History, Handy Hints, A Competition and a Quiz

Children's books have changed a bit
Last week I headed off to the lovely village of Richards Castle in Shropshire to give a talk about writing for children to the Women's Institute

Richards Castle is where my parents live, so although it was a three hour drive each way I was delighted to go and fit in a flying family visit at the same time (and this was the jet-propelled super-sonic kind of flying, no gentle tootle in a hot air balloon, due to a trip to Wembley to watch the England-Brazil match the night before and an emergency dentist's appointment the following morning to patch up a broken tooth with a very poor sense of timing.)

I talked about  the history of children's books and how so much has changed (language, tone, pace) while so much has stayed the same (a great story, character, adventure, tension). I'd had a lovely time researching the topic and even made up a quiz on classic children's books. But when it came to questions, what everyone really wanted to know was how to go about getting a book published . . .

I did my best to give some handy hints, but could only speak from my own very limited experience, and share some snippets I've picked up along the way.

Today, I came across this fantastic page of expert advice from Chicken House publishers and I thought it was so clear and helpful and so much better than anything I could cobble together that I immediately wanted to share the link. So here it is - and it even includes a competition! Chicken House Writers' Guide.

While at the WI, I was asked to judge the evening's competition - "a tasty treat for children". After a lot of deliberation I gave the first prize to some lovely little home-made smiley-faced jammy dodgers, but I also loved these cute little cake pops!

If you feel like testing your knowledge of classic children's books, here is the quiz I made up . . . (note for any children reading - most of the books here are quite old ones that your parents may be more likely to know. I'll put up a quiz with more modern books soon.)

Answers in next blog post!

Children’s Classic Book Quiz
1. Who is introduced as “the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen”?

2. In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, what food does The Snow Queen use to tempt Edmund to betray his brother and sisters?

3. What name did Mary Norton give to the little people that lived beneath the floorboards of people’s houses?

4. Anna Sewell wrote only one book, in 1877, but it became a classic. What was its title?

5. Which book has this first line? "’Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents,' grumbled Jo, lying on the rug."
6. Which book has this first line? "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."
7. In which classic series do two groups of children meet on Wild Cat island?

8. Name the Famous Five! (You need all five names for a point).

Name the character