Growing up I spent hours with my sister and cousins playing in the woods or our gardens, building dens, climbing trees, making mud pies, fairy gardens and magical potions. We used to drive my mum mad when we picked (and ate) all the peas and strawberries in her garden.
One of our favourite jobs was to dig for potatoes once my mum had lifted most of them – she would give us a penny for everyone we found, no matter how small. We were children who ran around barefoot with tangled hair and grubby fingers.
Now, as a mum of two young boys, I find myself hoping they will remember their childhood in a similar way. I hope they will remember the freedom they found in wild spaces to let their imagination run free.
One of the things I’ve loved about having children is their sense of wonder about things that I, as a grown up, take for granted. Children can be captivated by something as simple as a leaf and it’s definitely reminded me of the beauty that adults sometimes ignore. My boys are an endless source of inspiration for all of the picture books that I write and my latest book, How to Catch A Rainbow with artwork by Ana Gomez is no different.
My boys are nearly 6 and 8 and they have always loved spotting rainbows. After all, they’re bright, colourful and don’t happen every day – what’s not to love?! My kids also love going on nature scavenger hunts – I always found this was a great way to encourage them to come on a walk with me if they were feeling reluctant!
How to Catch A Rainbow is about a determined little girl called Freya who wants to catch her very own rainbow. When that doesn’t work out as planned, she decides to hunt down all of the colours in the rainbow in her garden. This is something that children can do outside too – whether it’s in your local park or your own back yard. After all, there is something very satisfying about ticking things of a list! You can either make your own list or download the one from the book here.
When you’ve ‘caught’ your own rainbow by spotting all of the colours you need, you can always copy Freya and go on a different hunt, for crayons this time to draw a rainbow of your own that you can keep forever.
Naomi Jones is the author of four picture books, The Perfect Fit, One More Try, The Odd Fish and How to Catch A Rainbow. She lives in Cornwall with her family.
You can watch How to Catch A Rainbow being read here:
You can buy a copy here:
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