjoying the fun, excitement, and festivities of the season. After all, it's the most wonderful time of the year!
I just wanted to share some exciting news with you all. My second children's novel 'The Academy - First Year' will be released on Monday December 21st, 2015 - just in time for the Holidays!!!!
I can't wait for you all to read it.
Being accepted into the English Ballet Theater's Academy of Dance was Molly’s dream, but will that dream turn into a nightmare that threatens her chances of ever becoming a ballerina? Enter the hallowed halls of the Academy: a prestigious ballet school steeped in history and rich with tradition, and peek behind the stage door into a world filled with pointe shoes, tutus, friendships and rivalries.
Every young girl dreams of being a ballet dancer, of stepping gracefully onstage at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in a beautifully bejeweled tutu and sparkling tiara - and Molly Plum was no exception. Our story begins when 11 year old Molly, a budding ballerina from an impoverished borough of London, auditions for one of the much coveted, but very limited, places at English Ballet Theater's Junior Academy of Dance: a fictitious boarding school located in the Royal borough of Windsor But after a nerve-racking audition at the senior school, and much anxious waiting for the postman, Molly discovers to her delight that she has been accepted into the Academy on a full scholarship.
Despite having to fight tooth and nail with her disagreeable mother, who is under the misguided impression that ballet is a frivolous and silly hobby, for permission to even attend, Molly begins her new life at Howard Hall - a five story, ivy-covered 250 year old manor house, surrounded by 200 acres of vibrant greenery courtesy of the Great Park - in the Fall. And despite making an instant enemy in the horribly stuck-up but incredibly talented, Pandora Pemberton, she soon settles in to life at the Academy, with all of it quirks, rules and traditions, and takes to her dance classes, pointe lessons and academic studies like a ballerina to toe shoes.
But will all of her months of hard work, stress, tears, and dedication mean that Molly will be chosen to fulfill her dream and perform as Clara in the English Ballet Theatre’s Christmas production of ‘The Nutcracker’? Or will Pandora Pemberton – with the help of the sniveling sycophant that is Araminta Masters, and Pandora’s dreadful snob of a stage mother - see to it that not only are her chances of dancing on stage with one of the finest ballet companies in the world scuppered forever, but that her days at the Academy are numbered too?
Dear Reader Friends,
Would you like the chance to win a free signed copy of my book 'Tales from the Land of Forever'? Then you are in luck! Enter using the GoodReads Giveway link below.
I love this time of the year. We have bid a fond farewell to summer, and now we watch as the trees treat us to spectacular show of colours so dazzling and vibrant, we often have to stop (or at least I hope we do) and stare, admiring the natural beauty all around us. It really is quite magical. I adore seeing robust, bright orange pumpkins displayed on front porches, as red and golden leaves gently fall from the trees above, scattering their autumnal jewels far and wide. And there is nothing nicer than curling up on fresh, bright Fall day with a book in one hand and a hot mug of tea in the other. Wishing all of my readers a happy and safe Halloween, May your day be filled only with treats!
Please remember to keep your pets safe on the 31st.