Doggy Dit­ties hot favourite

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By ALASTAIR LYNN

Pub­lish­ing your first book will make any au­thor smile but now Jo van Dam has another rea­son.

Van Dam, who lives in West­mere, is a Chil­dren’s Choice fi­nal­ist in the New Zealand Book Awards for Chil­dren and Young Adults.

‘‘I haven’t stopped smil­ing, I’m com­pletely over the moon,’’ she says.

‘‘It’s my first book, so it’s re­ally, re­ally ex­cit­ing. If you’re writ­ing for chil­dren you ac­tu­ally want the chil­dren to like it, so I’m thrilled they voted for it.’’

Van Dam works as a li­brar­ian at Rich­mond Road School and West­mere School, so read­ing and telling sto­ries is sec­ond na­ture for her.

The book Doggy Dit­ties from A to Z has been 20 years in the mak­ing and springs from her love of rhyme.

‘‘I’ve al­ways en­joyed read­ing and I started play­ing with rhymes. It was about six years ago when one of my kids sug­gested I write them down.’’

The al­pha­bet book has been de­signed as a fun way to ed­u­cate chil­dren.

‘‘You can use it for po­etry and be­cause they’re all so short the kids stay en­gaged and it’s fun.’’

Al­most 150 books were en­tered into the Chil­dren’s Choice cat­e­gory with more than 6500 votes de­cid­ing the fi­nal line up.

Fel­low Auck­lan­der Myles Law­ford was se­lected to il­lus­trate the book.

‘‘He’s cap­tured the dif­fer­ent dogs re­ally beau­ti­fully and he’s got a great sense of hu­mour in­clud­ing a few naughty bits,’’ van Dam says.

Re­gard­less of how well the book is re­ceived in the next round of vot­ing, van Dam says she has caught the literary itch.

‘‘I have writ­ten some more to be sent on,’’ she says.

‘‘I’m lov­ing it and I’m hav­ing great fun. Hope­fully it’s not a one-hit won­der sort of thing.’’

Vot­ing in the Chil­dren’s Choice cat­e­gory closes on July 31.

Photo: ALASTAIR LYNN

Au­thor Jo van Dam is a fi­nal­ist in the Chil­dren’s Choice cat­e­gory.

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