Category Archives: It’s A Kid’s Life

It’s A Kid’s Life – Double Digits

After nine long months of hard work, I am excited to announce the arrival of It’s A Kid’s Life – Double Digits!

book 3 cover draft 4

It seems like only yesterday that my mini focus group and I sat around my kitchen table in our pj’s, brainstorming our third book together.  And next week I will have the actual print copy of it in my hands.  Seeing the finished book for the first time never fails to disappoint.  But as next week is a whole lot of days away yet, I thought I would give you a sneak preview of the first two chapters.

Just click here to take a look and click on ‘Look inside’ above the picture of the book!  (Please note this is the kindle version of the book which you are of course welcome to buy, but I would always recommend children read a print copy of a book as there’s nothing like reading with the feel of a book in your hands.)

The new book will be added to my Amazon author page when it is released next week and you will be able to purchase a paperback copy here.

I hope you enjoy your sneak preview!

Kerry

 

 

 

liam with book

Don’t Tell Me Boys Can’t Read Well!

“Boys read less!”

“Boys skip pages!”

“Boys lag behind girls in their reading ability!”

I am so sick of hearing things like this… from university studies… from other parents… from some school teachers.

Last week my son called me over to the computer to show me a headline that had flashed up, implying that boys were failing at reading. He looked at me incredulously and said “this is such a load of rubbish. I love reading!”

He is nine years old and has spent every night for the past few months reading Harry Potter before bed. He has read book after book after book and is completely and utterly engrossed. He has a reading age much higher than that of his tender nine years. Like many other boys his age he loves sport, he loves to watch TV and, unsurprisingly, he loves to play computer games. But all of this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t also love to get his head stuck into a great book as well.

I wish so called experts would stop implying that children are one thing or another. Stop defining children according to so called scientific studies. Children are like snowflakes. They are all different. They all have particular strengths and they all have particular weaknesses.

My eight year old struggles with his reading. He finds it hard. He does skip pages. But this isn’t because he is a boy! It is because he is unique just like any child and whereas his brother finds this easy, he just doesn’t. He excels in other areas such as football and other sports. BUT, and this is the big BUT that I feel it is so necessary to point out, this doesn’t mean that he will always find reading hard. It doesn’t mean that he will never have an interest in books. He may just discover the interest at a later time in his life.

But if he hears people say that ‘boys aren’t good at reading’. If his teacher portrays the attitude that boys aren’t expected to do as well as girls at reading. If he accepts that it is normal for boys not to be interested in books, then maybe he will grow up with the idea that, ‘if that’s what society thinks, then why bother trying.’

Luckily for my son, he has an author for a mother. He has a mother who can often be heard saying…

“There is no such thing as a child who can’t read, they just haven’t found the right book yet!”

I have four sons who have been brought up in the same environment as each other. They have all had the same opportunities. They are all wonderfully unique and individual and have their own characters. Books have always been a part of our lives. Before writing my own first fiction book for children, I would always read to them before bedtime. They all have lots of books in their bedrooms on their bookshelves. Whether they choose to pick up a book and read it is up to them. But one thing that I am certain about is being a boy will not make them any less of a reader than my nieces or the girls in their class at school. It is not finding a book that captures their heart that will make them less of a reader. It may be a book that they can lose their imagination in. It may be a book that they can identify with. It may be a book that makes them laugh out loud! My eight year old may skip lines in his school books that he brings home for homework, but give him a book about football and he will read it loud and proud!

When I wrote my first book It’s A Kid’s Life, my inspiration was pure and simple. I wanted to write a book that my boys would love, a book that would make them laugh out loud, a book they would remember forever. Little did I know at the time how it would capture the hearts of other children and their parents. I have been contacted by parents thanking me for inspiring their children to read. Children who had never before completed a book just could not put it down. It made me feel great to hear this. But more importantly, it proved my point that we shouldn’t be making sweeping judgements about children’s reading ability based on their sex. If you give a child the right book, one that interests them, one that puts a smile on their face, then they will show you a child who reads more. They will show you a child who doesn’t skip pages. They will show you a child who can’t wait to read the next book in the series of whatever they have found that inspires them.

You can find It’s A Kid’s Life and It’s A Kid’s Life Arch-Enemies at Amazon and Waterstones.com.  The third book in the series It’s A Kid’s Life – Double Digits will be available Oct 2017.

roald dahl

How could you not like Roald Dahl books?

Last week I was asked by a child what my least favourite book was when I was in school. I thought for a moment as I felt my brain struggle with the dilemma I was about to face. Did I tell the truth and risk losing the respect of my audience of two hundred children, or did I avoid the truth in order to stay in their favour?  The truth was, my least favourite book as a child was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

A book by an amazing author whose books have been sold in the millions worldwide. An author who has brought joy to children for many years. An author who has the ability to capture the imagination of children as he depicts the world through a child’s eyes.   Roald Dahl has made such an impression on the world of books that schools even celebrate ‘Roald Dahl’ day once a year.

