100 years ago, lest we forget.

100 years ago the WW1 was half over. boys languished in the trenches. Promises of it’ll all be over by Christmas, but a distant memory. We should never forget our past for it will guide us to our future.

I am going to blog a number of poems I wrote and wish to share in memory of the fallen, on all sides. they were all son’s, husbands, brothers.

Distant Battlefields 

A puff of smoke plumes into the air,

As muskets fire shots across the valley.

The ‘enemy’ returns fire without a care,

And there is a short gunfire rally

That cuts down all who have not found cover,

Leaving dead – friend; son; father and brother.

 

Clouds of smoke from nearby canon hangs in the air

As one brave soldier rises from his lair,

Brandishing his musket with bayonet attached,

He’s last seen vanishing as he makes his attack.

He disappears into the cool, mist hung morn,

Just as the day is about to dawn.

 

More guns fire in the ensuing battle,

As generals shout tactics along the line

And wave after wave of young men descend like cattle

Into the affray, not afraid to die.

Thoughts of loved ones filling their minds eye

As the light of their souls drift up to the sky.

 

Trees and tents rise mysteriously above the haze,

As a young soldier staggers out of the smoke in a daze.

“They’re all dead!” he shouts sinking to his knees to cry,

The young, best of our men folk, sent to die.

Needless deaths for the gain of a few square feet

Of land on a hillside, that none will keep.

 

 And just as the battle starts to wane,

Droplets fall as it begins to rain

And streams of blood trickle from the dead,

Gathering into riverlets and puddles of red,

And the dreams of the youth are forever lost,

And the dreams of a nation, oh at what cost.

 

The battle is lost, the battle is won,

As evening’s arms envelop the wounded and maimed,

The moans and cries of pain; the results of a gun;

Can be heard across the campsite, but no-one is blamed,

For this is war and the best of the best are sent to fight,

For in the end OUR COUNTRY is always right.

 

And in years to come, this hillside will be

A place for ancestors to come and see

Where fallen fore-fathers shed their lives,

So today we may be safe, husbands and wives,

And the children play on mounds; graves of the dead;

Who only have flowers to share in their bed.

 

And who shall remember all of their names,

The brave young soldiers who fought for what’s right,

Away from their homes, villages and lanes,

Where they had marched proudly off to fight,

Expecting to return safely back home,

But now they’re all lost, now they’re all gone.

 

In distant battlefields, now are heard only birds cries,

Where once was the scene of last breaths as he dies;

Another young soldier gone from our grasp,

Like many to come, he won’t be the last,

And in the distance, a drum beat mourns

And a bagpipe plays alone and forlorn.

Polly Flies into Elliot’s Ipad

polly-can-she-fly

I just heard that a friend’s little boy has just come out of an operation, so I decided to cheer him up a bit and sent him How Polly Became a Parrot for his ipad, so that he can read it in hospital.

He is amazingly brave, and so is his mum. Hugs to you both and I hope he enjoys the book.

 

 

 

If there are any other children anywhere in the world right now in hospital 7-11 years old who need cheering up, just contact me and I will happily send them an ipad copy (FREE) to keep them busy.

 

Oh Wow another School!

Just had a call from the principle of Craigland’s Primary School, Gauteng.

She asked if I can go into the school to talk to the children on the 24th November. Looks like it’s going to be a busy month.

We will be talking about what a disability/challenge is and how we all have one – can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t spell, can’t count, can’t swim, can’t cook plus a host of others, which the kids will help me identify on the day. Then we’ll chat about why it’s not cool to bully each other, as we all have something someone else can bully us about and how we wouldn’t like that.

I give examples from my books Polly’s Piralympics, How Polly Became a Pirate and Polly, Ya Nay Can Fly and we will discuss how we can stand up to bullies, and where to get help.

I am so excited about going to Craigland’s and interacting with the children. I know it is going to be a very special day.

#PollysPiralympics, #HowPollyBecameAPirate, #PollyYaNayCanFly, #Paralympics, #Pirates, #KidsBooksWithPirates, #KidsWooksWithDisabilities, #BullyingIsntCool

3 days to go!

Yes 3 days to go until my interview with Radio Eden AM 1360 in South Africa

Am I nervous! Oh yes.

Am I excited! OH YES!

Can we make a difference to the lives of the children around us? I believe we can. To this end I have written a series of books for middle graders (8-11 yrs) to show that those who are physically challenged can also enjoy life to the full. In this day and age of prosthetic arms, blades and racing wheelchairs NO-ONE need to be left out. There is a way to include all.

The London Paralympics was a huge pivotal moment for me. I was inspired by the closing speech of Sir Phillip Craven. He told of how a mother and her son were reading a book together. In the book the book was a man with a hook for a hand, an eye patch over one eye and a wooden leg. When asked who he was, he said.

