short story competition - win pounds 2,000

Ian Beck, the children's author and illustrator, and his son Laurence, aged 12, discuss books with Jenny Gilbert

Ian I'd love to be able to say that my two boys are massive readers, that they get the same pleasure from books as I got. But I can't. There comes an age when boys don't read. It's a universal problem. Children's publishers are always trying to tackle it. Publishing itself is mainly run by women and most children's authors are women, which makes the problem harder to treat. It's a question of exciting boys enough to want to read, and competing with computer games and football. Reading is seen to be uncool, and peer-group pressure is strong.

Scholastic's Point Horror books are reviled by some, but they're a serious attempt to keep children reading, and boys seem to like them. I've tried all sorts of other tactics. Just recently it's been introducing adult books. I read them Jurassic Park after seeing the film, and now we're on the sequel. They recognise that there's a lot in the book that's not in the film. It's more complex, more interesting. But of course there are no special effects or big noises, you have to make those in your head.

Reading magazines is also a way in. I buy Premiere magazine and we read film reviews and talk about why some narratives work and some don't. I want him to be critical, not just receptive. And I've read him factual books about things that interest him, like animation. I even read his games mags with him. It's smuggling in reading under the guise of getting information.

When my boys were youngers they enjoyed CS Lewis and Tolkein, but getting them to read anything now that has a sense of wonder and enchantment, that's difficult. I suspect that cinema creates a huge expectation of noise and excitement. And they don't see reading as having that power, though I believe it does. Of course, if you had an 18 certificate on books like you have on films, they'd be fighting to read them.

Laurence I'm reading this book called Projections 5. I'm really interested in Nick Park and animation films. It has an interview which shows Nick Park storyboarding his film The Wrong Trousers. I've done some of my own storyboards, at home in my room. And at the moment I'm trying to do an animation of The Teddy Robber, one of my dad's books. It's what I want to do when I'm older.

The only fiction books I like are Jurassic Park and Point Horror. They're exciting and gory... they're fun to read. And some are quick to read as well, like Nightmare Hall, and The Witness. Jurassic Park used a lot of scientific words, but my dad helped me to understand some of the words. It's all about DNA extracts and stuff like that.

I used to like reading Greek myths at school. They're weird. There's a film from 1963 I really like called Jason and the Argonauts, and it's got some animation in it of these skeletons having a fight. In Projections 5 there's an interview with the man who did it.

I have made some of my storyboards move. I made up a story about a dragon called Kipper, a nice, friendly dragon who liked shoes. His shoes got really scuffed up, and he found a gold piece in his porridge so he could buy some new ones. I made the models in Plasticine and filmed it with a video camera. But the movement's really jumpy because I needed more moves per frame

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jay Z has placed a bet on streaming being the future for music and videos
music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury
music
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own