Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting OXFORD NEWS to 80360 or email us
'Urge to read driven by our own curiosity'
6:00pm Saturday 29th September 2012 in News
Mini Grey, right, was given her name after being born in a Mini in a car park in Newport, Wales. She worked as a primary school teacher in Oxford, where she now lives.
Her books include Egg Drop, The Pea and the Princess (shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal), Biscuit Bear (winner of the Nestlé Children's Book Prize Gold Award), and Traction Man is Here (winner of the Boston Horn Book Award). Her latest book is Toys in Space.
What was your favourite book when you were small and why did you love it?
The very first book I owned was One Fish Two Fish by Dr Seuss. I was about five and I bought it at a jumble sale. Opening this book was like discovering a parallel universe, with different bizarre and eccentric creatures on every page. I still have a copy and I think I know the words by heart.
Which children’s book moved you the most and why?
I have to admit – as an eight-year-old child I was besotted and obsessed with the Narnia books by CS Lewis , and was often to be found lurking near lamp-posts and wardrobes, hoping to find a way into Narnia. I thought I could possibly find a portal under my bed, but I never found anything under there except lost socks. I really wanted to meet Aslan. It seemed so much better to have a lion in charge of things than anything humanoid.
Tell me about the books you most enjoy reading to your child?
I think storytime is my favourite time of day. My son Herbie has just turned six, and for the last year or two we’ve been reading longer books at storytime. We’ve been rediscovering the classics like Winnie the Pooh and The Just So Stories, and also discovering new stuff like the Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton (which Herbie thinks are hilarious and I agree), and the brilliant books of Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart (Fergus Crane, Corby Flood, Ottoline). As long as there’s plenty of scope for funny voices, I’m happy.
Why do you believe it is important for children to read?
When you read books, the book doesn’t do all the work, your own imagination does lots of work too. You imagine being in amazing situations, and you feel what someone else would feel in those situations. But books are also the doors to finding out so much about the world. Reading is a quiet thing to do, it asks for concentration from you. But we mainly read because of the massive urge to find out what happens next, curiosity, which is another thing worth having.
What do you love about writing for children?
I make picture books, so I get to tell a story in both words and pictures. And I love the way, in picture books, you don’t have to use too many words. The pictures tell the reader so much too.
And even the very youngest children are expert readers of pictures, so the picture book can reach a really wide spread from the youngest to (hopefully) the oldest too. And I think children are quite a discerning audience, of course.
Comments are closed on this article.