Interview with Simon Higgins on Kids’ Book Review

There’s a great interview with Simon Higgins, author of Tomodachi: The Forest of the Night, at the fabulous Kids’ Book Review site. Simon gets asked ‘Twelve Curly Questions’ and replies with twelve interesting answers!

Here’s a little taster:

Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
The two most unusual jobs I have ever had were: 1. Being a roaring monster in a circus ghost train (had to wear a giant rubber head and hairy suit) and, 2. Being a camel handler, helping children to climb on the camel for rides and leading the animal, for the same circus. Many years later, I rode a camel into the Egyptian desert and my guide was surprised at how familiar I was with ‘camel nature’. So, I say, everything you experience is useful. Even weird stuff!

You can read the whole interview here.

Streets, roses and towns: unusual tributes to Jules Verne’s Mikhail Strogoff

michel strogoff roseToday we thought you might enjoy some titbits of intriguing Mikhail Strogoff trivia!

The influence of Jules Verne’s greatest novel isn’t just felt in literature and film, it is also referenced in several unexpected ways.

In France, the novel has left its mark on the landscape, with several streets, especially in Amiens and the Somme region, where Verne came from, named after our hero, such as Boulevard Michel Strogoff in Longueau and Rue Michel Strogoff in Cergy.

Charmingly, there’s also a beautiful red rose variety named after him, with this poetic tribute attached: ‘Who better than Jules Verne’s famous adventurer, broad-shouldered and barrel-chested, stoically enduring heat and cold and thirst, to incarnate the spirit of this rosebush with its exceptional qualities?’

But perhaps the most surprising tribute comes not from France, but from the US, where the small desert city of Marfa in Texas owes its unusual name to one of the great characters in the novel: Mikhail Strogoff’s tough, indomitable mother, Marfa.marfa sign