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Book Launch Speech

Book Launch Speech – 100 Things to Learn before you’re 10 – 27th April 2017

100 things to learn before you're 10

Although my name is on the front of this book, it is really a team effort and most of the members of that team are about ‘this tall’ and asleep in bed, right now and if they’re not, they should be!’

The contents of this book is not something I dreamt up. The names in the front are all children I have taught. Some will probably never know their name is here.

Others are thrilled to bits, like the little boy who searched for his name at the weekend, read the dedication that says ‘This book is dedicated to the children of this world, especially those who have inspired and motivated this work’ and tremulously asked, ‘have I inspired you?’ to which of course, I replied ‘yes, you have’. I don’t know if you have ever told your children the powerful, positive effect they have had on you or the fact that they have changed your life completely and forever. Children are always stunned when they hear that they have that effect. They see themselves as ‘in waiting’ and long to be able ‘to do’.

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This book is something special. It is influenced by the children and draws on the experience I’ve had working with them in schools as a teacher and more recently as a teacher/mentor privately in their homes.
It’s true, I have been teaching for 42 years. Hearing that, surprises even me. Anyone who even thinks it looks like it will be asked to leave.

The good thing about doing something for such a long time is that you can monitor trends and you can find out what works and what doesn’t work and get some insight into what is really going on. If not, you really should think about a change of career.

The not so good thing about teaching for 42 years is understood the moment a young child tells you that your wrinkles really suit you!

The idea for the Hundred Things to learn came about when I realised that actually, there is a huge amount that children need to learn and understand that there isn’t time to teach them in school and it’s never been part of the curriculum. This book identifies these areas and is about ‘how to be’ rather than ‘how to do’.

I remember working with an 8 year old boy who was preparing for entrance exams. He is the oldest boy in his young family and was rather baffled by his parents behaviour as they attempted to hide their anxiety about the forthcoming tests. They went out together leaving him and his brothers with a relative, so that they ‘did not worry him’. As I sat with this very thoughtful little boy, I asked him if he was ok and he very quietly asked, ‘do ALL parents behave like mine?’ and I had to inform him that quite often, yes, they do, but the reason was not him. I went on to explain that this was the first time in their lives that his parents had had to choose a school for their child and that because they love him so very much, they were desperate to get it right and it was causing this ‘unusual’ behaviour. ;Ohhhhh’, he said, ‘ohhhhhh!’ and I watched as the stress left his face. In that ‘ohhhhhh’ you can imagine that little life, with its limited reference and experience, desperately trying to figure out what on earth was going on – and then trying to figure out how to behave. I assured him that all he needed to do was give them each a little cuddle at bedtime and tell them it would all be alright. He was much relieved – and so were they when they were updated.

100 Things to Learn provides insights into the way children think and behave to help parents keep communication flowing. This is a complex world set with challenges and, let’s be honest, it’s one where we can all do with a little bit of help from time to time.

If you are a parent, at the very least, you are almost certain to find reassurance or confirmation from this book. I have no doubt at all it will be of interest. If you are an aunt, uncle, grandparent, godparent, nanny or even if you just pass children in the street, you are likely to find a clearer understanding of why they behave the way they do and how you can support and help them more effectively.

Thank you, Tanya and the Goodman family, for your friendship, for all your help with the launch and support throughout the years but specifically, throughout the process of writing this book. I think,
Tanya, you have read it almost as many times as me!

In my eyes, it is a triumph for children whether anyone buys it or not, but of course I hope they buy it!
Thank you also, Morgana and Carl, who battled with the formatting, the production and the manifestion of this book, which has not been without its own set of challenges. At least we had them here for tonight! Enough said!

Thank you, Laurel Alper for providing such tremendous networking opportunities, promoting the book and the launch and ‘getting the word out there’ and I know, this is just the beginning…

Thank you to Sarah Stiffin who has been ‘there’ at all the right moments sharing her expertise as a Virtual Assistant and doing a cracking job – as a mother testing the material and as a VA formatting the book and organising the event.

Thank you also, Neil Simpson, for the beautiful animations and cover design. You once said you could get me noticed – well, not if I get you noticed first!

Finally, thank you to my husband for ‘clearing the path’ and all that that entailed so that I could just focus on the job – and for getting me here on time tonight after they towed my car away at 7 am!
Monica Black – Stress Management Specialist – and I will be holding a workshop for parents called ‘How to Get it Right with your Child’, in June. It will focus on communication. If you would like to know more, please speak to Monica and give her your details.

Thank you very much, everyone, for coming tonight. Please buy the books normally £14.95 they’re at the special launch price of just £10 tonight, drink the wine, eat the crisps and be gone by 8.45!! Thank you – and good luck; give my love to the children.

Gail Hugman


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