– ‘The Magic Of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘JayJay And His Island Adventure’ blogtour, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have a guest post written by its author, Sue Wickstead, but b
About the Author :
I am a teacher and an author and have currently written six children’s picture books with a bus theme.
For over 20 years, alongside my teaching career, I worked with a Children’s Charity, The Bewbush Playbus Association, which led me to write a photographic history book about it.
I soon found that many children had never been on a bus before, let alone a ‘Playbus’ and they wanted to know more. I decided to write a fictional tale about the bus, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name.
‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus,’ came out in print in 2014. It is the story behind the original bus and is his journey from a scrap-yard to being changed into a playbus for children to play in. From Fact to fiction the bus journey continued.
This story has now been followed by five more picture books.
I also undertake events and author bookings and love to share the story. There are also a few more stories in the writing process, with links to real events and buses.
The story has been read in many schools in the south-East of England, where I teach as a cover teacher, it is always well received and certainly different.
Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure
Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus is not an ordinary bus taking you on a journey. He is a Playbus. Find out what happens when he is invited to an island where the children have never seen a double-decker bus – and certainly not one full of toys!
Behind the story
‘Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure’, was originally written for a Scottish book bus.
‘Play,Talk, Read’ was the project which visited remote areas if Scotland to encourage reading in the very young. It was a great success and the bus even visited the Shetland Islands travelling on a very small ferry.
The children had never seen a double-decker on their island before and certainly not one to play on.
However, the Scottish project was too busy with referendums and with the book ready and edited I changed the name of the bus from Benji, sending Jay-Jay instead.
The island on the cover of the book was based on a piece of mainland Spain which I have visited many times.
Cap D’Or is the promentory near to a little village of Moraira.
The villagers in Moraira invited me to read this book in their library and local schools.
The people in this little village were surprised to find that Jay-Jay was a real bus.
(Jay-Jay may not have got to Spain in reality but in my imagination he did and now all of the books are in the local library in both Teulada and Moraira.)
Guest Post :
As the Blog tour is about Jay-Jay and his Island Adventure I thought maybe I should write about my Aunt Vera and her connections to the Island Adventure.
Vera was certainly my inspiration. As children we would love visiting her in London, she would take us out to lots of exciting places travelling by taxi and by bus, it was always an adventure. Everything about Vera was exciting and different with stories along the way.
She had become a teacher in her late 40’s and initially taught in a school in London.
Then she decided to go and teach in Sweden in a little place in Lapland called Kiruna. She would come home and tell us stories of snow and ice; of Herring Fest and Goose blood soup. Of wolves and bears and lost gloves.
She came back to England and then went off to teach in Africa, in Liberia. Her stories here were of scorpions and snakes and freedom rings.
Back in England Vera became one of the first ‘English as a second language teachers’ in London.
One day out of the blue Vera announced she had married and in 1973 they decided to retire to Spain.
They found a villa complex near a pretty town called Javea and in 1974 together with her step-daughter, I went for a holiday helping her make the place her home. We would drive off around the area exploring the locality. I had never been abroad in my life before and fell in love with the country.
I continued to visit Javea many times as often as I could. Mainly for a holiday but also to visit Vera.
She had a lovely place but we were surprised when suddenly she decided to move to the small fishing village of Moraira nearby.
My parents decided, with Vera’s advice and help, to buy a small property of their own but sadly my dad died before he could live there.
We saw many changes to the village but it still retained its Spanish charm. It was a special place for my mum who could visit many times on her own with her sister nearby. Most of all mum would make sure that she would visit for the fiesta celebrations which the village was very good at putting on.
Even when Vera returned to England and mum eventually sold her property, my mum continued to visit each year for the Moors and Christians event in June.
When I left full-time teaching, I was able to go along and I too fell in love with the event and have continued to visit with my mum.
Over the 36 years we have been visiting, mum and I have taken many photographs which show the many changes. I decided to start a Facebook page and through this I made friends with many of the local families.
When it came to illustrating the Island Adventure book, I suggested to the illustrator that maybe we should use the local landmark, Cap D’Or, Moraira as the inspiration for the island.
I told one of my Moraira friends who asked if I might come along and read it.
My Spanish not being very good, I created a simple power-point about the real bus with photographs to show. This could be easily translated.
Together with a Spanish speaking English teacher I read my story in English and she translated to Spanish. I was fascinated to hear the story in Spanish.
At the end the locals said, ‘Wow! The bus was real?’
It was at that moment that the book really came alive for me with its own backstory.
In the book: The children were excited as they had never seen a double-decker bus on their island, but now for me it is the people in the little village.
I had always dreamed of taking my Playbus over to Spain. It may not have happened in reality but in my imagination it did, most of all I am pleased to know that there are copies of my books in Moraira library.
Vera may no longer be in Moraira but I hope she would be pleased to know that my story books are and I know a little piece of me (and my mum) remains there too.
Win Jay Jay and the Carnival (UK Only)
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