In the town of Narni, Italy, lives the author, Maria Giulia Cotini, who this summer was directing I Ragazzi Pon Pon (The Cheerleaders) in their performance of her play Giullarino Mingherlino (The Skinny Jester).
This was part of the children’s holiday activities, where they got together to learn more about their town’s history and link it with places around the world.
Maria Giulia is also the author of the book, Shotaro – the child who wanted to become a Samurai.
Just like Little Knoll Press author, Anthony Ridgway, Maria Giulia has been disabled from birth, but for both of them this has been no bar to imagination and achievement.
Shotaro is written in Italian and is available as a hardback book (ISBN: 9788804674610) and e-book.
Here is a translation of the blurb:
‘Shotaro is intelligent and stubborn, and he refuses to accept that his greatest dream (to become a Samurai like his father) is unattainable. Shotaro is disabled from birth and his father decided he would become a monk.
The rōnin, Kenya, arrives at the monastery and declares he is willing to train even him.
But when the terrible Daimyō destroy Shotaro’s home village and his father disappears, Shotaro’s life is turned upside down and everything seems lost.
In ancient Japan, a country marred by war and corruption, Shotaro is able to demonstrate, with courage and determination, that you don’t need a perfect body to make a man into a warrior.’
And here is some more about Maria Giulia:
Maria Giulia Cotini was born in 1980; disabled from birth, she does not walk and has problems with her hands, sight and hearing.
Maria Giulia has been in love with the martial arts since a child, and at the age of ten she was the first child with a disability to practice karate in the gym with the able-bodied.
Working on her knees, she adapted the techniques up to competition standards, which was previously considered impossible.
Always passionate about myths and legends, Maria Giulia graduated with honours in History of Religions.
Sweetwings saves the Fleet
This little gunboat spotted on a recent visit to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard reminded me of a story in Maldwin Drummond’s children’s book
The Strange History of Seagulls
Now Maldwin knew his boats (he was a sailor all his life and was involved in the raising of the Mary Rose, as well as a supporter of the Museum of the Royal Navy), and I thought the boat in my photo looked like the MTB (Motor Torpedo Boat) in his illustration where ‘Sweetwings’, the seagull, gives the electrician early warning of a floating minefield.
However, on comparing my photo with Maldwin’s boat, the tell-tale funnel on the boat in Portsmouth led me to believe it is not an MTB, but an SGB (Steam Gun Boat) also used in WW2.
On page 25 of The Strange History of Seagulls we find out how Sweetwings saved the fleet.
It was lucky that he was so observant!
The Strange History of Seagulls is a fun way to learn about the history of the Solent and Waterside area. It is illustrated throughout with Maldwin Drummond’s unique watercolours.
(The links below are to two other books by Maldwin Drummond. The Riddle was released around the same time as The Strange History of Seagulls and After You, Mr Lear: In the wake of Edward Lear in Italy is packed with Maldwin’s quiet humour. )
A wonderful and well-deserved surprise for
author, Anthony Ridgway,
Barbara Large Memorial Prize
at the Hampshire Writers’ Society evening, June 2019.
To see Anthony receive news of the award, watch the video by clicking on the photo below –
(HINT: The sound is much better on iphone – don’t know why, but if you want to hear what David Suchet says, then listen on your i device.)
Anthony Ridgway’s books
WIZZY the Animal Whisperer
WIZZY and the Seaside Adventure
both beautifully illustrated by artist Suzan Houching
delight readers, young and old(er)!
To find out more click on the pictures:
Anthony Ridgway’s latest story
and the Seaside Adventure
– pure adventure, Enid Blyton-style
– children on their own quest
– Wizzy, the talking wheelchair with attitude
– animal magic with Honey, the dog
– watercolour illustrations by Suzan Houching
What young readers from a Worcestershire school think …
I love the idea of Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure. It’s very creative. My favourite part was where the policemen were puffed out from climbing the cliff.
Other children will love this book and the adventures they have together. All of the characters have great personalities.
The cover is very clever and it shows you the setting of the story. Wizzy is a funny wheelchair with an attitude and your story’s hilarious. Dan is a clever boy, who’s adventurous. James is a kind, helpful and brave boy. Sophie is shy and can get nervous quite easily, and startled. Honey is a very loud, sweet and loving dog.
Keeping writing more stories.
My favourite character is Wizzy because he was really funny and cheeky.
I found it funny how the wheelchair Wizzy never understood any of the catch phrases.
I found Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure really funny and it’s my favourite book now.
This book is filled with funny and interesting things and I would recommend this book to any child.
I thought that Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure was full of humour.
I like how Wizzy doesn’t understand sayings and phrases.
My favourite part was where the dog peed on Wizzy’s wheel.
I like the part about the dog peeing on Wizzy’s wheel.
My favourite part of the story is when the dog sniffs Wizzy’s wheel, then wees on him.
I really love your book so much. I think it is very good and it makes me and my class laugh a lot.
ADVENTURE and CREATIVITY
I’m really impressed that you can create a book like that.
Wizzy, especially, was a very good detective in the book.
Pete is really bossy and it’s lucky those thieves didn’t get away. I can imagine the manor house and the pirate coming for me – gives me the chills!
