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