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Book release: Who is Mouse's Friend?

Author Deryn van der Tang explains how participating in an art challenge resulted in a book about friendship for lil' ones:

"I took part in an SCBWI Inktober challenge last year, which involved doing a drawing a day during the month with the prompts they gave. After the first day or two, I realised they were primarily Halloween-focused. As a South African, I had not really been exposed to Halloween, so I decided to use the prompts but use mice as my characters. The prompts were random, and I just drew what popped into my head each day.

People enjoyed my imagination and asked when I would make it into a story or book. So that gave me the idea. However, I got COVID at the end of that month, but through the brain fog, I put the drawings in what I thought would be a story order and then wrote a storyline. I wanted a story that would help children in some way, as well as being entertaining. The age group I was targeting, was four to eight years old, who'd be going to school and starting to form friendships. The story showed how mice could interact with each other to be

friends and what behaviour showed up in friendships. I put in discussion points that caregivers or parents could have with them if they had issues making friendships. So the book is interactive and tells a story.

Challenges faced

Writing a children's book requires following a particular protocol regarding age, number of words, and pages. This, once more, was a huge learning curve (for me) to get the protocols and vocabulary right for a picture book. I asked friends who worked with children to advise on the vocabulary. The storyline then went through a rigorous editing and Beta reading stage before I could start formatting the book. It was an enormous challenge to scan the pictures and work in a graphics editing program to format them with the words. This was the first time I'd done this! The book started as an art challenge and ended up as a published book that I'm proud of, and hope will bless many children.

Next project

Apart from writing devotions and contemplative artwork, I'm also interested in historical fiction and our family history going back to the 1820 Settlers. The next book I plan will be historical fiction with the theme of resilience and courage. I started that in NaNoWriMo two years ago. Hopefully, that will be finished by mid-2024."

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Thank you, Deryn, for sharing about your latest book. I loved it! You are truly gifted.



Beautiful picture! Good for you! I love picture books for children.

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