We’re delighted to welcome author Jeff Norton to Story Snug. Jeff’s picture book ‘Stomp School’, illustrated by Leo Antolini, has just been published, it’s a fun, action packed look at a little kaiju’s first day at school. Stomp School is definitely not a calm, bedtime story, its characters are loud and very active and Jeff has joined us to explain why he wrote the story.
Have you ever noticed how most picture books end with a character in bed, or even asleep?
That’s because us parents know that a picture book read with a soft voice can be a sleep-inducing tool. Next to dosing children with Calpol before bed, it’s probably the most effective way of winding a child down from a busy day and signaling that it’s sleep time.
I’ve spent the last seven years reading picture books then singing a goodnight song (first it was ‘The Gambler’ by Kenny Rogers and now it’s ‘Slow Burning Fire’ by The Skydiggers – neither of which are traditional lullabies, but both work like a charm!) but I’ve long felt that bedtime shouldn’t be the exclusive day-part for reading.
Furthermore, what are we telegraphing to our children by using books to send them to sleep?!
It’s no wonder many older children I meet when doing school events say things like “books are boring.” This notion is especially rampant among boys.
So I thought it was time to do something about it.
STOMP SCHOOL is a picture book that celebrates being loud and physical. It’s the story of a young kaiju creature (think Godzilla’s son!) who is sent off to school for the first time only to be overwhelmed by the other kaiju kids in his class. In a world bent on destruction, all little Rikki wants to do is create something incredible and show it off to his father.
Whilst STOMP SCHOOL can certainly be read and enjoyed at bed time, it’s my hope that Rikki’s story makes it into the daytime repertoire, perhaps after school or on the weekend.
Reading can be so much more than a soporific experience. Using a picture book as inspiration, you can encourage role-play, conversation, and acting out.
With STOMP SCHOOL, try encouraging your child to act out the narrative. Make it interactive by including the story during Lego or building blocks play. Use the school characters as guideposts for your child’s friends – ‘which of your friends is most like a dragon?’ is bound to get a conversation started! Ask your child to emulate Rikki’s signature stomp. Reading can be loud.
I’d love to hear how you and your children read STOMP SCHOOL together. Please let me know. The louder, the better!
Thank you for joining us Jeff and writing such an insightful post. Before my daughter started school we read at all times of the day, often for more than an hour at a time. I have very happy memories of those preschool times and the tradition has continued, books are definitely not just for bedtime here!
Jeff and I would love to know how you and your children read Stomp School. Please tell us your experiences in the comments.
About Jeff Norton
Jeff Norton is an award-winning author, writer-producer, and founder of the creative incubator, AWESOME. Before embarking on his own creativity, Jeff was Senior Vice President of Chorion Ltd.; which managed the literary estates of Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie, and a marketing executive at Proctor & Gamble. Now he creates compelling characters, amazing stories and immersive worlds for all ages, in all media. Originally from Canada, Jeff now lives in London and when he’s not writing spends time with his young family and runs on Hampstead Heath.
Stomp School: On Rikki’s first day at Stomp School the little kaijus in his class build an amazing city. When it’s finished they want to stomp on it it but Rikki gets angry as he wants to show the city to his dad. Luckily Rikki’s teacher finds a solution that ensures that Dad can see what the city looks like before it’s destroyed!
Age Range: 2+
Thank you to Little Tiger Press for sending us a copy of Stomp School. We love Leo Antolini’s brightly coloured illustrations and are sure that many children will be able to relate to Rikki’s experiences.