Grobblechops wasn’t hard to write! – Elizabeth Laird

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Elizabeth Laird with Grobblechops!

Elizabeth Laird wrote a fantastic blog for educational consultants Just Imagine! She talked about her process for writing and her new book Grobblechops! Read it below!

Follow Your Nose and See Where It Takes You…!

A Writing Starter from Elizabeth Laird

Where does finding a new story come from? Sometimes the beginning is no more than a whisper in my ear, a voice that says, “Oh that looks interesting. I think I’ll explore that.” Usually I tell myself not to be so ambitious.

“That subject’s much too difficult,” I think. “I don’t know enough about it. I’d never be able to imagine it properly.”

Sometimes, I think, “I couldn’t possibly write that story without going to some scary place to find out what it’s really like.”

I put the idea out of my mind, but it nags away at me until I’ve booked my air ticket, got my visas, packed my sunhat, emergency medical kit and a stash of notebooks and am on my way. With Welcome to Nowhere this meant getting myself a job in a refugee camp in Jordan. With The Garbage King it meant befriending a gang of street boys in Addis Ababa.


The problem is that once a story takes root in your mind you can’t get rid of it. You just have to start the hard work of making it grow. This involves:

  • Creating your characters: letting them slowly walk into your life so they can tell you about themselves, introducing them to each other and seeing what they do. If the main character is clear in your mind, the supporting cast will emerge. This is not a process to hurry! It can take time.
  • Visualising places: imagining every corner of the house or village or city street or refugee camp where the story takes place, smelling the smells, hearing the sounds, feeling the heat and cold and wind on your skin, the squelch of mud or the clatter of pebbles underfoot.
  • Helping the plot of the story to unfold. It’s not always easy to hold the reins of the action. It’s like being the driver of a team of restive horses, guiding them away from blind alleys and tempting new directions, keeping the great destination of the end of the story in sight.


But apart from writing novels, I’d found great delight in retelling folk stories. Some years ago, I made five long journeys to the far corners of Ethiopia to meet story tellers and listen to their tales. I learned that the strands in the great skein of world stories are woven together so intricately that it’s impossible to tell where they originated. A story that appears in the Bible might have a counterpart in an Anuak story on the remote Ethiopian border with Sudan. A Somali story might be strangely similar to Hansel and Gretel. And everywhere the great stories by Rumi, the mystic philosopher and poet of medieval Persia, appear in different forms, from China to France to Syria. I’ve done a version of one of his stories myself. Grobblechops wasn’t hard to write. The development of Rumi’s gorgeous fragment just leaped into my head and all I had to do was write it down.


The worst times of writing are awful. You feel frustrated, lonely and a failure. The best times are wonderful. You’re on fire with ideas and feelings and the story you’re writing flows through you as if fire was in your veins sending sparks and crackles down on to the page.

Elizabeth Laird’s latest title Grobblechops was published on 7th February 2019 by Tiny Owl Publishing Ltd.

  • Introducing Grobblechops!
  • Read a blog: is there really a monster under the bed?!
  • Read an interview with illustrator Jenny Lucander: I felt proud and happy illustrating Grobblechops!

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You can feel the magic in The Flute! – Dolphin Books

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The Flute is a great start for learning about music!

Children’s bookseller Dolphin Books wrote a fab review of The Flute! Read it below!

This is the flute, it sounds like yellow. Easy and mellow…  The Flute is the newly released second book (publication date March 2019), in the series of Children, Music, Life from Tiny Owl Publishing.

Ken Wilson-Max and Catell Ronca bring the flute to life as words whisper and dance across the page and illustrations reflect colour and life.  You can feel the magic and lightness of the flute on every page.

The series explores different musical instruments from around the world,  how they make you feel and move, their character and sounds, the music they bring which can make you dance, and sing. The first book, The Drum, is also written by Ken Wilson-Max and illustrated by Catell Ronca.

Ken Wilson-Max, lives in London, originally from Zimbabwe and has illustrated more than 60 books, including The Drum which is shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award 2019. He publishes a newspaper for children called Chicken! He is an amazing story-teller, visiting schools and spending time with children.

Catell Ronca lives in Lucerne and studied at The Royal College of Art, London and has a huge range of art projects including children’s book illustrations.

Tiny Owl Publishing has a unique place in children’s books, bringing diverse voices and an amazing skill in creating beautiful and readable books for children and adults too. They also have a range of resources which are useful for teaching.

The books are perfect for Early Years and can encourage conversations between child and adult, can be an excellent sharing book at bedtime. The Flute can also be a starter for further learning about music, instruments and making music, but also about feelings, inner thoughts, ourselves and our choices, much to explore through the start of a life with music with The Flute and the series Children, Music, Life from Tiny Owl Publishing.

 Buy these great books here!

We thoroughly recommend for ages in Early Years from babies to beyond!

  • Hurrah! The Drum nominated for Kate Greenaway Awards!
  • Read an interview with illustrator Catell Ronca: The Flute is colourful, lively, and emotional!
  • Read a blog: Travel the world with the music of The Flute!
  • Read a review by Red Reading Hub: The Flute is a treasure!

Visit our bookstore

Download book posters

Limited edition prints

Subscribe to Tiny Owl on YouTube!


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