I’m pleased to have artist, author and humanitarian Niamh Clune pop over from across the pond to talk about her new children’s books. Niamh is an extraordinary woman with a unique flair to all she creates.
You know I prefer to interview authors and find out the story behind their stories. These books are so unique I decided to turn the blog over to Niamh so she could explain in her own special way.
Thank you, Patricia for inviting me onto your blog to talk about the launch of my new series Pa Dug & Rosie In The Garden. These little books were inspired by my granddaughter. She is inquisitive, funny, spirited, very intelligent and very mischievous.
She was two when I began this project. She is three now and has grown with the books, as they have evolved to keep pace with her! At the time, I was working with artist and author Marta Pelrine Bacon doing various projects for Plum Tree Books.
I asked her if she would do the drawings in her inimitable black and white style. I wanted only one element on the page to have a colour. I felt this would help stimulate a child’s memory. Children remember a red bow or a yellow watering can or pink or red wellies (Wellington Boots). In fact, these details seem very important to a small child ~ the beginnings of how s/he constructs a psychological sense of personhood: “I like this, I don’t like this or that. I choose this, I don’t choose that!
I am a Doctor of Psychotherapy specialising in The Imaginal Mind, but I have always been a writer. I began writing poetry when I was 12 to escape the horror of my own childhood. I have been writing since ~ everything from novels, Orange Petals in a Storm, to The Coming Of The Feminine Christ, which is about awakening the heart! It isn’t religious, but a spiritual psychology.
As I entered nana land, I was amazed at how delighted I was to be led and guided by my beautiful granddaughter. I ventured back into the world of faeries, magic and the pure delight of minute-by-minute discovery. These days, I write about the magic of very ordinary things ~ wellies, worms, bees, sunshine, rain, emotions!
I have a special relationship with my granddaughter. She is very much like me: strong-willed and determined. My Rosie character is based on her. I wrote the books all in rhyme as it is so much fun. Rhyme helps children develop a freedom with language. It stimulates an enjoyment of words. Children love onomatopoeia. I decided on two series in particular.
The first is the Rosie series – how everything in the garden serves a purpose. I think it important for children to be aware of nature. My granddaughterloves going into the garden with her Papa. He is Canadian and loves everything to do with nature. His background is in agriculture, so he knows soil science. I decided this would be a great combination: rhyme, story-telling about the magic of the ordinary, coupled with beautiful art and basic garden science. What a learning experience for a small child! In the first of the Rosie series, we are introduced to Rosie and Papa Dug, and we realise that even when it is raining, everything is a celebration. Wearing wellies solves all problems to do with splashing in the mud and having fun whilst being able to help Pa Dug in the garden. Wellingtons serve a very good purpose!
In the second story, we meet Wollee The Worm and learn how the worm brings food to the table. Rosie doesn’t believe Papa Dug at first: But standing firm, she shook her head, “Worm’s cannot do what you’ve just said. Mummy brings the food to table. Mummy, not the worm, is able.” Rosie soon discovers that the worm serves a very good purpose also and does bring food to the table!
The next in the series is Biddy The Bee! Watch this space! In another series, I am tackling the subject of helping children with their emotions. I have two more books on their way and will let you know when they are ready too!
The books can be bought directly from our web -site: www.plumtreebooks.co.uk
They are not yet available from Amazon. Thank you, Patricia!
When I listen to Niamh talk about the joys of “nana land”, I know exactly what she means. The six grandchildren in our family have brought immeasurable pleasure into our lives! Are you living the joyful life of a grandparent or is there a special grandparent in your family sharing the magic with you and your children? These books might be just the thing for quiet moments together.