And so the build up to my baby becoming a teenager continued yesterday. The special event of yesterday wasn't specifically birthday related so I didn't want it to be absorbed into the celebrations, but it's still a good excuse for making the event last as long as possible.
Remember last year when author Keris Stainton set up Authors for Japan, which raised over £13,000 to help those affected by the earthquake there? Well, my contribution went towards this marvellous prize from children's author Kate Maryon. Not only were their two copies of her first two books, but a character name in the fourth which she was just about to start writing. I thought it would be special for Anna to know that a character in a book had been named after her.
Now, I thought that Kate would just mention this character in passing - that it would be the name of a shopkeeper or a pet hamster or something. Actually, she's done a lot more than that in A Sea of Stars which is published on Thursday. I won't give away too much, but she's given the Anna character a lovely part in the story. Although, obviously, if Anna ever did what her namesake does, she'd be grounded for a very long time. It's great for kids to imagine these things, though.
So, thank you, Kate, for doing my daughter proud, and good luck with A Sea of Stars. Everyone else - if you have a suitably aged child in your lives, buy this book for them. Kate is really good at sensitively capturing the complex emotions of difficult circumstances in children's lives, whether it's unemployment, or a mum going to prison or a dad going to Afghanistan. In A Sea of Stars, it's about adoption and two girls getting used to being sisters. As well as being good stories, her books show children a path through the tough challenges they may be facing themselves, helping them to deal with their own emotions. This is one of the reasons reading is so important because it connects with you in a way that watching something on the television can't.
It was good to see Anna's smiling face when she was given the book yesterday, and to see a huge amount of it already read on her bedside table this morning.