Local writer Lindsay Parker from Beeston has recently released a spooky children’s book with the help of her 7-year-old daughter. Here you can find out from Lindsay herself how this project came about:
As an avid writer, my ultimate goal has always been to have a book published. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this would be achieved with the help of my 7-year-old daughter! It has been such an amazing adventure and definitely something positive to come out of the unrelenting pandemic.
My daughter has struggled with reading, but persevered and was really starting to make rapid progress when the first lockdown hit. Despite best efforts all round, she had fallen behind in Year 1 and was very disheartened to start Year 2 feeling as though all that hard-earned progress had been lost.
I am sure that everyone can remember the sinking feeling as the lockdown of January 2021 was announced. Tears and tantrums aplenty! The children didn’t seem too thrilled about it either…
It was a very challenging couple of months. My daughter had no motivation and we both got frustrated regularly. I wanted desperately to maintain the momentum of the autumn term, but I don’t have the training and experience of an Early Years Teacher and they don’t bring a vibrant 2-year-old, a load of washing and dinner prep to the lessons. Still, you work with what you have got. The school went the extra mile to provide structured tutorials and resources to support home learning. I am so very grateful for their fantastic support.
One homeschooling activity was to tell a story in 8 pictures with no words. My daughter loves art and has a great imagination. I took this opportunity to leave her to it and take a much-needed break whilst my youngest napped. I was genuinely impressed by the work she produced.
Her storyboard was so good that I decided to write it for her and we made a little book together. She was excited to show her teacher once schools were able to go back. To my surprise, her teacher read it to the whole class at story time! My daughter proudly announced that NOBODY had been talking – I assume this is a rare thing! She asked me if people would be able to buy her book in the shops now!!
On a whim, I decided to look into getting the book published. What is the worst that can happen? Most manuscripts are rejected so to find out that the book would be reviewed at an Editorial meeting was very exciting. It was proof that my daughter had a good idea and I wanted her to appreciate that. Thereafter was a journey into the unknown for both of us.
I was fortunate enough to be put in touch with a very talented Illustrator through a friend of a friend. Olivia (pictured below) submitted draft illustrations that absolutely matched our vision for Pumpkin.
Pumpkin’s Halloween is a short story, aimed primarily at infant school children, acknowledging feelings of fear and anxiety in unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations. The characters are childlike and friendly and really only want Pumpkin to join in the fun. He isn’t quite ready and is finding it all a bit overwhelming. Maybe he just needs a little time to find his inner strength?
The story can be interpreted in several different ways. Things are not always as scary as they first appear. Then again, taking a little time-out in a safe space can be necessary to process our feelings. Sometimes we need a little encouragement to find the strength within us. It is naturally relatable because I suppose my daughter was projecting herself in the story.
I will never forget the look on my little girl’s face as she held the finished book in her hands. Without her idea, this book would not exist. I think it is really important to bear in mind that we have different skills and talents, and that all of these are equally important in the creative process. I hope the experience of publishing a book will continue to inspire her in Year 3 and beyond.
If you would like to pick up your own copy of Pumpkin’s Halloween, it’s available on Amazon and most bookshops.