Posted in Family, Personal life, Reading, Writing

Branching Out from Books

Kideeko logo   An update about one of my freelance writing projects   For the last year or so, I’ve been writing a regular column for a British online parenting magazine called Kideeko ( I first became involved with Kideeko when I was still working part-time at the children’s reading charity Read for Good. At first, I was writing exclusively about children’s books and reading, fuelled by the knowledge and experience I’d gained through my work at Read for Good, and these articles provided a valuable opportunity to raise awareness before a family audience of Read for Good’s excellent work. For those of you who don’t already know, Read for Good is a UK national charity which exists to promote reading for pleasure among children. There are two distinct parts to the charity, which is funded entirely by donations (it’s easy to donate online via their websites):

  • Readathon, which provides schools with free materials to runs sponsored reading schemes in thousands of schools all over the country, at any time
  • ReadWell, which takes free books and storytellers into children’s hospitals to make life better for young patients, their families and their carers

In the three and a half years that I worked for Read for Good, I learned what I had already known instinctively: that books change lives for the better, in all kinds of ways.

Growing Up With Books

Page from Teddy Robinson book that has been coloured in by a young Debbie
An early indication of my love of books: enthusiastic colouring

My own life experience endorses that view. I was a lucky child: I was brought up in a house full of books, taken on regular visits to the local public library and had my own bookshelves in my bedroom. Books were valued and reading always encouraged. Whether sharing books with other members of the family, listening to stories on the radio or on vinyl records (no CDs or iPods in those days!), or reading alone, I grew up loving books. It was no surprise to anyone when I chose English Literature for my degree, or when my career revolved around writing, at first under the guise of trade press hack and PR consultant, and latterly as a published author, journalist and blogger. Although Kideeko’s editor has now asked me to address broader parenting topics, the joys of children’s books and reading are never far from my mind whenever I’m writing about children. (I also write for Today’s Child Magazine, available in print and online.) For evidence, you have only to read my article about Mother’s Day in Kideeko‘s March issue, in which I hark back to treasured moments sharing books and stories with my mum. You can read that column here: Making Mother’s Day

My mum and my daughter together
An 80th birthday hug from her granddaughter in a Christmas onesie

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to sharing Mother’s Day with my child, as well as my mum, this Sunday, and I wish a happy Mother’s Day to mothers everywhere. If you’d like to read more about my lovely mum and daughter, here are some past posts about them: The Scent of a Mummy – remembering my grandmothers’ and mother’s perfumes The Only Certainties in Life: Birthdays and Taxescelebrating my mum’s 80th birthday Father’s Day To Followmy daughter’s take on such celebrations


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

6 thoughts on “Branching Out from Books

  1. I remember that bookshop, Elaine! My parents retired to WInchester and lived just down the road from it, past the College. Yes, was also brought up reading: children’s library, then adult library, supplemented with lots of wonderfully dated novels from the parental bookcase… also when lying in bed unwell, being read to by my mother…books from when she was a teacher, many stories I can’t find now even on Googlebooks as I forget their names… Our kids also got that treatment, from my husband who loves to read aloud and was the main kiddies’ bedtime story-reader in our house. Didn’t do English at Uni, but am a writer… I wonder what the stats are, among fiction writers, those who studied Eng. Lit. at degree level and those who did something else? Daughter staying over for weekend just devoured a book I’ve just finished – reading it on my laptop OVERNIGHT!!

    1. It’s a small world isn’t it? Wells bookshop was lovely – just how a bookshop should look and feel. Glad your daughter loved your book. That’s a great affirmation. I know what you mean about books you’ve loved as a child. It’s always good to revisit them. But it can be poignant too.

  2. A lovely post Debbie. I too grew up surrounded by books and at the end of every school term, no matter how we’d done at school, my parents would take me and my siblings to a lovely Winchester bookshop, which backed onto Winchester College and was literally a few doors down from the house where Jane Austen died. We got to choose any book we wanted and it was always a happy time.

    1. What a great way to reward children – and I completely concur with your parents’ non-judgmental attitude! No wonder you too have grown up to become an author, Elaine!

Leave a Reply