“Well he has only one leg, so he must be an Olympian.”

Such was the strength od the 2012 Paralympic Games that is changed peoples’ perceptions of disability forever. Mine included. the speech made me both laugh and cry and gave me the inspiration for this series of books (Polly’s Piralympics). I wanted to show that disability does not mean inability and to also tie it in with the fact that cheating and bullying aren’t cool.

Just because someone has a challenge either physical or mental (and by the way we all have one – can’t spell, can’t count, can’t cook, can’t sing, can’t dance etc. etc.) that does not mean they should be excluded or bullied. The bully is the weak link and in the words of Anne Robinson.
“You are the Weakest Link… Goodbye.”

Kids need to learn to stand up for themselves and those around them. Everywhere – home, school, clubs should be places of ZERO tolerance for bullies. Tell a teacher, tell a friend, tell your mum or dad. Friends stand up for each other, STOP THE BULLIES. Show them that you do not accept their behaviour. MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

 

Brilliant News! Polly will shortly be flying into the lives of pupils at Craighall Primary

Craighall Primary talk on Why Bullying is NOT Cool  just confirmed for March 2017!

Yes I just had confirmation from Craighall Primary that I will be going into the school on World Book Day (2nd March 2017) what an honour. The children will be dressed as their favourite characters from their favourite books and who knows maybe in 2018 they will be dressed as Polly the parrot or a pirate?

I will be talking to the children about why it isn’t cool to bully others. And how we all have how we all have challenges; some obvious – one eye, one arm, no legs; some less obvious – being deaf, blind of having a stutter; and some harder to detect – can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t spell, can’t ride a bicycle can’t cook, can’t play a musical instrument, can’t run 100m in under 10 seconds. How we shouldn’t pick on/tease or bully others, as maybe one day someone else may also bully us too.

this is a topic that I am passionate about and feel starts from a young age, which if halted early would make the lives of so may more bearable.

In my books some of the characters get bullied. In some cases nothing is done and they get very sad and depressed, reflecting the real world we live in. But on board ship there is a zero tolerance for bullies and they are dealt with severely. I also show what can happen if friend stand up for the victim against the bully, and how bullying can be stopped.

I can’t wait to go into Craighall Primary to enjoy an interactive day with the boys and girls and to see how ‘Polly’ can maybe influence their thoughts around the subject of bullying and physical and mental challenges.

So pupils at Craighall watch the skies for Polly to fly into your lives… and remember she is always watching you.

polly-front-cover

Radio interview next Monday 14th Nov

So with my radio interview just around the corner I have been frantically writing to finish the prequel to Polly’s Piralympics. Set in 2 parts, How Polly Became a Pirate and Polly Ya Na Can Fly are both free to anyone who would like to contact me. And I will be discussing these as well as the series Polly’s Piralympics and how life lessons are reflected through the stories.

All the books in the series lean strongly towards looking at how we all have challenges of some sort – one arm, no legs, one eye, can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t count, can’t spell or can’t cook, can’t run 100m in under 10 seconds, can’t play the cello, can’t ride a bicycle, can’t see, can’t hear, have a stutter. No-one is perfect, it’s just that some challenges are more obvious than others. So they emphasis, don’t tease/ pick on or bully others because you may just find that one day they find out what you can’t do and bully you too.

So I thought I would give a few snippets from the first book How Polly Became a Pirate just to open the door on Polly’s life.

How Polly Became a Pirate

polly-front-cover

Home – Somewhere in the Jungle

In the deepest part of Africa where gorilla’s still roamed the forests, lions roared on the plains and elephants and rhinos wandered freely between both, Polly the baby parrot lived in her home with her parents – in a nest high up in a huge tree.

She had always been the smallest chick of the brood and her brothers and sisters had already left the nest and were flying around in the surrounding trees.

“Do you think she’ll make it?”

Polly overheard her mother Precious the parrot asking her father, Phomello the parrot one day.

“Of course she will my dear.”

Her father loved Polly dearly, even though she was still only a 3 week old chick.

“Polly, is a special parrot, she may have only one eye but she’s a fighter, you wait and see.”

Polly had been born with only one eye, but that didn’t stop her chirping at the top of her voice when it came to feeding time. Her father made sure she got a little bit extra when it came to feeding his chicks. Polly’s brothers and sisters though had well, just grown faster than her, but she didn’t care. At night she would cuddle up with her parents and fall fast asleep, nestled in their downy chest feathers to keep her warm.

“You are going to be a beauty.” Precious the parrot whispered to her daughter. “The envy of the forest.”

