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A letter from Zia Grace

Photo of Zia Grace reading a book

Hi there and thank you for visiting my website.

Nubsy McNoodle Wanted A Poodle is my first published children's book. I have another four books currently in production so there's plenty more to come.

The inspiration to start writing for children came from interacting with my nephew, who was born in December 2004. I am in awe of how quickly he grasps information and I wanted to create books that inspire, entertain and stimulate him.

I found that he was able to grasp words that I perceived to be far beyond his years. I remember the first time he said "disgusting" at 18-months old; I was talking to someone in the room when I used the word and he repeated it after me - I couldn't believe my ears! I soon noticed how he intently observed people's lips when they said a new word, then he would repeat it.

This discovery broke down my preconceptions of having to simplify language for children. From that moment I started talking to my then 18-month old nephew like a little person and I was astounded how he "got" what I was saying; his vocabulary and comprehension is very advanced for his age.

So when I write my books I am not constricted by these perceptions and consequently there are a small number of words that fit the text beautifully, and are supported by illustrations, that provide children an opportunity to go into an enquiry... which I have seen translate to a sense of knowing.

I have found that children as young as two have enjoyed listening to Nubsy McNoodle Wanted A Poodle. In fact, before Nubsy had illustrations, I would recite the book to little people to gauge their interest (I wasn't about to take the biggest risk of my life without trialling it on my toughest critics!). I was thrilled when the young ones would shout out "read it again!" - they often had the attention span of a gnat and would wonder off half way through other books so I found this very encouraging.

I also marvelled how they would quickly identify their favourite parts and excitedly talk about it with the next person who'd walk into the room. I observed this with my godson who, at age three, ran to his aunty minutes after I recited the words and shouted "Aunty Mards, aunty Mards... the kitty cats are playing upstairs and they thought it was a bear!".

I observed the children's faces as I told them the story - their eyes widened and smiles grew into giggles. They loved the rhythm and rhyme and by the third encore, began to preempt the rhyming words with a joyful cry. I have now recited the story of Nubsy McNoodle Wanted a Poodle countless times, yet each time is like the first for me - watching their reactions and enthusiasm inspires me... and brings out the best in me.

Once again, thank you for being here. This website is continually evolving so please come again. In the meantime, enjoy your precious moments with the children in your life.