Our Field by Berlie DohertyAmong letters recently received I would like to particularly mention one from teacher Rob Hunt of Glaisdale Primary School, who says “I chose to inspire children to write in the style of Our Field and Bella’s Den, as they remind me of my own childhood playing in the woods and meadows behind my house, and I wanted to develop the children’s ‘spirituality’ by looking at what is special in their lives including the natural world around them.”

Bella’s Den by Berlie DohertyHe included two beautifully illustrated and imaginative stories from his pupils. I promise you that nothing can please artists and writers more than to see their work used as models to influence young writers and artists, so thank you Rob Hunt and children of Glaisdale. My story Our Field is a retelling of the story by Julian Horatia Ewing (1841–1885); in fact I did little except to make the language more accessible to today’s young readers. The lovely watercolour illustrations are by Robin Bell Corfield. It’s wonderful to know the book is still in circulation despite being out of print.

Walking on Air anthologyI might have some whisper news for you about Bella’s Den before too long! Watch this space.

Another teacher, Judy Blue, sent me some very interesting observations from her pupils about one of my poems, Quieter than Snow (Walking on Air), that set me thinking too, and Maddy Cunnington from Bury gave me excellent ideas for a follow-up novel to Street Child and Far From Home.

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