Posts Tagged ‘dyslexia’

Wyrd mock upFor our Friday blog instalment we’re taking a moment to look at the latest children’s book series by C.S. Woolley and asking the question, why WYRD?

The word wyrd translates as fate, which was chosen to mirror the first book in the Children of Ribe series. Fate is a powerful force throughout myths and legends and certainly seems to play a large role in many adventure stories.

But we’re not so much interested in the title of the first book in the Children of Snotingas series as we are in why the series was put together in the first place.

When we put the question to C.S. Woolley, this is the answer she gave:

“Over Christmas I was most of the way through writing my Viking children’s book series and my mother suggested that I work on an Anglo Saxon kids book series as there were seemingly no books about the Anglo Saxons in fiction for kids to read and my primary school library was in need of these kinds of books.

So I did a lot of research over Christmas and put together a plan for an Anglo Saxon series. It’s set in the early 600s when King Penda of Mercia announced to Northumbria that they were breaking away from them. Mercia went on to become the most powerful and influential kingdom during the Anglo Saxon time, which is why I decided to write the first 8 Anglo Saxon books during the time when it was being formed.”

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Not only have the books been written to help children learn about the Anglo Saxons in a fun way, they have also been laid out in the same format as the Children of Ribe books. This is to make it easier for dyslexic children to discover a love of reading and have an easier time of reading on their own.

The paperbacks of WYRD are priced at £6.99 on amazon, but you can order them direct from Mightier Than the Sword UK Publications for £6.49 including free UK delivery. The digital copies of the book are £1.99 on amazon, though range from £1.80 to £2.49 through other digital retailers.

To order direct from us here at Mightier Than the Sword UK simply email office@mightierthanthesworduk.com and we will provide you with an invoice and payment method for your order.

 

17309005_10158303561925024_4504106175416710855_nFor those of you who have enjoyed reading the Children of Ribe books, we are extremely pleased to announce that our Etsy store is now stocking Viking arm ring replicas. These are not just any old arm rings though.

With the help of Jelling Dragon, we are offering historically accurate replicas of arm rings, some that have been specifically tailored to make the eight arm rings of Yngvar that appear in the Children of Ribe books.

All cast in bronze, these arm rings are made in the traditional fashion that the Vikings used hundreds of years ago. They can be made wider or narrower to fit different wrist sizes and are surprisingly light and comfortable to wear.

17342675_10158315306050024_6204636733855376756_nUntil Sunday 19th, we have an offer on the arm rings as well – you can save £5 by entering
the code TWEET05 at the checkout when purchasing your arm ring from the Etsy store.

This offer applies not only to the arm rings of Yngvar as individual items, but also to the all new Children of Ribe gift sets that include the relevant arm ring of Yngvar as well as a paperback and digital copy of the book in question.

There is also the new Arm Ring of Yngvar collection, a paperback that features the first 8 books in the Children of Ribe series in one collection.

The Etsy Store listings:

The Arm Rings of Yngvar Collection in paperback – £35.99 including free UK P&P

The Arm Rings of Yngvar replica arm rings- £40.00 – £45.00 each including free UK P&P

Book 2: WAR arm ring gift set – £45.00 including free UK P&P

Book 3: WIFRITH arm ring gift set – £45.00 including free UK P&P

Book 6: SHIPWRECKED arm ring gift set – £50.00  including free UK P&P and a donation of £5 to the RNLI.

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Due to an issue with the cover art, we are sorry to announce that there is a slight delay in releasing WYRD, book 1 in the Children of Snotingas series. The series is one by C.S. Woolley that is set in Anglo Saxon Britain when King Penda declared that he was splitting from Northumbria and the formation of the kingdom of Mercia.

The series, like the Children of Ribe, is designed to help children with dyslexia have an easier time of reading. But that’s not all, it has also been written to help teachers of the primary school syllabus teach children about the Anglo Saxons.

The cover art issues are being addressed and we will hopefully be able to announce a new release date in the next few days.

When I started writing the Children of Ribe, I wanted to do something different with these books

– C.S. Woolley

Though you might not know it to look at the extensive catalogue of books that C.S. Woolley has produced, but she actually has dyslexia. Our company founder is a prolific writer in spite of this and has recently gone on camera to tell children who have dyslexia and parents about why she wrote the Children of Ribe books, how she has set the books to make it easier to read if you have dyslexia and to help children fall in love with literature like she has.

