Here’s an article in the Guardian by UK author Michael Morpurgo that gave me goosebumps. I’d recommend it to anyone working with children, particularly if you’re despairing over whether you’re making any headway. Miracles happen.
As a beginner-author, it’s also instructive to hear Mr Morpurgo tell of sitting at the feet of two established writers and being the ‘minnow’ of their group. He’s no minnow any more, having penned umpteen books and served as Britain’s Children’s Laureate from 2003-2005.
My god-daughter loves his books. I’m reasonably confident I know my son’s literary tastes, given I read to him almost every night. I’ll admit I didn’t think Mr Morpurgo’s stories would engage the Little Dragon (apart from Beowulf). I’m pleased to say I was wrong. The Little Dragon picked up a copy of Kaspar Prince of Cats and devoured it, rating it one of the best books he has read.
Mr Morpurgo visited Victoria a couple of years back and spoke at the State Library. He sat on stage in his cardigan and told stories with such humility and warmth it was impossible not to like him. I think he became a grandfather to everyone in the room that night – including a family who had travelled from Brisbane, from memory, in order to hear him a second time.
The HarperCollins staff hosting Mr Morpurgo introduced me to him and mentioned my first book, Game as Ned to him. He immediately asked them if a copy could be found for him so he could read it. I have no idea whether he was ever given my book and, if he was, whether he had time to read it.
I’ll always appreciate his gesture though. It made me feel like an equal for a moment or two, rather than a wannabe.
The world needs more people like Michael Morpurgo.