Monday, 22 September 2014

Meet Children's Authors (previously a part of Blogging from the Heart Tour)

Since I decided to brave the world of online social media a month or so ago, I've had the pleasure of coming across so many other writers, children's authors, illustrators and book lovers in general. Last week author Lisa Cullen included me in her Blogging From the Heart Tour post. This week my post here follows on from that, though the ongoing blogging tour is nearing an end. But please go over to Lisa's blog and read about her and discover her "stories filled with adventure and CAPERBILITY". She is an inspirational author, creator of Ability Kids and the amazing K-9 Agency series for children. 

I'd like to introduce you to two other authors: 

Angela Henderson

Angela Henderson lives in Dallas, Texas and her love for books is simply contagious. Angela gained her degree in Secondary School English Education and taught middle grade school. In addition, she coached writing groups.

"Helping my students develop their skills and creativity was a wonderful preview of the delight waiting for me in discovering and drawing out my own children's imaginations" Angela Henderson.


Angela has set up a wonderful blog called KidBooks Friends where she writes about other authors, inviting them to be KidsBook Friends Feature Authors. It's a brilliant place to find out about other authors and discover their books. There is also a very useful list of titles. An inspiring resource which I really recommend. It's a must-look for any parent, teacher, anyone working with children and for book lovers in general. With new themes each week a recent one was Keeping Kids Moving. The post draws out and brings alive the fun activity ideas from Eric Carle's From Head to Toe, showing how to use the ideas with your child. Visit KidsBook Friends here

Angela's first book for children has the amazing title Isaac's Ice Cream Tree. I have to have a copy! I'll need to be patient though, because she is working on this title again and presenting it to publishers along with other titles she has written with, or inspired by her children.  

As I said, Angela doesn't keep her love for children's books to herself and her own three children are definite story lovers. They make frequent trips to the library and name cuddly toys after their favourite story characters. That's a fantastic idea.

Angela's husband also writes, based on his knowledge and experience of psychology. 

The initial self-published edition of Isaac's Ice Cream Tree on the library shelves, with Angela and her son.

Helping our children develop a love for stories is important with far-reaching effects. Sharing stories together is nurturing to children and enhances their communication, social and literacy skills. KidsBook Friends recognises this, bringing super books and ideas to our attention.
Visit Angela's facebook page at

Carolin Palmer

Carolin Palmer leads an equally impressive and creative life. She says children have been her life, with nine of her own, sixteen grandchildren and several adopted children too. She must have enviable reserves of energy and patience.
Carolin began writing four years ago. She had asked a magazine if they were accepting submissions of artwork. They replied no, but asked if she was a writer too. Naturally, Carolin saw her opportunity and said yes. And hasn't looked back since. She has written stories about growing up in Truro, Nova Scotia and now has a children's book in progress too, called Fairy FindersThree - promoting confidence building in children. Her past achievements have included contributions for an upcoming poetry book, a campaign for Save The Frogs and pet horoscopes. Carolin writes extensively online, facebook pages and has her own site at

Carolin's youngest child has autism and this has motivated much of her writing. She has a passion for spreading awareness and understanding of this often much misunderstood wide spectrum of disorders. Her past books have included titles on bringing up a child with autism.

"I believe strongly in the purity of people no matter how they appear. We are a product of life, not always choice," says Carolin.

As an artist as well, Carolin has produced many impressive and lovely pieces. Carolin is an inspiration to me, not just because of her ability to give to and think of others, to write and paint, but because she has an inner determination to persevere despite a health condition of her own that could leave her without speech..

"I have a voice no matter the outcome, because I have my pen. Not only am I able to speak, I have gotten others to listen to me. Now I can only hope to give others a voice through my writing." Carolin Palmer.

Go to Carolin's creative outlet here
and her facebook page here

I'm looking forward to reading more about Angela Henderson and Carolin Palmer on their own blogs/sites. I really want to know lots more about them! 

Lastly, my own adventures with writing!

I always loved listening to stories, reading and then creating my own stories from a young age. Something inside my soul has always said "Write!" and when I do I'm being myself and at my most fulfilled. I had an older sister with developmental and mental health difficulties. My idea of normal probably wasn't the same as other people's normal then! I was also a quiet, introverted child, so it was easy for me to escape into the world of stories.

I wrote throughout my growing up years and had some stories published in a magazine when I was nineteen - a serial about a disabled girl. After getting my degree in Publishing and English Literature and working here and there for a bit I met my lovely clever, quiet, deep-thinking guy (yes, he'll be reading this!). It was some years later when one of our children was having difficulties, that we discovered the high-functioning autism, asperger's syndrome characteristics in my husband's family. I knew little about autism spectrum disorders - but learned fast.

Before this I'd been over the moon to be taken on for a few years by a literary agent and have my first children's books published. I retrained as an early years practitioner. For some years I held Little Chestnuts sessions: nurturing small group story, rhyme and language time sessions in preschools and nursery classes. 

I used puppets, rhymes, stories and language games in Little Chestnuts sessions!

I wrote three non-fiction books for parents etc about dealing with autism and asperger's syndrome in the family and a preschool education book.

My real love was always writing for children and so two years ago I set out on my quest to produce stories and resources for all children from preschool to twelve that promote and encourage friendship, kindness, understanding and acceptance of differences or disabilities: Strawberry Jam Books. It started as a website of free stories and resources and is now evolving into paperback versions of some titles too. 
My son Richard Hawkes draws and creates
lots of the illustrations.

The idea is that the stories are normal, fun stories that just happen to have heroes/heroines or other characters who just happen to have disabilities. No big deal is made of this (though some titles for older children deal with issues more) - in the same way that no big deal would be made of someone having size four feet or eyes of a particular colour.

This year, as part of Strawberry Jam Books, I'm launching The Friendship Adventure project for primary schools and children's groups: story-themed activities that help children learn about themselves and others, value their own and others' uniqueness and understand differences, disabilities etc. 


I'm passionate about fairness and understanding for children or anyone who has to live with disability or difficulties. AND for fairness and understanding for siblings, children or partners living with others who have those difficulties and who cope on a daily basis. 

One thing I have learnt is that we are all different. There is no 'normal'. Our lives and experiences are all different. And if we could all accept, value and understand all our much needed differences, then our beautiful world would go around so much more easily.

We'd also find that in our similarities we are not so different after all.

 Please visit Strawberry Jam Books website

and you can find me on facebook and twitter