So totally thrilled by the wonderful review on the lovely Linda’s Book Bag Blog! You can read the full review on the blog here, but I can’t resist reproducing some of the (many) highlights below:
“It’s absolutely brilliant and a must read with any child who is afraid of the dark.”
“The quality of illustration in Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is outstanding. Even though many of the images need to be dark to support the text, they are still vibrant, beautiful and stunning. I loved the way so many animals feature, from domestic cats to turtles, especially as there fantastic messages about caring for the environment and the need to allow nature to experience darkness to thrive. Indeed, I think adults should read this book, never mind children, so that they can appreciate the environment more too.”
“The way the illustrations personify the dark works flawlessly.”
“The language in Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is fabulous. Not only does Peta Rainford maintain the rhyme scheme impeccably without straining the language to fit, she balances familiar and challenging language so well, meaning that the book is accessible for independent readers as well as improving their own vocabulary.”
“I’d love to see a copy of this book in every primary school in the UK. I can see so many educational and emotional benefits from reading it with and to children.”
“It’s difficult to convey what a triumph I think Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is. It’s a wonderful book and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Just buy it!”
If you would like to follow Linda’s advice, you can buy Jacob Starke Loves the Dark here.
It’s so exciting to be reminded that words and pictures created in my tiny office on the Isle of Wight can be read and appreciated by people living thousands of miles away.
I have been forwarded an email from a mum living in Canada, thanking her English friend for sending her daughter three of my books:
Ms. Peta Rainford’s stories and illustrations captivated her imagination. I appreciate Ms. Rainford’s gift in distilling the world of children through her characters and at the same time making her tales appealing to grown-ups reading the books.
All of Ms. Rainford’s characters resonated with my little one. In a way, she’s similar to Isabella and the Hairy Fairy who has such a big and kind heart. H.Fairy also dances to the beat of her own drum. When we first read Isabella, Rotten Speller, Malaya was incensed that the black cat was mean to Isabella and “sabotaged” her magic. She protested to the injustice with this rhetorical question: “Why was the black cat mean to Isabella? She didn’t do anything mean to the black cat!” Jacob’s fear of the darkness is familiar to M as well. It was only in the past year she has made the “darkness her friend” …
Anyhow, please extend Malaya’s and my appreciation of Ms. Rainford’s work! We thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you are a far-flung reader, please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you!
Nothing like a rhyming headline to perk me up in the morning – especially when it heralds the good news that a number of National Parks – Brecon Beacons, Exmoor and North York Moors – are now stocking my new rhyming picture book, Jacob Starke Loves the Dark in their shops. Woo hoo!
The reason for this, of course, is that Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is all about the dangers of light pollution and the importance of Dark Skies, and the National Parks that are stocking my book are all known for their exceptionally beautiful Dark Skies.
Exmoor National Park (where I lived for a number of years, and once walked into a hedge when trying to get home from my next door neighbour’s house at night without a torch, so I know how dark it is) and Brecon Beacons National Park are both designated as International Dark Sky Reserves, which means they have an exceptional quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment. North York Moors National Park has Dark Skies Discovery Sites at Danby and Sutton Bank National Park Centres plus Scarborough & Ryedale Astronomical Society Observatories in Dalby Forest.
So exciting to think that my book might encourage children to look at the stars from our National Parks.
Hope you like this charming video review of Jacob Starke Loves The Dark and Nonni’s Moon, by Julia Inserro and Lucy Smith.
Well, that was fun. Exhausting. But definitely a whole lot of fun.
I am just trying to get back to some kind of normal after a whirlwind couple of weeks with the Isle of Wight Literary Festival. After last week’s Schools Programme, this weekend was the Main Event: the Youth Zone, a children’s festival, with talks and workshops from a wide range of authors and illustrators; as well as spoken word performances, storytelling, junk modelling, science, rockets, exhibitions, competitions and a whole lot more. It was fab!
