Autumn update 🍁 The Tell-Me Tree feedback, Eeek! audibook, new projects…

It’s September and back-to-school week here in the UK. Like everyone, I’m keeping fingers crossed that pupils and students will be able resume their school and uni life with as little interruption as possible in the coming months. If you’re farther afield with children studying from home, I do hope you are all managing in this challenging time.

I have a few updates below which I hope you’ll enjoy. These include:

  • Early feedback from parents and teachers on The Tell-Me Tree
  • A new, fabulously narrated audiobook of Eeek! The Runaway Alien – out soon and with a free coupon offer
  • A sneak peek of my Der verborgene See, the upcoming German edition of The Secret Lake, and plans for a new picture book for next year

The Tell-Me Tree: Your Feedback

I firstly wanted to thank everyone who has taken the time to write to me and/or leave a review of The Tell-Me Tree online. Early sales have exceeded expectations, especially here in the UK where it has been ranking in the top 2,000 or so on Amazon in the last few weeks. I’ve also seen healthy orders for non-Amazon sales (via bookshops or school orders), which is a lovely surprise!

Most importantly, however, I have been bowled over by the responses from parents and teachers, and in particular wanted to mention two emails I received. The first is from a parent, Nicola Roberts, from Kent, who has given me permission to share the photos and details you will find below. The second is from a teacher who is planning to use The Tell-Me Tree as part of her back-to-school activities.

Nicola’s message to me is one I will treasure for years to come and I hope you understand why. Her seven year-old daughter Lucy, seen below, has cerebral palsy, development delays and breathing difficulties caused by craniosynostosis (or “cranio”), a condition where the skull fuses too early, meaning that while the brain grows the skull cannot. Sadly, this resulted in a stroke for Lucy when she was just a year old.

little girl reading The Tell-Me Tree by Karen Inglis

Lucy at her gait analysis, and with big sister Edie, aged 10, who is reading to her 🙂

Nicola explained that, although it hasn’t been officially diagnosed, Lucy possesses a lot of the traits of autism, including severe anxiety both at home and at school. “At school she finds it difficult to express her feelings and therefore just bursts into tears or has a meltdown if she doesn’t understand something or cannot convey how she feels. I think it [The Tell-Me Tree] will help her immensely when she starts back. We have read it several times over and I can honestly say this is the first book she hasn’t got bored with halfway through. We adore everything about it, from the concept to the beautiful illustrations and the rhyming aspect. I had a lump in my throat when I first read it because it could’ve been written for Lucy.

“When Lucy goes back to school, I’m going to buy some copies for them, both to reiterate the meaning to Lucy and to help other children. I have five book cases filled with children’s books and I’m being totally honest when I say it’s the best book we’ve ever read.”

Nicola is keen to educate other parents and children about Lucy’s condition and, as I say, has given permission for me to share the photos above. A couple are from when she recently went to Guy’s and Thomas’ Hospital for her regular gait analysis test, to see whether she will need an operation to stretch her leg muscles. Apparently they took the book with them on the train to help keep her calm ahead of the visit. As you can see, Lucy is quite a character! Nicola says she is going to try and find a soft toy tree for Lucy to take to school which can be her very own portable tell-me tree. I am humbled and thrilled that The Tell-Me Tree has been of such help to Lucy, and wish her all the luck and love in the world as she grows up! I’m also thankful to every parent who has let me know how the book has helped their children express their feelings.

You can learn more about craniosynostosis here.

Teacher feedback

I was also extremely touched by an email received from a primary school teacher in Leicester who was downloading the various activity sheets and let me know that she will be using the book in the school grounds where they are lucky to have several mature trees. She plans to have activities based around the book under the trees, with the aim of encouraging children to talk, write or draw about how they are feeling after the long break from school.

Although I conceived The Tell-Me Tree before the pandemic, it has clearly resonated with many families and teachers in the context of what everyone has been through in the last few months and I am humbled and delighted if it can serve to help. Thank you all for your feedback and please do feel free to share any photos of The Tell-Me Tree in action and I will post them on my social media if you are happy for me to do so. Oh – if you’ve bought but not yet reviewed The Tell-Me Tree, would you be able to take a moment to do so? Thank you very much!

Eeek! The Runaway Alien

😊  👽 Hear a free sample from the upcoming audiobook! 👽 😊

Described as ‘Laugh-out-loud funny’ by LoveReading4KidsUK, Eeek!, my second most popular book for older ones (ages 7-10) after The Secret Lake, continues to be a firm favourite with reluctant and keen readers alike – and with both boys and girls. (It has a great twist, but don’t tell the kids!)

Image of alien with football spinning on finger - from Eeek! The Runaway Alien by Karen Inglis

Due out mid September 2020

I’ve long wanted to produce the audiobook of Eeek! and am thrilled so say this has finally happened and it should be available from mid September. The narrator, voiceover artist Ciaran Saward (pronounced SWORD), offers up a wonderful array of human and alien voices! You can listen to an excerpt from Chapter 2 over on my author website here. I hope that you or your children/pupils enjoy the excerpt.

*Offer: When the audiobook goes live I shall be giving away 10 free audible codes. Sign up to my email list to be in with a chance to enter the draw in the next couple of weeks.*

The Secret Lake – German edition

I have just approved the German edition of The Secret Lake, for which I have project managed the translation. Below is an early reveal of the front cover 😊.  The title ‘Der verborgene See’ translates as ‘The Hidden Lake’. My German translator and editor both felt this to be a more apt choice for the German language and I do like the ring it has, I must say!

I also recently received two copies of the Russian Edition – to see a fun short flick-through, pop over to my instagram account or facebook page. The Secret Lake is also due out in Turkish in October and in Czech in March 2021. It warms my heart that this magical story, that went through so many drafts, and about which I had so many doubts when sitting alone writing it at the top of the house, is now capturing children’s imaginations around the world! 

Der verborgene See - The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis (German edition)

🌺  Stop Press: I have plans afoot for a special colour illustrated hardback edition of The Secret Lake and will give updates on this in my next blog post. Watch this space! 🌺  The early concept illustrations are beautiful. 😊

A new picture book next year…

Lastly, I’m in the early stages of formulating a new picture book for next year and, again, shall be working with Anne Swift – illustrator for The Tell-Me Tree and The Christmas Tree Wish.  I can’t say much more other than that it will not feature trees this time around 🙂 There might be a cat though! 😼  I’ll provide more updates on this in the coming months.

That’s it for now. Stay safe and I’ll be in touch as soon as the free promo codes for Eeek’s audiobook are available in mid September or so. In the meantime, I hope that back-to-school goes smoothly for your family.

Quick reminder: If you buy or have already bought The Tell-Me Tree, it would mean a lot to me if you could find a moment to leave a short review online as this will help other parents and teachers find it.

Thank you!

About kareninglis

Writer of children's fiction. Copywriter and web content strategist.
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