I want to tell you a story. It's a true story and it begins in 2010, the year the first Stunt Bunny book was published. I was in a Waterstones doing a book signing and I was approached by a young girl and her family. The girl picked up a copy of Showbiz Sensation and started to read. I chatted to her parents while she studied the cover and, when she'd finished reading, her mum nudged her. "Tell her what you want to be when you grow up."
I smiled, expecting the girl to say she wanted to be a writer. But she surprised me. "I want to be a rabbit," she said.
We chatted for a bit about how she might achieve that (eating lots of carrots, working on her hopping, growing her ears long) and then her dad took her off to look around the shop while her sister and mum secretly got me to dedicate a book to her. "It's her birthday soon," her mum said.
They went away with the book. Time went by and I got an email from Rabbit Girl's mum. Stunt Bunny had been a ginormous hit and had become the first book the girl had read independently. A little while later, I got another email: she'd gone up a reading level at school. Around Christmas, I received a Stunt Bunny cover design and heard she was writing a book to go with it. And then, in July 2011, I got another message: Rabbit Girl got her Key Stage 1 SATs results and her reading score had gone up one whole level in a year.
I can't tell you how proud I was, both for the small part Stunt Bunny and I had played in Rabbit Girl's achievement and for her own huge triumph. But mostly, I was over the moon that she had become a reader.
I swapped occassional tweets with Rabbit Girl's mum over the following four years, finding out what she was reading now and how the family were doing. A few weeks ago, I got a message from Rabbit Girl that made my heart sing. She'd taken her Key Stage 2 tests and she'd been given a Level 5a in Reading.