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- author Jackie French

Thursday 12 October 2017

Review: Such Stuff: A Story-Maker's Inspiration

Where do your ideas come from? It's one of those questions authors often get asked.

In Such Stuff: A Story-Maker's Inspiration, we learn all about where Michael Morpurgo's ideas come from.

Michael is a much lauded author who was the British Children's Laureate from 2003 until 2005.

He is a husband, father, grandfather, former soldier, and teacher. Michael and his wife Clare are also the founders of the charity Farms for City Children, which has hosted almost 100,000 children.

Whether or not you recognise Michael Morpurgo's name, you are bound to know at least some of his work.

Michael is perhaps most famous for creating War Horse, and that is one of the twenty books he discusses in detail in Such Stuff.

In the introduction, Michael himself echoes William Shakespeare in saying that it is 'such stuff as dreams are made on,' and so he reveals 'the memories, stories and history, the people and the places, that weave themselves, dream themselves into many of [his] stories.'

One of the books Michael shares the story of, Alone on a Wide Wide Sea, had its seed of inspiration in a book tour of Australia, when he first learnt of the forced migration of young British children. This ultimately resulted in a story whose title comes from a line in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Michael's story is about a young boy who arrived in Australia in 1947, and that of his daughter returning to Britain many years later to trace her father's family roots. Reading about this story has piqued my interest, and I've added it to my long list of books to read.

Each of the twenty books included are accompanied by related illustrations and photographs, and an excerpt from the story, so even if you haven't read the original, you can whet your appetite for more.

Such Stuff: A Story-Maker's Inspiration is definitely inspirational and heartily recommended. Whether you are a writer, or a reader, you will find something to motivate you to start your own story, to read one of Michael Morpurgo's books, or to explore a subject or experience discovered in reading about Michael's journey as an author.

Title: Such Stuff: A Story-Maker's Inspiration
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator: Michael Foreman
Publisher: Walker Books, $27.99
Publication Date: October 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781406364576
For ages: 11+
Type: Non-fiction