The Children of Ribe series is the first children’s book series by C.S. Woolley. The books are set in Viking Denmark and follow a group of children that are striving to save their home from the fires of war. The series features the following titles:

FATE

Welcome to Denmark, home of the Vikings When fate knocks at the door, it doesn’t matter how old you are or whether you want to go on an adventure or not. Join Erland Kabelsen, Christian Andersen, Dalla Ingeborgsdotter, Eva Axeldatter, Riki Andersen and Wifrith the Wolf as they set out on a journey that will change their lives and save their people.

WAR

The council of Jelling has begun With one of the arm rings of Yngvar found, the children of Ribe and their guardian beast, Wifrith, set out to find the remaining seven rings. But war is the furthest thing from the minds of Erland, Dalla, Christian, Eva and Riki as in order to find the second arm ring of Yngvar, the children have to face a dragon.

WIFRITH

The Saga Continues. Still on the island of Fyn, the children find themselves separated by magic and fate. Will they find what the next arm ring of Yngvar on the islands or will the men of Hedeby finally catch up with them? War has come to Ribe adding even more danger to path that Erland, Dalla, Eva, Christian and Riki walk and Eva is becoming more and more concerned over Wifrith’s odd behaviour.

DOUBT

Even in the most stalwart of hearts there is room for doubt. Three of the arm rings have been found, but with the winter fast approaching, the Children of Ribe begin to believe that they won’t be able to find all the arm rings in time to stop King Viggo Odinsen.

The other books in the series are:

SKÅNE, SHIPWRECKED, FEAR, HOME, TREASON, MURDER, SEDITION, STRIFE, SUSPICION, ALLEGIANCE, DECEIT, REGICIDE, BETRAYAL, LINDHOLM, ÁLFHEIMR, YGGDRASIL, HEL, VALHALLA, RAGNAROK and JUDGEMENT.

The first book, WYRD, in her Anglo Saxon series, The Children of Snotingas, is also written and formatted in the same way. Both of these book series are designed to help children learn about the Vikings and Anglo Saxons alongside studying the two time periods in school – as well as encouraging children with dyslexia to read.

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cnv00006-copySo today I, C.S. Woolley, am taking over the Mightier Than the Sword UK blog (hello, blog land!) to share a little bit about why I went from writing gritty crime and gritty fantasy books to coming up with a children’s Viking Saga seemingly from out of nowhere.

One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m dyslexic. When I was young I loved reading but I often found it to be really hard work. From the words moving around the page, to fonts being difficult to read and having to re-read paragraphs several times to try and understand what the author was saying – I didn’t know that everyone else didn’t have the same problem; I was pretty sure that was what reading was supposed to be like. I didn’t find out that I had dyslexia until I was 17, when my school tested everyone for it.

caz

Graduating with an English degree

Though, I’m not sure I even knew that dyslexia existed before my school tested people for it. But suddenly it made sense why I constantly confused words like who and how (and still do), I understood why I had to really concentrate on reading. The thing is, it never stopped me reading. It didn’t mean I was stupid or slow, I still got 11 GCSEs, 5 AS-Levels, 1 Key Skill Award and 3 A-Levels, but I finally understood why some people hated reading and why books were something that they avoided.

My mother loved reading and used to take my sisters and I to the library every weekend when we were small and she couldn’t afford to buy us lots of books. When we were older and had pocket money to spend, my mum used to take us to the local independent bookshop every Saturday so we could find something new to read (I read the Saddle Club books and Animal Ark books in droves). I also had access to the library at my primary school and later, my secondary school. For me I had to read, even though it was hard (and still is), and it’s something that I realised so many children and adults have missed out on because of dyslexia.

Map PosterWhen I started writing the Children of Ribe books I wanted to create something to make it
easier for dyslexics to read. Granted it’s not going to instantly turn everyone into readers, but for those children who want to read and love stories but struggle every time they pick up a book, it was these kids I wanted to do something for. So what did I do? You may notice that the font on the cover is Vikingy and decorative but it’s hardly a friendly font, this was chosen for effect rather than utility, but on the inside of the book I went with a font that completely changed my life when I found it.

