Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Gwynneth Beasley. Gwynneth is author of a series of nature based children's books (both print and ebook versions). I love Gwynneth's books because she uses nature to teach complex subjects like perception and conflict resolution to children. Gwynneth agreed to let me interview her to find out more about her life in the bush.
Gwynneth, please begin by telling us something about yourself and your family? You live in Autstralia, right?
I live with my husband and two young boys at the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. My boys are four and five and a half and truly partners in crime and adventure! We live within easy reach of beaches, wetlands, bush and rainforest, and it's warm here most of the year. The Gold Coast is the perfect place to raise outdoorsy children!
We love what we call bushwalking in Nerang State Forest which is right on the edge of our city. The paths are not maintained so the tracks are uneven and change after heavy rain. The area is almost always deserted during the week so we are able to experience the bush, particularly the sounds of the bush, without the interference of other people. It is also not mapped very well so we really do have to keep our wits about us with regards to which paths we take and which landmarks are at the crossroads. It also gets insanely muddy after rain which pleases my boys immensely!
It is Autumn in Australia right now, correct? What animals are you seeing in your area.
Spiders! As Autumn comes to a close, and the mornings are cooling down, dew droplets are collecting on spider webs so we notice them more. Actually we notice them everywhere!
I love the titles of your books? How did they come about?
I wanted to teach my children some mental tools and techniques for dealing with everyday situations. For example, how to change your perception of a situation from negative to positive, how to deal with fear, how to develop compassion for another person by taking a walk in their shoes. I realised quickly that my boys didn't really like being told how to use their minds, particularly by their mother, so I decided to embed the lessons into stories I knew they would like and hope they were inspired to imitate the characters. The stories are simple, realistic and set in the natural world because that is what appeals to my children. As for imitating the characters, so far so good!
Obviously you are inspired by the natural world. Where else do you find inspiraton?
When I was writing these books I really wanted to make sure that the readers identified with the characters, that I portray children as they are and not as we wish them to be. So I am always noticing whether children play with their food, where they look when they walk, the tone of their voice as they move through different ages, what things they notice in the bush. I find its these little details added together that all of a sudden become an idea for a book.
I am constantly learning life lessons alongside my children through nature. What lessons are you learning right now?
The most important lesson I've learnt so far is that the connection my children have with nature is more a product of the simple moments - rescuing a stray beetle, noticing bird calls, testing the direction of the wind - than a roster of seasonal crafts and celebrations which don't necessarily reflect what is happening in our locale. I've realised that it's ok not to celebrate harvest festivals particularly when you don't grow anything which can be harvested!
Anything else we should know?
All the images in the books have been photographed by myself. A lot of the photography is nature based, but I did have to use my children as hand and feet models quite a few times. They quickly became entrepreneurial and insisted on being paid for their work in chocolate dollars. Their rates rose as time went on and by the time I had all the shots I needed for the books, they were chocolate millionaires!
That is great Gwynneth! Thanks so much for spending a few minutes with our Magnifying Glass readers.
Gwynneth has kindly offered to give away a copy of one of her books in print to a lucky commenter. To enter to win a book of your choice, please visit her Amazon site, look over the titles and then comment below telling me which title you would want to receive if you won and why.
Thanks again Gwynneth.
Good luck everyone!
Edited...sorry for not including the Amazon link. I was an oversight on my part. The giveaway has been extended for everyone to have a chance. Sorry about that Gwynneth!
Sorry folks, this giveaway has ended. Thank you to our gracious host, Gwenneth Beasly, and congratulations to our lucky winner, Caro!