Want to go on an adventure? Travel to new places? Be a hero? Good news. You can – and it’s as simple as opening a book.
Last year, 400,000 New Zealanders did not open a book, according to statistics published by the New Zealand Book Council. A massive 40 percent of us don’t have the level of literacy we need in our daily lives. But there are loads of great reasons for us all to read more – particularly children.
Reading with children from a very young age helps them to develop their language skills and vocabulary. It helps with concentration and develops imagination – great skills for doing well at school. A variety of stories help children learn about the world around them. They love reading with their parents. Plus, it’s fun! Local young writer Ben Spies’ passion for reading led to him becoming a published author at the age of 9. His parents published his first book, Weirdo, as a gift to recognise and celebrate his passion for reading and writing. The family launched Spies Publishing in 2016 to bring Ben’s stories to a wider audience.
Ben’s second book, The Magic Pencil, was published in 2017. Spies Publishing worked with Vida and Luke Kelly – a husband-and-wife design team with experience working with legendary children’s authors Roald Dahl and Allen Ahlberg – to create a bright and beautiful book that draws young readers into the action-packed adventure. And following the success of The Magic Pencil, Spies Publishing is re-releasing Weirdo – the hilarious story of Ugine, the weirdest boy in school.
The Kapiti-based business also makes fiction writing accessible to children through its Create Your Book workshops. Participants write and illustrate their own story, which is bound together into their very own book they can take home to show their friends and family. The next series of half-day workshops are coming soon at Southern Cross Garden Bar, Te Aro and Roxy Cinema, Miramar – search for “Spies Publishing” on Facebook for more details.
Spies Publishing is passionate about getting children reading by bringing them books written by their peers. Kids will love the weird and wonderful worlds of Weirdo and The Magic Pencil – authentic children’s stories, seen through a child’s eyes and written in a child’s voice.
You can get your copy of The Magic Pencil ($18) and Ben’s first book, Weirdo ($15) at spiespublishing.co.nz
F&R: Hi Renata! Tell me about becoming a parent.
Renata Spies (RS): I was backpacking in Europe when I was 26. I had the time of my life and learned English; I’m Brazilian and English is not my first language. I met my husband, Robert – and I never went back to Brazil. We got married and started a life together in London.
When Ben was born, the idea was I would keep working full time. I took six months at home and I really wanted to go back to work. I was with Marriott Hotels, overlooking the European Asian market for incentive marketing. I was travelling a lot – our head office was in Washington – and I had a nanny at home looking after Ben. It was what I wanted to do; my dream career.
But one day, he walked for the first time – and I missed it. I started thinking, what’s more important for me now? Is it being with my child or having this career? It really surprised me that I wanted to be a mum, because since I left university I had this image of me as a career woman and working a lot. But now, being a mum is my main goal. I try to do the best I can – it’s a very hard job!
Ben was two when I stopped working and we came to New Zealand. It’s the perfect place to raise a family. There’s so much to do with kids and I think the government understands that you should be with your child for the first years and give all the tools for that. Daniel came four years after Ben. He’s 8 now and Ben is 12.
F&R: These days, you have more of a portfolio career, right?
RS: When Daniel started kindy, I thought ‘what now?’ I didn’t want to go back to the office because I still wanted to spend time with them so I decided to start my own events business. It was great because it showed me I should be networking. I put myself out there, enrolled in workshops and met all these businesswomen. Three years ago, I started Kapiti Women’s Expo, to show the community what this group of women is doing. That was growing for two years. It coincided with starting the publishing business so I decided to sell this year and pass it on.
Time management is one of my everyday challenges. Everyone’s struggling with that. At the Expo, I made sure one of the talks was about parenting. The speakers always went back to look after yourself first. If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after your family.
F&R: What does that look like for you?
RS: Every morning I go for a walk after I drop the kids off at school. I do a bit of yoga and I have my time that’s just for myself. And then I start my day. I know I have between 10am and 2pm to work; that’s four non-stop hours for my business.
I’m so glad that lots of companies nowadays are more flexible with mums and dads. They’re really seeing that your capability isn’t just available within office hours. You can work from home, or work in the evenings, and be as good as if you’re in the office; you still deliver but in a different way. My husband Robert works for New Zealand Post. They’re really flexible. It’s good that he can have that flexibility; you have to work as a team at home as well, parenting together.
