If you're looking for a last minute Christmas present for a child then 'The Unstoppable Maggie McGee' written by Juliet Clare Bell and illustrated by Dave Gray, sounds just perfect. And you'll be helping sick children at the same times as the whole £6 cover price of the book goes to the Birmingham Children's Hospital.
About the book
The Unstoppable Maggie McGee (illustrated by Dave Gray), is a story of friendship, determination and the power of imagination. Clare spent time with many patients in Birmingham Children’s Hospital and at a local school, before writing the book. In honour of the children in hospital who did not want to talk about their sickness or disability whilst strapped up to life-saving machines whilst they talked, and all children who wish to be children, there is no mention of sickness, disability or anything medical in the story.
Malorie Blackman, Children’s Laureate, 2013-2015, said of the book:
“… I love this story! It’s beautifully told and I love the way it shows the power of the imagination to take you wherever you want to go….a great story and has something to say to all children…”
To buy the book (with all £6 of each book going to the hospital), visit www.unstoppablemaggie.co.uk)
Meet the Author
Juliet Clare Bell is always called Clare: the Juliet is silent, like the G in Gnomeo and Juliet (after which she was named by her Shakespeare-loving parents). She loves writing and chocolate and the Quaker philosophy which meant that her next picture book, Two Brothers and A Chocolate Factory: the Remarkable Story of Richard and George Cadbury (illustrated by Jess Mikhail), out in March, 2016, was a dream commission. She spent months poring over incredible Cadbury archives in Bournville and eating extremely tasty chocolate from the factory. Her latest picture book, The Unstoppable Maggie McGee (illustrated by fellow SCBWIer, Dave Gray), has raised over £37,000 for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, through sales in its first six weeks, with all £6 of the cover price going to charity.
Don’t Panic, Annika! (illustrated by Jennifer E Morris) has been read on CBeebies and shown repeatedly, and The Kite Princess (illustrated by Laura-Kate Chapman) was endorsed by Amnesty International, UK. Both books were shortlisted for the Crystal Kite (Europe).
About Juliet Clare
I asked Juliet Clare to tell us a bit more about herself:
Do you have any favourite family Christmas traditions? If so, what are they?
On Christmas morning, we always eat halloumi with lots of lemon and then drink fizzy wine to toast my sister’s birthday, as she was born on Christmas Day (our best ever Christmas present).
And we always have a Terry’s Chocolate orange and a satsuma in our stockings. Anything else is optional (there was always a stick of cinnamon in there when we were growing up, too. I’m not sure anyone ever ate them, and they seem to have disappeared in recent years).
Growing up, we always had a new Christmas board game for the whole family, which was great (I love board games). But Monopoly has been banned at Christmas for the last ten years or so after an unmentionable game with adults who should have known better. I suspect that is the case in many families…
When do you open your Christmas presents?
We alternate Christmases. This year, we’re going to my children’s dad’s family and I think that they open their presents in the morning which still seems strange to me. When we’re with my side of the family, it’s always after dinner.
When I was growing up, we’d have our stockings in the morning and then our presents (from under the tree) after Christmas dinner, so we were basically bursting with excitement all day. I’ve got five brothers and sisters and we opened the presents one by one to see what everyone had got, so it took a long time. It was brilliant, but it kind of got later and later as Christmas dinner got later. Once, it wasn’t until about 6pm and my dad suggested we open them the following day…? He was rightly and swiftly voted down!
If you could invite any author living or dead to share your Christmas lunch, who would it be?
If it could be an unpublished author, it would be my mum, who was a fellow SCBWIer. She died nearly three years ago and I think we all feel it very keenly at Christmas.
If it were a published author, it might have to be Dr Seuss as he’d add to the general silliness of things, or better still, Candy Gourlay (author of Tall Story and Shine), who is fairy godmother to my youngest and who would certainly add to the general silliness and happiness of the day.
What book would you like to find in your Christmas stocking?
If I didn’t already know I was getting it, it would be the picture book, Refuge, by Anne Booth and Sam Usher. But since it would be greedy to ask for two copies of it, I’ll go for We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielson. My daughter got it for her birthday last week and won’t let me read it till she has (and the first few pages looked great).
You can find out more about Juliet Clare here:
It's been lovely talking to you, Juliet Clare. Thanks for dropping by to tell us about your book. Merry Christmas!