By Maggie Holman
The book is a Christmas story with a spooky moment at the end, for children aged 8-11. It tells the story of ten-year-old Jamie, a shy London boy who goes to stay with his grandfather in the Forest of Dean, where he discovers local people searching for an elusive panther and meets traveller children who talk to animals. Jamie thinks he knows the forest well, but he gets lost in the snow after he sets off alone.The question is, who will be able to find him?
When I first wrote the book, I asked a primary teacher colleague if she would read it and see if it worked for this age group. She loved the book, said the students would love it too and asked if she could read it to her class. The students stopped me around school to tell me how much they were enjoying the story, and they also sent me a collection of letters and pictures when their reading was finished. Because of this response at school, I decided to register as a small publisher and printed a first paperback run, all of which have sold.
Here are some examples of the reviews the book has received:
‘As I read aloud, every student was incredibly focussed and I swear you could hear a pin drop. This is an absolutely beautiful story and I feel lucky to have had the privilege to read it aloud to my class.’ (Lyndsay Gregory, primary school teacher)
‘I read the story and there are some really great elements; the characters are warm and engaging, the locations are great and the interaction between the travellers and non-travellers feels rounded and real.’ (David Collier, children’s television producer)
‘Being from the Forest of Dean myself, I really thought that you captured the magic of it. It was very uplifting, engaging and a pleasure to read.’ (Suzanne Phillips, the Winston’s Wish Charity)
And from children:
‘I loved your story so much. My favourite part of the story is when Caro talked to the stag. I just wish I could do that! It might even be one of my favourite books. It was just so exciting!’ (Lola)
‘Your story was really cool and fun to read. I thought the idea of the panther was awesome.’ (Elliot)
‘The more the teacher read, the more I couldn’t stop thinking of it.’ (Lucie)
‘Footprints in the Snow’ has a new ISBN and a professionally-designed cover from the Book Beaver design company. There is an organised launch of the book between now and Christmas, which includes a reading and Q&A in the AICS library, a Goodreads Giveaway starting on 17th November, a dedicated page on my website and promotion via my Facebook, Twitter and Amazon pages. Kindle version here.
The price of the book is €7.50.