Talking about children’s books – and toys – with award-winning author J.C. Jones
Updated: Mar 30
By Melina Byrne.
We catch up with J.C. Jones, the author of the award-winning children’s book ‘Run, Pip, Run.’ She tells us more about the prize she won and her nomination in the Speech Pathology Book Of The Year Awards (for children aged 8 - 10 years). We also discover how to access the entire third ‘Pip’ book online for FREE. Richmond Toy Library: We love the lovable character Pip in your books. Can you tell us about all 3 books in the series?
J.C. Jones: “Thanks – that’s one of the biggest compliments I get about the books. It’s very gratifying that readers have found Pip such a lovable and memorable character.” “I wanted to write about a ten-year-old who was very independent and determined to make her own way in life. Pip’s been brought up not knowing anything about her birth family so that’s the mystery that drives much of the action. The other thing that distinguishes Pip is that she’s a problem-solver. If she sees something that’s not working or someone who needs help, she always steps in – not always with the results she expects!”
“The first book – Run, Pip, Run - follows Pip as she escapes the clutches of the authorities after Sully, the old man who has raised her, falls ill.”
“The second book, Pip and Houdini, sends Pip and her dog Houdini on a quest for answers about her birth mother.”
“And in the third book – The Trouble with Pip – she has found her family but the mystery of her missing mother still nags at Pip.” To read this entire book for FREE, go to J.C Jones' Facebook page for the PDF.
Richmond Toy Library: Congratulations on winning the Readings Children's Book Prize 2016 Award for ‘Run, Pip, Run.’ You were also shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Book Of The Year Awards (8 - 10 years) in 2015. Can you tell us more about how your book helps children’s speech development? J.C. Jones: “It’s interesting because when I was writing 'Run, Pip, Run,' I hadn’t thought at all about writing a book that would support speech development – although, of course, all books that keep kids reading do this to some extent. The Speech Pathology Australia Book Awards recognise books that help kids to get the best, most literate start in life, so they look for things like their interactive quality.”
“After the book was published, I visited a boys’ school where a drama group was putting on an interactive production of ‘Run, Pip, Run’ for students. I was amazed by how much the boys got into acting out parts of the book so it clearly did have that interactive element that supports literacy.”
Richmond Toy Library: Do you have any more children's books coming up?
J.C. Jones: “I’ve been working on a fantasy adventure about a young witch but it’s not finished yet. Fantasy is very, very hard to do well, and I don’t know whether my idea is strong enough to make a good book. But I’m enjoying trying.”
“Like the Pip books, it has a distinctive main character but she’s not very confident and doesn’t believe she has the talent to make it in the magical world she finds herself in – until circumstances put her to the test. Maybe you’ll see it on library and bookshop shelves one day!” Richmond Toy Library: What are your favourite toys?
J.C. Jones: “Oh, this is going back a long way! I still have my childhood teddy bear, who I probably read to when I was young. I read to everyone in my family, whether they liked it or not. Ted’s very threadbare these days!”
“Otherwise, I clearly recall enjoying my Spirograph set, which is really retro. It’s a kind of drawing toy that creates elaborate circular patterns."
“I was also into fashion so I went through a big Sindy doll phase – she was Barbie’s less glamorous UK rival, but she still had lots of outfits.”
“If I was ten years old today, like my character Pip, I think I’d want a skateboard.”
Richmond Toy Library: What are the biggest benefits of a toy library? J.C. Jones: “Buying kids less but having access to a great toy library is wonderful for families on a budget and for sustainability as kids can try and enjoy a whole variety of toys. It’s also a good lesson in appreciating and sharing things if you have to give them back after a couple of weeks.” “I remember when I was young, I got toys for Christmas or birthdays that I didn’t really want or play with. One year, I was given an elaborate science kit that never left its box – obviously by someone who didn’t know me very well! A toy library gift voucher would be a good gift for birthdays or Christmas in these types of situations."
To find out more about this multi-talented author's children's books, visit her J.C Jones Facebook page.