F&R: What’s the story behind Spies Publishing?
RS: It started with Ben writing every day when he came back from school. I would see him on a lonely journey in front of his computer, just writing, and I didn’t know how to reward or recognise it. He wrote his first book Weirdo when he was 9. I had it published and I gave it to him as a gift. He hasn’t stopped writing since. I think he writes so much because he reads so much. Reading a lot gives him a great imagination. Children are so authentic in their thoughts and so funny and imaginative in their stories.
It’s a whole new world for me – I’ve never been in publishing before. When I started, I didn’t even know there were three edits; the structural edit, the copy edit and the proofreading. The most recent book, The Magic Pencil, had these three amazing editors. I found the best I could afford in order to have a really good quality of work. It didn’t take me long to realise I can do this; what I need is a great team of editors and designers to make me a good product. I’m learning as I go but I’m really excited. I hope we can inspire other kids to read more and write more. We need to really reward, recognise and nourish children’s writing.
F&R: You’re from Brazil and your husband’s from England. Even with technology, it can be incredibly difficult to build a relationship between children and their grandparents when they live in different countries. How have you dealt with that in you family?
RS: It’s amazing what technology can do. But there’s really nothing like grandmother’s cuddle and sitting down on the floor and playing with them. It’s not just the grandparents; it’s the extended family as well. We just came back from San Francisco. It was a family reunion with my sister and her family. There were seven children, all the cousins, all playing together. We try as much as we can to get together; I don’t want my children to grow up with no memories from family.
F&R: Last question: what’s the one piece of advice you’d pass along to new parents like me?
RS: I’m going to tell you what my grandmother told me when I was pregnant. She said babies need fresh air every day. So when I had Ben, I would go out with him every day to get fresh air. And then I realised it was for me! It’s not for the baby! My clever Nana, she knew! She died before I could tell her, but she knew I had to get out of the house and meet friends and go to playgroups – otherwise you can go crazy! So that’s my advice; just get out of the house every day and have some fresh air.
Check out Ben’s books, Weirdo and The Magic Pencil at Renata’s company, Spies Publishing.
Hello from Spies Publishing!
Hope you are all keeping warm with the arrival of Winter in New Zealand and the ghastly cold weather! But it's also great to see the sun making its appearance on the upper side of the Hemisphere. Thank you for all the new subscribers this month from that side of the world. Enjoy the sunshine!
Some of you might not know that Spies Publishing was born from our son's love for writing! Ben started writing since a very young age and as a mother, I followed his lonely journey for many years not knowing how I could reward or recognise his passion for writing. Until when he was 9 years old and I decided to publish his first book - Weirdo - and give to him as a present. I organised an amazing book launch for friends and family at our local library. The book was more than a gift for Ben. Since the launch, he's never stopped writing and his stories became funnier and more interesting which led me and my husband to take the plunge and start Spies Publishing - an independent publishing house creating children's books actually written by a child.
We have so many exciting ideas for the future, but I like to always go back and remind myself 'why' we started this business - to reward and recognise our son's passion for writing. And this is what we want to do for other children too. Recently I started running workshop to give other children the opportunity to also create their own books to take home and be proud of their writing. It's been an honour to meet hundreds of young writers in our workshops and I would love for you to join us at the future ones we have organised for this school holidays. Check date and locations below.
Thank you so much for being part of our journey and keep in touch.
Our workshops have been a great success and often booked out quickly. If you are looking for things to do this school holidays for the kids, check the dates and locations below and write down in your diary! We have a great line up of events and would love to have you there, including the "Beyond the Page" promoted by Wellington libraries.
