The Journey Begins

2020 – The Pandemic Happens

What a year 2020 was!
We all started optimistically and I had a business that was doing well, running courses for horse owners all over Europe. But in mid-March, that came to a shuddering halt. Initially courses were postponed, rearranged, flights rebooked but it soon became obvious that all that was futile.

So what to do – I looked at several ways that promised to make me money. Hmm, all these ‘get rich quick’ required, first and foremost, MONEY. Something that had become lacking!

Life intervened and some surgery put me out of action for a time so I decided to go back to a love of many years ago, writing for children. When my children were very young, reading was huge in our house. Bedtime stories, snuggly lap-time stories, stories from books, stories that were made up about the day’s events or adventures.

As they got old enough, I decided the easiest way to teach reading was using phonics. At the time, (we are talking 30+ years ago), there were little or no reading books using phonic sounds (and certainly not in Ireland), so I made them up.

My children all had personal books, written in pencil on cheap copy books and illustrated by my stick figure people and animals. The important thing was they learned to recognise sounds of letters and letter groups.

By the time they started school, all my children were reading well and loving books. To this day they are all keen readers.

Malba Books, Whats an Og, Stick figures, @manni_alba, illustration, Phonics

So going back to what I knew worked – using phonic sounds, I decided to write some books to help young readers recognise sounds within words. A major problem however, was my artistic skills. For a published book and children used to the sophistication of 2020, stick figures just would not cut it.

Enter Emanuel Alba, a very talented actor, musician, writer and artist, who was also suffering the pandemic blues. A good friend of my son, Stephen, he listened to my story and was very enthusiastic about the project. While we are the 2 main protagonists, we also have several other family members who are contributing. Malba Books has come into being!