Published by Kelpies on 12th September 2019
Genres: Children's, Issues, Realistic Fiction
Source: Kelpies sent it
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amie Lee just wants to be normal but his ADHD isn't making it easy. If only he could control his butterfly mind then he'd have friends, be able to keep out of trouble, live with his mum and not be sent to stay with his dad. Elin Watts just wants to be perfect. If she could be the best student and daughter possible, then maybe her dad would leave his new family and come back to Glasgow to live with Elin and her mum, happily ever after. When Jamie and Elin's families blend, the polar opposites of chaotic Jamie and ordered Elin collide. As their lives spiral out of control, Jamie and Elin discover that they're actually more alike than they'd admit. Maybe there's no such thing as normal, or perfect. And perhaps, just like families, happy-ever-afters come in all shapes and sizes. Uplifting and moving, The Boy with the Butterfly Mind is an inspiring story of acceptance, blended families, and discovering that in the end, being yourself is more than enough.
Reviewed by Alex
I really liked The Fox Girl and The White Gazelle by Victoria Williamson so when Mum told me that she had written another book, I really wanted to read it!
The Boy With The Butterfly Mind was about Jamie who had ADHD and Elin who liked everything to be perfect. They are very different people! When they have to start living together, it’s very difficult for them because they don’t understand each other.
This book helped me to understand about why people do things that might seem a bit weird to us. Sometimes, people don’t do it on purpose, they don’t have a choice. This was what Jamie’s life was like.
It helped me to understand how Elin was feeling too. I’m lucky that all of my family live together but I know I’d feel like Elin if one of my parents wasn’t here. I would want to make everything right again.
I really enjoyed this book even though it made me a bit sad when people weren’t nice to each other. I don’t want to spoil the ending but I was happy by the time I’d finished!
Guest Post by Victoria Williamson
Stories in Pictures
When I think back to some of the earliest books that were read to me before I started school, it’s not the stories I remember, but the pictures.
I have vague memories of Dorrie the Little Witch getting into mischief with her wayward magic, but mostly it’s the atmospheric illustrations by Patricia Coombs that I remember.
Illustrated books inspired my own artwork, and although I might not have captured Coombs’ whimsical style exactly in the early pictures I drew, I certainly borrowed heavily from her!
My own initial attempts at stories as a child were light on the narrative, heavy on the pictures, and over the years I experimented with lots of different formats to illustrate my writing. I particularly enjoyed writing letters, often illustrating them with cartoons or telling all of my news in picture form. A lot of the cards I sent to relatives when I was in primary schools were hand drawn – here’s a Get Well Soon card to my grandmother with my take on pet care!
I really enjoyed reading graphic novels as a child, especially Tintin and Asterix, and my love of comics meant there were always piles of The Beano, The Dandy, Bunty, Mandy and Judy to trip over. My experiments in fiction writing soon spilled over into creating comics of my own, which I passed round my family and friends, pestering them to enter the many competitions I ran or post letters and suggestions to the magazine’s address (my bedroom!).
As a teenager I gradually stopped linking pictures with my writing. I still drew and painted, and doodled cartoons on my letters right into adulthood, but when it came to writing stories, these became picture-free prose zones. I’m not sure why this happened, but it might have been a combination of school influence, where written work was ‘serious’ and no doodles or cartoons were allowed, and the message from the book world that illustrations were for small children, and had no place in ‘grown-up’ books.
Many children today still hear the same message, which can result in children who struggle with writing being put off storytelling altogether. This is a real shame, as pictures can provide a wonderful structure for narrative, and can even form a story in their own right, as Shaun Tan’s beautiful books demonstrate. Recent research by CLPE through their Power of Pictures project has emphasised the importance of encouraging children to use pictures to tell their stories. Their interim findings are:
- ‘Picture books are an important genre of children’s literature and support the development of sophisticated reading skills.’
- ‘Children need time, space and planned opportunities to develop their ideas for truly creative and independent writing.’
- ‘When children are given opportunities to draw as part of the writing process this helps them to formulate, develop and extend ideas for writing, making their independent, self-initiated writing richer.’
The art of telling stories in picture form is not just a skill that’s essential for graphic novelists, comic strip artists and book illustrators to acquire. A lot of children’s authors experimented with different narrative styles in their own formative years before settling for prose, and often these experiments, like my own, included pictures. Adults’ creativity can benefit from doodling too – we all have interesting dreams from time to time we’d like to remember, but how many of us actually take the time to write them down? A quick doodle can be enough to jog our memories even years later, and sometimes dreams can even be the basis for the stories that authors turn into novels. Here are a few drawings of dreams I’ve had – I may even use the stories in future books!