Your story was wonderful. It made me want to have more adventures.
I really liked how you put in a wheelchair in to your story, called Wizzy.
Wizzy is my favourite character because he is like a robot but in wheelchair form. Honey is one of my favourite dogs. Dan is very funny because he really gets into it and can be very clever like Wizzy.
I loved how you made Wizzy so full of himself and how he always has to get everything right. I also liked how you put in more than one character and said not only what the children were doing but put in what Honey the dog was doing.
I liked how Wizzy is funny, Dan is very cheeky, Sophie is very cautious, James is very caring, Pete and Cindy are very mysterious and Honey the dog is very energetic.
In most books I feel like I’m about to fall asleep but with this book I felt very alive. My favourite character was Dan because he was very brave and wanted to get on with everything. I like how you put Dan into a wheelchair.
I really like how Wizzy thinks he’s better than Honey and is jealous of her.
My favourite character is Wizzy because he’s such a bighead.
I loved Wizzy and Sophie because Wizzy is such an amazing, cool wheelchair. I could not believe he could talk. He is also very smart, just like you. I also like the part when Sophie likes Wizzy, but then does not – it is like changing the weather.
USING TECHNOLOGY / SURPRISE
I loved the part where Wizzy made a hologram of a pirate and scared Cindy.
My favourite part was when Wizzy used the projector to pretend to be a pirate and scared Pete and Cindy away.
I wonder what it would be like to have a wheelchair like Wizzy – a friend to Dan and is always there for him.
I would like to have a talking chair like Wizzy.
The illustrations a very cool but my favourite drawing is the pirate.
Your next book could be about Wizzy feeling ill or about Pete and Cindy stealing her.
In your next book I think there should be another kid in a wheelchair.
Your next Wizzy and Dan could go to the zoo.
I think you’re ready to be the greatest author in history.
TO BUY THE BOOK click Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure
The Tall Ships sail training vessel, Challenger 7, graced this year’s Southampton Boat Show with her presence, reminding me of Maldwin Drummond OBE, who is unfortunately not with us any more.
Maldwin was a keen and experienced sailor and a lifelong supporter of Sail Training, instrumental in building the STA schooners and Britain’s gift to Australia, STS Young Endeavour.
Little Knoll Press published Maldwin’s delightful children’s book, The Strange History of Seagulls, in November 2016. The book tells the history of the Waterside and Solent area – or rather George the seagull and his relations tell the story!
This beautiful, quirky book is fully illustrated by Maldwin. It starts with the Vikings arriving at Ashlett creek and traces the Waterside coastline’s story right through to the development of foil sailing on today’s racing boats.
More about the book – The Strange History of Seagulls
On 14th July 2018, a huge crowd gathered at The Point, Eastleigh, for the launch of Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure by author, Anthony Ridgway, and artist, Suzan Houching.
Among those attending were Sheila and David Suchet, Ros Holness and Tina Fanshawe.
Anthony gave a speech full of humour, praising his mother, Grethe, as his ‘harshest critic’, and thanking Barbara Large for helping him hone his writing skills.
David and Sheila Suchet read a section from Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure, and Wizzy the wheelchair, of course got a look in, making a phone call half way through the reading!
Tina Fanshawe’s horse, Nellie, was the inspiration for the plot in Anthony’s first book, Wizzy the Animal Whisperer. In Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure, Honey, the dog, shows the same empathy, helping the children bring to justice some rascally thieves.
Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure – book launch photos
More than 90 people attended the launch of 'Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure' on July 14th 2018, at The Point, Eastleigh.
Anthony announces his new book 'Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure'. From left to right - Sheila and David Suchet, Ros Holness, Jane Ridgway, Anthony Ridgway, Grethe Ridgway, Suzan Houching.
Children love the Wizzy books. They can be read again and again and enjoyed for the adventure story, the fabulous illustrations and the funny moments created by Wizzy the hi-tech wheelchair not understanding the idiom of human speech.
Tina Fanshawe, the owner of Nellie the horse who took Anthony for a ride when on holiday and inspired his first book, 'Wizzy the Animal Whisperer', posing with Anthony and Grethe Ridgway.
Suzan Houching shows her portfolio of original watercolour paintings for 'Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure'.
The beautifully illustrated large format Wizzy books can be read again and again and enjoyed at many levels – for the adventure story, for the fabulous pictures, to read out loud or to read in your head … although it’s hard not to laugh out loud at the funny moments created by Wizzy the hi-tech wheelchair, who takes everything literally and cannot understand the idiom of human speech.
Click here to buy Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure ISBN: 9780993507878
Click here to find out how Anthony writes.
If you are from a school or retail outlet and would like to know more, please contact Jenny on firstname.lastname@example.org
A NEW WIZZY STORY IS ON ITS WAY!
Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure
Last chance to come
to the BOOK LAUNCH of this super new book
Saturday 14th July 2018, 10.30am – 12.30pm, The Point, Eastleigh.
RSVP to Jenny@LittleKnollPress.co.uk
< launch invitation
more about the book >
You can also watch a video showing Anthony Ridgway and Suzan Houching at work:
To buy the book