"Create Your Book Workshop"
. Monday, 9th July - 10.30am - 11.30am - Waikanae Library
. Tuesday - 10th July - 9.30am - 1.30pm - The Roxy Cinema
. Friday, 13th July - 11am - 12pm - Ngaio Library
. Saturday, 14th July - 10.30am -11.30am - Upper Hutt CBD Towers
. Saturday, 14th July - 2pm - 3pm Hutt City War Memorial
. Tuesday, 17th July - 9.30am - 1.30pm The Roxy Cinema
. Wednesday, 18th July - 10.30am - 12.00pm Kapiti Communty Centre (Register with us! firstname.lastname@example.org)
. Saturday 21st July - 11am to 1pm - Writers Plot Readers Read
Our books can be found in a selection of bookshops around New Zealand. Welcome to our new bookshops: Take Note Tawa and Books for Kids in Hamilton.
Thank you to everyone who participated in our latest giveaway. The WINNER was Kim Corley . Thank you, Kim. Hope you're enjoying all the reading and the chocolate! Like our FACEBOOKpage to see our events and giveaways! And if you prefer INSTAGRAM, you can follow us HERE.
We had such a great time at the fantastic Booktown Featherston this year. Our workshop held over 30 children!! Wow! Thank you to everyone who came and enjoyed it. It was awesome to see so many young writers in the make!
Awesome to receive the reviews below and mention in the media. Thank you!
NZ Book Council
Thank you to all the media who had us featured recently. It's great to have our books reviewed and shared with young readers. Ben also did a great interview on the Australian radio station - Switch On Radio.
Isn't the year going by really fast?
It's Autumn already and Easter time! Happy Easter!
We at Spies Publishing are absolutely over the moon with the decision to re-launch our first book - Weirdo! As you know, Weirdo is very special to us as it was Ben's first book. Ben wrote it when he was only 9 years old and Robert and I decided to give to him as a present - a reward for his passion for writing. We put it together ourselves and gave to him as a surprise. I will never forget that day. Spies Publishing was born. The rest is history... So, it is with much delight that we announce the re-launch of Weirdo, designed - interior and cover - by the same designers who worked with The Magic Pencil. The book is with the printers as I write this letter, so it will be out very soon!
Check the new cover below. We LOVE it!
You can pre-order your copy at www.spiespublishing.co.nz
Our Press-Release for the re-launch of Weirdo was out this week in the newspapers across the Wellington region. Awesome stuff!
Welcome to our new bookstore in Auckland - The Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop! The Dorothy Butler Children's Bookshop is a much loved Auckland institution. Currently the only specialist children's bookshop in the city and is now stocking our books. Dorothy Butler, a well known NZ children's writer and literacy expert, established the shop in her home in 1964. In September 2015 the shop was bought by sisters Mary and Helen Wadsworth. Thank you, Mary and Helen, for having our books there! Check this amazing bookstore website:
Summer is such a great time to go out with the family and enjoy the many festivals around the country! Last month we were lucky to be part of two major festivals near us. We delivered our workshop - "Create Your Book' at Coastella Music Festival in Kapiti and the Just So Festival in Kaitoke Park, Upper Hutt - an extraordinary event combining art, music and literature for children and their families. Super fun! Thank you to everyone who came by. We had some amazing feedback from the children. Thank you.
We also would like to thank Johnsonville Library who hosted us for our workshop and Palmerston North city libraries who hosted us to present the workshop to their Summer Readers programme participants. It was lovely to be there!
If you too would like to have our workshop at your library or event, contact us on: email@example.com
New workshops coming soon!
Spies Publishing has partnered with a few venues to bring to you our 'Create Your Book' workshop. We would love to have you there!
Like our facebook page to follow our
events and get all the information you need for our workshops!
Find Out More
If you love reading e-books, The Magic Pencil is now available from a few online retailers. Click here to select your preferred provider.
Or order online from our website.
Wishing you and your family a wonderful Easter,
Summer is here and not long until Christmas now!
We are delighted to be sharing with you all of our latest achievements here at Spies Publishing.
A huge welcome to our new retailers in the Wellington region - Almo's Books in Carterton and Arty Bees in Wellington City. We've been working hard and will be adding new stores in 2018 so it will be easier for you to access our books. You can see our locations by clicking here. And remember, you can order our books from our website too!
This month, we have been featured in the Wairarapa News and Stuff.co.nz with an article about Ben's passion for writing and the workshop that we gave at the Big Book Bash in Carterton, Wairarapa on the 2nd of December. You can click on the link below to see the full article.
