💫😃✨ Create, Creation, Competition! ✨😃💫

Well, it’s been a week of creativity in the wonderful world of ‘Whimsy Wood’. 😊 I was fortunate enough to attend an authors’ masterclass last Saturday, which was run by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). This was held in the Theodore Bullfrog Pub in Charing Cross, London, and we were put through our ‘writing paces’ so-to-speak by Beverley Birch, children’s author extraordinaire and editor. She is the author of ‘Rift’ and ‘Night Of The Fire Lilies’ to name just a few of her children’s books, and she’s been in children’s publishing since joining Penguin in 1975.

Needless to say, it was a really insightful course, where I learnt a lot from both Beverley and indeed the other authors attending. Writing can be quite a solitary occupation, so it’s great to unleash myself from my writing desk occasionally, and sit amongst like-minded folk. I’d probably even say that I find it therapeutic! 😃 I’m certainly looking forward to attending the SCBWI’s annual conference at Winchester University, on Saturday November the 21st and Sunday November the 22nd. If you would like more information regarding this cracking conference or the SCBWI, then please click on this link :- https://britishisles.scbwi.org

Not only have I been stretching myself in the ‘create stakes’ with the authors’ masterclass, but work has started on the creation of a ‘Whimsy Wood’ website! Oh yes, my good friends and ‘Whimsy Wood’ fans! Hopefully, by the end of this year, there’ll be an all-singing, all-dancing ‘Whimsy Wood’ website, jam-packed with inside information and ‘behind the scenes’ images. I really can’t wait! 😉😃

Finally, this brings me on to our latest ‘Whimsy Wood’ competition! I’m sure most of you are aware that it is now half-term! There is no school-run traffic on the roads, and I for one am enjoying not having to set the alarm clock for the daily morning wrestle with my 3 children, as I jolly them through the monotonous tasks of getting dressed, having breakfast and dashing to school! What else could we possibly do to celebrate this autumnal half-term, than to run a competition?!

'Posie Pixie' off on another exciting adventure in 'Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic'!
‘Posie Pixie’ off on another exciting adventure in ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’!

This time, there are signed copies of my 3rd ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s book, ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’, up for grabs! This competition ends at midnight on Tuesday October the 27th. All you have to do is ‘like’ the ‘Whimsy Wood’ Facebook page, or follow ‘Whimsy Wood’ on Twitter and ‘like’ and ‘share’ the competition post or retweet it. Please see the relevant ‘Whimsy Wood’ Facebook and Twitter links below to enter. Good luck! 😉 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Whimsy-Wood-Series/476339045765043?ref=hl

https://twitter.com/WhimsyWood

If you’re not familiar with ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’, my 3rd ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s book, then please let me explain. ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’ is written for the marvellous month of October, so it’s brimming with blackberries, beech nuts and all things autumnal! You’ll meet some naughty ants, ‘Raspberry Rabbit’ and ‘Mrs Spottisdowne the sparrow’, along with ‘Posie Pixie’ and her best friend ‘Wibble Woodlouse’ of course! If you’re looking for a delightful children’s book this autumn, then here it is! 😊

'Raspberry Rabbit' out for an afternoon hop in 'Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic'. 😊
‘Raspberry Rabbit’ out for an afternoon hop in ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’. 😊

To tempt you even more, here is a wee extract from ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’, winner of the 5 Star Readers Favourite award:-

….”Wow, Wibble!” said Posie Pixie to Wibble Woodlouse, as they wandered through Whimsy Wood one damp October afternoon. “There’s heaps of scrummy blackberries over there!” Posie said excitedly, whilst pointing to some blackberry bushes that she’d spotted by the woodland’s edge.

“Squeak, squeak, squeak-squeak,” replied Wibble, as she scuttled and rustled through the colourful autumn leaves. ……..

I wonder where ‘Wibble Woodlouse’ is off to? ‘The Woodland Store’ perhaps? Or will she go blackberry picking with Posie? I couldn’t possibly tell you of course! No, you’ll just have to read ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’ for yourself! 😃

Instead, I’ll leave you with a few reviews of ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’. 😊
“Think of the best bits from Enid Blyton’s fantastical stories for very young children.” Chopsy-Baby, UK online parenting magazine.

“I love the Posie Pixie books! I really like reading about the nature in the forest and the colours that you can find there.” Freddie Lea aged 6 yrs.

