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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 14:51 GMT 15:51 UK
Madonna's children's book on sale
Madonna
Madonna wanted to create something for her children
Madonna's first children's book went on sale on Monday, a day after she gave an invitation-only reading to children in London.

A host of celebrities and their children were invited to a tea party in London to launch Madonna's first children's book, The English Roses, on Sunday.

"I like little kids better than big people. They don't have any bad habits yet, at least not permanent ones," Madonna said at the reading.

The book has been translated into 30 languages and is on sale in 100 countries. Print runs will range from 750,000 in the US to only 1,000 in the Faroe Islands.

To mark the launch Madonna threw a party in Kensington, west London, inviting friends and celebrities.

The guests were invited to walk up a pink, sparkly carpet, surrounded by barriers adorned with butterflies and roses.

Madonna
Madonna patiently told the cameras why she felt the need to write a book

Madonna arrived at the event fashionably late, stopping to wave to the hundreds of waiting fans and chatting about her book to the assembled world's media.

Her son Rocco, three, had already arrived at the party with husband Guy Ritchie.

Other guests at the tea party included TV interior designers Linda Barker and Laurence Llewelyn, along with their respective offspring, and former EastEnders actresses Patsy Palmer and Michelle Collins.

Racy

Also attending was the newly-wed Stella McCartney. Madonna was recently a guest at her wedding on the remote Scottish island of Bute.

Inside the party, Madonna read extracts of the book to the young audience, but had to silence a few boisterous boys who were interrupting the reading.

Madonna has been heavily promoting her book, which is one of five aimed at children over six.

But she raised a few eyebrows when at a recent MTV awards ceremony she kissed Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera during a racy stage performance.

But speaking at the launch, she defended accusations she was not a good role model for young children, saying it had only been "the kind of kiss you would give your sister".

Madonna fans
Fans and shoppers waited for Madonna to arrive
She said one of the reasons for writing the book was that she "had some stories to tell and I wanted to do something for my children".

Each book is based on Hebrew texts from the Kabbalah religion and each will feature the work of a different, celebrated illustrator.

The story follows four 11-year-old friends who are all "a little bit jealous of another girl in the neighbourhood".

Ostracised

Madonna said: "It is a story about learning to appreciate what we have ourselves and not to be fixated on what other people have."

Portrait of Madonna by the book's illustrator, Jeffrey Fulvimari
Portrait of Madonna by the book's illustrator, Jeffrey Fulvimari

The four main characters - Nicole, Amy, Charlotte and Grace - are named after young Lourdes' school friends.

The character of Binah, who is left out by her friends, is based on young Lourdes.

Madonna told the Sunday Times: "In school often children can be quite mean and ostracise her because I'm her mother.

"Everyone thinks, 'She's got everything so we won't pay attention to her.'

"She can think that people like her, that they only talk to her because she's... so sometimes I feel like she needs to be bigger than she is."

"If you want to know what else happens to Binah (the central character) and the English Roses, you're just going to have to read the book," Madonna said at the end of the reading.

  • The company which holds the rights to Enid Blyton's books is sending Madonna a consignment of her work after the singer admitted she had not heard of the author.

    "It is not surprising that Madonna did not know about Enid Blyton because, despite the author's worldwide success, her books have never been widely published in the United States," a spokesman for Chorion said.

    Blyton has sold more than 400 million books worldwide and annual sales are still around seven million, 36 years after her death.




  • SEE ALSO:
    Madonna, queen of reinvention
    28 Feb 02  |  Entertainment
    Madonna records book message
    03 Sep 03  |  Entertainment
    Madonna tribute at MTV awards
    29 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
    Madonna 'to set publishing record'
    04 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
    Madonna plans 'morality tale'
    17 Apr 03  |  Entertainment


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