Budding author starts young
A disappointing Christmas present has turned out to be a great success for a Whitby 7-year-old, inspiring her first published book.
Adventure School pupil Gemma Lovewell wrote Our Big Box during a Porirua Library summer holiday programme when she was just 5.
She sent a draft to children’s author Joy Cowley, who was so impressed she arranged to publish 100 copies.
Fourteen- year- old Wellington girl Amber Edwards was asked by Ms Cowley to illustrate Our Big Box.
The book was inspired by a large cardboard lawnmower box Gemma’s nana had wrapped up and put under the Christmas tree for her and little brother Daniel.
At first the siblings were unimpressed with the gift: Gemma had wanted a ZhuZhu guinea pig toy, she said. But the box soon proved a true gift for children with imagination.
Our Big Box describes the many magical adventures the box inspired for Gemma and Daniel. One day it was a zoo, another day a lolly cake shop, a spaceship or a farm.
‘‘We had good imaginations,’’ Gemma said.
A voracious reader, Gemma was already well- known to Porirua Library staff for being one of its most prolific young book reviewers.
Librarian Bee Trudgeon had suggested Gemma send her manuscript to Joy Cowley, and when Gemma heard back she was over the moon, mother Robyn said.
‘‘She was jumping around the house like a jelly bean.’’
Her beloved box died a few months after Christmas. ‘‘ The lambs used it as a shelter.’’
Gemma is already planning a sequel: Our Big Stick.
Gemma Lovewell will throw a launch party for Our Big Box at Porirua Library on Thursday, August 1, from 4pm till 5pm.
Imagination unboxed: Whitby 7-year-old Gemma Lovewell has had her book about the magic of a cardboard box published by children’s author Joy Cowley.