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Me and the Robbersons. A gift of love to my son. Siri Kolu.


Why is Me and the Robbersons fun and whimsical? It is my gift of love to my son. The book started as a bedtime story for my five-year-old Martti, who felt that the world of brave fairytale heroes and Pixar characters was no longer for him. He commissioned me to write a story better suited for him. He wanted a tailored story, a story to fit him perfectly, with an ordinary child at the centre. No heroes, no superheroes, just a child. He also wanted the main character to be a girl.

I felt it was heart-warming that my son wanted to connect with me through a story. That sounds good, I said to my son, sure I could do this. Then I asked, “any more requests?” At that point my son was five, I had published my debut novel for adults and was working as a dramatist and as a script doctor. In short, I trusted my writing and I felt safe asking that.

Lesson of the story – if you want a real challenge, ask for requests from a five-year-old.

My son gave me a list. He wanted:

1) Fast cars chased by other cars, driving at high speed on winding roads.

2) Children high in tree tops, spying on the cars with binoculars. And these kids should be funny and clever and talk in a code language.

Umm, I thought. Code language? This sounds tricky.

But my son wasn´t quite finished. The most important thing still was missing from the list…

3) Candy! LOTS of candy. All the kinds of candy you can find. Pix ’n’ mix for sure. Lollies. Chocolate bars. Cotton candy. All sorts of candy. In enormous quantities, the largest amount of sugar-coated treasures I could possible invent. Anabundance of candy.

“Are you sure you got this right, Mummy?” my son asked with a worried look. “Are you writing it down? You can’t mess this up or you will spoil the story.” And since I am a grown-up with a “worn-out brain”, he instructed me once more. “Not the amount of candy for adults”, he added. “Not like a box of Tic Tacs. I mean the Serious Candy Business. I mean the candy feast for the kids, the candy professionals.”

Then it slowly sank in.  I knew nothing of this – I was a rookie. And I was in deep deep trouble.

But I learned. I started working on the story. I wrote and rewrote it and my son was the world’s harshest editor. “The boring bits” from the text needed to be deleted. “We leave just the yummies.” So we did. That was my second time at writing school twice and it made me the writer of children’s fiction I am today. I think it made me a better Mum as well. Now I know the candy business is Serious Business.

The story my son commissioned is called Me and the Robbersons. As of 2021 the book has been translated over twenty languages. The bandits in my story have run to countries like South Korea, Russia, Spain and Germany. I wrote about a funny bandit family who steal young Maisie to be a friend for their robber kids, but in fact the bandits stole me too! In Scandinavia I am called the Robber Mother. I have written a decade’s worth of bandit stories and seen them come to life in a film and in several plays for stage. I have created a bandit cook book, some bandit family games and quizzes. Even though I have a serious fear of flying, I was (before Covid-19) flying around Europe to meet the readers of the bandit story.

The best bit is that I receive some “Interesting Mail”, as my kids call it. I get lovely drawings of bandit vans and photos of pets, named after Maisie or Charlie of Wild Carl!

I need to make a confession. I think I am no longer an adult. I might be a ten-year-old in an adult-looking body! And I think I love it. Writing Me and the Robbersons changed me for the better. It changed my life, and I owe it all to my son.


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K.L. Kettle introduces The Boy I Am

When power corrupts…tear it down…The Boy I Am is the powerful debut novel from K.L. Kettle out now

Dear Reader,

I’m so excited for you to hold The Boy I Am in your hands.

I came to this story wondering what kind of feminist I wanted to be. Writing this book helped me process my own experiences from years working in a male dominated industry. There have been so many great times, but they’re pierced by moments when some men I worked for reduced me to something to flirt with, dismiss, or sideline when unwanted advances were met with polite declines.

Each moment sticks with me. I over analyze whether I dealt with them the right way, then wonder if there is a right way, then doubt my memory, then beat myself up for taking the burden of anxiety on myself, and so on… Sound familiar? You don’t need to be a woman to know these feelings, far from it, they come wherever there is disparity in power. And there’s a lot of that today.

The proverb ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely’ kept circling my mind as I found Jude’s story. If we are all equal, are we all equally capable of abusing the power we have? If so, how do we choose to be better?

See, I told you I over analyze.

From where it began, soon my research took me to some places full of sadness:

To forums teaching men how to manipulate women, where young men believe their worth is only in relation to their ability to be with a woman, or where they are radicalized and pressed into dark causes to compensate.

To charities raising awareness of the hidden problem of child marriage for both girls and boys in a world where thirty seven countries have no real minimum age of marriage, including the USA, and where the rules can be exploited, not only for straight and cis people, but often to force young LGBTQI people into marriage.

I saw the worst extremes of both gender rights movements and questioned my own identity and beliefs.

And it’s a really important but…
I came out the other side with hope because of people I met along the way, working together despite their differences: activists for gender diversity and equality, for disability and anti- racism. I also came out with the comfort that things are, slowly, getting better. But it will take all of us working together to stop them from getting worse.

The realization I came to is that I am an unfinished feminist. And that’s how I want to be, always learning about the power I have, the systems I am a part of, and how I can work with those around me to strive for a better, more compassionate world.

I hope your journey of discovery is as powerful as mine.


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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

Ellie Hattie – Author 

When my publisher asked me to write a book about what I love about Christmas my first thought was “Where do I begin!!?” 

And really, it was as straightforward as that! I started to list every single thing about the festive season that makes me smile, the tinsel, the baubles, the food, the songs, the gifts and presents. The friends! The family! And that’s when it struck me. The thing that I LOVE most about Christmas is the LOVE that it’s wrapped in. 

I remembered being small and the building excitement as all the Christmas decorations and smells started to accumulate in the house. But the loveliest piece of the puzzle, the cherry on the cake, the star on top of the tree, was being wrapped in hugs, full of love, by my parents on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning!

I knew that the fabulous Tim Warnes was going to illustrate the story and I couldn’t wait to see the characters come to life. There’s nothing more exhilarating than watching an artist work their magic, and the Bear family did not disappoint! Little Bear is so exuberant – the character’s joy radiates from the page with every furry smile and outstretched paw! And the final spread – the final hug – makes my heart sing every time I look at it. It perfectly captures that moment from my childhood that I remember so vividly. Of many merry Christmases, sandwiched between my parents, wrapped in love. 


Tim Warnes – Illustrator
Here’s the thing about bears. Everyone loves them – and so they are in big demand from publishers (which is why there are so many bear books out there!).
So, yes – I’ve created many bear characters over the last 25 plus years. Which always leaves me wondering: How can I make these bears look a little different?!
I had recently read an article by the mother of an overweight child asking, Where are the positive, fat characters in picture books? So I decided to make the little bear pretty chubby. And Daddy Bear? He received the big, heavy-eyebrows treatment!
One idea that pleases me was beginning the story with little bear ice skating. I was racking my brain trying to think of an angle I’d not used before – and this was it! It’s a good demonstration of the illustrator’s role – to not only illustrate the text but also bring another layer to a story. This particular scene conveys a sense of movement and joy — an appropriate way to introduce the bubbly Little Bear!
The penultimate illustration, though, is my favourite! I always looked forward to bedtime stories when I was a kid. And when I became a dad, it was still the time of day I looked forward to the most. Storytime, for me, is a snuggly, intimate time to pause and spend some precious quiet quality time together.
I hope I Love You More Than Christmas! will bring your family such treasured moments, too.