The “Create Your Book” workshop started as a desire to reproduce what I had done for Ben when I published his first book - Weirdo. An initiative to reward and encourage his writing. When children create their own books and take them home, they feel proud and recognized. They also have a beautiful book to remind them of their achievement forever. We have been visiting libraries with the workshop and have been overwhelmed with the feedback from parents. If you would like us to come to a library near you, check out our website for more information here.
I also would like to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has supported us this year, including readers, distributors and retailers. We're planning an awesome 2018 and it's a privilege to have you on board.
With best wishes for a safe and happy Christmas,
Enjoy reading our article in Stuff.co.nz
We were so happy to receive this review from The Booksellers website!
"Full of imaginative scenarios, this is a children’s story written by a child and as such features much of the things they love – action, narrow escapes, good guys and bad guys, and lots of high energy!"
Read the full review here.
Still looking for a Christmas present for a child between 7-12 years old? Our books are sure to delight the young and take them on a action-packed adventure! See below:
The Magic Pencil
Our books are available for purchase through our website or click on the links to be directed to our online shop
We had an amazing day in Auckland for the NZ Book Festival. Thanks to everyone who came and saw our stall and thank you to the organizers.
We will be back next year!
You can see photos of the day by visiting their
We had so much fun with our school visits recently. We spent one full day visiting three schools in Wanganui! Thank you for having us - St Johns Hill School, Durie Hill School and Churton School. We visited Wanganui for the first time as a family and had a great time at Kowhai Park.
Thank you also to Waikanae school for having us earlier this month. If you would like us to visit your school, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are super excited to be part of this amazing festival coming to New Zealand for the first time in February 2018! This will be a family event not to be missed!
Check out their website for more information: http://justsofestivalnz.org/
And last, but not least.... we're working on a new edition for our first book Weirdo! We've hired the same designers from The Magic Pencil to re-design Weirdo with all the cool fonts and elements that our young readers love so much! Watch this space. We will publish the new edition in the New Year!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
The Magic Pencil was launched a few months ago, but we're loving this Press Release written recently. Enjoy.
Eleven-year-old author wields magic pencil to publish second book
Many eleven-year olds love to read novels, but not many can say that they have written and published two of their own.
Ben Spies’ debut book, Weirdo, was written when he was just nine years old. His latest book, The Magic Pencil, has just been published and the young author says he has no plans of stopping there.
“I’m so excited to publish The Magic Pencil. I hope the children reading it enjoy following Bob’s awesome adventure to save the world from the horrible Fakeys as much as I do. My favourite part of the book is when Bob travels back in time to ancient Egypt and meets a rather nasty pharaoh.”
Inspired by the latest generation of comedic fiction authors for young readers, such as Andy Griffiths, David Walliams and the Tom Gates series by Liz Pichon, Ben says he aims to make his peers laugh.
“I think The Magic Pencil is even funnier than Weirdo, and I hope readers agree. My friends and I love to crack each other up with a kind of random, silly, sometimes gross humour that kids seem to get and parents roll their eyes at. That’s what I try to put into my books.”
Ben’s passion for creative writing showed through at an early age, and his parents Renata and Robert Spies did everything they could to encourage him. When he showed not just creativity, but the dedication to complete a 54 page story at age 9, the Spies took the plunge and had Weirdo published in 2015, with illustrations by his Dad, Robert. Renata Spies says the book’s popularity took them all by surprise.
“With Weirdo, we really just wanted to reward Ben for this amazing project he’d taken on, and give him a real, professionally printed book to keep. We printed a small run to share with friends, family and schools in the area and the response has been amazing. It seems like kids connect with an author who genuinely shares their point of view on the world, their challenges and their sense of humour. Ben started getting invitations to visit classrooms who’d read and loved the books, which is an incredible experience. I think it was the reaction of other kids which got him excited about writing The Magic Pencil, and sharing it with even more readers.”
As well as classroom visits, Ben and his mum also host ‘Create Your Book’ workshops at libraries around Wellington designed to inspire more young Kiwi authors.
While Ben’s books are still a labour of love for the Spies family, the young author says he’s been energised by some personal encouragement from one of his literary heroes.
