Martin on the joy of kids books

I’m aglow about books this week. (You might think that since I work in publishing I should be in this state every week but far from it.) My inner light is all about kids connecting with books – my kids and Affirm Press’s new kids list, though not necessarily one with the other.

Today we officially launch the Olive Black series by Alex Miles. We have two books about Olive, a spunky, ten-year-old movie star who always seems to be getting into scrapes mirroring her movies. It has been a joy watching the delightful world of Olive come together through the words of author Alex Miles, the art of Maude Guesne, and the direction of commissioning editor Clair Hume –congrats all!

Kids publishing is so much fun we’re finding. After a rather comical first foray into this category (we’re ‘too cool’ to mention that disaster), Keiran and I could not be happier to have Clair Hume steering our kids list, enthusiastically assisted since last week by the equally passionate and skilful senior editor Davina Bell (what a team!)

I’ve got 8-year-old twin girls and it’s been a joy to engage with them over the Olive Black books and other titles we’ve got coming – the first time in my career when it has, indubitably, been a good idea to take work home. Molly and Willow are so excited about the Olive Black series, not least because they had the privilege of being ‘the first kids in Australia’ to read Book 3 (being ‘the first’ is critically important – they check that fact every second day) and they think they will be famous when their endorsements appear on the back of the new book in July.

My kids are devouring series at the moment, and we can barely keep up with their demand (to read every book in the series and in order – retailers, please take note!). Books are the one spend we never skimp on, as I expect is the case in many families. Molly and Willow know they will be the last kids in their friendship circle to get an iPad (I’ve told them often enough), and this has helped cultivate a love for books that I’m sure will bring them joy all their lives. And their enthusiasm is so pure that it buoys my spirit; I’m almost envious about their relationship with books.

It’s especially satisfying because one of my girls was a reluctant and not-very-confident reader this time last year. Last night, and here’s the reason for my indulgent post, we had ‘a moment’. Winding down in bed with her latest acquisition from the Clementine Rose series (onyas Random House Australia), my daughter discovered her first poem (as in on her own, and one she appreciated). She ran out to us squealing with delight and keen to share it.

My wife and I were milling around the bathroom beard-trimming, moisturising and trying to have a wee (no prizes for matching the activity with the person) but the excitement that filled the room forced us to stop and savour the moment. She recited the gorgeous (and quite long) poem, ‘Bitten by the Bug’ at the end of Clementine Rose and the Famous Friend.  You can imagine how the poem goes, and I just wanted to recommend it to you and share the last verse (assuming permission – thanks RHA). Picture it being delivered by a slightly bashful but giddily excited and beaming little girl, and you’ll know how we felt.

The clever bug went on his way

And now I’m reading every day

He’s right, you know, I’m on the hook

There’s nothing better than a book

2017-04-28T14:39:45+00:00 April 28th, 2017|