This week we chat with children's book author, Marlene Rattigan about her picture book, 'Berty Button Gets A Team'.
Marlene has written a picture book which teaches children the value of being part of a team.
Learning what team work is all about is important for kids as they can learn:
* cooperation * self discipline
* leadership skills * patience
* resilience * team goal setting skills
* appreciation of different abilities
and they can develop a sense of belonging, and self esteem.
I have so much to tell! What’s relevant to children’s books is languages, music, literature, early childhood education (Dip. Ed.) but above all, being a Mum to 3 boys.
How did you come up with the team working task for ‘Berty Button Gets a Team’?
I was asked to write a story that introduces the characters. As they work together the idea of team-work with all that that entails, became fairly obvious. I could introduce notions of being a good sport, playing by the rules so everyone benefits, recognizing the strength of a team and how you are valued as a team member, and especially, not wanting to let the team down. It all fell into place.
Why do we need to talk to young children about team working skills?
You are in a team as a family member, as a class member, as a member of a sporting club, or even in the workplace. When you contribute to the team in a positive way you are valued. That is good for a child’s self-esteem. It can be as simple as putting books or toys away at the end of a play session. That helps enormously. Children like to do the right thing and they need the positive reinforcement when they do something good, like saying ‘good boy/girl, thank you, well done’ when they pack away, for example.
How long does it take to write a book?
Ha ha! That’s like asking how long is a piece of string. I usually work out the elements and the conflict of a story first, then the actual writing of the first draft can be as little as a few hours. But then the real work starts. I put it away for at least a few days then come back to it with fresh eyes to re-work it. I sometimes show it to a couple of trusted writer friends for their opinions, but it is not until weeks or months later, when I’ve had distance, that I can really see the work in a fresh light to give it the polish it needs. Once illustrated, the final text changes are done. By now, these are usually minimal.
Did you always want to be an Author?
Hmm. I guess so, but couldn’t get focused enough when I was younger to know what I wanted to write. It wasn’t until I had my own children that I began writing – for them - as opposed to all the adult stuff I’d written at uni. I didn’t take it seriously though until my kids were older and I joined various writers’ groups and did some courses on writing for children.
Did you have a favourite book as a child?
Yes! I loved all the Rupert books. I think he’s out of print now. He’s an English bear and I loved all his adventures, even though some of them were a bit scary. I wanted to live with Rupert. He had more fun than I did. I knew Badger would look after me if I got scared, and Rupert was such a lovely bear. Who couldn’t love him? I have a big poster of Rupert on my wall even now!
Will we see some more books from you?
Yes. I am pleased to report that Berty Button’s adventures will be played out in a boxed set of 4 to be released later in the year.
'Berty Button Gets a Team' is available from our online store.
Berty Button has to go to Cairns. Can the new recruits hold the fort while he's away? The new trucks do their best but somehow all the deliveries get mixed up. Can they fix up the mess before Berty Button returns? Find out in this heart-warming and funny adventure about what it really means to be part of a team. For ages 4 to 8.