Top tips from Angelina Ballerina author

The love of words is a priceless gift we give to our children, a gift that literally changes their lives. When my mother read fairy tales to me as a child, my imagination soared and I was transported to another world. When my father sang old Scottish ballads like "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" my heart sang too, and a love of music was born. I knew I wanted to write words and books some day, and when I got into college I studied literature and writing. One of my teachers was a well known writer, and encouraged me to keep writing. “Your chance will come,” he said. Years later it did, and I wrote my first storybook about Angelina Ballerina, the little dancer with big dreams.

When the first Angelina book was published in 1983, we had no idea it would become a classic series. Nine months after the book came out in the USA, I had a call from my editor in New York. “Can you think up more stories?” she asked, “Children love Angelina and the books are selling fast.” I was thrilled, and sat down to write another adventure for the little mouse. It was a turning point, and I haven’t stopped writing since.

Top three tips for reading and communicating with children:

  1. Make up stories, and encourage children to use their imaginations and tell their own stories. In our family we have a tradition of telling funny stories at the table, and now that our children are grown they are very good storytellers.
  2. Read aloud and often. Sit down and read as if you have nothing else in the world to do. Talk about the story and pictures with your child. Make it relaxing and fun.
  3. Children love songs, and will be calmed and soothed by singing before bed. Any songs will do, and children will quickly join in and learn to love singing too.

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