“I was lucky enough to meet Andy Griffiths, who writes the Treehouse series, talk to him about my books and writing, and give him a copy of Weirdo. That was cool enough, but a few weeks later I got an email from him, and that just blew my mind. His advice to me was to keep writing and that’s absolutely what I’m going to do!”
The Magic Pencil is currently available for purchase via www.spiespublishing.co.nz
We are delighted to be sharing with you all of our latest achievements here at Spies Publishing.
Over the past few months, since the launch of "The Magic Pencil", we have been growing our distribution slowly throughout the Wellington region and we now have eight locations selling our books. This is such a big steps for our little business! Added to that, we also have a few locations nationwide and we're working hard to have as many bookstores as we can on board in different cities, so it will be easier for you to access our books. You can see our locations by clicking on the link below. And remember, you can order our books from our website too!
This month, we have been featured in the Spring Issue of Family Times magazine. It was great to see the magazine celebrating the young talents in New Zealand and an interview with Ben. The Magic Pencil was chosen as the editor's pick for the issue. See full article below.
We've been overwhelmed recently with all the requests from schools for Ben to talk about his book. However, as much as we would love for Ben to attend all of these, he is still a school child and cannot miss his school days. With this in mind, I've developed a program where I visit the schools and share my experience of publishing Ben's books. I also talk about how I've nurtured and motivated him to keep writing. Children will also watch a video of Ben himself giving some writing tips and answering previously arranged questions. This is a great opportunity for students to relate to a young author and be inspired like many others have been. If you would like to arrange a school visit please contact us using the form on our website.
With best wishes,
Thank you to all bookshops supporting Spies Publishing and stocking our books. A special thank you to "The Children's Bookshop" in Kilbirnie, Wellington for including us in their newsletter and doing a review of The Magic Pencil last month. You can see full review here.
Enjoy reading our article at Family Times parenting magazine
Remember, our books are for sale
through our website:
The Magic Pencil
Spies Publishing is going to the NZ Book Festival
We will have a stand at the NZ Book Festival celebrating young authors and nurturing reading from a young age. Come and see us in Auckland on the 11th of November between 10am - 4pm at the Mt Eden War Memorial Hall. We hope to see you there!
Thanks to our local schools in Kapiti for having us. Raumati Beach School, Raumati South School, Te Ra School, Paraparaumu Beach School, Kapanui School, Kena Kena School and Te Horo School. We hope we have inspired your young authors! I can't wait to start visiting schools further afield!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Spies Publishing launches The Magic Pencil, the latest new children’s book by young author Ben Spies
Introducing the fantastic new book for children, actually written by a child! Young eleven-year old New Zealand author, Ben Spies, publishes his second fiction title for children
Wellington, NEW ZEALAND (June 12, 2017) – We at Spies Publishing are absolutely thrilled to announce the publication of The Magic Pencil, the eagerly anticipated new children’s novel from young New Zealand author Ben Spies.
The Magic Pencil is eleven-year old Ben’s second fiction title for children. It tells the exhilarating story of London school boy, Bob, who finds a magical pencil one day on his way to school and now his life will never be the same again. Bob, with the help of his friends, must keep the magic pencil away from the clutches of the villainous Fakeys who will stop at nothing to take the pencil from Bob. But will they succeed?
Featuring a cast of memorable characters, such as the Old Man, The Magic Pencil is sure to delight young readers as they are taken along on a breathtaking and hilarious adventure through space and time as past, present and future collide.
Talking about his new book, Ben said “I’m so excited to publish The Magic Pencil. I hope the children reading it enjoy following Bob’s awesome adventure to save the world from the horrible Fakeys as much as I do. It’s my funniest book yet. My favourite part of the book is when Bob travels back in time to ancient Egypt and meets a rather nasty pharaoh.”
Commenting on the new book, Spies Publishing’s Renata Spies (also Ben’s incredibly proud mother) said, “We’re hugely delighted to be publishing this spectacular new book by Ben. The Magic Pencil is a 160-page action packed book full of adventure and fun aimed at children aged 8 to 12. Written from the point of view of a child, Ben has his own unique style of humour and a wild imagination that all his readers will love. You get to see Bob’s world through a child’s eyes and have his story told with an authentic child’s voice.”
