One of my current projects is a children’s version of my upcoming novel ‘The Shield of Soren’. This book is one of the tales in the Light and Shadow Chronicles series and the protagonist is a mischievous 10-year-old boy – Soren Nitaya. Due to this, I decided to have a separate edition of the story aimed at children aged 9-12. This book is entitled simply ‘Soren’ and is written under the name ‘Danielle Cain.’
As a primary school teacher, I am lucky enough to have a wonderfully creative and engaged class of children right under my nose! I am currently trialling the book with my class and we are three quarters through. The children do not know that I wrote the book as I wanted their honest feedback and didn’t want them to suck up to teacher!
Well, the feedback from the kids so far has been AMAZING! They absolutely LOVE the story and are thoroughly engaged with the characters. Some comments so far include:
I love the way that Danielle Cain describes things. It makes you feel like you are there in the book.
The book is so good because when the characters are sad, I feel sad too, and when they are happy, it makes me feel happy.
It is the funniest and saddest book I’ve ever read at the same time!
I asked them to rank the class books we have read over the past two years and, aside from one or two die-hard Collins fans, this was the unanimous result:
- Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
- Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
- The BFG by Roald Dahl
So, as you can imagine, there is a huge grin on my face right now! I’ve even had some of the children writing letters to the author to ask questions and tell her how much they are enjoying it! I cannot wait for the day when we finish the book and I tell them the truth.
I have been editing as I go along, making changes here and there, listening to their comments, adding more of the characters they love, cutting short the parts that drag, and all of this is down to the children and their comments. When the book is finally ready, I plan to give each child a free copy so they can see the dedication in the front to all of them. I feel so lucky to have this amazing opportunity to test-run a book. It is perfect market research right at my fingertips!
On top of all of this, my headteacher and another local head (who is very influential in the area) are very enthusiastic about my writing and thrilled about the prospect of having a children’s author working in their school. I have completed all sorts of lessons and activities based around the book, and so I have decided to put all of my plans and resources together and release a teacher’s guide and lesson pack to go with the book. I can then sell this to schools and teachers!
I am really hoping this will be a huge opportunity for me and who knows, maybe I’ll even get one of the big kids’ publishers interested. It’s all taking off!
Here are some examples of the children’s work based around Soren: