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Coronavirus seems to have turned everything upside down. Having lived in Singapore and self-isolated with a Toddler in 2003 when SARS was around, in January 2020 when I heard about the new virus in China I began to feel uneasy…
But even, after living in Singapore for 15 years and appreciating the way they took temperature screenings etc., so seriously, it still is difficult to comprehend how suddenly we have come to be in a lock-down in the UK, there’s no testing unless you’re hospitalised and after Singapore it really doesn’t feel enough.
I must admit after seeing crazy teenagers still congregating (parents what are you thinking)? Even older people were still quite blasé about it all. I just don’t understand whom the messages were targeted at — is it only the middle-aged that get it?
To be honest, the last few weeks I haven’t been sleeping well, feeling that social media sensationalises the news and yet I have to keep reading and staying up to date with what is sadly going on around the world. I feel compelled to be glued to my phone. I guess this is a symptom of anxiety?
I was reminded this evening that ‘Don’t Worry, Spratly!’ might be useful for children who will struggle with making sense of our current situation. To be honest, it’s hard enough for adults to comprehend.
Maybe making a worry fish can be helpful to cope with those feelings and be used as a calming strategy? In times of stress, it’s so lovely to embrace the arts. It gives us time to process and just ‘be’ in that present time.
Will we all come out, the other side, the same people? I’m hoping that with communities pulling together, young supporting old, etc., we will be able to focus on the most important things in life; good health, important friendships and relationships, really appreciating and protecting nature, trust and love. But for now, just breathe… and make a worry fish.
Stay safe. H x
The journey of Spratly so far has been so much more than just writing, illustrating, publishing or marketing a picture book.
I have learnt so much along the way, both about myself and others. Children have told me their fears, anxieties but also what gives them joy and hope. Teachers often tell me that Spratly resonates well with their classes and have shared displays and how they have used Spratly in class.
My main objective and focus for the book was to primarily support emotional intelligence and validate children’s feelings. However, I feel truly blessed and very proud that Spratly has helped other children in need in Sri Lanka.
Through Captain Elmo and his wonderful CandleAid project, Spratly has supported more than 20 impoverished children learning to swim and most recently a Spratly library has been opened in a remote village in Sri Lanka. These children don’t know who I am and most certainly don’t need to but it is a great joy that they too can benefit from looking and learning from a book. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy of Spratly as your actions have contributed to a library being created.
Your library will have made a difference to everyone in the village of Galwaduwagama.
Thank you for your continued support, it means such a lot to me.
To find out how you can help further, please visit www.candleaid.org
Well, it’s been an exciting few weeks for Spratly…
Book readings galore, starting with AFCC (Asian Festival for Children’s content) and thanks to Denise Tan from Closetful of Books I went speed-dating meeting lots of local librarians.
In the last few weeks I have read and held Art workshops with Swallows and Amazons Kindergarten in Singapore and Marlborough College, Pre-prep in Malaysia.
It’s certainly has been a busy few weeks making worry fish weaving frames and preparing materials. Sales are brisk and this is the ideal time for Spratly as people are preparing to move.
This week I received a lovely thank you letter from Kensington Palace, even Prince George can now enjoy Don’t Worry, Spratly! as he moves from Nursery to big school.
I was also thrilled to find out that Spratly has made it onto the Little Red Dot awards.
This is just as well as I’m just about to have another 1,500 books delivered on Monday!
In recent months I have been working with some younger children and so have been using Spratly in a different way. We have discussed feelings and emotions and then designed our own fish using colour.
Abstract art is difficult to make especially with young children but typically abstract art uses colour, form, lines and shape to express an emotion or feeling or subject.
Firstly, we talk about feelings that may be evoked by the story, we link that to our own experiences. The children choose a colour to represent a feeling and then design their own fish. The fish made are unique and the children use mixed media to decorate their fish. We then use an iPad and an app (introduced by Cathy Hunt @ ipadartroom) called Mega Photo to create an abstract photo using the kaleidoscopic lens. The abstract images formed are amazing and really inspire the children.
Last month was a busy month for Spratly. Together with the amazing SCBWI crowd we worked together to attend a few Christmas markets.
I was also interviewed by Expat Parent in Hong Kong and arranged for the sale of my books there through Bookwise. www.bookwise.com.hk
Slowly Spratly is spreading worldwide…
SCBWI The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators run a Book Blast every year for newly published books. I subscribed this year in the hope of spreading Spratly’s name further.
However, what I didn’t expect was to gather such lovely reviews in my guestbook.
Thank you so much to everyone who added their thoughts.
Please see my post titled ‘Over twenty reviews on my book blast…’
I have also entered a competition and have come to realise that all self-published books must be in the same position? How can we publicise our books?
Together, some friends and I from SCBWI are going to be attending some school fairs in the next few weeks. Let’s see if we can sell a few more books…
What we need is someone to start a company that seriously promotes self-published or Indie work…
Suggestions on a postcard to….
Maria Porter said on November 13, 2016:
FS Class said on November 4, 2016:
Regan W. H. Macaulay said on November 4, 2016:
Amita said on November 4, 2016:
Benjamin Farr said on November 4, 2016:
Anne said on November 3, 2016:
Nuj said on November 3, 2016:
Carmen said on November 3, 2016:
Sean N said on November 3, 2016:
Maryanne said on November 2, 2016:
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TravellingNessy said on November 2, 2016:
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Adrene Nelson said on November 2, 2016:
Angela Lock said on November 2, 2016:
Fred Power said on November 2, 2016:
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Victoria said on October 18, 2016:
Samantha said on October 18, 2016:
Sarah said on October 12, 2016:
Richard said on October 12, 2016:
Joy Knight said on October 12, 2016:
I had the pleasure of meeting Dil and Captain Elmo Jayawardena in early November.
Captain Elmo founded the charity, CandleAid Lanka, its sole aim is to provide a link between someone’s generosity and someone else’s need.
I passed Elmo and Dil a cheque for $500 to support CandleAid’s swim for safety program. Sadly, this program will be coming to a close soon but there will be new projects for Spratly to support at CandleAid. Watch this space for more information.
Please find more details about this excellent charity here: www.candleaid.org
I had the privilege of visiting the nine Year 2 classes in the Australian school in November.
The school is ahead with regards to EQ awareness. The children showed utmost respect to each other and the adults in the room. They asked the most thoughtful questions and were very honest with their thoughts, queries, and explanations.
I learnt so much from the students and I know that they enjoyed making their own worry fish. The very transient nature of life as a Singapore expat means that these students deal with change and transition more regularly than most. I hope they have a great end of year break and come back to Year 3 either at AIS or elsewhere, worry free!
The best question was after I showed the students the printing process –
“Mrs Sampson, do you feel proud of your book?” now there is empathy in it’s best form!