Thursday, May 31, 2012

Billie B Brown - Childhood Fears

Two new Billie books for June!

The ideas behind these two Billie stories came from some of my childhood fears. I love swimming now, but didn't learn to swim until I was almost at the end of primary school, which, for some reason, seemed to be long after everyone else. I still remember that moment of panic when my swimming teacher (who seemed brutally cruel at the time) insisted I jump in and doggie paddle to the other side. Hard to believe that something that comes so naturally now could have been so terrifying for me as a child.

And how about scary movies? I still hate them, but as a child was never brave enough to say so when all my friends wanted to watch them. In fact, I never really got that 'being scared for thrills' thing: rides at the show, horror movies, going fast downhill on your bike. I also remember a period of time at primary school when I was plagued by recurring nightmares and worries. I was a very big worrier as a child. Probably even more so than now. Now, I can think my way out of my fears and worries in a way I wasn't able to as a child.

Adults often forget what a scary place childhood can be, we usually prefer to think of it as a golden time, but you only need to sit with your memories for a while to know that this isn't the case. Remembering these things, and remembering them without trivialising them through an adult's perspective, helps me not only empathise and understand the children in my life, but also the young characters I write about.


  1. I just love what you have written here. Children's fears and feelings are so often trivialised. I can't wait to buy these books for my girls. They are big fans of Billie B already, and I know they will love these.

  2. Thanks Jill. I teach Writing For Children every now and then and the first exercise I always do with my students is getting them to remember themselves as a child and writing from there. Often students will ask whether they need to have children to write well for children and my answer is not at all. Roald Dahl quite famously couldn't stand them. You just need to have been a child yourself. And, preferably have a good memory, too. Not so much for events, but for the emotions connected to these events. That's where the empathy starts.

  3. These 2 new Billie books look good and I would like to read them. I had my own Night Fright last night. It was 4 in the morning and very dark and I heard this noise of something banging or tapping and it seemed like something was moving or hopping near my bedroom door. At first I thought it was a hopping crab which I know sounds so funny but I was half asleep and thats what it looked like and my brain was not really awake. Then I turned on my light and I saw it was a TOAD! It must have come inside when Mum left the laundry door open when she went out to hang out the washing in the daytime and now he was trying to get outside. He hopped up and down the hallway and I had to creep past him to go to the toilet. That was not very nice! But I went back to bed and kept telling myself its not a hopping crab! and its not a toad (even though it really was) but told myself it was a frog cos frogs are nicer than toads. So I went back to sleep and in the morning I told my mum and she got the broom and we closed all the doors so he couldnt go back into my room and we made him hop all the way down the hallway and out of the laundry door into the rocks in the garden. That was my Night Fright story. From Ella H

  4. What a fabulous story, Ella! I hope you have written it down. I can imagine some funny pictures to go with it too.
    Thanks for sharing it with me!

  5. Thank you sincerely Sally for your generous donation of your wonderful books for the school children of Viwa Island, Fiji.
    Wishing you all the very best,
    Kind regards
    Michele Darmanin