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It’s a pleasure to speak with Marg Gibbs, about a topic that stemmed from experiences close to her heart – her grand children and their journey with language and speech, and how this led to the publication of her endearing and uplifting picture book, Jasper’s Jumbled up Words. Lovely to talk with you, Marg! 🙂
Jasper’s Jumbled up Words is your latest picture book, based on your observations of your grand children’s language development. What were some of your grandson’s first words or sounds? What other aspects of the book are in similarity to personal experiences?
As a twin, my grandson can break out into an amazing bubble of banter with his twin sister. It’s very funny to listen to.
In the story there are similarities to reading stories, reaching for books/ toys and teeth brushing.
What sorts of strategies have assisted with your grandson’s speech to help make him feel more confident and at ease?
It helps to repeat words, holding his hand to take him to what he is trying to say. Pictures are good to provide a cue. Celebrating words when he speaks clearly.
The child might try to say PLEASE but actually come out with PEAS. The parent can use the words to help the child to understand the meaning and context in a sentence, for example, PLEASE is what you say for good manners; peas is a green vegetable.
Apart from writing the story, it’s holding the book in your hand and treasuring the illustrations, the feel of the pages, reading it to my grand- children and talking to them about their favourite pages.
What were your grand children’s responses to reading the book with you for the first time?
My grand children liked the chooks and veggie garden page. They noticed Jasper’s sad face and tears and seemed happy at the end when his mum gave him a big cuddle.
How would you like parents and educators to utilise your book?
Parents can read the story to their children, sounding out words and using expressive voices to add drama and emotion. Kids can say the words aloud. Teachers might look at the way language changes over time, meaning of words and the context in which words are used.
What was your path to publication like?
Earlier on there were poems and articles published that brought me joy. A long gap and years of patience with my career and family responsibilities did bring me more time to learn, practise and submit manuscripts. I am looking at both traditional and self- publishing as a means of expressing myself.
What were some of your favourite children’s books as a child?
I loved Winnie the Pooh, Famous Five and Secret Seven, also comics and Fairytale stories.
During the next month I have a poetry collection ready to publish, called Goose at the Gate and a Christmas picture story set in Mapleton with the same animal characters in ‘Arriving Home,’ Maggie Magpie Goose and Eric, Echidna. It’s exciting.
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