It’s been a family joint effort to publish The Magic Pencil. The book’s characters have been brought to life with illustrations from Ben’s father, Robert Spies, who also illustrated Ben’s debut book Weirdo. The Magic Pencil by Ben Spies will be published in paperback by Spies Publishing and is available to purchase at www.spiespublishing.co.nz.
# # #
Notes To Editors:
ABOUT BEN SPIES
Most eleven-year old boys cannot say that they have published two books. Ben Spies authored his debut book, Weirdo, when he was just nine-years old. Now Ben has written a second book, The Magic Pencil, and has no plans of stopping there.
Ben’s creative streak and flair for storytelling has seen him write two books already, with another on the way, and many more in the works. All before becoming a teenager!
He has a quirky sense of humour that shines through in his writing. Ben’s loves to make his readers laugh, and take them on an adventure with his writing. The true point of difference in Ben’s books is that they are written by a child, for children. Through a child’s eyes and with a child’s voice.
In this digital age, Ben wants to inspire children to read with his books. He also wants other young authors to realise their dreams and write their own stories. If he can do it, so can they.
Because people love the heart-warming story and the authentic child’s voice in Weirdo, it is gaining a lot of attention. Ben has been interviewed by newspapers and magazines, as well as appearing on the radio and visiting local schools to share his stories with other children.
You can learn more about Ben and his books by visiting www.spiespublishing.co.nz
ABOUT SPIES PUBLISHING
When young author Ben Spies showed a passion and skill for writing at a very young age, his parents Renata and Robert did what great parents do – they encouraged him. Ben’s determination to write didn’t waiver and over time his stories became more interesting and really funny!
His parents were so inspired by his passion for writing and wild imagination that they wanted to keep encouraging his writing and bring these stories into books they could share with other children. So at age 9, Ben’s parents rewarded his writing efforts by publishing his first book Weirdo in 2015, and then in September 2016 Renata and Robert took the plunge and launched Spies Publishing.
They have since compiled a dream team of editors, book designers, illustrators and printers. In December 2016, Weirdo was relaunched and is now available for purchase. Spies Publishing will continue to publish Ben’s books and aims to help other budding young authors to become published also.
If you would like to know more about The Magic Pencil, you can head to our official website www.spiespublishing.co.nz or contact us at:
T: +64(0)210 756239
Ben Spies: All the Interviews
Most nine year old boys cannot say that they have written a book that has been enjoyed by hundreds of children internationally. Ben Spies can say this though. Ben’s creative streak and flair for story-telling, has seen him create one book already, with another on the way, and many more in the works. All before becoming a teenager!
Because people love the heart-warming story and the authentic child’s voice in Weirdo, it is gaining a lot of attention. Ben can proudly say that because of Weirdo, he has been interviewed by newspapers and magazines, as well as appearing on the radio. Here are some of the recent interviews he has had…
Coast Access Radio
Ben appeared on Coast Access Radio on 31st March 2017 with his mother Renata. Straight away, the host Graham was fascinated by the fact that Ben wanted to write, and called it a ‘formidable task’ to be a published author by just 9-years-old!
They discussed how the words just flow out of the keys, and how the story creates itself as Ben sits down to write. Ben gets some inspiration for his book’s characters from the people he knows, but he tweaks their personalities first.
Ben summarised the plot of 3 of his books and the big ideas that he deals with in each:
Weirdo: Ben’s first book, published in 2016 and available now [https://www.spiespublishing.co.nz/book/weirdo/]
Plot: It’s about a boy who doesn’t have a family, and lives in a run-down house. He gets bullied a lot and everyone says he is weird. He turns the tables around and finishes with a happy ending.
Theme: Ben tackles the big issue of bullying in schools. He was very emphatic when he said, “I really don’t like bullying”.
The Magic Pencil: Ben’s second book, due to be published in mid-2017
Plot: A boy finds a pencil and when he uses it in art class he discovers that whatever you draw with the pencil comes to life. The pencil is then stolen from him and he goes on a big adventure to get it back.
Theme: Creativity and Imagination, “What kid wouldn’t want a pencil that brings things to life?”
