Lucinda Jacob is a poet, illustrator and author of fiction for young people. She has written and illustrated a number of picture books and storybooks for new readers, scripts for the national broadcaster RTÉ and poetry for older children, published in numerous collections.
Lucinda features in the Dublin Book Festival 2017 Programme this year alongside illustrator Lauren O’Neill for their children’s event Hopscotch in the Sky.
Q. Lucinda, we are very excited to see that your new book of poetry Hopscotch in the Sky is just out and in the shops now. What can you tell us about it?
In Hopscotch in the Sky (Little Island Books/Poetry Ireland) you will find ice-creams and Christmas trees, flying grannies and ghoulish lunch-boxes, haiku and rhyming verse. It’s a collection of poems which takes you on a journey through the seasons of the year – all beautifully illustrated by Lauren O’Neill.
Q. Throughout your many children’s books you have introduced us to a lot of colourful characters. Out of all of them, who was the most fun to write?
You are right, there are a lot of different characters in my books and poems! Most of them are loosely based on my family, pets, or people I’ve met but I think the one, or rather ones which were the most fun to write were the mermaids that I imagined in coming into our local library in The Library Beside the Sea. I had a lot of fun wondering what it would be like if it really happened. For example, as they had come out of the sea would they still be wet? Would they slip out of their fishy tails and hide them somewhere before coming into the building? I had great fun with the flying grannies in Marine Road on a Windy Day too. Both those poems are in Hopscotch in the Sky.
Q. If you had to give one piece of advice to a young poet starting out, what would it be?
Read, read, read! Find poems that you like and read them over and over again. Ask yourself what you like about them and have a go at writing like that yourself. Remember that ideas for poems are all around us and writing a poem is a great way of focussing on what you love, what you hate, what is worrying you or what makes you happy. There is no wrong way to write a poem but the more writing you do the better it will be.
Ooops! That is more than one piece of advice isn’t it? If you would like even more ideas on writing poetry there is a free ebook available here: http://littleisland.ie/books/hopscotch-poetry-kit/
Q. Lastly, what is a favourite book from your childhood that you would recommend to all of our budding bookworms out there?
My favourite book of poems when I was a child was Secret Laughter by Walter de la Mare, but it is quite dated now so the book I would recommend is The Hat by Carol Ann Duffy. It’s fab!