When I was seven, I wrote the book in this picture: Mr Men Go On a Picnic. I don’t recall being especially fond of Mr Men books so I’m pretty sure that I chose the Mr Men theme because – let’s face it – Mr Men are easy to draw; they’re just brightly coloured shapes. I’m certainly not an artist but I wanted to write a book and, at that time, I thought most books came with pictures, so Mr Men it was.
I love the last line on the page in the next picture: Poor Mr Jelly. It’s the kind of thing Roger Hargreaves would have written in one of his Mr Men books and I’m kind of impressed that, even at age seven, I was unconsciously studying the style and tone of different authors.
My mum kept many other things that I wrote, including a poem called season which I wrote when I was nine. In one of the verses I have these lines:
In the morning when I wake
I listen to the birds.
Their songs are very pretty
And sometimes quite absurd.
I remember being so proud of that word, absurd. It felt like such a grown up word to be using because it was not a word I’d uttered a great deal as a nine year old.
Anyway, I pulled out all these treasures because I gave a talk at the State Library of WA last week and children’s book author and illustrator James Foley was another speaker and he showed, in his presentation, many similar kinds of books that he’d made when he was young.
It got me thinking – do all kids write books when they’re little? Or just the kids who end up being authors? Share your thoughts, please. Did you write books when you were young? Can you remember any of them? Do you – or does your Mum – still have a copy?