Join me in welcoming Sean Noonan on day 3 of his Virtual Book Tour by the National Writing for Children Center .
Day 3 – Tradebook Tips for Teachers from Children’s Author Sean Noonan
“How can I, an amateur to the ‘front of a class room’, give advice to those who carry the accolade of Teacher?”
I am a father and like all fathers I want the best for my children. One of the reasons I write is to provide guidance to my children on how to understand and get more out of life. The books are written to entertain but they are also designed to educate.
The theme of this book is Christmas and I wanted to make sure that the lessons of giving and sharing were at the fore front of the tale. Elannah and Sam first visit Rodger the Badger to give him his Christmas presents, a white winters feather found in the woods for his hat and ‘smelly’ mushrooms of a fragrant variety for his cooking pot. The presents are well suited to Rodger the Badger and come from a more thoughtful place rather than from commercial considerations. When they speak to Rodger they find out that their new friend the Bridge Troll has never celebrated Christmas and so they decide to throw him his first Christmas party that will make up for all the ones he has missed.
Elannah and Sam work hard throughout the story and persist in their determination, even in the face of adversity. They overcome several challenges from an out of control avalanche that threatens to bury them; to would-be goblin thieves that try to steal their friends, the dwarves, hard earned Jewels; to a dance of great importance that needs to be danced without music. Throughout the adventure they show great courage and perseverance to ensure that their new friend, the Bridge Troll has the very best party. It is their courage and perseverance that earns the greatest reward at the end of the book.
I truly believe that all things are possible if we have determination and work to achieve our dreams. This is brought out in Chapters Nine and Ten in the story about the goblins who wanted jewels of their own and so stole bags of jewels from the dwarfs. They are caught with the help of Elannah and Sam and are set a hard lesson to learn for their would be thievery. Their ‘retribution’ involves self empowerment. They are to be taken to the ‘naughty mine shaft’ to work hard for a week, though what they will find out is that they will be working for themselves. All the jewels they dig out will be given to them at the end of the week illustrating that if you work hard and honestly you will reap the rewards.
Chapter Eleven and Twelve involve two plots that shows how our actions can result in different consequences than intended. Those intensions are often only measured by their consequences and may be misunderstood by others. The key to understanding why people do the things they do is communication. It is not until they talk about what happened that these misunderstandings come to light and resolution can be achieved. Chapter Eleven introduces Tweezel the Weasel who grabs the bag of jewels from Sam’s belt and runs off into the Night Flower Garden. As the tale unfolds we find that our initial impressions are not always the right ones. What the others see as thievery, Tweezel sees as a game. This is reflected in Chapter Twelve when Grumphspawn answers the Night Flower Guardian’s questions about his misconduct the last time he visited. His use of magic harmed, instead of helped, the night fliers and he is back to make amends.
I have found that my daughter Elannah’s pictures make a great connection with the younger listeners/readers. Some of the kids I have read to were inspired to make their own drawings of the stories and characters. This allows them to visualise and create, in their own ways, and as this is the ultimate goal of my books, this is the greatest reward I could imagine.