But one day something terrible happened. Bother her parents were out foraging for food when a huge human head appeared by her nest. She knew what humans were, as all baby parrots were taught to be cautious of these monsters that walked on two legs. In fact they were called two legged destroyers in the animal world. Everywhere humans went they would destroy the forests, jungles, rivers and lakes. All the animals were wary of them. Only now and then did animals find kind ones.

Polly squawked and screeched as loudly as she could.

“HELP, HELP!”

Her parents, brothers and sisters flew at the human, pecking at his hair and arms, but he just brushed them off easily.

“I am not afraid of you pretty coloured birds. I’ll be back with my net for the rest of you later.”

Hearing that, brave little Polly the baby parrot cried to her family.

“Fly away please. Don’t let the two legged destroyer get you. One day I will find you again.”

Suddenly a large hand swept Polly the baby parrot clean out of the nest and placed her into a dark bag.

Polly was very scared, she didn’t like the dark without the protective wings of her parents to hide under. After what seemed like forever, the movement stopped and she was set down in her sack. Then nothing. Eventually Polly the baby parrot cried herself to sleep, knowing she would probably never see her parent or brothers and sisters ever again.

theif

 Stolen

Polly the baby parrot had been stolen by evil bird catchers. They were men (the two legged destroyers,) who thought they had the right to take animals from the wild, their homes, and sell them for black money.

The baby chicks were easy prey as they still could not fly. The two legged destroyers would climb the trees and swipe them out of their nests, right under the beaks of their parents.

Polly the baby parrot’s abductor didn’t care that what he was doing was wrong. He just wanted money. It was wrong that he took the baby birds away from their families. It was wrong that he upset the balance of Nature. It was wrong that he sold them when they were not his, but a gift to the world.

Polly the baby parrot lay terrified in the rough sack. When she woke, she thought she could hear another animal crying near to her.

“Is there anyone there?” she whispered.

“Y y yes.” came back the stuttered reply from a lonely frightened lion cub. He too had been stolen away from his family and home.

“What is your name?”

“L, L, Leo.”

Polly the baby parrot couldn’t see Leo, so she didn’t know he was a lion cub and that she was supposed to be afraid of lions. Soon the two were chatting away and became friends. Then the two legged destroyer returned.

He pulled Polly the baby parrot out of the bag and set her in a cage with some food in it.

“Don’t want you starving to death before I can sell you now do we.” laughed the evil two legged destroyer as he turned his back on the cage and left the hut where he was keeping the baby animals.

Leo the lion cub was in a cage next to her. Polly the baby parrot suddenly became afraid when she saw him.

“P, p, please don’t be afraid.” stuttered Leo. “I w, w, won’t hurt you.”

“Where are your parents Leo? Where do you come from? How did the two legged destroyer catch you?”

Polly the baby parrot was full of questions. But before Leo the lion cub could answer the two legged destroyer returned with even more two legged destroyers. Each carried wriggling sacks.

 

RADIO INTERVIEW 14TH NOV. TUNE IN

Ok so I remember discussing that I was a little bit famous – appeared in Clamour magazine. Well now I’m a little bit more famous. I have a Radio interview on the 14th November with Radio Eden AM1368 at 12.30. I shall be talking about my book Polly’s Paralympics and its companion book, How Polly Became a Parrot.

bullying-posterThese are part of a series of books Polly’s Paralympics (Paralympics for Pirates.) They look at how it is not cool to cheat, what happens to Catseye and Rook when they are caught cheating by the other pirates? Why is it wrong to bully someone? There should be zero tolerance for teasing, picking on or bullying anywhere. Captain Hake has a zero tolerance for bullying on board his ship, hear how mad he gets when he finds Polly the parrot being bullied.

We all have challenges, it’s just that some are, well, more obvious than others one eye, one arm, no legs. Others are a bit harder to spot, a stutter, blindness, deafness. The last group is the hardest of all and the one we pretty well all fall in to – can’t dance, can’t sing, can’t spell, can’t ride a bicycle, can’t cook, can’t run 100m in under 10 seconds, can’t speak 10 languages. there are things we all cannot do, that make life hard. So you shouldn’t tease, pick on or bully other, or one day they might just find out your challenge and bully you too. Bullying isn’t cool.

Find out how much fun the pirates have in their own Paralympics for Pirates, as they compete in the climb the rigging gymnastics, walk the plank diving, 3 legged race and Masterchef competition plus more. Pirates like their readers can, no matter their individual challenge. To be a pirates is to succeed. Disability does not mean inability.

So listen out on the 14th, or better still order your copy of Polly’s Paralympics and its companion book, How Polly Became a Parrot by contacting me on janspicssa@gmail.com

Beat the Bully

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