Why writing popular books for kids is child’s play for this author

BOOKS BY BROOKS: ‘Why, Oh Why Am I a Crocodile’ and ‘Insects, Bugs & Rock and Roll’ are available to order from WHSmith, Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops, priced at £6.99

Alex Brooks had her first book ‘Why, Oh Why Am I a Crocodile’ published just over a year ago. With her second book just out, she tells Eileen Leahy about her journey as a self-published author…


In December 2021 Alex Brooks took what she describes as a ‘leap of faith’ and decided to self-publish her first children’s book entitled ‘Why, Oh Why Am I a Crocodile’.

“It’s fair to say it has been quite the adventure since then,” smiles the Tunbridge Wells mother of three young children.

“I very quickly learned that to stand a chance in the highly competitive industry that is publishing, you need to work incredibly hard, be annoyingly persistent and have seriously thick skin. It’s certainly not been plain sailing but despite the rejection and the lows, the highs have been phenomenal.”

As well as seeing her book sell out locally, ‘Why, Oh Why Am I a Crocodile’ is now stocked nationwide in libraries and independent bookshops. It has recently been shortlisted for a prestigious competition, but more on that later…

When Alex published her first book, she describes herself as being more of a “travelling saleswoman” than an “esteemed author”.

“When the Crocodile book was published at the start of 2022, I had 100 freshly-printed copies in the boot of my car and I just drove around offering them to local bookshops. One kind owner listened to my rather shaky pitch and agreed to take a copy,” explains Alex.

“She then asked how she could acquire more if needed. After I confidently informed her that it was available through a distributor, she scanned the barcode that I thought linked directly to them, but after two failed attempts, nothing! My heart sank – it turned out that I had forgotten to swap in my unique barcode! Nevertheless, the bookshop owner put one of my Crocodile books on her shelf and the following day emailed to say that it had sold and that she’d like to take some more. So that was it; the dream of my book being displayed in a bookshop had come true!”

Alex says that despite the fact she is not naturally pushy, she managed to find the confidence to approach everyone she could think of.

“I took a copy of the book everywhere I went and slowly ‘Why, Oh Why, Am I a Crocodile?’ became available in more and more bookshops, libraries and schools up and down the country, including several branches of Waterstones and WHSmith.”

That success led Alex to enter the annual children’s SPARK! Book Awards, which are held in association with the Open University.

“Doing that has definitely been the pinnacle of my journey so far. It is a fabulous competition in which schoolchildren choose the winner after industry experts whittle the initial entrants down to a small shortlist of just four books.

“To find out recently that my book had been shortlisted was utterly surreal and real vindication of my perseverance and belief. Fingers crossed for June when the final result is announced,” beams Alex.

She goes on to say that her success to date with the SPARK! Competition has led to some unexpected developments, with school visits and live online Q&As now forming part of her weekly routine.

“They all fill me with complete dread, of course, but when you are proud of something, as I am with my first book, suddenly all of these fears feel a lot more manageable – even, dare I say it, enjoyable!”

Alex is now concentrating on promoting her latest book, ‘Insects, Bugs & Rock and Roll’.

“Like my first one, it has been illustrated by the very talented Hannah Worsley, who is also from Tunbridge Wells. It seemed only natural to publish another book. This story is about a mean spider whose life and attitude change when he meets a funky fly and they form a band. The strong moral theme is that of a bully-turned-good Samaritan. It is a tale of redemption, friendship and an exploration into the myriad uses of web material.

“Hannah has really excelled herself with this one; her attention to detail and use of colour is just extraordinary. I am so impressed by her talent! Our collaboration works perfectly and who knows, there may already be talk of a third book!”

“I like to think my books offer something a bit different with quirky twists, fun characters and imaginative storylines, that hopefully appeal to the big reader nearly as much as the little listener.”

Share this article

Recommended articles


Please enter a search term below.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter