Sam Burnside is best known for his work establishing the Verbal Arts Centre, promoting literature in all of its forms.
However, he is also a poet, and in recent months has moved across to children’s stories.
The result is a beautiful collection of tales compiled as ‘Mrs Nettlebed’s Year’.
A father of three and grandfather to five, Sam explains that the inspiration for the collection came from the tales he used to tell his children when they were little.
“Mrs Nettlebed came from my imagination, as I told my children stories as they were growing up. And then as my grandchildren came along, I wanted to pass them on, but they live in Australia so I decided the best way to share the stories was to write them down. Mrs Nettlebed is the result.”
A delightful series of inter-linking stories, they tell the tales of Mrs Nettlebed, from her first arrival to ‘The Woods’ to meeting and making friends with the other creatures and animals who live there.
Its premise is simple, for children to read with their parents, or for their parents to read aloud to them.
Sam says, “I am influenced by the aural history of reading aloud and I think parents will enjoy the stories as much as children.”
The content of the stories is also more than just a story.
Sam explains, “They are essentially ‘wisdom tales’ - which are stories generally passed on from one generation to the next with a ‘lesson’ aspect - a bit like a fable or parable.
“But they are conveyed in an entertaining or interesting way. They are intended to be educational in the broadest sense and to encourage a sense of curiosity about nature and our relationship with the natural world.”
Sam’s book ‘Mrs Nettlebed’s Year’ is out now and available from local bookshops.