My big sister was home educated with us but has now gone to 6th form at a specialist music school as she wants to be a violinist and that’s the way she can get taught to the standard she wants, she won a scholarship so it’s amazing. At home now I’m the big sister. Anyway, we’ve always travelled around a lot with my sister being a violinist as she performs all over the place so we get to see different cities and art museums and meet new people. And last week we went down to her school to see her and when we were there, it just happened that Gill Lewis (another of my favourite authors!) was giving a talk to Year 6 at Isabella’s music school. When my mum explained how I loved her book, a kind teacher, invited us inside the hall. The talk had already begun- she was talking about her book called ‘Sky Hawk’, I have it in my bedroom, and wrote a review of it on my reviews page, click here to read my review!
Next she talked about her new book, ‘White Dolphin’ she showed us film and slides while she described what the book was about and the wildlife it features. I am reading ‘White Dolphin’ at the moment, it’s superb.
Gill Lewis has a fabulous website, take a look: GillLewis.com
It’s really worth visiting the websites of writers and artists, as they are usually really fun. I discovered Eric Carle’s website the other day and it is AMAZING, but that’s another story! Gill Lewis has some great tips on her website for writing here: ExcellentWritingTipsByGillianLewis
Gill Lewis’ two books, White Dolphin & Sky Hawk, have similar themes; endangered animals and the human stories around them. It is like they are together in a series. If you like Sky Hawk I recommend you read White Dolphin!
Gill Lewis is another one of those writers, who write because they have something to tell the world about; ” I wanted to write a story to show that our fishing communities are important and that sustainable fishing is possible, but only through protection of vulnerable habitats.”
Gill loves animals and nature. When she was younger, she decided she wanted to be a vet, a zoologist or an explorer. She became a vet, now an author. I think an Author is an explorer, and so it seems to me like she has become all of these things. She says it takes her about 9 months to write a book, 2 of those months are research. Then after the writing there is a lot of re writing. She says she writes on the computer and uses different colours to order parts of the book. For example if she is writing the beginning but gets a great idea for something that happens later she carries on writing it, but puts the type in a different colour.
And she said that before she starts writing everyday, she sits at her desk, with her cup of tea, sitting quietly imagining the whole story in her mind for an hour, she said she tries to change that but she can’t, it’s her way of writing. She says that time and space to daydream is really important. I agree. Being home educated I have time to do that, sitting in the garden, that’s when my most amazing stories start to bud.
Gill’s talk was so interesting as she researches her subject really well and is enthusiastic about talking about all the creatures and habitats in her stories, it seems she is interested in everything, including everything that the audience asked and talked about and I’m sure that’s why her books are so alive. There were some really interesting facts and slides that surprised me in Gill Lewis’s talk, like about the (-oops I won’t tell you yet) try and guess what this animal is!
It’s a scallop! isn’t that amazing? I never thought scallops had eyes like that, In fact, I’d never even thought about what they look like under the sea! I’ve only seen them in shops, or in mum’s shell collection! When they are dried (without eyes!)
You might wonder why she was talking about scallops, it’s because her book is set on the Cornish coastline where they are dredging for scallops and this means that all the sealife gets caught in their nets and the seas become devoid of life. It is so sad. At the back of the book Gill Lewis lists useful websites and information about Dolphins and other endangered species and what you can do to help.
This is a picture of the ocean bed after dredging:
”Whole habitats are threatened from overfishing, pollution, and acidification of the water. But for this story I wanted to focus on Kara and her fight to protect the bay of her home town from the threat of commercial dredging. Dredging for scallops around our British coasts has intensified over the past forty years. It involves pulling massive metal rakes across the seabed, ripping up anything and everything, netting whatever lies on the seabed. Reefs that have developed over thousands of years can be reduced to rubble in minutes. Dredging leaves barren wastelands of our ocean floor. The Lyme Bay Project in Dorset has shown that the seabed can begin to recover, given sufficient time. But if dredging goes on unabated, then what is lost will be lost forever.”
Have you read any of Gill Lewis’ books or any others about similar themes that you recommend. Do you have any conservation issues to tell me about? Please leave your comments below. Agnieszka