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Last Updated: Tuesday May 16 2006 16:00 GMT

Jacqueline Wilson tells NR about her latest books

Jacqueline Wilson
Jacqueline Wilson is not only the creator of Tracy Beaker and author of over 80 children's books, she's also Children's Laureate which means she's in charge of getting children to read more.

To celebrate National Storytelling month this May she has written a new book for parents called Great Books To Read Aloud, which she hopes will help get kids hooked on reading for life.

Here she tells Newsround all about it, and reveals the title for her next Tracy Beaker book!

What is the aim of this book?

I've been going to lots of schools and libraries, giving talks, and I've found that very few children get a bedtime story - not like when I was young.

My campaign is to show it is fun to share stories with your children and it doesn't have to stop when children can read for themselves - you can carry on right until they get to secondary school age.

What is so good about being read aloud to?

We all like to be told a story - it's why audio tapes are so popular, but it's always a real bonus when there's a human being right in front of you actually doing the reading.

I have suggested some quite adventurous books for the older age group (eight-11) which are much more stretching than a book a child might read to themselves.

I also hope that by reading books aloud this can help children to speak about their problems as sometimes you don't necessarily want to discuss something directly. For example, you could read a book about someone being teased and then have a gentle discussion with your parents about it.

How is your role as Children's Laureate going?

I've nearly been the Laureate for a year and I've enjoyed it thoroughly. It's been very interesting doing events for children and adults.

I want to meet as many people as possible and there are all sorts of different events planned. I am working very hard on a touring exhibition about different children's authors' work which I hope will go around the country.

You cover all sorts of childhood problems in your books - why is that?

I think that if children are going through a bad patch, if their mum and dad are splitting up or if there is something worrying them it is very comforting to read about someone else going though these things in a book.

But then I also think that if children are having a very happy time they still like to work out in their heads how they would react if such a thing was happening to them.

As long as children know there is going to be a happy ending, I think it is important for them to tackle all sorts of things in the books they read.

Are a lot of your books based on your own experiences or from speaking directly to kids?

Almost every week I talk to children at an event I'm doing. I am currently writing a book about my own childhood. I couldn't decide on the right title for it. I had about 10 different titles and when doing a book tour for Candyfloss I had a list of titles and asked children to pick the one they liked the best.

What pleased me was the title I thought was the best one was the one more children thought too!

I think it's going to be called Jacky Daydream because that was the nickname I was given when I was at school. It will be out in March 2007.

It's specifically aimed at children and so I have been asking children what they want to know about my childhood. They asked a lot about my school dinners, who my friends and enemies were, what I was best at school at and what sort of clothes I wore.

I was very pleased because I have already covered this in great deal!

What have you got in store for Tracy Beaker?

This October there will be a brand new book called Starring Tracy Beaker.

Tracey's still living in the children's home and it's nearly Christmas and she's going to be in her school play. She's desperate to get the star part and hopes her mother will come to watch her and it's all about what she gets up to, to try and make sure that happens.

You are the most borrowed author from libraries - are you worried about the future of libraries?

I think people are fighting very hard to keep people using libraries. Great big state-of-the art libraries are wonderful but I think the small, shabby libraries are just as important.

Also, reading is fine for children who can buy as many paperbacks they like but for some families who can't afford to buy many books it's even more important that children can go to a library and get books out.



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