A York writer and musician has struck gold with his first book for children.
Thom Craigen wrote Ballistic Kids – a rhyming rock’n’roll story about the magic of making music together.
And almost a year to the day since it was published, the book was named as the Gold Medal winner in the 6–8-year-olds category of The Wishing Shelf Book Awards.
Thom, a father of two and former bass player in York band Colour Of Fire, was awarded the Gold Medal in the 6–8-year-olds category of The Wishing Shelf Awards, an annual competition open to independent authors.
Entries are judged by children at primary schools around the UK.
Thom published Ballistic Kids last April, but the national lockdown meant that his plans for promoting its release all had to be put on hold.
He said “Writing and publishing the book took a lot of effort and was the culmination of several years’ work, so it was really difficult to accept that I couldn’t visit schools or attend book fairs and music festivals to share it with people.
“I entered the awards pretty much as soon as the book came out, but then so much happened due to Covid that I didn’t think about it for a long time.
“I was made redundant from my day job in 2020 and was pretty busy supporting my children with home-schooling during lockdown.”
When he got the email to say he’d won the gold medal, “it was a huge surprise!
“It has come at exactly the right time – along with the recent sunny weather, the careful easing of COVID restrictions and increasing opportunities to share Ballistic Kids out in the real world again – it all feels extremely positive and exciting – like anything is possible.”
Thom wrote Ballistic Kids to highlight the social and personal benefits of playing music, to introduce young children to rock music and inspire them to give it a go.
His rhyming verse is brought to life by the vibrant illustrations of Matt Riste, with a raucous soundtrack of songs to accompany the story, provided by Scott Lee Andrews.
During lockdown, he created free activity sheets and videos to accompany songs from the book’s soundtrack, sharing them with parents and music-lovers on Facebook groups – and the orders started to come in.
Among the positive reviews on Amazon is one declaring “This book ROCKS!” and another even stating that Ballistic Kids “competes with Julia Donaldson on every level”.
Copies of Ballistic Kids are available at www.ballistickids.com priced at £9.99 plus P&P. Readers can get a discount code for 15% off the cover price by joining the mailing list on the website.