Reading and storytelling is so important for your child's development. Among many other benefits, the act of reading together promotes bonding and can help you build a strong, solid connection with your child.
Adelaide Hills author, Jessica Spencer, has created three ABC books that are quite special. Filled with beautiful words and illustrations that will delight both you and your child. 'The Enchanting ABC', 'The Incredible ABC', and 'The Amazing ABC' are all worthy of a place on your child's bedtime reading list.
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go." — Dr. Seuss
We wanted to know more about Jess and her books, so we asked her five questions.
Q1 Who or what inspired you to write a series of ABC Books?
I was inspired to write my first book, 'The Enchanting ABC', for my daughter Ayla when I couldn’t find any children’s books that had all of the things she loved in it – fairies, mermaids, unicorns etc. I had always loved to write, and I had only recently lost my Nanna, Poppa and Uncle in quick and sudden succession, and wanted to do something to honour them. My Nanna and Uncle had been writing a book together before they passed away, and were two of the most talented artists and all-round creative people I have ever known. I know what it would have meant to them to have had their work published and thought there must be other artists out there who would love to have their work featured in a book. And, luckily, I was right and I had four artists sign up to do the ABC series.
Q2 Do you and your children have a favourite book that you read together?
My ABC books are obviously a favourite in our house!! But my son also loves 'The Cat in the Hat', and we read that multiple times a week. My daughter at 6 is starting to read children’s novels so we are going through the 'Billie Brown' series quite heavily at the moment! Both kids love the 'Pig the Pug' series, as well as anything by Julia Donaldson.
Q3 Can you tell us a bit about the illustrators you collaborated with and why you chose them to illustrate your books?
When I had the idea for the book the first thing I did was look up children’s artists on Instagram and trawled through 100’s of profiles. I had a list written up of who I’d like to work with and approached them via Instagram. I am so incredibly happy with the artists I have ended up working with. We are now on our 5th book together with a couple of the artists unable to contribute to the 123 series, but that has opened up the opportunity for myself to illustrate some pages for the 123 series, which I’ve loved doing!
Q4 What advice would you give to aspiring children's book writers/creators?
Be unique. There is so much competition, and you need to carve out a space that is unique to you. Try and bring something different to the market that isn’t being done. And research. Whether you self publish like I did (in which case you need to research artists, how much to pay artists, self-publishers, printing etc) or find a traditional publisher, make sure you research and that you are working with the best people for your book.
I think it’s important to not be discouraged, as well, if people don’t necessarily understand your vision or passion for what you are doing. I’m more than certain most people thought my idea was a bit wacky at the start, given I had no experience or real knowledge of the children’s book industry or publishing, but I knew what I wanted to do and I knew there was a gap in the market for it. If you have a deep passion for what you’re doing it will be very hard to fail.
Q5 What are you working on now?
At the moment I’m illustrating for our second 123 book ‘The Incredible 123’ due for release in November. 'The Enchanting 123' is currently being printed and is due out in August, and then next year I will be looking at working on 'The Amazing 123'.
I’m also writing a book for mums which is really just a series of words on Motherhood and all the stages of Motherhood. It’s my passion project and I’m so excited to finally be working on something that I can read and enjoy!
Jess was in our store on 4th July for a book reading. It was so nice to meet her - she is a beautiful person. Very happy to stock her books at Ella Jane on Sunter Lane in Strathalbyn. The ABC Books have proven popular as special gifts from grandparents, for birthdays and for baby showers.