Author

Richard O'Neill

Richard O’Neill is an award winning, Writer and Storyteller, based in Manchester UK. Brought up in a large traditional nomadic Romany family where he learned his storytelling skills. He has loved books since reading his first one when he was four years old. When he’s not writing and telling stories he’s making traditional wooden toys. He is the recipient of the ‘National Literacy Hero’ award in the UK and a Aesop award in the USA.

Richard O'Neill Website
Most Recent Book
The Lost Homework book

More About Richard

I fell in love with books at 4 years old, and became a voracious reader, the combination of words, pictures and my own imagination were the perfect combination. I was brought up in a traditional nomadic family where stories were our literacy. When I started reading and showing piture books to my children I saw the enormously positive impact it had on them. Then when I started telling stories in schools I also saw the positive impact it had on many more children. My stories from my family and the ones I create couldn't possibly be shared physically with children around the world, so the idea of being able to do this through books was a dream come true.

Insights

How do(es) your spouse/children/grandchildren influence your work?

My family are the biggest influence on my work, they read everything first and they are very hard to please. If they like it then it's usually OK

Do you have any favorite memories of childhood reading?

Yes being read to by my maternal grandmother, she made any book come alive!

How has reading influenced your life?

It has shown me other worlds real and imagined, it has taught me things I never could have learned on my own, it has enhanced my life is ways too numerous to list.

What do you hope young readers experience from your work?

That no matter your background, your ethnicity, your differences you can play a full part in literature and in life.

Tell us about your process for creating a children's book from start to finish?

It always starts with something that interest me, a what if, or a why did that happen. Then I create a small story around it, if that works I create a bigger story. Then I write it and see if it reads as well as it sounds. Sometimes they don't and they stay as stories, or become plays rather than turning into books.

What was the biggest challenge in creating your first published book?

Understanding how it all fit together, how much work there was involved in it from a whole team of people. My publisher Childsplay were fabulous at explaining the process and as a result it's now a lot easier.

What do you do when you're in need of some inspiration?

I'm really fortunate in that I spend a lot of time working with children and teachers, they are constantly inspiring, so I never run out of ideas.

picture Books

The Lost Homework book
1.5
school
The Lost Homework
hard work · courage · horses · helping others
Polonius the Pit Pony
Ossiri and the Bala Mengro book
3.5
music · culture · making friends
Ossiri and the Bala Mengro
magic · horses
Yokki and the Parno Gry

Collaborators

Hannah Tolson
Katharine Quarmby
Marieke Nelissen
Feronia Parker-Thomas
Join Our Kids Book Club
Learn More