WRITING FOR CHILDREN

  • TELLING THE STORIES OF CHILD REFUGEES

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Media Campaign, Children's Poetry, Children's stories, Politics, Prix Jeunesse, Refugees, Religion, Writing for Children

    You might not have been aware that it was #refugeeawarenessweek recently.  No matter, the terrible situations that some people find themselves in sadly haven’t gone away so here are stories I wrote for #CBeebiesRadio

    With some minor adjustments to protect both the kids in the stories and the kids in the audience, each is a true story.

    You might want to rant that such subject matter is entirely inappropriate for young children but young children are living through these things.  Stories are there to help us understand and find ways to deal with what is going on around us.  These stories celebrate the resilience, courage and love of young people and nobody is too young to celebrate love.

    If you have read this far, then (oops I didn’t ask permission but as I wrote it… bad me) have this:

    Taking Flight

    Everyone needs a safe place to live,

    Like a bird’s nest lined with warm feathers:

    Full of kindness and love, it’s the place we call home,

    A refuge from the world and the weather.

     

    But storms can sometimes blow nests from the trees

    And winter brings frost, ice and snow.

    Birds have to fly south or else they would freeze;

    To survive until spring, they must go.

     

    Their journey can last for thousands of miles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest,

    Flying across deserts and oceans and isles

    With little food and no time to rest.

     

    And people too must sometimes take flight,

    Like birds they have to migrate

    From the cruelty of rulers and armies that fight,

    Blown by the ice winds of hate.

     

    This journey can last for thousands of miles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest,

    Crossing countries and deserts and oceans and isles

    With little food and no time to rest.

     

    But unlike the birds, these people have names:

    They’re not just a crowd on TV,

    They love and they laugh and they work and play games:

    They are people like you and like me.

     

    There’s Farah and Birhan, Hivi, Rafiq

    With sisters and aunties and mothers,

    Serbest, Amez, Natania, Sadiq

    With fathers, granddads and brothers.

     

    Refugee children love stories and art,

    They love chasing and shouting and play.

    They’re sporty, they’re funny, thoughtful and smart

    And dream of being grown up one day.

     

    Their journey can last thousands of miles,

    With little food and no time to rest.

    Crossing deserts and oceans with hope and with smiles,

    It’s a daring and dangerous quest.

     

    Then after the winter, the birds fly away,

    But not to wander or roam:

    They fly back to rebuild the nests that they left,

    To the safe places they once called home.

     

    And refugees too love the land where they lived

    And many hope to return there they say.

    When summer brings the warm wind that forgives

    There will be freedom and peace there, one day.

     

    Now that is a journey of thousands of miles

    And a daring and dangerous quest;

    Bringing peace and forgiveness, laughter and smiles

    But of all journeys, that one’s the best.

     

    For everyone needs a safe place to live,

    When we find it, there’s no need to roam.

    There we can grow and learn and forgive,

    Full of love, it’s the place we call home.

     

     

  • TOP TIPS ON TENNIS, TWINS AND #TISSUES ON #CBEEBIES RADIO

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Books, Children's Health, Children's stories, Education, Parenting, Screenwriting, Writing for Children

    This week it’s all runny noses in my #allergies story.  You can hear  about Shaniqua’s #hayfever with #DrRanj at

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio/tennis-twins-and-tissues

    Why doesn’t her twin sister get it?

    And what’s the top tennis tip?

    Is there a top tennis tip? You’ll have to listen to find out.  Carefully or you’ll miss it.

    You missed it didn’t you.

    Never mind.  The story isn’t aimed at you reading this – I suspect you are much older than six.  All of these allergy podcasts are written to help younger children.  Alongside the stories, children talk about their own allergies and Dr Ranj Singh gives helpful advice.  I hope that your little ones find them useful and of course enjoyable.

  • MY #CBEEBIES #PETALLERGY STORY: IT’S GOT #DRRANJ AND #GUINEAPIGS!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Books, Children's Health, Children's stories, Education, Nature, Parenting, Writing for Children

    Children and parents and, well anyone else, can listen to my story and find out what happens when a boy brings the school guinea pigs home in  Bohdan’s Beastly Allergy .  OK so the title has given away a bit about what happens but, look it’s got guinea pigs!  And pigeons.  And a little boy who desperately loves animals and cuddles.  And did I mention guinea pigs?

    This was possibly my favourite story in this series because the research involved guinea pigs and learning a new technical term: ‘pet dander’.   Jayne’s top tip: if dander ain’t dandy, then keep tissues handy…  Dr Ranj has proper top tips for sufferers of pet allergies at the end of the podcast.  But they don’t rhyme.

  • MY STORY ABOUT #ASTHMA IS AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON #CBEEBIESRADIO

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Health, Children's Poetry, Education, Paddlesport, Parenting, Writing for Children

    Sporty Imogen refuses to let her asthma get in the way of her having fun in this story.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio/imogen-takes-the-plunge

    This story draws on some of my experiences teaching kayaking to school children.   There always seemed to be at least one child with an inhaler in the class and if they were not reticent about trying something that might make them out of breath and/or falling in the river, their teachers often were.

    In this story, I wanted to show that, as long as the right precautions are taken, there is no reason why a child with asthma can’t do fun stuff or go on to make their dreams come true.  I was greatly inspired by stories of Olympic athletes like Rebecca Adlington OBE and hope that children listening to this story will be too and will go on to do amazing things.

    Oh and thanks to the great people at my local sports centre #Dursleypool for explaining why we should shower before rather than after swimming and why widdling in the pool is such a really bad idea…

     

     

  • NEW #CBEEBIESRADIO SERIES ABOUT #ALLERGIES : IT’S EYEWATERINGLY GOOD!

    AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Children's Health, Children's stories, Education, Parenting, Screenwriting, Writing for Children

    I’m so glad to have written the stories for this fantastic series helping kids across the UK who have allergies, while making others aware of how they can help.   https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/radio

    Starting from 10th Jan with a new show every Wednesday until 7th February , this cracking series about allergies is not to be sniffed at.

    I’ll stop right there with the puns because allergies are only funny until you have one yourself.  Then it can be tiresome, disruptive, frightening, especially when you’re not yet even six.  To be the odd one out, with special food, special gloves, special medicine, when you’re feeling poorly, doesn’t feel very special at all.

    This series of five audio downloads explores different chronic conditions that some children may suffer: asthma, allergies to pet dander, nuts, dairy, pollen… what’s it like to suddenly react badly to something?  What’s it like when it happens to your friend? What’s it like to have to guard what you eat or drink or touch?   What’s it like to not be able to eat your own birthday cake?

    When you put it like that, it’s all a bit grim.

    So I didn’t put it like that.

    After all, these stories are for CBeebies and CBeebies is never grim.  So expect fun stories with nutty detectives, cub scouts, tennis aces, guinea pigs and pigeons, all read beautifully by the wonderfully reassuring Dr Ranj.

    Of course the stories answer all of those questions above: I based them on patient testimony and the expertise of a specialist nurse.  You can hear some of the children talking about their conditions in each episode as well.  My lovely producers were pleased with the result. I hope that you and your little ones will be too.