Louise Bladen Shares Her Writing Journey

October 22nd, 2020

In my early 30s I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I had a term off from my teaching (classroom music) job to have the operation and re-think my life.  I spent quite a bit of time in book shops, looking for ‘answers’ to having cancer, and one day came across Pamela Allen’s Bertie and the Bear (1976).  It made me laugh so much and I adored the pace and rhythm of the words and the synthesis of text and picture, especially the unsaid parts of the story communicated by the drawings alone. I started exploring other children’s picture books and fell in love with the medium. When I say "fell in love”, I mean, all over again as an adult.  I adored books as a child.

Babette Cole’s Doctor Dog and all her books were also a great inspiration. I just wanted to be able to write (and draw) for children in that way.  It looked so easy after all!  Of course, once I sat down and tried to write something, I understood just how difficult it was.

Meditation was part of the post cancer healing process I went through. I had been on a ten day meditation retreat, meditating 8 hours a day, and I felt so relaxed, calm and clear at the end of it. I thought maybe I could translate some of my experience into a picture book so that children could understand the process.  Maybe to plant a small seed in their minds for later on in their adult lives.  

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Tags: anxiety, author, children, mental health

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