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children’s books

My Experience of the Publishing Project

May 11th, 2015 by Sarah Elizabeth Webster | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on My Experience of the Publishing Project
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Pic for BlogSarah Webster reports on the creation of her Publishing Project:

For the Publishing Project module I produced a complete and finished Children’s Fiction title, aimed at 7-9 year olds, called Samson The Super Dog. To give a brief synopsis of my book, it is about an Italian Newfoundland lifeguard dog called Samson who works on the Cornish beaches, rescues a casualty and is awarded a medal for bravery by the Queen. It’s designed to educate children about open water safety, especially about the different beach flags and the risks of currents and tides all of which is something really close to my heart as an ex pool-lifeguard and TA in lifesaving. It is also a tribute to the real dogs who do this job year in year out in Italy and Spain, and is a particular tribute to Bilbo, the Cornish lifeguard dog, who is my personal hero and pin-up Newfie. In fact, Bilbo is so famous with his own website, social media, news and press coverage, and BBC footage, he even has his own published biography, and I was therefore obliged to seek copyright permissions from the author and his wonderful owner, Mr Jamieson. My dialogue with him not only fuelled my enthusiasm for this project but was also another invaluable opportunity of understanding and practically going about seeking rights and permissions, one of many real-world tasks involved in producing a new title for publication, and one of many new things I can now say I have accomplished because of the publishing project.

Indeed, prior to this course I had never used InDesign or Photoshop or had to engage with professional printers or devise a marketing plan. And although I have illustrated my project from cover to cover, I have no official art qualifications. But this short book in my hand has involved all of these different skills and tasks, of which I felt previously deficient, but now feel I’m equipped with to pursue my career in the industry.

One of the things that most attracted me to this particular University programme was the combination of practical and academic application, teaching and assessment that was on offer. The idea of producing a physical publishing product that I could literally hold in my hands and show to future employers as a demonstration of my practical skill set across a wide range of areas really appealed to me. I think it’s fair to say that the publishing project process has satisfied the desires and expectations I had and has been hugely rewarding.

I feel really satisfied that I’ve been able to carry out every stage of the process myself from concept to creation. It is something that prior to this course I couldn’t have done on my own, but thanks to the teaching and support provided here at Stirling, I have accomplished.

I think each and everyone of us on the course at Stirling are proud of our projects and what we have achieved. Thus, it leaves me to simply reiterate how much I, personally, have enjoyed creating this little book.

 

 

Aidan Moffat and the Lavender Blue Dress

November 17th, 2014 by Lara Gascón | Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Aidan Moffat and the Lavender Blue Dress
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On Saturday November 15th, the acclaimed Scottish singer-songwriter Aidan Moffat was in Waterstone’s Bookseller located at Stirling Thistle Marches Shopping Centre as part of the promotional tour of his first children’s book, The Lavender Blue Dress. It has been published by Cargo Publishing in time for Christmas so if you lack of ideas, this books could be a nice present for young children. The book is beautifully crafted with art by award winning illustrator Emmeline Pidgen and a removable double sided dust jacket with a ‘cut out and play’ paper doll. The book also includes a CD with the book read by Aidan and music by Bill.

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The event started at 3pm and finished twenty minutes after. Even if it was not the most crowded book launch event I’ve ever attended, Moffat approached the few children that were in the bookstore, getting down to their level by setting on the floor. Then, he started to read the book. The kids listened to him, completely, attentively and in silence. There was a little girl that seemed particularly captivated bythe author’s words; eyes wide open, looking at the illustrations of the book while she played incessantly with the curls of her blond hair.

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After the reading, the author got up and went sitting on a chair for signing copies of the book. Most of the people that were queuing were fans that bought the book because they wanted to have the opportunity to talking with the composer. The rest were parents that offered the book to their kids, but also wanted author’s signature and dedication. And the fact is that, as usually happens, the author’s personal brand seams to attract more customers than the book itself.

Even if Aidan Moffat is a long way from celebrities that are launching children’s books with the help of ghost-writers, is undeniable that being previously known as a singer catches the attention of future readers. I myself wanted to know more about what could have been the result of this book after knowing that the author was best known for writing songs about sex, drugs and death. “So please just ignore all the moods and the maybes, lift up your skirt and I’ll fill you with babies”, sings the singer that is writing for kids.

However, Aidan has crafted a sweet and heart-warming tale of family, friendship and the really important things in life. But he didn’t do it alone. Moffat told the media that the story was based on a tale he heard as a child:

The Lavender Blue Dress is a story my grandfather used to tell me and my cousins,” he said. “I used to spend every weekend at my grandparents’ and it was a story he told regularly. A few years ago I wrote it down and put it together as a story which I occasionally read live at gigs. I don’t know where my Papa got the story – I think he made it up. It was very simple and I’ve embellished it a bit.”

The Lavender Blue Dress tells the story of Mabel, a little girl who wants nothing more than a beautiful dress to wear to the Christmas ball. The crux of the story is that the family can’t afford the dress in question so they make it for the girl. As the author explains, it’s very much a story about love, and about love being more important than material items.

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You can view the teaser trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46ImRXMQP7I

Moffat says that he would like to publish further children’s books if The Lavender Blue Dress is well received, there’s a second one that he has finished and he has ideas for a couple more:

“The second one is about how to cope with your parents arguing, which I can imagine is something
every child has to deal with.”

Personally, I really like the moral background of the book. I have always thought that children’s books are a basic tool to teach and reinforce kids’ essential values as sharing, helping, being kind…And as I could confirm, Aidan Moffat can transmit this ideas in a charming piece, with catching and lovely illustrations that bring author’s words to life.

Source: Cowing, Emma, “Arab Strap singer Aidan Moffat pens children’s book”, The Scotsman, http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/books/arab-strap-singer-aidan-moffat-pens-children-s-book-1-3191767, November 17, 2013