So pleased with the feedback from my two sessions. Great that my new book about fear of the dark and the importance of Dark Skies, Jacob Starke Loves the Dark, was so well received (phew!) and I was delighted by the woolly solar systems the children made in the workshop…
… not to mention the super superheroes that emerged from my session based on The Niggle the following day. The book, if you don’t already know, is about resilience, and the children were encouraged to find the superheroes inside themselves. I think they succeeded!
I had so much fun on Thursday and Friday, doing my second consecutive IWLF (Isle of Wight Literary Festival) Schools’ Programme; visiting four lovely primary schools over two hectic days.
My Schools’ Programme wow: The Year 1 boy at Lanesend Primary who put up his hand during my session on Jacob Starke Loves The Dark to tell me that the opposite of nocturnal is diurnal. I had never heard the word before, nor had his teacher, but she quickly Googled it and found he was right! WOW!
My Schools’ Programme aw: The Year 1 girl at Hunnyhill Primary who said: ‘I love your books. Actually I love you!’ AW!
My Schools’ Programme ahh: The teaching assistant at Newport Primary School who told me my illustrations of The Dark had made her quite emotional! (Hopefully in a good way!) AHH!
Thank you to all the primary schools that hosted me (St Thomas of Canterbury was the fourth). You all made me feel very welcome and your children were lovely!
I am very proud to be part of the IWLF Schools’ Programme. It’s a fantastic initiative: taking more than a dozen authors into more than 20 schools over two days and reaching some 5,000 children.
Next weekend it’s the IWLF Youth Zone itself and I’m currently busy preparing the craft activities for my two sessions (more on this to follow.) Tickets can be bought in advance here. Hope to see you there!
Really excited that my new book, Jacob Starke Loves The Dark has gone live!
What’s it about? Well, here’s the blurb:
Are you afraid of THE DARK? Jacob Starke is. Jacob Starke is TERRIFIED! Until, that is, he gets to meet The Dark face-to-face and shares an amazing adventure through the wonders of the night sky.
Jacob Starke Loves The Dark is a charming rhyming picture book about being brave, outer space, loving plants and animals and the importance of Dark Skies. An important environmental issue is tackled with beautiful illustrations, humour and a light touch.
Jacob Starke Loves the Dark is perfect bedtime reading for three-year-olds and over and its environmental themes provide great talking-points for older primary-aged children. It’s available to buy today on Amazon, price £6.99.
BUY IT NOW!
I am getting really excited about my two presentations at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival Youth Zone on Saturday and Sunday, 20 and 21 October. Come and see me if you can!
On Saturday. from 11.30am-12.10pm, I will be running a session on my brand new rhyming picture book, Jacob Starke Loves The Dark – and (ambitious as ever) helping the children build their own night sky (not to scale). Modestly priced tickets for the event can be purchased here.
Then on Sunday, from 12.30-1.10pm, I’ll be talking about fear and resilience, reading my book, The Niggle, and turning everyone into superheros! More information and tickets for this session can be found here.
Look forward to seeing some of you then. In the meantime, you can keep up to date with what’s going on at the IWLF Youth Zone on their Facebook Page.
I am so pleased that I got to take part in the first Isle of Wight Children’s Festival, hosted by Quay Arts and Ventnor Exchange, last week. A group of local authors, representing the Isle of Wight Literary Festival (IWLF) Youth Zone, took over ‘The Snug’ at the Quay Arts Centre and got to share our stories with some wonderfully attentive and enthusiastic children.
But there was so much more to see and do! The ten year old and I were enchanted by Yana and the Yeti, a magical puppet show produced by Pickled Image and Nordland Visual Theatre, about displacement and isolation and, ultimately, friendship and finding your place in the world.
The ten year old really enjoyed the workshops too – particularly Fairies v Trolls, where you got to make (you guessed it) a troll or a fairy (the ten year old did both) and the Comic Strip session – both of these were great fun and really well led.
What was particularly nice about the Children’s Festival though, was its overall vibe. It was genuinely child-friendly, with lots of welcoming smiley faces, a soft play area with toys and books (sometimes occupied by the lovely local storyteller, Sue Bailey), a special children’s menu and books and colouring in on every table in the cafe. The inaugural Children’s Festival was a great success. I can’t wait til next year!