The Book of Evil: Ben’s third book that he is currently writing
Plot: An adventure story where mythical creatures come to life, inspired by Percy Jackson.
Graham loved how “Ben’s talent in writing has been a real stimulus for the whole family.” As a family of four, they all contribute to the project. Ben’s younger brother helps to make the books great by being Ben’s toughest critic. And Dad, Robert, has been able to realise his dreams of becoming an artist by illustrating all of Ben’s books.
The interview finished with a look to the future:
“How many more books are hiding away in that head of yours?” - Graham
“One, two, three, four… five!” All different people, plots and settings - Ben
“Where do you see this taking you in the future?” - Graham
“I am enjoying it for what it is now, I really love doing it” – Ben
You can listen to the whole interview here [http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=1c867513-5233-4c0a-9214-02c296f4e2df]
Ben was interviewed by the Kapiti Now and they too were fascinated by Ben’s passion to write and create stories for his peers to enjoy.
They loved the fact that Ben’s books have an authentic child’s voice:
“Most books written for children are authored by adults, the true point of difference in Ben’s books is that they are written by a child, for children. Through a child’s eyes, and with a child’s voice. The irreverent humour and story-telling from a young person’s perspective mean that these books really speak to their audience in an authentic tone that they understand and enjoy.”
Read the full write-up here [http://www.kapitinow.co.nz/news/post/introduction-ben-spies-junior-author]
Not only has Ben’s work gained fans in New Zealand, but due to his Brazilian roots, he is gaining a following on the international stage also. He was interviewed by popular Brazilian magazine Revista MBA in early 2017.
Everyone that Ben speaks to about his journey is fascinated by the process he goes through to create a book. Where his ideas come from, what his inspiration is, his passion for reading and writing, and his hobbies outside of writing.
Ben is always humble about his amazing imagination, his passion for devouring books and creating stories, and proves he truly is a 10-year-old boy with his love of climbing trees!
Read the full article here http://www.revistamba.co.nz/revistas---magazines
Review: Balmoral School Librarian
Weirdo has recently been reviewed by the assistant librarian at Balmoral School. Anita was blown away by Ben’s language, imagination and sense of humour.
“For example, to shake off the boss poacher who’s hanging off their escape helicopter, Ben sings a horrible song on loop until the poacher drops off with the torture of it. Everyday speech packed with dialogue propels the action (Quick, swing! Take cover!) Ben uses present tense to heighten the reality, and there are jokes and laughs on every page. “Claire hits Max where it really hurts for a boy…”
Read the full review here [http://booknotes-unbound.org.nz/weirdo-by-ben-and-robert-spies/]
With all the attention surrounding Spies Publishing [http://www.spiespublishing.co.nz/], no one can wait to see what the future holds for Ben and his talent for writing. I think we can safely say that there will be a lot more books for children to enjoy if Ben has anything to do with it!
When 9 year old Ben Spies showed a passion and skill for writing at a very young age, his parents Renata and Robert did what great parents do… they encouraged him.
Ben’s determination to write didn’t waiver and over time his stories became more interesting and really funny! His parents were so inspired by his passion for writing and wild imagination that they wanted to keep encouraging his writing and bring these stories into books they could share with other children. So at age 9 Ben’s parents rewarded his writing efforts by self-publishing his first book “Weirdo” and now at age 10 he has another in editing and many more ideas for the future!
Most books written for children are authored by adults, the true point of difference in Ben’s books is that they are written by a child, for children. Through a child’s eyes, and with a child’s voice. The irreverent humor and story telling from a young person’s perspective mean that these books really speak to their audience in an authentic tone that they understand and enjoy.
In Ben’s first book “Weirdo” we meet Ugine, a ten year old boy who recently lost both of his parents. He lives by himself. He has no friends at school and everyone thinks he is weird. We follow Ugine though an amazing and funny adventure as he finds happiness again.
“What is really special about Ben’s books is that we kept exactly how he wrote it, the stories are funny, as told by a child. With a child’s perspective of the world… with very little interference from an adult” said Ben’s mother, Renata Spies.
Ever supportive Ben’s family have created a publishing company to ensure young people everywhere can continue to enjoy these fabulous stories and be inspired by Ben.