Melissa has been writing for almost twenty years: as a journalist, a short story author, working on her YA novels and, of course, picture books.
Born in the UK, Melissa has spent the past 13 years living in Kenya and Tanzania, East Africa, where she was an English teacher and now writes her stories. She is mum to a fabulous big boy and an incredible little girl and believes that life should be an adventure – from heading out on a wild safari to the ones we have in our heads.
Melissa loves tea and cake and photography, but she really can’t draw so thank goodness she met the lovely Lauren (who definitely can!). Lauren was born in Alabama, so they might never have met if they hadn’t become neighbours in Dar es Salaam. Melissa has lived in several different countries. This has taught her that friendships can cross all sorts of boundaries and that the world is not so very big after all – just like Hippo – and not so very scary after all either – just like Sam.
The past twenty years of story immersion have resulted in Melissa working to champion reading for children – not only because stories are magical and reading is the best gift you can give a child, but also because of the science that goes along with it, revealing that it helps you build great relationships with children; creates more empathic adults; and encourages more secure individuals. These are just some of the amazing side effects of enjoying a good picture book with your little one. With this at the forefront, Melissa has toured many schools and several countries talking to children from 3 – 18, as well as to parents and teachers, about her stories and about reading in general. It is anticipated that this project will continue in many exciting ways in the New Year!
In addition to her two picture books ‘Hide & Seek Hippo’ and ‘Sam & Shadow Brave the Night’, Melissa has two of her short stories published in compilations available for purchase:
– ‘Life Lottery’ is featured in this year’s ‘Paw’s For Thought’ anthology – all proceeds go to the RSPCA http://ryecorn.orgfree.com
– and the ‘Best of Cafe Lit collection 2012’ features ‘Diamond, Mine’
She is also working on a YA novel, the opening for which led to her being listed for ‘Undiscovered Voices’.