All Things Children's Publishing
All Things Eco with Happy Pineapple Publishing
Happy Pineapple is a small eco-friendly publishing company who pride themselves on their “people and planet-friendly publishing.” What makes Happy Pineapple stand out on the children’s publishing market is that they have pledged for all of their books to be printed within the UK on recycled paper, purely using vegetable-based inks. The company has gone above and beyond in their environmental awareness in all aspects of their business, from handmade business cards and recycled packaging, to a carbon-neutral online payments portal for their website. The publishing company, founded by author Steve Bownds, was recently recognised for its brilliant work as part of the Be The Change Awards, in which they won an award in the Babies and Children category in 2019.
Happy Pineapple’s very first children’s book, The Sluggard and the Ants, written by Steve Bownds and illustrated by Noushka Galley, has been described as “a fun, uplifting children’s book” aimed at ages 3–6. It features brightly coloured, earthy illustrations and simple rhymes, which are perfectly suited to aiding young children’s development. The picture book is a great testament to the company’s achievements in producing eco-friendly and uplifting stories for children. The Sluggard and the Ants is available directly via Happy Pineapple’s website in the link below or from select London-based bookshops.
Find out more about Happy Pineapple:
Purchase The Sluggard and the Ants: https://www.happypineapple.me.uk/product/the-sluggard-and-the-ants-2/
I Am Dog: Interview With Author Karen Chaplin
(Published 30th June 2020)
I Am Dog is a choose-your-own-adventure story where you are the main character, Dog! The book has captivatingly bright and beautiful hand-drawn illustrations on every page. It is structured in such a way that you can either follow the book numerically as normal or choose to jump to a different page. Whichever option you choose, you are going on an adventure; the choice is yours!
We asked Karen why she chose to write a book for children. She harked back to working in a primary school, stating:
“Their imaginations are limitless. The questions they asked, the ideas it sparked, the memories we made laughing at the silliest things. A children’s book was the obvious choice for me.”
Karen understands the depth of a child’s imagination and utilises this, encouraging them to think about the decisions they are making and provoke a discussion with their parents. The minds of children are so powerful, and by giving them a space to choose their own story, their imaginations are expanding.
A choose-your-own-adventure format is unique for such a young reader. When asked what her inspiration was for this type of book, she said the idea was born thirteen years ago when her son struggled with numeracy (and loved pretending to be a dog). There weren’t any appropriate and engaging books to help him. The initial idea incorporated mazes, books, puzzles and the adventure theme. However, Karen resisted the urge to do it all. She:
“simply wanted to give children confidence with numeracy and a choose-your-own-adventure format is the best way to do this. It helps with number recognition and gives children confidence at making decisions (hopefully turning them into decisive adults). The rhyming text is much more fun to read and listen to while teaching to read at the same time. Overall, it's fun and you get to be a lovable Labrador called Dog! What child doesn't want that?”
Although marketed as a children’s book, it shouldn’t be limited to just this; a recent reviewer on Goodreads stated that they read the book to adults with learning difficulties, and due to the nature of the book being easy to read and keeping their attention, they loved it.
We asked (with fingers crossed) if the “I am…” books would be a series and, if so, what animal we would be next. Karen’s had a few requests from children, including a frog, turtle and sloth (I imagine that would be quite a slow adventure) but is currently working on I am Mouse. She told us:
“It is not for the faint-hearted; only the bravest of young readers can be Mouse. There is an abandoned house, which is very spooky! Dark underground tunnels and a huge rotten tree to explore.”
We can’t wait to see the adventure we go on next!
We would like to thank Karen for speaking to us.