Stef Gemmill is an Australian children’s author who writes imaginative stories with social themes. She wrote A Home For Luna, a story of a homeless cat finding family in an unusual place illustrated by Mel Armstrong released 2019. More recently, Stef and illustrator, Tanja Stephani, created stunning picture book In My Dreams, an imaginative tale of a child’s dreams to wondrous places as he sleeps at night.
I wrote In My Dreams to capture those imaginary places from my own dreams I remember from my childhood. I often disappeared inside my imagination and had wild vivid dreams that I remember clearly, even now. I loved to create worlds around me where trees could talk – their voices whispered to me in the wind and the birds in their branches called down to me. Sometimes I imagined I flew with elves and fairies riding on the backs of winged dogs. I was a huge fan of fantasy books and buried my nose inside them whenever I could. When I played with my friends, they would look to me to build a make-believe world around us and give each of them characters to play. We’d run from sorcerers and save the animals and forests from evil spells.
On reflection, it was a time for us as children to escape from the pressures of the world around us. A time to escape from stiff wooden classroom chairs, from chores at home and from parents with real world problems. Our dreams and imaginary worlds were our special places where there were more important things for us to do as children.
And here we are now with the global problem of a pandemic. Our structure and society rules are changing. Schools and shops closed. The way we operate day-to-day has changed and will remain so for some time. Parents sent home from work. Businesses closing their doors for an unknown period of time. In many homes, the number one conversation is about how to live our lives under this new structure. And for how long. But it will end. And we will all get through this.
Now it’s more important than ever to encourage creative play and let our children tap into their imaginations. It helps them understand the world in which they live and their relation to it. Creative play helps them learn to solve problems, create new possibilities and even change the world. Now is the time for reading, dress ups, drawing on paper, writing poems and letting your child disappear into their imagination. It will reduce their stress and worries. And one of the most important ways to keep calm in these times is writing, reading and listening to stories. It is a type of mindfulness for children, encouraging them to live in the moment. In My Dreams is out now in all good bookstores and published by New Frontier Publishing.
In My Dreams Review
It is such an honour to be part of the blog tour for such a vibrant book filled with dreams to inspire, delight and tickle the fancies of children around the world.
When my daughter was younger, part of her bedtime routine was to ask the same question every night, “What can I dream about tonight?”. How I wish I had this book to share with her. I always wanted her to have fanciful, imaginative dreams but I could never put into words what they could look like. Every page from this book could have become a night’s dream, stretching the love of this book out over many nights.
In My Dreams provides so many imaginative ideas for dreams, from “marshmallow clouds” to riding a “faithful dragon to faraway places”. To scaring shadows away and ensuring they have no power over the dreamer.
Perhaps my favourite page is hunting for treasure and collecting kisses and kindness from the Island of love. For most children, dreaming comes when they feel safe and secure in the knowledge that they are loved and love in return.
Though she is now older and no longer asks the question, this book will become something I read to her at night to ensure she feels my love as well as my hopes and dreams for a safe, secure and imaginative nights sleep.
This is sure to become a favourite bedtime story for children around the world and re-reading will provide plenty of opportunities to delve into the illustrations and find something new each night.
Dream Big Everyone!