“This engaging tale of the Whimsy Wood folk and their merry antics, will enchant children and transport them into the world of make-believe!” Mrs Carol Clough, Headteacher at Crockerton and Heytesbury Primary Schools, Wiltshire.

Wishing you all a wonderfully whimsical weekend,

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series. 😊

 

 

 

 

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The Read Aloud Revival

A Homeschool Mom

RAR-Banner1In our home we do a lot of reading. In fact, if you see my children without a book I would be surprised. Since birth our children have been taught the value of reading. We read to them before they could hold their heads up, taught them to read at the earliest age possible, visit the library religiously, and are constantly encouraging great reads that come to our attention.

When our children were much littler we did a lot of reading together. But, over the years and as they’ve developed their own reading skills, we seem to be doing less and less reading together. Oh, sure; I read at them. History and science always include a little reading. But, reading for the sake of reading – reading for pleasure and discussion – somehow seem to pass us by.

Especially with our older children, I’ve noticed the tendency to pass along book…

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🎁😊🎁 It’s All About Giving 🎁😊🎁

This morning was my daughters’ school harvest festival in our local village church. We live in Wiltshire, in the wee hamlet of Seend Cleeve (which happens to have 2 pubs, so for a small place it certainly has its priorities right!) The church in question, where this seasonal service was held, is in the spectacular village of Seend. The Church Of The Holy Cross (for this is its name) is a truly beautiful and historic church, tucked away down a quiet lane.

Inside the church this morning was a large table, filled with food donations from all the school children and their families, as part of the harvest service. This food will go to the local food bank and the splendid service itself, reminded me of the importance of giving to everyone and everything around us.

With this in mind and the thought of food and what traditionally used to be taken to harvest festivals years ago – I distinctly remember taking courgettes, marrows and a rather large pumpkin, to my own school harvest festival many moons ago! I thought I’d share with you a vegetable poem, that is one of my children’s favourites!

Where Broccoli Comes From – by Michael Rosen

Not many people know                                                                     that broccoli grows in the armpits                                                      of very big green men                                                                      who live in the forest                                                                         and brave broccoli cutters                                                                  go deep into the forests                                                                    and they creep up on the                                                                   very big green men.

They wait for the                                                                               very big green men                                                                              to fall asleep                                                                                     and the broccoli cutters                                                                      get out their                                                                                     great big broccoli razors                                                                   and they shave the armpits                                                                  of the very big green men.

And that’s where broccoli comes from.                                             Not many people know that.                                                             Just thought I’d let you know. 😃

With the same ‘giving’ theme and after numerous requests of hard back versions of my 1st 7 ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books, Abela Publishing (who have published my books to date) are indeed releasing hard back copies! Here is the front cover of the proof copy of ‘Posie Pixie And The Copper Kettle’, in its hard back form’:-

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You can now order a copy of this hard back version of my 1st ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s book, directly from the publishers:-

http://abelapublishing.com/posie-pixie-and-the-copper-kettle–book-1-in-the-whimsy-wood-series–hardback_p31204951.htm

If the front cover hasn’t tempted you, then please check out its back cover! 😃

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Finally, on the subject of giving, I decided to donate copies of ‘Posie Pixie And The Christmas Tree’, ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’ and ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’ (books 5, 6 and 7 respectively in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ series) to our local libraries this week. They already had copies of my 1st 4 ‘Whimsy Wood’ books, so it only seemed right to donate the rest of this 1st whimsical children’s set. 😊

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Donating copies of my 5th, 6th and 7th ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s books to Wiltshire Libraries 😊

Well, that’s me done on here for this week, so I’ll bid you farewell and wish you a wonderfully whimsical day! 😉

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series.

😃👻🐉 Story Monsters Galore! 🐉👻😃

This week, in the wonderful world of ‘Whimsy Wood’, it’s all been about the ‘Story Monster’ magazine produced by Five Star Publications. I’m thrilled to tell you that ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’, my 3rd ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s book, is listed in their ‘Reading Guide’ section for their October edition! 😃 Please click on the link below and scroll to p24, where you’ll find all the children’s books that are recommended as great reads for this month! 😉😊 http://www.fivestarpublications.net/storymonsters_dir/pdf/story-monsters-ink-october-2015.pdf

The fabulous front cover of 'Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic'. 😊
The fabulous front cover of ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’. 😊

