Raring2go! talks to Jacqueline Wilson
Jacquline Wilson is a celebrated author of best-selling children’s books, many of which have been adapted for the stage and TV. Her best-selling Tracy Beaker series have been adapted into four CBBC serial dramas. After a sell-out season in London’s West End, Hetty Feather is thrillingly brought to life on stage in a UK tour.
What made you decide to be an author of children’s books?
I've wanted to be an author ever since I was six years old. I'm so lucky that I've actually achieved my ambition. I never dreamt I'd get even one book published, let alone more than a hundred!
What would you say to a child with an ambition to be an author?
I'd suggest they read lots, to enrich their imagination and increase their vocabulary, and maybe keep a diary to get into a regular writing habit. So many people want to be writers but never settle down to do the actual writing.
You have created some incredibly strong and well-loved characters – which is your favourite and why?
My favourite character has to be Hetty Feather - she's so spirited, so imaginative, so determined.
You don’t shy away from difficult topics in life. Why is it important to present the real world to children?
When I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s children's books always skirted round difficult topics. All the families were so well-heeled and never seemed to have any serious worries. I remember thinking that life wasn't really like that for many children, and vowed that I'd write much more realistically if ever I was lucky enough to be an author.
What advice can you offer to parents of reluctant readers?
I'm a firm believer that there's one particular book that will change a child's mind about reading. It doesn't have to be fiction - it could be about football or training puppies or facts about an admired You-tuber. It could be a story book about vampires or magic or boarding school. The trick is to find the right book for the right child - and then it's plain sailing.
Do you have a view on books v e-readers?
I can see that e-readers are fine for holidays and general travelling, but for me, nothing beats a proper book with an attractive cover and a lovely chunky feel. I have 20,000 books crammed into my house!
How does it feel to have your books turned into stage productions and TV dramas?
I'm so lucky to have had so many brilliant adaptations of my books. They've all been marvellous. This year has definitely been a Hetty Feather year, with the popular television series and the brilliant stage play.
What’s your favourite book?
My favourite book out of my own titles is definitely 'Hetty Feather.' My favourite book from my childhood is probably 'Ballet Shoes' by Noel Streatfield. My favourite adult classic is 'Jane Eyre' by Charlotte Bronte.
When you were a child, what was your favourite day or activity?
When I was a child I loved reading and drawing and playing with my dolls. Sundays were the best day, because we had breakfast in bed - and then I could play all day. We had a roast lunch and ice-cream for pudding, and I looked forward to watching the children's serial on television in the afternoon.
You have been awarded many honours, including an OBE, a DBE, Children’s Laureate and various awards for your books. Which makes you the most proud?
Oh goodness, I don't know which honour makes me most proud! I don't think it's any of the awards or medals, though I'm very grateful for them. I'm most proud that so many children have told me they enjoy my books. You have achieved such tremendous success.
What's next? I think I'd just like more of the same, please!
For more information on the Hetty Feather tour and to book, visit hettyfeatherlive.com
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