‘Me and Dad’ kids books have been handed out to children at Fieldays to encourage them to read.
Author Peter Hills had always wanted to write children’s books and one day just sat in front of the computer and started typing.
He sent his ideas to children’s author Nikki Slade-Robinson, who thought that Hills’ books should go to publication.
“She seemed to think I hit the nail on the head.”
Peter Hills bases his stories on people in his life. Photo: Ashleigh Muir
Many children’s books available in New Zealand are either set in the UK or US and Hills thought that Kiwi kids should have more locally based stories.
“Every kid knows what it’s like to go out and collect the eggs for mum. Little boys know what it’s like to go out duck shooting with dad. They’re books kids relate to because it’s about real things that kids do, not imaginary ghosts or dragons.”
Mums and dads were used in the book to give kids stories about their heroes and Hills said there is no better hero for a kid than their parents.
“Just ask a kid who’s best at something and you’ll get ‘it’s mum or its dad’.”
Wellington based illustrator Gary Gibson created the artwork for the books and was given free rein by Hills to decide on the style.
He used his own experiences of holidays at the farm to create the characters.
“I think they’re good [the books], the stories and subject matter, especially for boys who are learning to read. They are the quintessential stories of boys and girls on the farm,” said Gibson.
Hills uses people in his life to base the stories on and in Me and Mum Buy a Pony he has used his partner’s granddaughter for inspiration.
“She was reading it to her mother and what I did was I put her name in it. She was absolutely thrilled!”
So far Hills hasn’t been making any profit, but doesn’t think it is necessary.
“My biggest problem is I tend to give them [the books] away. If you can do something that puts a smile on someone’s face, do it. You don’t actually have to make money out of it.”