Even dragons love a good story…
Leo was a gentle knight in thought and word and deed. While other knights liked fighting, Leo liked to sit and read…
When Leo’s mom and dad pack him off to fight a dragon, he takes a shield, a sword―and a pile of his favorite books.
But can a story be as mighty as a sword?
Told in perfect rhyme and gorgeously illustrated, this is a fantastic book about a young knight who draws on street smarts, common courtesy, books and a little kindness to brave the monsters he encounters, rather than fighting. I really like that he goes about what his parents ask him to do (even though it’s not to his taste!) with his own unique style and that his parents, in turn, are able to embrace his preferences as he demonstrates their true value. Books and reading can indeed be a powerful weapon and tool!
I was born and grew up in a small town called Weymouth, on the south coast of England. My family was from Wales, and I inherited from them a love of stories. As a child, I spent most of my time either reading or writing. From an early age I started making books (and even a monthly magazine for witches) with my own stories and pictures in them. I took this very seriously, and was quite determined that I would be an author when I grew up. All I needed to keep me happy was a pile of books to read (I was a regular visitor to our local library), some blank paper, a pencil and some felt tip pens that hadn’t run out. In the end, I didn’t become an author – at least, not straight away. I went to Newcastle University in the north of England to study French and Spanish, and in between being a student there I spent time in France, Spain and Cuba, where I learned to dance salsa and once queued for 4 hours for an ice-cream. After graduating, I trained as a secondary school teacher and headed out to Mexico City with an open ticket and no job. Luckily, I found a job teaching French in an International school, and I ended up staying in Mexico for four years, before returning to the UK to do a Masters in Film and Television Production at Bristol University. After a lot of fun helping young people in Bristol make films (but not making much money), I returned to teaching for a few years, working with refugees and asylum seekers and then teaching Spanish at the University of the West of England. During this time, I met Thomas Docherty, who had recently started illustrating his own books. It was Tom who encouraged me to start writing stories again, and we co-wrote the book Ruby Nettleship and the Ice Lolly Adventure (Templar, 2010). In the summer of 2011 I wrote my first ever rhyming story, The Snatchabook (Alison Green Books, 2013). Tom and I got married in 2008 and we now live in Swansea, Wales, with our two daughters and a cat called Cadi. Looking back, I’m glad that I ended up learning languages, living abroad and working for many years as a teacher… before I finally became an author! Nowadays, I love going into schools to tell my stories to children and inspire them to write stories of their own. Working with Thomas Docherty through Storyopolis, I’ve helped lots of children in Swansea create their very own Book in a Day. You can read some of their fantastic stories by following this link to my Storyopolis page. (Bio via helendocherty.com)
When I was at school I never imagined I would end up writing stories. my spelling was terrible and I found reading really difficult, because I’m dyslexic. Luckily my mum and dad read to me and took me to the library where I spent hours looking at picture books. I had always liked drawing and so I began keeping a sketchbook diary, especially if I travelled anywhere new and it was these diaries that inspired my first picture books. Now whenever possible, I like going along to schools and libraries to talk to children about my work and help them write and draw their own stories. My books have been selected for many awards including the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal. I live in Swansea with wife Helen and our two daughters. Helen is also a children’s book author and together we created the award-winning picture book The Snatchabook.
What inspired Helen to write The Storybook Knight?
Tom (Thomas Docherty) came up the idea of a knight who doesn’t want to fight, and he passed it on to me develop the story. Being a bit of a bookworm, I decided to give our knight, Leo, a similar passion, and to tame the fearsome creatures he meets with stories instead. I thought it would be funny to give him pushy parents who aren’t too comfortable with the fact that their only son is into books rather than more ‘manly’ pursuits like fighting…so they decide to send him off a quest to tame a dragon. But of course, they are eventually won over once they see how effective his strategy is!