SALLY GARDNER ON HER INSPIRATION FOR THE TINDIMS
The Tindims was an idea that my daughter, Lydia, and I came up with. We had moved to Hastings about two years earlier and were very aware of all the rubbish washed up on the beach. The thing that struck me as ridiculous was quite how many plastic water bottles there were. What are we doing putting water into bottles that end up floating around in the sea? Fishes and baby turtles die in them.
We wanted to write about recycling and conservation for children but feel strongly that we mustn’t weight innocent children down. This is not their fault, it’s our problem and I don't want children to go to bed worried sick about the planet they live on. They have quite enough to worry about without me adding to the list.
Lydia and I wanted to find a way of empowering children to think about the planet, to encourage conservationists and budding eco-warriors with a good story and fabulous illustrations. We didn’t want to give them a moralist story. Some books hang guilt on the younger generation, but when children smell morals in books, they close off. What they need is to have a giggle while reading and perhaps by chance the longs legs (adults) might also think about the rubbish they throw away.
Hopefully The Tindims might also make grown-ups more aware of endless plastic bits and pieces that they buy for their children. Parents do have some agency to say “enough is enough.”
Lydia and I printed the Tindims in dyslexic font. What has been interesting is that lots of people have said they find the dyslexic font easier to read and gentler on the eye. I would like to see every book published for children this way and words given the space needed for a reluctant reader to take them in. When I write for small people, I make sure the words I use are the ones I can spell. Which, in all honesty, limits things quite nicely. My language might be simple, but I want the child to have an interesting story so I keep sentences short and keep the story moving.
I am very lucky to have an exceptionally talented daughter and maybe most mothers think their daughters are exceptionally talented but in this case, I will say no more for I think her work says it all for her. I am lucky to have a very good relationship with all my children and it was an absolute pleasure working on this project with Lydia. I feel immensely proud of what she has been able to achieve.