A story of a little boy, love and letting go.
The old saying goes, ‘if you love something, set it free’ and this touching book tells of this with such tenderness and warmth.
Eric loves spending summers with grandad. This summer is even more special because Grandad gives Eric a very important job on his boat – Chief Seagull Shoo-er! But when Eric and his grandad rescue Beaky, a baby seagull, Eric isn’t sure he wants to see his new friend fly away…
My Summer With Grandad had all the feels of Lost and Found – I really think Tom could be the UK’s answer to Oliver Jeffers! The book can be enjoyed on so many levels and with children of different ages. The spread where Eric is crying as he says goodbye to Beaky and they embrace before he flies off into the sunset is heart-wrenching but so beautifully done – it brought tears to my eyes.
I’m looking forward to seeing more of Tom’s signature style words and pictures on bookshelves very soon. He does humour and heart so well and there’s so many little details to notice throughout (look for the little surprise that the seagulls on the end-papers have left you- it’s supposed to be lucky you know!)
So let’s meet the man behind the pages. Here’s a guest post from author and illustrator Tom Tinn-Disbury on how this perfect little book was formed and some discussion points for during and after reading:
When writing a story, especially a picture book, I always try to avoid hammering a moral or “life lesson” over the head of the reader.
However if you have make the characters feel real, then their experience throughout the book usually informs the story’s themes or lessons.
So while I didn’t set out to write a story about learning to accept friends moving on or how important relationships with our grandparents can be. That became the over riding theme of the book.
So, I hope that that if teachers or parents were to perhaps use “My Summer with Grandad” in an educational setting, they could use it as jumping off point to talk about letting friends go and live their own lives? Being respectful of the needs of others? What role do their grandparents play in their lives? Then perhaps broader conversations about friendships in general or making sure wild animals aren’t hurt by our interventions?
So along with these talking points you could also try:
• Getting children to draw or write about a wild animal they would like as a friend
• Making a postcard to send to their Grandparents
• Listing the things you might find on a sandy beach – or if you live near one, go on a seaside Scavenger hunt!
• Talking or writing about their own steps in helping an injured animal.
Tom is an illustrator based in Rugby, UK. He has illustrated books for Simon & Schuster, Sleeping Bear Press and Hachette. His
debut picture book as both author and illustrator, The Caveman Next
Door, was published in 2019.
Tom can be contacted on Instagram
Visit Tom’s website here
My Summer With Grandad was published by New Frontier Publishing on 1st April and is available to purchase now.
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