13467497_10156996287510133_1331349964_oThat may seem like a rather grand and dramatic statement – but I’m not kidding. Times New Roman was the bane of my existence. I found it so difficult to read and Cambria wasn’t much better. However, back in 2007 I was introduced to Calibri. This was a font that suddenly I could read, that didn’t make me want to curl up in a ball and cry. When I looked at it on a screen it didn’t dance in the same way that other fonts did. It made reading things so much easier. So when it came to the Children of Ribe, the text was set in Calibri. I got a few other people I knew who were dyslexic to have a look at it and they all said it was easier to read than other fonts they had seen. It may not be universal, but if it makes it easier for just one child to read for themselves then it’s a step forward. I also set the type slightly further apart than you would ordinarily find in a book, this stopped lines merging together for me, yes the words still move but it was much easier to keep track of where I was in a sentence and I didn’t jump a line or end up reading the same line four times.

13528796_10153712173148657_633587836543718021_nBut these books weren’t solely written to just reach out to dyslexic children. I love Viking culture, I’m British (I have English, Welsh and Scottish blood), I’m descended from Norman Vikings and Danish Vikings, to me it’s part of my heritage and I even studied Old Norse and Old Icelandic as part of my degree. With these books I wanted to share my love of Viking culture with children and show them how exciting and fun it could be. Not by focusing on battles and historical fact, but by creating a tale of magic and wonder that brought together Danish folklore and other little bits of folklore from across Europe and some bits of my favourite fairy tales.

I didn’t do this just to share my love of mystical mythology, but also to help kids to engage with what they are reading. To feel a surge of pride when they recognise something from the story of Sleeping Beauty in an event that happens in FATE, telling their parents that they know the difference between a forest troll and a mountain troll, learning that because one witch is evil doesn’t mean all witches are, and that it can be hard to stand up for what is right sometimes, but someone has to do it.

major-tomI also tried to think of the parents when I was writing these books – if they were going to read them to their kids, then I wanted them to be able to enjoy the stories too (my mum has been my yardstick for this) – but I also wanted to create something that was affordable. Parents have a hard enough time with kids, making sure they eat right, taking them on days out, replacing the brand new pair of trousers they just bought because their child fell over and ripped them to shreds, children are expensive and I know there are parents out there that struggle with what they can and can’t afford. I didn’t want to create something that was going to add to that bill in a hefty way so I have done my best to price these books at an affordable level. When I was a kid, you could buy a paperback for £1.99 and then it was £3.99, then it was £5.99 and now £8.99 – that’s a heck of a jump in price. So FATE, WAR, WIFRITH and DOUBT are priced at between £3 and £5 in paperback and £1.80 to £1.99 in digital formats just to make it that much easier for parents to afford them. You can get the paperback and digital formats in a set with free UK postage for under £7 as well.

I’ve had some requests to write adult versions of these books, but these are something for children to grow up with. When the series is finished there will be 24 books in total in three 8 volume story arcs. As the children in the books grow up and the children that are reading the books grow up, the stories will grow up with them. The last story arc will be much more adult than the early books because they will develop with the young readers.

I would love to hear from those that have read these books – FATE, WAR, WIFRITH and DOUBT – from parents, adults, children, household pets, those who only adult when they absolutely have no other choice, everyone else – those who have found them easier to read, those who are dyslexic and have suggestions for ways I can make them even easier for dyslexics to read, any instances where kids have made connections between events in the book and other fairy tales they know – I’d love to know!

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If you haven’t read the books yet and want to find out more, you can download free chapter samples of each of the books online from places like Amazon and Smashwords, so you can get a taster of what the books are like and whether you kids would like them. You can get gift sets galore from the Mightier Than the Sword UK Etsy store – all of which are signed, come with free UK postage and free gift wrapping as well as a saving on buying things separately.

 

Though there is an invitation below to sign up to the Mightier Than the Sword UK mailing list, I also have a mailing list of my own. If you are interested in signing up, then simply follow this link. For signing up you get the choice of a free book (one of which is FATE).

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