We may be nearing the end of National Share A Story Month but there are still some brilliant blogs to read! Today’s blog is written by Derek Keilty about his series Flyntlock Bones!
Sail Away in a Story
Ahoy there, me hearties! May is National Share a Story Month- a celebration of stories and reading that promotes reading to children and young people and celebrates how powerful storytelling can be. I especially love this year’s theme of ‘Sail Away in a Story’, as in my Flyntlock Bones books my swashbuckling pirates really do sail away in a story, all the way to the seven seas, aboard the Black Hound. When young Flynn answers an ad for a cabin boy he has no idea he is about to hoist anchor with a ship full of pirates, though luckily my pirates are a bit different from your normal treasure looting, scourge of the seas type pirates- it’s clues they’re after, not treasure!
I believe that sharing stories is so important, especially with the many distractions of today’s digital age, and the difficulties this can present to parents, librarians and educatorswhen trying to promote reading. It’s essential that weencourage children to set down their screens for a bit, and instead pick up a book and get lost in the story. As well as being fun there are a whole host of other benefits it can bringlike developing language skills while teaching empathy, and understanding of different people and places. And readingstories aloud to children has a barrel full of benefits. Giving them your full attention tells them they matter but also builds self-esteem, vocabulary, feeds imagination and even improvesbonding and listening skills.
When I’m writing, I am right there in the thick of the storywith the characters, whisked away with them on the adventure. Of course the best part is getting published. A great privilege, and I can’t think of a better job. It’s nice knowingthat by inviting children into the world of your characters you’re helping develop the skills mentioned above. Good characters are a must, as I tell pupils during my creative writing workshops around primary schools here in Northern Ireland. It’s very rewarding getting the children to transport their minds to faraway lands and live the lives of the characters they create during the workshop. Hopefully I can inspire them to not just keep reading but also to write stories of their own.
I think magical stories are a great way to keep young children reading and I’m having a cauldron full of fun scribbling my brand-new series of Ivy Newt books. I’ve always wanted to write a book about magic. When I was young some of my favourite books were The Witches by Roald Dahl, The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis. I also loved watching movies like Hocus Pocus and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. So, last year, I decided to have a go penning my own magic book and began to write about Ivy Newt, a lovable yet unstoppable young ‘Sand Witch’ from the strange and mysterious land of Miracula whose royal parents disappear in a spectacular spell-gone-wrong. It’s up to Ivy and her friend and familiar Tom wolf (who can shape-shift into a boy) to journey across Miracula to find them. So, I might’ve dropped anchor on my pirate stories but only to invite children to grab a broomstick and, this time, fly away in a story!
Have a fantastic NSSM everyone!
Flyntlock Bones is published by Scallywag Press and all are available now.