Quarto Kids | 14 September 2020Meet the Author: Colette Hiller Share article facebook twitter google pinterest Meet Colette Hiller, author of The B on Your Thumb: 60 Poems to Boost Reading and Spelling! Colette shares the origins of this one-of-a-kind book and how we can all boost our reading and spelling abilities. Where did the idea for The B on Your Thumb come from? I started writing The B years ago when my twins were three. The first rhyme I wrote was the first sound I taught them, and I didn’t, in fact, start with a. I reasoned that sh was a more distinctive and enjoyable sound to make, and so I wrote The Sh in Your Shoe! As my children grew I expanded these rhymes to include homophones and spellings, and then, with help from Quarto, the collection was expanded even more. How did you choose what would be included in the book? Anything interesting end up on the cutting room floor? The poems in The B all use rhyme and rhythm to explain something. My aim for each rhyme was to do this in a short, memorable way. Some rhymes explain unusual letter sounds, others explain spellings and homophones. One spelling rhyme did end up on the cutting room floor. The reason? Although the rhyme was sweet, there was an intrinsic problem: The rhyme taught the wrong spelling! (“Disappoint,” it seems, had two ps!). The truth is I’ve never been a good speller myself and could have benefited from learning these at a younger age! How do you envision parents and children using your book together? What do you hope kids will take away from your book? One rhyme a day and reading is play! I hope parents will do just one new rhyme at a time, for each rhyme teaches its own lesson. The book includes warm up activities for parents and children to do together before reading a rhyme. Take the poem for th: Let’s say TH went off one day, how would we xxink of what to say? Parent and child compile a list of words that start with th, writing each word on its own slip of paper: Think, three, thick, thin…Next comes the big chop! Ask your child to cut off the th from each word and to say the word without the th. Then it’s time to read the rhyme together. In this way they’ll get the maximum fun and learning of each rhyme. What do you do when you’re not writing? When I’m not writing I like to dance (salsa), sing (musicals), and do calligraphy. I live in a very ancient part of central London and all around me, embedded in the flagstones, are beautiful coal hole covers (this is how coal was delivered in the days before central heating). I’ve recently been doing brass rubbings of these and turning them into collages. What are you working on now? I am working on a rhyming picture book that I absolutely love but I can’t reveal the title! Click here to download Educator Resources for this title About the author: Colette Hiller is a writer, arts producer, and mother of twins. Her arts projects have reached hundreds of thousands of participants—she is the woman who put pianos and ping-pong tables in countless locations across the UK, and is also the mind behind the hit Talking Statues project. Her children’s rhymes have been featured on BBC Words and Pictures and her children’s LP, Applehead, has been a hit with kids across the world, selling over 50,000 copies. An advocate of early learning, Colette believes that even very young children are receptive to the joy of wordplay (she taught her own twins to read by the time they were three). B on Your Thumb $19.99 Buy in US / Canada Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.