Simon Chapman is a self-confessed jungle addict, making expeditions to rainforests whenever he can. His break into publishing came after being bitten by a small crocodile in Bolivia; the story making it into onto the radio and a couple of magazines, and becoming the prologue to his first book, 'The Monster of the Madidi'.Since then, Simon has written numerous children's books (several on how to survive in various wildernesses and hazardous situations) and a second travel book 'The Land of the Celestial Jaguar' which recounts a near-disastrous trip that he made to the Amazon in 2008.
Exploring jungles and writing books is what he does when he's not doing his regular job as a Science teacher at Morecambe Community High School in Lancashire.
Q&A with Simon Chapman
What inspired you to write for reluctant readers?
I'm keen on getting my own school pupils to read.
What challenges do struggling readers face when they open a book?
Big chunks of close-packed text can be daunting, especially if there's no sign e.g. pictures that the words might be interesting.
What is your favourite type of character to create?
I most often write books about explorers.
What features and methods do you use to ensure that your books have that High Interest appeal that really engages young readers?
(Hopefully) exciting stories. Most of what I have written is about real people in amazing or dangerous situations.
What difference do books like these make to children who are in need of literacy support?
Mainly I think it helps them get interested in situations outside their normal lives. As a teacher I see increased reading/motivation impacting on how well they do in lessons.
Can you give us any teasers of what to expect in your WOW! Facts book?
Depends which book.. practical advice on how to explore jungles and information on how to shoot down zeppelins.
What are the major themes of your work?
Exploration and how to survive.
What controls do you place on the vocabulary you use and how important is this?
I try to keep it as the sort of language I might use when teaching Year 7 or 8 pupils, or explain the words if they are more complex.
What is your favourite children's book?
The Hobbit.. but also pretty keen on all Joe Delaney's Spooks books.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers/authors?
Jot down ideas as you have them and collect interesting stories that you hear or read about.
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