Author Emma Larkin on the touching inspiration behind her book Izzy's Magical Football Adventure
Author Emma Larkin has opened up about the touching inspiration behind her children's novel, Izzy's Magical Football Adventure.
The book follows seven-year-old Izzy, who lives in Ireland and loves all sport - especially Gaelic Football
Izzy plays football with her brothers on a regular basis in their back garden, and she dreams of one day playing for her county in the All Ireland Ladies Football Final in Croke Park.
One day, she puts on her great-grandmother's bracelet, which is made of old All Ireland medals that her great grandmother won a long time ago.
Then something unexpected and magical happens, which may make Izzy’s Croke Park dream a reality sooner than she expected.
And Emma told Her that she was inspired to come up with the book after feeling the want to write something in memory of her grandmother.
"I'm 40 now but I always loved writing in school - even in college. After that, I was busy with family life and all that stuff but in the past year or two, the urge to write came back again," she told us, recalling how she came up with the idea for Izzy's adventures.
"I got it in my head that I wanted to write something about my grandmother because she played camogie for Cork in the 1930s and '40s."
At the same time, she explained, she had been looking for books for her seven-year-old daughter who had started to read independently.
"I started looking for something about football, because she loves football, and realised there was nothing really out there with a girl character playing football," Emma told us. "I wondered if I could put my two ideas together and write something in memory of my grandmother, and a girl playing sport."
She managed to incorporate a massive nod to her grandmother in the central part of the story, too.
"In the book, there's a magic bracelet made of the great grandmother's medals," the author explained. "My grandmother had an actual bracelet made out of her medals; so that's where that idea came from."
She added that the support for the book has been "absolutely amazing" so far.
"I've spoken with the CEO of the ladies football organisation, she loved the idea and they've been really supportive. They put an ad in the programme on All Ireland Ladies final day, and the 20x20 campaign have been supportive, too," she said.
"Lots of kids are saying they're enjoying it, too. One of the first mums that bought it, she said that her daughter would never read going to bed at night.
But she said that when [her daughter] got my book, she nearly had to take it away from her to get her to go to sleep, because it's about football and she loves football.
And Izzy's magical adventures won't be stopping with football, as Emma told Her how she plans in the works for a book about her playing camogie - and that there's potential for a series.
"Definitely. I have a second story about her playing camogie, which is in progress," she added. "That's definitely going to happen, hopefully next year."