Paul Mason

What books did you read when you were a child?
When I was quite young, I remember Richard Scarry’s Early Bird being a firm favourite. A little bird dressed in a sailor suit looking for a worm to play with. Great fun. Two Can Toucan by David McKee was another and The Lion in the Meadow by Margaret Mahy. As I got older, I discovered Roald Dahl, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Bilbo Baggins. I like the idea of going on a quest with a band of friends (but perhaps without the bit about the giant spiders.)

What is the best thing about reading?
You can get lost in a good book, and sometimes we need to get lost. To see the world through different eyes. But these days, I read a lot of non-fiction—there’s so much I realise I don’t know.

What is your all-time favourite book?
A single book? Can’t do it (sorry)! Spike Milligan’s stories and humour certainly made a big impact on me. (I wrote to him once, and he wrote back!) Otherwise, I go through phases. At the moment I’m reading one of the Cherub series by Robert Muchamore. I like to keep in touch with children’s books.

Other than reading books, what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Talk. And play, and make up games together. Sounds obvious, but parents sometimes feel they’re too busy. And staring at a screen is so easy. We all do it.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
Huge. By surrounding me with books, by reading to me, by encouraging me to tell stories. My father was a journalist, and always impressed on me the importance of writing well.

How do you encourage your children to read, what books do you enjoy reading to them?
By having all kinds of tasty things to read, and allowing them to read whatever takes their fancy—comics, cereal boxes, SAS survival books. When they were younger, we used to camp in the children’s section of the library.
I became a children’s writer so I could tell my kids stories. Nothing makes me happier than reading my stories to them. And if they look bored, then I know I have work to do.

Inspired by his own children and from his time as a teacher, Paul likes to writes stories that take hold of young readers and get them turning pages! To date he has over 150 published titles. Paul’s writing has been enjoyed by readers in New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Paul has been lucky enough to have lived all over the world, and some of those places, and the people he’s met along the way, pop up in his books from time to time.

Paul Mason’s new books for Bloomsbury Education are Skate Monkey: The Cursed Village and Skate Monkey: Fear Mountain.

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