Writer and publisher of books for children

Monday, 29 September 2008


I know! It has been ages. I have been mega busy trying to get my website fully functional and having very limited success. In my next life I will come back as a webmaster who actually cares about my customers. I am bound to be successful! I am sure I am not the only person who has to rely on the 'professionals' to sort out websites only to find that as soon as money is handed over the enthusiastic, helpful and seemingly knowledgeable techie disappears for weeks on end and then can only allocate 2 minutes per day to your job.

While I have been waiting for some action in the website department, I have been working on an article on learning styles. I thought I would get down on paper all I knew about the subject and then look at what I had come up with. Now I have not had to do any fast typing for some time and I found that my fingers and forearms tired very quickly indeed. This was quite a surprise to me. My top speed back in the day was 83 wpm and I did not even think about how my fingers were feeling. I decided to give myself a three minute speed typing test. OK, so I have not had to type in earnest for a couple of years but really - 59 wpm!! I spent the next half hour furiously typing and timing myself. By the end of 15 minutes my speed had increased to 61 wpm but my forearms were aching. I realised I would have to practise hard to get those long underused muscles back in shape. I will not rest until I hit at least 70 wpm. Not that I need to - my current activity of writing very short stories for children does not require competition typing speeds - but it is a matter of pride.

This all made me think about how tiring it must be for little children trying to do things that requires fine motor skills, such as picking up small objects, colouring in pictures without going outside the outlines or indeed attempting to write letters and numbers for the first time. It all takes practice over time to develop the muscles and hand-eye co-ordination. As adults we take all this for granted but the little ones, trying to flex their muscles, need time to develop the strength and co-ordination to accomplish such tasks. Gentle, short and playful activities must be the way for them to get match fit and ready to tackle 1, 2, 3 and A, B, C!

Can't find the dumb-bells just now but I am drawing up a fitness programme for fingers that should do the trick.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


I have recently read an exchange of views on the vexed issue of age guidance (see http://www.thebookseller.com/age-guidance for some great comments). In true Libran fashion I have been see-sawing for a while but have finally decided that there must be lots of people out there who need a bit of a steer on such issues as what sort of material might be appreciated by their 11 year old computer mad niece or whether 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' would go down well with their two year old grandchild.

If someone knows the abilities and tastes of the person they are buying for, they will more than likely choose whatever they feel would be appreciated. However, not everyone is in that position and having to spend time reading the backs of lots of novels and flicking through the contents to assess its suitability might well result in the purchase of a mobile phone holder instead. If it makes it easier for books to find their way into more hands, I am all for it.

Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that my own books have age guidances stars on them!