Today, we are delighted to welcome Moira Butterfield, author of many non-fiction titles, including ‘The Secret Life…’ series to the FCBG blog.
Facts books – No robot thinkers here!
Moira Butterfield, author of The Secret Life…series
Is a fact book just that – a straight and possibly somewhat predictable setting out of factual material with diagrams? Not when I write one, that’s for sure! I want to dispel this idea that fact books for kids have no personality because these days that’s not the case. I give you my The Secret Life of… series, published by Happy Yak, as exhibit number one. The latest in the series is The Secret Life of Oceans, and I think it’s full of my personality and that of the artist.
My family know that on any trip I’m likely to come up with crazy questions out of nowhere, along the lines of ‘What if…”, “Why?” and “What does that mean?”.
“Well, I’ve been thinking!” is my usual reply.
It’s the same when I write. All sorts of things pop up into my thoughts and I research them.
In the case of The Secret Life of Oceans that includes how dolphins say hello, how fast sea turtles can swim and how big giant squid can grow – among many other quirky questions I’ve thought of.
It also includes varied stories that I’ve selected based on the world’s amazing trove of myths and legends – including what happened when a giant got tickled and dropped bags of salt into the ocean, what happened when a shark bully met his match and the story of a singing Cornish mermaid.
The uniqueness of my writing is in what I choose and how I think about a subject. Nobody else. Only me – and most definitely not an AI chatbot!
Luckily, I also have another powerful secret weapon to create something unique – my illustrator. In the case of The Secret Life, it’s the dreamlike vivid storybook illustration of Vivian Mineker. She has added her unique vision to the mix in all four of the books we’ve published so far in the series – including trees, bees, birds, the ocean – and a new one on bugs, currently at the printers.
Armadillo Magazine said about this series: “Each turn of the page offers something different and creative.” They got that it’s a unique mix, not a formulaic thing. They got that we made something different to everything else and it’s good.
So don’t think of today’s kid’s fact books as being devoid of creativity and personality. There are lots of unique special books out there. Look for the most beautiful and the best, by authors and illustrators who have put their all into making something great for kids. No AI here!
(Here’s a collage I recently made representing my thoughts. I am most definitely not a robot thinker!)
Moira Butterfield is an internationally- bestselling children’s author specialising in creative fact books for children with both a unique and thoroughly-researched perspective. Her series The Secret Life of…is published by Happy Yak, and has sold in many languages around the world.
Many thanks to Moira and the team at Quarto for taking part in NNFN this year. They are generously offering a bundle of books: The Secret Life of Oceans, The River that Flows Beside Me, The Story of Conservation and Home- as a giveaway to help celebrate! To enter, head over to X for all the details!