Bud­ding au­thor starts young

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & EN­TER­TAIN­MENT - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

Photo: AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

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