Introducing The Tell-Me Tree

A long overdue hello from a cool and breezy London! I hope that you and your family members are staying safe during this very challenging time, and that books have helped offer a means of escape if you’re at home with little ones. 📚

I’ve been extremely busy over the last few months, working on a new picture book (amongst many other things) and am thrilled to let you know that, after a delay waiting for the proofs, it is finally out today! As you can see, it’s called The Tell-Me Tree and my good friend Anne Swift has worked her magic yet again with the illustrations 😊 .

Children sitting below a tree talking, reading and drawing, with one little boy sitting up on the tree branch

As with so many of my stories, The Tell-Me Tree was a long time in the making – or ‘brewing’ rather! The initial inspiration came three years ago from a majestic London Plane tree – one of many that stand on the green near the pond in Barnes village, close to where I live in west London.

I must have walked past that tree hundreds of times in the last 25 years, but on that particular evening I spotted a face and nose in its trunk – captured in the first photo on the left below – and thereafter just couldn’t get it out of my mind! From that moment I knew it would feature in one of my stories – and although I had no idea what that story might be, I was certain that the tree would be caring, wise and friendly, and that children would gravitate towards it for that reason.

Collage image of a plane tree, one with the author Karen Inglis standing in front of it
The tree on Barnes Green that inspired The Tell-Me Tree

For me, it’s a case of ‘the best things come to those who wait’ where stories are concerned, and wait I did. Little did I know that it would be three whole years for another moment to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end to complete the puzzle! That moment was a chance overheard remark by a parent (whom I didn’t know) whose daughter had come home from school and drawn a picture that made the family realise she wasn’t happy. In that instant I got my special ‘tingly feeling’ and quickly realised that the tree was going to be part of a story that helps children talk about how they’re feeling – be that happy, sad or somewhere in between. (I often tell children about my tingly feeling at school visits when they ask how I get ideas.😊 ) 

The very next day as I drove the 10 minutes to my usual gym session (remember those?!) the words for the story came to me in such a rush that I had to dictate them into my phone the moment I parked! Here’s a short excerpt. I hope you enjoy…

Children sitting and standing under a tree and talking or drawing

The Tell-Me Tree intentionally isn’t ‘heavy going’ in nature – rather it gently encourages conversation with friends, family or trusted grown-ups through drawing, writing and conversational activities, whether you’re feeling happy, sad, excited, proud, lonely – and a range of other emotions. It can be used at home, at school, between friends or in any other setting and includes links to a variety of fun download sheets that children can use to create their own Tell-Me Trees and put their friends, or anyone else they wish beneath it. The downloads also include a full colour Tell-Me Tree poster.

There are also links to resources for grown-ups, offering tips on how to encourage conversations with a child if you are worried about how they’re feeling, and where to get more information should you need it.

I do hope you enjoy this very special book. As ever I am indebted to my great friend Anne Swift for interpreting the story so perfectly with her stunning pen and ink illustrations.

From today it’s available in print and as an eBook on Amazon – though I would always recommend print! The eBook version can be read on a Kindle Fire or a tablet such as iPad, or on a Smart Phone using the Kindle App. (It won’t work on a standard Kindle.)

Three children playing under a snowy tree branch
The Tell-Me Tree is there throughout the year – naturally!

Later next week the print edition should become available in online stores beyond Amazon. It will also become available to order from high street bookshops, though lead times may vary. Covid-19 has meant getting it into the wider world has been a little more drawn out than usual.

Click or tap here to order The Tell-Me Tree on Amazon

Image of children beneath a tree - The Tell-Me Tree book cover

Please leave a review

If you order a copy of The Tell-Me Tree please do take a moment to leave a short review online if you and your children or pupils enjoy it! And if there are links you feel I should add to the resources folder please feel free to email me – that document is easy to update.

I have a lot more news to share about The Secret Lake around foreign rights, but I’ll leave that for my next post! With so much now off my task list I plan to blog sooner rather than later next time!

Stay safe wherever you are – and happy reading with the little ones!

Here’s that link one more time.

Click or tap here to order The Tell-Me Tree on Amazon

Eeek’s 2018 World Cup Crossword Puzzle

Another FIFA World Cup Tournament…
Another Alien World Cup Crossword for the Kids!

