Writing and reading to an exclusive audience

Readers of this blog might have noticed the Little Dragon and I are huge fans of Sandy Fussell’s Samurai Kids series. As is often the case, knowing the inspiration for a story can make the actual stories even more engaging.

Here’s the skinny on Sandy’s stories from Book Chook. It tells how Sandy started writing because she wanted books her sons would read. Sounds like mighty fine motivation to me.

I’ve been lucky thus far that the Little Dragon is a keen reader. (His personal preference is for manga and other graphic novels.) I read to him almost every night and, apart from Sandy’s series, we’ve ripped through the Harry Potter tomes (I skipped the adverbs to save time), The Hobbit, the excellent Skulduggery Pleasant books and various others. On the go now are Howl’s Moving Castle and Emily the Strange: The Lost Days. We’ll probably do Neil Gaimain’s The Graveyard Book soon because a) I’ve read it and it’s far less scary than Coraline and b) the Little Dragon has a taste for horror that can’t be explained by his immediate gene-pool.

For me, the best bit about reading aloud, apart from encouraging a love of story, is that the text takes on new meanings. My son also helps me see humour and nuances I might not have picked up. By way of example, he thinks Gandalf is hilarious.

The Little Monkey is pre-reading but seems equally keen. She insists on “silent reading” after we read to her and often stacks picture books on her bed that thunder to the floor when she falls asleep. Her favourites include Amy & Louis, the Gruffalo books, Milly Molly Mandy (who’d have thought these quaint stories my Mum read as a child would have such a shelf-life?), Roger Hargreaves’ Mr and Little Miss tales … and anything containing babies.

As for writing for the kids, the Little Dragon is most impatient for me to write something suitable for him to read. Five Parts Dead will be closer to the mark than Game as Ned but still not ideal. I do have a few ideas … but lack the time to write them down right now. One day.

3 thoughts on “Writing and reading to an exclusive audience”

  1. I love knowing the story behind the story, so to speak. You are right, it adds a whole different element to the text.

    Gryffin and I have read through alot of the same books as you and your Little Dragon and for some inexplicable reason, Gryffin loved Smeegle?! Perhaps it was the voice I used?

    Have you seen Traction Man by Mini Grey? It is still Gryffin’s favourite picture book and perhaps mine and when read aloud in a campy radio announcers voice it becomes even more hilarious! I think your Little Monkey might also enjoy Penguin, by Penny Dunbar, it has a baby and a penguin and a blue lion and it is wonderful!

    The Graveyard Book is awesome, Neil Gaiman completely deserved that Newbury Medal 🙂

  2. Oh! Speaking of backstories before I go and in relation to your Little Dragons request for you to write a story he can enjoy, here is a similar story.

    Stephen King’s daughter was always lamenting that she wasnt allowed to read his stories and asked him one day to write a story she could enjoy. He wrote The Eyes Of The Dragon. It is MAGNIFICENT, and Gryffin and I loved reading this one together. I think you and your Little Dragon would really get a kick out of that one!

  3. Thanks Tye. Some homework for me there. Might do a library expedition today to look for some of those. And good to know I’m not the only daggy parent that does the voices. Sometimes the Little Dragon will say to me, “Wrong voice Dad. That’s not Hagrid” (or whoever). T

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