For those of you who aren’t aware about my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series, (shame on you!) every delightfully descriptive book is written for a specific month in the calendar, so the flora and fauna within this magical wood, change as you read through the series. ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’ is of course written for the awesome month of October, so it’s brimming with blackberries and beech nuts, conkers and crabapples, to name but a few autumnal items! You’ll meet some naughty ants, Raspberry Rabbit and Mrs Spottisdowne the sparrow, along with Posie Pixie and her best friend Wibble Woodlouse of course! Raspberry Rabbit is up to her usual recycling antics in ‘Whimsy Wood’, while Mrs Spottisdowne helps Posie when she gets herself in a right old tangle! 😃

‘Chopsy-Baby’, a UK online parenting magazine, has reviewed ‘Posie Pixie And The Torn Tunic’ and their comments on my 3rd ‘Whimsy Wood’ book are:- “Think of the best bits from Enid Blyton’s fantastical stories for very young children.” So if you’re looking for an amazing autumnal read this October for 5-8 year olds, then this could be the book for you! 😉😊 http://abelapublishing.com/posie-pixie-and-the-torn-tunic–book-3-in-the-whimsy-wood-series_p27279806.htm

Finally, I’m jolly excited to tell you that ‘Posie Pixie And The Snowstorm’ and ‘Posie Pixie And The Pancakes’, books 6 and 7 in my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series, have been entered into the ‘Royal Dragonfly Awards’, sponsored by Five Star Publications! These awards recognise authors in all types of literature, from children’s to adult,  fiction to non-fiction. There are 62 categories in this prestigious competition and if you would like more information regarding the ‘Royal Dragonfly Awards’, or Five Star Publications, then please click on this link. 😊 http://www.fivestarpublications.com/bookcontest/rd_book_contest.html

Well, it’s time for me to attempt to look busy and creative elsewhere! So I’ll bid you a fond farewell and wish you a wonderfully whimsical day. 😃✨

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of ‘The Whimsy Wood Series’.

😧🐛🐞🐝 Woodland Words Vanish From Oxford Junior Dictionary! 🐝🐞🐛 😧

“Woah!?! What did you say?” I hear you cry with incredulity. Yes, I was shocked and horrified too, when I read an article in the Autumn edition of the National Trust magazine recently.  This article, titled ‘A Word To The Wild’ written by author Robert Macfarlane, detailed the loss of many much-loved and valuable natural words from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

Front cover of the Autumn edition of the National Trust magazine 2015
Front cover of the Autumn edition of the National Trust magazine 2015

Back in 2007, Oxford University Press chose to remove the following words from a brand new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary :-acorn, adder, ash, beech, bluebell, buttercup, conker, cowslip, crocus, cygnet, dandelion, fern, gorse, hazel, heather, heron, horse chestnut, ivy, kingfisher,lark, minnow, newt, otter, pasture, poppy, starling, sycamore, wren and willow. I must confess I was in utter disbelief as I continued to read this revealing article.

These wonderful woodland words had been removed, because astonishingly, they were considered as being irrelevant to children in this day and age….! In their place, in this new edition aimed at seven to nine year olds, are :- attachment, block-graph, blog, broadband, bullet-point, celebrity, chatroom, committee, compulsory, cut-and-paste, MP3 player and voice-mail. No, I’m not kidding. 😔

Good grief! Was my initial reaction. In fact, to be completely truthful, my actual words after discovering this information were far stronger than that! However, we can’t be posting naughty, rude words here and I’m sure you get the picture! 😉😃 Once I’d got over my outrage, I then started thinking about how I could help. The aims of my ‘Whimsy Wood’ children’s series for 5-8 year olds are to ignite imaginations and engage children more with nature. With this in mind, I decided to contact the National Trust magazine directly. If you are as shocked as I was, or would like more information regarding this article, then please click on this link :- http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/what-we-do/big-issues/nature-and-outdoors/natural-childhood/

With magazine articles as the subject of this week’s ‘Whimsy Wood’ blog post, I’m delighted to say that I’ve been chosen (along with 5 other writers) to be a contributor for US on-line parenting magazine the ‘MommyEffect’! All sorts of topics are covered in this marvellous magazine, from lifestyle to product reviews, beauty and style to food and drink. So for anything pertaining to family-life and parenting, please pop over and see us on the ‘Mommy Effect’! 😉😊 http://mommyeffect.com

Well, that’s all from me for this week. Wishing you a wonderfully whimsical early weekend (Friday’s nearly here – hurray!) 😃

Sarah Hill, children’s author and creator of The Whimsy Wood Series.