To quote the late George Michael, you “gotta have Faith,” and as I delve deeper into the lives of the wonderful children’s authors who I am writing about for Big Boots, that certainly seems to be a running theme.
Firstly, I explored the life and works of Hesba Stretton, a Shropshire-born pioneer whose successful faith-based books resulted in the kind of fame we associate with rockstars today. She was a driving force behind the founding of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and many of her books were written for two audiences: children and those responsible for their care, specifically to encourage kindness.
I then moved onto C S Lewis, a convert to Anglicanism, whose Narnia books are designed to give children a better understanding of the Bible stories – I gave a set to my niece at her Christening when I became her Godmother.
J R R Tolkien, of Hobbit and Lord of the Rings fame, was partly responsible for inspiring faith in C S Lewis, and was a life-long and committed Roman Catholic.
Malcolm Saville, author of the Lone Pine Adventures and so much more besides, was also passionate about his faith and in wanting to encourage children to be good people.
I am currently researching Richard Adams, author of The Plague Dogs and Watership Down, another Christian who became involved in animal rights.
While I have a long way to go in my research for Big Boots, I’m fascinated at the emerging theme that writers of books that were famous or have lasted as classics have, so far, had one thing in common: faith.