Hello soccer fans and soccer mums and dads!

Eeek! the soccer-mad alien who ran away to Earth for the World Cup is over the moon (!) to share another World Cup Crossword Puzzle with young readers. It’s been a long four-year wait since the last one! Simply click here or on the thumbnail image to download a copy from Dropbox to print off for the kids. You’ll find the answers too, should you need them. 🙂 Before you do that – don’t miss his animated front cover below!

Eeek! The Runaway Alien crossword puzzle thumbnail image with spaceship

Have a 7-10 year-old at home who loves soccer?

If you have a 7-10 year-old soccer fan in the house do visit Eeek’s Amazon page to find out what others are saying about this laugh-out-loud page turner about an alien who turns up on young Charlie’s doorstep during the World Cup. Eeek! is still a firm favourite at my school visits, with boys and girls alike.

I hope you enjoy this fun cover my illustrator put together in celebration of the 2018 World Cup kick-off. Watch the blue smoke come out of Eeek’s ears – just like it does in the story!

Eeek the alien with smoking ears

A summer read to escape the World Cup!

Of course football isn’t for everyone. If you an have 8-11 year-old who wants to escape from the World Cup they may want to take a look at my time travel mystery The Secret Lake which is currently hitting the children’s bestseller lists on Amazon UK. It really is an extra special story and I’m thrilled that over 10,000 young readers have now discovered it… 🙂

School visits in person or via Skype

I really love meeting my young readers. If your child’s school would like an author visit in person or on Skype please ask them to visit my school visits page and get in touch.

I’m now taking bookings for the autumn term and for World Book Day week in 2019.

If you’re in London I may be able to squeeze in a visit later this term if you’d like me to introduce Eeek! during the World Cup.

Happy World Cup! Otherwise happy reading – or shopping!

Karen
14 June 2018

To read or not to read – four recommendations for adult reluctant readers

Last Thursday I was at a book launch chatting with a friend who told me that her husband NEVER reads. She’s tried everything. Her husband was there, and happily joined in the conversation – he’s a highly qualified accountant in his mid fifties and they have two bookworm sons.  🙂

He went on to say that he simply has never found the ‘staying power’ with fiction (or indeed much non-fiction) and loses interest very quickly.

Bookshelves filled with books
One of our many bookshelves at home

As my children’s books are very much aimed at reluctant readers I quickly found myself recommending him a short(ish) book that I discovered at an airport back in the summer of 2003 en route to a a family holiday.

The book had gripped me from the start, and was a very easy and quick read. I made this discovery before it became better known and turned into a (relatively unknown) a film.

The book is called ‘I’m Not Scared’ by Niccolo Ammaniti and is translated from Italian. (The cover below is of a later edition than the one I have…)

On that holiday my then nine-year-old son insisted on taking I’m Not Scared from me and reading it whenever I put it down! It’s not really a children’s book – even though a child is the main character – but this probably tells you why it sprang to mind as a potential game changer for my friend’s husband. (I bet it was the title that grabbed my son’s attention…)

Back to the book launch. After I had left, I carried on thinking about books that I might recommend to reluctant ‘older readers’ and, with the holiday season upon us, thought I’d share four quality yet easy reads below if you’re stuck for a gift for an adult family member or friend who isn’t keen on reading but would be open to trying something new. All apart from the Anne Tyler are aimed at late ‘tween’ or YA audiences, but all are equally engrossing and suitable for adults.

I won’t pad out this post with book summaries – you’ll find them on each title’s Amazon page (click the book cover to open in a new tab). What I will say is that I’d be surprised if these books don’t engross the recipients…

              screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-14-26-54                       Holes by Louise Sachar

             screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-14-35-25                        screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-14-36-57

As for my friend’s husband, I’ll no doubt have to report back what he thought!

Happy reading and happy holidays! 🎄

PS Don’t forget that you can quickly preview all of my children’s books for ages 6-11 for FREE with the fun interactive widgets below  – just click then choose which book to read  🙂

fun-and-free-interactive-book-samples-for-ages-7-10

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