• Amy Godfrey

Sonshine Tales: The Adventure Begins

Here is Lion, Hedgehog and Frog.

They may end up being named differently but at the moment Eldest Sonshine who created these characters has stuck with their animal names.

I'm writing this blog as an introduction to our wider community of fans and customers - following my email to my mailing list subscribers - to inform you all of one of my latest ventures for Sonshine Art.

I'm writing a children's book!

I've had an urge to write for most of my life since my teens but I never knew what on earth I would write. I had no stories floating around in my head. No great ideas for a non-fiction book. I wrote a few poems in my teens and early twenties but I left it at that. I've had a few friends and family members tell me I write well and that I should think about writing a non-fiction book about parenting Autistic, learning disabled children but that idea just never got me excited. I'd come to the conclusion that if I didn't have any ideas by now that I probably never would.

Until now. Now I have a fire in my belly. Now I am inspired; and I was inspired - unsurprisingly now I think on it - by my amazing Sonshines. My Natural Wonders.

I saw these 3 characters and my heart bounced in my chest with excitement. Max painted them made using his favourite painting tool of the last year or so; the mini palette knife and I absolutely love them. He painted them one after the other one soggy afternoon last month, starting with the Hedgehog, then the Frog and ending with Lion. I love them all so much but when he did this lion I squealed with glee. I could imagine stories for him right away. And soon I could imagine stories for all 3 of them. I got to scribbling a little rough image of these 3 characters together and wrote the first notes of ideas for each of them. I scrawled this in a couple of minutes before I had to head out the door so it's super rough and you may not be able to read it so I'll transcribe!

The idea is that the Sun and Moon will be narrators. They are the guides for the stories and they talk to the characters and help them with their problems by telling them little tales including the other characters designed by the boys since these 3 - I'll be introducing a few more of them this month (July 2021) to my mailing list subscribers. These 3 main characters are all neurodiverse and have personality traits, interests and challenges that will be relatable to neurodiverse children and their families but also to neurotypical children. I've written pages and pages about these characters but to give you a little flavour: - Lion likes routine and being in charge and doesn't like surprises. He gives amazing hugs and loves to squeeze and be squeezed. He roars, stamps and swishes his tail when he's cross or stressed. - Frog is hyperactive and a poor sleeper. She is a chatterbox and repeats things a lot. She finds being still really hard. She loves tactile sensations and gets absorbed in the feel of things. - Hedgehog is pre-verbal and will communicate through his actions, drawing marks on the ground and to the readers via a thought bubble. Moon can also translate for him at night. He loves sleep and can struggle to get motivated. He loves visually stimulating things.

I believe it is incredibly important to have characters with different abilities and neurodiversity represented in the books we read our children and they read for themselves - it encourages inclusivity and respect, invites curiosity and conversation around disabilities and differences and allows all children to feel seen and accepted.

Below we have the first 3 landscapes designed by Max - Eldest Sonshine - that I am thinking will also be brilliant for the book.

The first one featuring the magnificent gold sun is called 'Sun Is Brighter' which took me by such surprise when he said it as I'd no idea he knew the word 'brighter' let alone how to use it correctly in context! He's always surprising me!

Next is 'Ice Age' which is so appropriately named isn't it? It really looks cold! I love that he added a Moon and the amazing texture of it.

And finally a rich, hot landscape which he named 'Madagascar'. A habitat for Lion perhaps?

That's it for now. I hope you can tell how excited I am about this. I know writing a book is a big deal and will take a long time. I'm going to have to be patient - which is not my forte - but I know it's going to be worth it.

I would be so thrilled to have your input so if you have any ideas over the coming emails, my mailing list community are the only ones I am welcoming to join in to this writing process. I'll be explaining how you can get involved in the next Sonshine Tales email so do subscribe if you'd like to be kept in the loop about all this - there is a pale green button at the top of every page here on the website to sign up. For now just enjoy these fantastic images and cross your fingers for me, wish me luck, send me prayers and energy to keep me focussed and on track with this! I really have a deep feeling in my gut that this is important work.

Thank you so much for reading and if you like the look of these characters and landscapes and are interested to see more please do go and check out our shop where you can see all the images currently available as originals, fine art prints or art gifts.

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