DON'T TELL ME I CAN'T…publish a children's book
WOMAN - UK|September 21, 2020
DON'T TELL ME I CAN'T…publish a children's book
Sally Penni put her daughter Maddie’s imagination into words

Flicking open the front cover of the book, my eyes dart to a photo of my daughter, Maddie, six, and me, and I bend down so she can see it, too. ‘It’s us, Mummy!’ she says, grinning widely, excitedly wrapping her arms around me and expressing her happiness at seeing our creation brought to life. A published author at 42, I feel proud, too, but I remind Maddie that, while I’d written it down, the story, ideas and imagination had all come from her.

At the beginning of lockdown, this March, life changed for my family, as it did for everyone. My husband, Rob, 43, worked in advertising, and I was a barrister, but now, with courts closed and hearings taking place online, and with my children, Jack, 10, William, eight, and Maddie, six, needing homeschooling, I tried to keep them busy.

They did their school assignments, I sent their homework to their teachers, and we did fun things online. But by April, I’d run out of ideas. So one afternoon I sat them down with notepads and pens and gave them a project: write a short story. Later, I returned to the dining table, where the three of them were busy scribbling, and asked what they’d written.


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September 21, 2020