I watched you from afar just over a week ago. You made me smile and laugh. In fact, you were quite a revelation.
I was just one in a crowd, a crowd made up of parents with kids. You were being heckled and even manhandled by a crowd of enthusiastic 7/8/9 year olds. And you were brilliant. You took it all in your stride and still kept making everyone giggle.
Later Mini grabbed me and introduced you to us. I was a little flustered, taken aback. What to say to you? We hadn’t read any of your books (although I did have one on my shelves thinking at some point it might be just the ticket for M, my eldest daughter), you hadn’t been on my radar particularly, and yet after seeing you up on stage, without even having read a word of your books I was already feeling evangelical about you.
M chatted to you a little and we went our separate ways. That was it.
But once home, M asked for the Astrosaurs book I had on the shelves. It turns out she had spotted it some time ago and now, well now it was the Right Time. I handed it to her and….
M disappeared. She stayed in her room, in her pyjamas until mid morning, reading, reading and reading some more.
She’s been learning to read for about a year now but here she was devouring her first ever chapter book on her own. She just couldn’t get enough of it. She wouldn’t be disturbed. She didn’t eat her breakfast. She didn’t go to the toilet, She was the quietest I’ve ever known her in her 6 lovely years.
And then she emerged from her room. Triumphant! “Mum, mum! I read the WHOLE book! The WHOLE book with my EYES!”
A momentous, cherished occasion. The day M read her first chapter book all by herself.
Wanting to support M however I could I cycled through the rain to the library with fingers crossed that they would have more Astrosaurs books. I returned home soaking, but excited…Yes! My bag contained two more of your books and I handed them over like pieces of gold to M.
And Puff! She had disappeared again. Still in her pyjamas (it was mid afternoon by now) she read. And Read. She wouldn’t stop. I don’t think she could stop. Supper time came and went. Bath time came and washing was only negotiated by the promise that she could stay up afterwards to finish the third and final Astrosaurs book of the day.
About 12 and a half hours after starting her first ever chapter book, about 350 pages later she stretched and beamed, “Mum, I love these Astrosaurs books.”
And so Steve, it turns out that I am a little bit in love with you (I’m sure my brilliant husband understands). You captured my daughter’s imagination. You transported her, you inspired her, you gave her her first experience of really falling head of heels for a book. For you she spent the whole day immersed in words and stories, delight and excitement and I am so grateful to you for giving her that experience.
Perhaps one day we’ll meet again. If we do, I suspect you might be the one who’ll be flustered – I’ll be bound to give you a big bear hug and a kiss to say thank you. Thank you for empowering my daughter, giving her the knowledge and experience of the brilliance, delight, all consuming wonder that books can bring. That’s a treasure beyond words.
Steve Cole’s website is here.