We speak to child’s author Teresa Heapy

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It’s said that we all have a book in us. But how many of us are brave enough to make the literacy leap?

With parenting comes dirty nappies, burping the baby and of course reading, so it’s no wonder that many children’s authors start out as inspired parents.

When Mum-of-three Teresa Heapy traded in her publishing job to become a children’s author, little did she know that David Beckham would be soon reading her words to his little girl at night.

Think you’ve also got what it takes? We caught up with Teresa for some good advice and insight into her world.

We also have a book set to GIVE-AWAY to one lucky reader, courtesy of Penguin Random House publishing. See below for details on how to enter.


MDD: David Beckham is a fan of your books, how did that come about?

TH: I was amazed to see his Instagram picture! Sue Heap and I are so glad that he and Harper seemed to enjoy it.  I think Harper loves Cinderella, so that must have made them pick it up…

MDD: Was it easy to make the switch from office worker to children’s book writer, and what advice do you give other Mums who want to do the same?

TH: On the jump to working at home…guard your work time and space! It’s brilliantly flexible for childcare, but you need ‘you’ time as well as work time and child time (I’m still working on that!!)

On writing – read loads of books (with your children or on your own). When you’ve written your book, it’s very helpful to read it out loud – this really highlights any potential problems. And lastly, research the publishers you send it out to – will it suit their list?

MDD: As a wordsmith, how do you bring images to life in your books?

TH: I try to think about the book as a whole when I write.  I also think about how the pictures might work with the text.  Will it be a page with lots of little pictures, or will it just have one massive one?  I try to leave things as open as possible for illustrator and not give them too much direction – that’s when the magic happens.

MDD: Does it matter if we read books about fantasy and fairies to kids from a young age, or should we be trying to ‘educate’ them with more serious subjects?

TH: I think it’s absolutely fine to read fantastical stories to young children. Fairy tales (like the ones which the Very Littles are based on) have an age-old appeal and deal with issues of central importance to everyone – money, love, fear…  I think the important thing is just to read to children – I still do it with my 10 and 12 year olds whenever possible. It’s a special part of the day, and taps into some amazing unconscious part of your brain, and theirs.

MDD: I read to my baby most nights, but he’s more interested in eating the book! When do babies start to understand?

TH: I think babies start to ‘get’ books quite early on – they understand about the direction in which a book is read and point to things.  I remember my children briskly turning back to the front cover of a book meaning ‘Again!!’) when they were quite little. You could also check out Reading Fairy – they have wonderful ideas on reading with young children.

MDD: You’re a Mum of three – girls or boys, what’s harder!?

TH: Hmmm – they both have their challenges and delights!

Teresa Heapy is the author of the picture books Very Little Cinderella and Very Little Red Riding Hood, amongst others. Her latest titles are available in all good bookshops, including Amazon from £6.99. For more info, visit Teresa Heapy and Random House Children’s collection (Illustrations © Sue Heap)

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We have a copy of Teresa Heapy’s Very Little Cinderella and Very Little Red Riding Hood books to give away to one lucky winner. To enter just retweet and follow us on Twitter – details below.

“Follow & RT @milkdrunkdiary to enter & WIN @theapy kids books. Details - #bookbloggers”

The prize is for a pair of Teresa Heapy books for one winner. Entry open until midnight June 9, 2015 (GMT). Terms and conditions apply, and can be found here: Terms & Conditions

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