WILL WRITE FOR COOKIES
INSIGHT – INFORMATION – INSPIRATION
How lucky I am. You know those table top globes we had when we were kids? If I were to spin one and stop it willy-nilly, I think I’d have a kid lit friend, no matter where it stopped. Last year, I was fortunate enough to visit with several of those friends including…Diane Tulloch in New Zealand; Susanne Gervay in Australia; Eleanor Peterson in Italy…and of course, Julie Abery in Switzerland. She hosted me for over two weeks…turn about is fair play and now I am happily hosting her here on my blog!
Julie Abery is a children’s author and former preschool teacher who shaped her career reading picture books to children from around the world. Originally from England, she has spent half of her life living in Europe, bringing up her three children, and experiencing new languages and cultures. She now calls Switzerland home.
Julie has a passion for rhyme and non-fiction. She is the author of several picture books: Yusra Swims (Creative Editions, 2020), The Old Man and the Penguin : A True Story of True Friendship (Kids Can Press, 2020), SAKAMOTO’S SWIM CLUB: HOW A TEACHER LED AN UNLIKELY TEAM TO VICTORY (Kids Can Press, Spring 2021), and the much loved Little Animal Friends board book series (Amicus Ink).
It is the magic that books create for children that inspires her to write.
ME: Oh, I love that! And welcome, dear Julie! It’s so lovely to have you here. I know you’re going to chat about the crazy world we are living in and how you have managed to keep writing and launching books…FOUR in 2020!
JULIE: Hi Vivian, I am thrilled to be able to Write for Cookies this week and honored to be invited back!
Life has been far from normal this year, and we all know what that means. So, I thought I would share some of my 2020 thoughts, not really a Q & A, but it’s honest and heartfelt.
Four book launches in a global pandemic… Yusra Swims (Creative Editions), Little Hippo and Little Monkey (Amicus Ink) came out in the spring when schools closed worldwide, book fairs were cancelled, and libraries and book shops shut. How do you promote and sell books in times like this? I felt quite helpless and found it difficult to focus. I couldn’t concentrate on any new writing projects, so, I took to my garden, and I baked… because that’s my happy place, and it seems I’m not the only one! Cakes, cookies, pies, biscuits, bread… lots of them, and it was GOOD!
Then over the last few months, story ideas have been fluttering around again, my pen has started flowing, and the joy of being a small part of the children’s publishing world is back…
… and I realize how lucky I am!
The Old Man and the Penguin launches in a few days with Kids Can Press, and I am so excited to share this heart-warming story of friendship with you all. It is a true story of João Pereira de Souza of Brazil, who cared for a Magellanic penguin that had been caught in an oil spill. When João tried to release him back to the wild, the penguin returned to João’s home and stayed for months. The penguin, named Dindim by João, did eventually leave, but he now returns every year to visit his best friend! Illustrated by the phenomenal Pierre Pratt, the lively illustrations bring a touch of sweetness and emotional depth to this tender relationship.
Friendship is the theme of my book, and the tie into my blog post today! I am really grateful to have such wonderful kid lit friends and agency pals. I have felt so much kinship and support from them this year. I’m also extremely grateful to have been part of #2020BookLook, a wonderful promotional group of authors and new Kidlit friends. Everyone has looked out for each other by sharing news on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, offering author interviews, and reviewing books on Goodreads and Amazon. It has been amazing. Kidlit people are the best! There has been some difficult book news too for some – books pushed to other seasons, years, or even pulled – we’ve listened and empathized, and pulled together as a community.
So, to all my Kidlit friends, old and new… THANK YOU!
YOU ARE THE BEST!
I’m sending you all “fishy kisses”, and sparkling wishes for your upcoming books!
Awesome illustrations by the talented Pierre Pratt
2020 book sales… well, time will tell. But I am grateful to be a storyteller, doing something that I love, and supporting from the side-lines as more beautiful books for children are created!
And now for some of my favorite cookies, which I baked for the first-time during lockdown. They are a classic British bake and one of my childhood favorites.
(Recipe from the Kenilworth Book Shop, who love a good cookie with a cuppa and a book! Follow them on Twitter @KenilworthBook)
Now… this recipe requires Birds Custard Powder, which is essentially a vanilla flavored corn starch, and can be ordered from Amazon, Walmart, or Target, I believe.
- 250 g butter
- 50 g icing sugar
- 50 g caster sugar
- 100 g custard powder
- Vanilla essence
- 235 – 250g flour
- 50 g butter
- 50 g icing sugar
- 50 g custard powder
- Cream butter and Sugar and vanilla well – till very fluffy.
- Add custard powder very carefully and beat smooth.
- Slowly add the flour until you have a firm dough.
- Press together to form a ball and leave to chill for an hour.
- Make small round walnut size balls and flatten on a lined baking sheet with a fork.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8 – 10 minutes.
- Mix the three butter cream ingredients together until light and fluffy and then sandwich the cooled cookies together!
ME: And if I make these, I will have to refrain from getting on the scale for at least a week. Thank you so much, Julie…this was a wonderful post…it’s so good to know that we can push through the negative and find our creative voice.
I’m sure lots of you will want to find out more about Julie and her wonderful books. You can connect with her here:
I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the giveaway…remember…someone in the USA will win a copy of THE OLD MAN AND THE PENGUIN: A True Story of True Friendship…and someone on Julie’s side of the Atlantic will win a copy. And if you share the post on your social media channels, you get extra tickets in the giveaway hat.