So how can it be that I don’t like a book by Roald Dahl? How can I dare to consider criticising such a great author?

Since becoming an author myself three years ago, I haven’t dared. When asked at school author talks who my favourite author is, I have even been known to reply ‘Roald Dahl’, as I know that all of the children will know who he is, and most will have enjoyed at least one of his books.

In truth, the Roald Dahl books that I read as a child have haunted me for many years. Whereas other children have sat enjoying his books, the darkness hidden within is what I remember. I found Willy Wonka himself to be a haunting character who made me feel anxious, a feeling exasperated upon watching the movie that it became. The mere mention of an umpa lumpa makes me feel agitated and tense. I made the mistake of telling my sons this once who now find it hilarious to sing the umpa lumpa song as I have to retreat to another room with my fingers in my ears!

I thought that I was the only person in the world to feel this way as I have listened to Roald Dahl being celebrated for many years.   My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I admitted to him that I wasn’t a fan, as he showed me his collection of Roald Dahl books that he still had from when he was a child. I felt myself tense as he gave his collection to my sons, worrying that they too would end up having nightmares about a girl blowing up into a giant blueberry! My eldest son proved that I was right to be concerned as he read The Witches. He had nightmares for two years upon reading this… two years!

One day I confessed to a friend over a cup of tea that I was probably the only person in the world who didn’t like Roald Dahl books. To my amazement she then told me that she had never liked them either and they also left her feeling uneasy as a child. This got me to thinking that maybe I wasn’t so strange after all. If we didn’t like Roald Dahl books, perhaps there were other people out there who felt the same.

As children we are encouraged by teachers and parents to read certain books. We are told that these are great books that we should enjoy. So what happens if we don’t enjoy these books? Do we then make the assumption that we don’t like reading? Are we missing the point of what everyone else sees in these books and therefore concluding that reading isn’t actually our thing? I fear that this may be the case for many children. And this is why I decided to be brave last week and tell the truth.

As I told my audience that my least favourite book as a child was a Roald Dahl book, I literally heard a couple of children gasp as they couldn’t believe what I had just said. But then I elaborated, and I saw two hundred pairs of eyes looking at me intently as they listened to every word. I told them that Roald Dahl was an author I massively respected. He was a great writer and captured the hearts of many children. But that didn’t mean that I personally had to like reading his books. Just because other children liked reading them, that didn’t mean that I had to. I told them that this was the same for each and every one of them. Just because all of their friends liked a particular book, that didn’t meant that they had to like it too. I always say to children that there is no such thing as a child who doesn’t like to read, they just haven’t found the right book yet. We are all unique and our love of reading is no different to this. You can appreciate that a book is well written, or that an author is a great inspiration with amazing talent without actually ‘liking’ their books yourself. As I said this to the children, I felt a huge weight lift off me as I saw a couple nodding as if they understood. Maybe they secretly didn’t like some of the books their friends and teachers told them they should like and had assumed that this must mean that they don’t like reading. Maybe now they will realise that there is a book out there that they will enjoy.

The number of books out there for children to read these days is immense. There is truly something for everyone. So if your child is one who hasn’t yet taken to reading, maybe try them with something they just haven’t discovered yet. Whilst appreciating the greatness of our historical authors who will stand the test of time, we can also celebrate the new authors that are exploding onto the scene of the children’s book world, opening children’s eyes to the endless possibilities that are the world of books.

Kerry Gibb is the author of It’s A Kid’s Life and It’s A Kid’s Life Arch-Enemies.  They are laugh out loud, true to life books for children aged seven to eleven.  You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Visiting Schools

When people ask me what I like best about being an author my answer is undoubtedly that I love to inspire children.

I love to see children engrossed in a book that I have written.

I love to see children laughing out loud in all the places that I hoped they would.

I love to capture the hearts and imaginations of children as they identify with the characters in my book.

And most of all, I love to see children inspired.

When I stand up in a school assembly hall talking to hundreds of children at once about my journey becoming an author, I see hundreds of eyes gazing back at me filled with excitement.  Excitement that they too could write a book one day.  They too could use the imagination that is so wonderful at their young age and start writing their ideas down now.

I tell them about my illustrator Elisabeth Barrett and how she started drawing when she was still in school.  I make them believe in themselves that they too could become illustrators one day if that is something they enjoy.

I inspire the children to read by telling them that there is no such thing as a child who doesn’t like to read, they just haven’t found the right book yet.  I encourage them to persevere with the school books they bring home as even though they may not be the most exciting at times, they will help them get to the place where they can get lost in the world of a book that they love.

I vow to carry on visiting schools and giving author talks and motivating children as if just one child is inspired by what I have to say then it is totally worth it.