Priya's books are written for children aged between 4-9 years of age. Through her stories, Priya provides all school children with fun, inspiring characters that they can naturally relate to! The stories instill confidence in children who find handwriting and spelling a little bit of a challenge! Children will read Priya's stories and feel reassured, and think, "I can do it!" (Amazon.com)
PD: Jake Monkey-Tail is my second book – I had no idea that I would even be writing a second book in fact, as I wrote my first book, Benjamin Writer-Messy because I wanted to try something new in life – I wanted to see if I could write a book and then go about producing it. Fortunately, everything fell into place quite easily.
It was as we were putting Benjamin Writer-Messy together that I realised I could do this; and also that there needed to be more of the type of book I was creating; that is, books that have inspirational figures for children at school, who are learning about what they are: handwriting, spelling, Maths etc.
The idea of Jake Monkey-Tail came to my one day while I was working with a child. He couldn’t sound out words correctly such as ‘cat’. Jake originally started off as a monkey who had special ears to hear sounds. But then I realised I needed to break spelling down, to help the story make more sense and go back to the first stages of learning to spell which is linking sounds to the correct letter shapes (seeing and hearing), as opposed to just targeting the hearing side of spelling. This first stage can be hard for children to start with - this is Jake’s difficulty and it impacts on his ability to spell words correctly.
BBB: What do you hope children will learn from Jake Monkey-Tail?
PD: I hope that all children learn that it is okay to find something hard and to always recognize what they are good at, as often we forget about our strengths when we are focusing on something we find challenging. I think children’s strengths and skills need to be supported so they can develop a sense of worth and inner confidence, which is why in the book we see Jake talking about what he is good at before he decides that he is going to find a way to improve his spelling.
I also hope that Jake will encourage children to ask for help; and to know there will always be a way to make something better.
PD: Benjamin Writer-Messy is a story about a boy who has terrible handwriting. He lives in a place called Pencil Land, where everything just happens to look like a pencil! Ben has a handwriting competition at school; he knows he needs to find a way to improve his handwriting so he has a chance of doing well in the competition. He visits the Handwriting Queen, who gives him a golden pencil to use during the competition. Does he win? You will have to read the book to find out!
BBB: What do you think readers will like most about your character, Benjamin?
PD: So far children have loved Pencil Land and Benjamin’s pencil head the most.
Benjamin is a character that children can easily relate to, especially as he is going to school just like them; and of course having to write just like them.
All children at some point find handwriting difficult. For some children it’s the letter formation, for others handwriting is physically painful. Children have to write a lot at school – it’s exhausting for them to have to write continually. Hopefully Benjamin will give children the confidence to keep working on their handwriting at whatever level they are. He talks about believing in himself in the story, so I hope children will like seeing his confidence grow, and be inspired by this.
PD: Yes, I am. I can’t say too much about them at the moment but I can tell you they are different to my first two books in that they are not about characters based at school; and they are also much shorter! Three new e-books will be coming out in a few months time. Benjamin Writer-Messy and Jake Monkey-Tail will also be released as e-books soon, which I’m really excited about.
You can find out more about Priya Desai by visiting http://wordypriya.wordpress.com and http://www.priyadesai.co.uk.