Tauranga children’s book author, teacher and mother Nicole Miller wants to encourage us to put down our devices and not miss out on real life.
Nicole’s second book, Daisy McCray and the Wave of the Day, is published by Little Love, an imprint of Mary Egan Publishing, and focuses on the exciting adventure of Daisy McCray’s surfboard as it is swept away from its distracted owner.
Much like her first children’s picture book, Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea, Nicole’s latest story is another cleverly written tale with a timely message. The story encourages readers to keep their heads up away from their screens and not to miss out on experiencing real life passions and connections that bring them joy. Nicole’s personal voice sings through clearly and she has developed a recognisable style in rhyming verse, as well as the special ability to take serious topics and address them lightly.
Nicole says: “I loved writing in rhyming verse for Celia Seagull and did the same with Daisy McCray to address a global issue in a non-confrontational way that encourages deeper thought and discussion in children. This story is relevant to every person with a screen and is appropriate for kindergarten and primary school age children.
“I’m like every other parent whose attention can be divided between our screens and our children who are very aware we’re not paying them our full attention,” says Nicole whose own children are five and eight. “Talking with other teachers, we do see the impact of a lot of screen time with some children in terms of their language skills and attention spans. I want this story for four to ten year olds to provoke parents to think about the impact of looking at devices all the time. What are we missing out on? What are our kids missing out on?”
She decided to set the story at the beach because it’s a big part of her family’s life. “I wanted to represent women in ocean sports as it’s not something girls see a lot of. I wrote this manuscript during the second lockdown when our children were learning from home. I decided it would make a good play as a project for our children, so I wrote a character for each of them to act out. They filmed it on the deck with a blue sheet as a wave and it was hilarious!”
Nicole’s first book, Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea, was a finalist for the 2019 Storylines Joy Cowley Award and received support from the Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation for its publication. This funding also allowed the distribution of 1500 copies to schools and public libraries around New Zealand. The publication of Daisy McCray and the Wave of the Day has also received support from the Foundation.