Children’s author James Hywel visited the River & Rowing Museum last Thursday to give a reading of his book, Albert Mouse. Joined by special guest Mr Toad, the author also gave the young attendees some tips on how to write a book before inviting them to sign his deck chair, set to be auctioned off for charity.
James Hywel is a highly recognised children’s author, having written 21 books about a number of different characters. He said prior to the event, “I’m always excited. I write the books for the kids; it’s not for me. I normally don’t do these kind of events, and I prefer that they read the book and enjoy it because it’s not about it, but I’m always excited to see kids smiling. And what a venue — I love it.”
James Hywel began the event with a reading of ‘The Mouse Who Wanted to See the World’, the first in the Albert Mouse series. Story time was interrupted by the surprise arrival of Mr Toad, who sat beside James and assisted in the story telling. Young ears
If there were any budding authors in the audience, James was full of sage wisdom. “Anyone can write a book,” he said. “I’ll tell you how easy it is to write a book. I wrote this book in one day. If I can do that, I’m sure that you can.”
Giving advice on where best to start with writing, James suggested, “The thing you need to do is find a character that people will like, and they always like animals. I wrote about Albert Mouse, I wrote about an ostrich, and my new book is about Walter the shrew. He lives just down here on the river. I like writing about animals because you can write anything you want if you’re a children’s author – you just use your imagination. For example, if you want to write about a fish and you want it to have feathers, you can. It doesn’t have to be a chicken to have feathers. It’s your book, and you can write whatever you want. I’ve written about a fish that’s got feathers and I don’t mind if everyone says, it’s obviously a chicken, because it isn’t. If you want your dog to have blue hair and three tails, then you write that. It’s really easy.”
Following his reading and his words of encouragement on writing, James invited the children to sign his black deck chair in white fabric pen. The chair will be featuring at every children’s event he does and, once full of names, will be auctioned off. All proceeds from the chair will be going to the children’s charity When you wish upon a Star. As the children scribbled their first names, with some careful guidance from grown ups, James also signed posters for the children to take home.
For the event, James had asked children to turn up wearing odd socks, promising a prize for those that did. Though most forgot, it was to great squeals of delight that Mr Toad rolled up his trousers to reveal a pair of very colourful odd socks!