Late last year I promised myself that I would not commit to doing so many blog tours as I find the pressure of writing to a deadline ...

Books With a Deeper Message - Duncan Beedie Blog Tour

Monday, February 18, 2019 BookBairn Blog 9 Comments


Late last year I promised myself that I would not commit to doing so many blog tours as I find the pressure of writing to a deadline and writing for a specific purpose that isn't necessarily the blog post I would chose to share first (if that makes sense?) a bit tedious and can put unnecessary pressure on me to share blog posts that aren't my priority. But when I was asked to join the Duncan Beedie blog tour for his latest release - Molly's Moon Mission - I was delighted to join in because I just love his books.

Duncan Beedie is an expert in writing books with a deeper message! What do I mean by this? Well, there are lots of great books out there that share values and modern day (as well as old-school) morals with children and teach them a little lesson and they are helpful and good books in their own way. But Duncan's books never ever sacrifice the value of a good story and engaging characters over sharing a message with children. His books balance wonderful storytelling with sharing a value or a message or helping children develop their empathy with characters who are facing challenging situations. In all of his books, Duncan's illustrations are witty and characters expressive which for younger readers will help engage them with the story first and then, sometimes after several read (because they will want to re-read) children will begin to understand the message of the story.

In a recent discussion on Twitter about how he develops his books Duncan said:

"I wouldn't want to force a political/social message into a children's book. If a parent or child gets to the end [of] the story and it sparks a discussion about wider social themes, then that's great. But if not - also great."

And this is really the feeling I get from his stories - he wants you to enjoy a good story first and foremost and if you get a little something deeper out of his books then that's an added bonus.


In The Last Chip, it tells the story of a pigeon who is hungry and cannot find food until a homeless person gives away their last chip. It's s story about even when you don't have much, there is often someone worse off who needs our help. It's about looking around you and spotting the pigeon who is hungry. It's about not hoarding. It's simply about sharing. 


In The Lumberjack's Beard, the Lumberjack is so busy chopping down trees that he doesn't notice the animals going homeless as he destroys their homes. But when the come to him and explain their plight he offers them a home in his beard and he begins to replant the trees. 


In The Bear Who Stared, Bear isn't very good at making friends. He doesn't know what to say and he just stares at people making them uncomfortable. But with the help of a little frog he learns to share his lovely smile as he meets new people, breaking the ice, and giving him time to formulate his thoughts to say hello. This is such a great story that shows us the importance of a smile. Any of these books would be a great choice for sharing a deeper message with children. And of course, they are just great stories.


And his newest book Molly's Moon Mission is no different. Molly the moth (have you ever heard of a book with a moth as the main character - just one of the many reasons to love it!) has always been told that someone as small as her can never make it to the moon. Yearning for adventure, she helps her mother look after her siblings (larvae) during the day and trains hard for her space mission by night. And soon she is ready to blast off. But perhaps the moon is further than even Molly believed. First she gets as far as a lightbulb, but that's not the moon. Then she makes it as high as a street lamp, but that's not the moon. Then she gets confused but a lighthouse, that's not the moon either. Along the way she is belittled and made to feel too small for such a feat. Will she ever make it? And show everyone that size doesn't matter when you have a big dream? I think you can probably guess! With adorable illustrations and the underlying message of reaching for your dreams, this is a wonderfully heart-warming and gently encouraging story.

As part of the blog tour we got the opportunity to ask Duncan a few questions about how he creates his wonderful books.

Where do you start when you are creating books? They always have such a poignant messages/themes and I wondered do you start there? Or does a character jump out to you? Or the story? I'm fascinated by your writing/creating process.
    
In the past I have always started with a character. I usually base my stories on characters I have created in previous illustrations, and sometimes a story idea emerges from there. I like to draft up a cover design early on as well. I realise that this is essentially approaching the process backwards, but it helps me refine the story if I have a clear idea of the character and the aesthetic of the world they inhabit.

You often pick less conspicuous creatures to star in your books - a moth, a pigeon - is this deliberate? 

Well, the bear and lumberjack were fairly conspicuous I suppose, but the latter two characters were certainly less so. It wasn't a conscious decision on my part, but they were apt characters for the type of stories I wanted to convey. Percy the pigeon was perfect for the urban environment of The Last Chip, and I liked how Molly was determined to get herself to the moon in spite of her comparatively tiny stature.

What creature is next on your list? Or is it top secret? 


I have literally just got off the phone with my editor to discuss book no. 5. We have punted a few ideas around based on drafts I have submitted recently (bears and penguins were in the mix), but the favourite idea at the moment features a hippo. This may very well change in due course!



Thanks so much Duncan for taking the time to answer my questions! To check out more of the blog tour you can find all the details in the banner below.


And if you want a whole set of Duncan Beedie's picture books - check out our Instagram post going live at 8pm this evening! 


Thanks for reading,
Kim and the bairns x

Disclaimer: We were sent all four of Duncan's books over the years from the publisher but it's a credit to how wonderful they are that we still have all four books! Because we only have space to keep the very best. Please read our Review Policy  if you want to know more. If you click on the image of the book below you will be sent to Amazon.co.uk using an affiliate link.  This means that if you choose to purchase on Amazon.co.uk, I will receive a small sum (around 20-90p per book) from Amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog post please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our For Readers Section.





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9 comments:

  1. I like the idea of good stories that promote good values.

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    1. Absolutely! But they have to be good stories first!

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  2. We love Duncan's books too. The Lumberjack's Beard is one of my favourite picture books and one that I love reading aloud to children.

    #ReadWithMe

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    1. It's a wonderful wonderful story and we have a friend who is a tree surgeon so BookBairn thinks that this book is about him!

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  3. I've found myself asking so many more questions when reading books now, it's surprising just how much you can draw out of even the simplest of stories! #readwithme

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  4. These sound adorable and the last two in particular appealed probably because I am an introvert and often feel small and unable to find the confidence to pursue my dreams. Great for children but adults too as I find many children's books are. Always lovely to hear more about the writing process as someone who wants to write a book one day, one of those dreams! #ReadWithMe

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  5. Great post, Duncan Beedie's books are just brilliant aren't they. All 4 of these books are firm favourites in our house. #Readwithme

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  6. These look lovely. I hadn't come across this author #readwithme

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  7. I've not heard of this author before, but all the books sound wonderful and would have been a welcome addition to our library if the children were still young enough for these kind of books.

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