A HOME FOR A STONE: An interview with Corrinne Averiss

A HOME FOR A STONE: An interview with Corrinne Averiss

Today Corrinne Averiss joins Ian Eagleton in The Reading realm to talk about her heart-warming new picture book A Home For A Stone, which is gorgeously illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw.

Before we sit down in The Reading Realm and start chatting about your book, what’s your drink and snack of choice? 

I’d love a coffee please and have you got any of those portuguese tarts..?

Oh they’ve sold out? Typical.

I’ll have a piece of shortbread.

Buy here!

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about your new picture book A Home For Stone, which is illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw? 

So a little boy finds a lonely stone on a quiet beach and decides to find him the perfect home among other stones like him…‘somewhere he can fit right in’. But nowhere feels quite right for little Stone and just as the boy is about to give up, he realises that he may have had the perfect home for Stone all along.

A Home for Stone evokes a perfect summer’s day by the sea, shaped only by curiosity and nature. But the story at the heart of it, is one of finding the place where you belong. ‘Home’ isn’t always about origins or where you came from, it can be a sense of belonging with people who you may never have expected to find. There can be as much joy and comfort in difference as similitude.

The story reminded me of Bonting by Shirley Hughes, which was a favourite of mine as a child. I even found and kept my own special stone friend when I was young! What inspired this story?

Did you? I love that. And you’re not alone, it will be familiar to so many people – stones are nature’s found sculptures and completely irresistible – I’m still tempted. For a child, the fact that you can freely pick one up, feel, study, put it in your pocket – what an incredible first experience of choice and possession. I definitely saw this in our daughter from a really young age and she’s still doing it at age 7. And oh yes, the wonderful Shirley Hughes! No one captures the atmosphere of childhood like her and Bonting is the perfect example of her insight and ability to see through a child’s eyes with such clarity. What a beautiful skill children possess, to be able to confer all this thought and feeling onto something inanimate. It’s what makes childhood utterly magical.

I’m also magnetically drawn to stories of nurture and kindness so the cherishing of what could be seen as a boring stone really appeals to me. To selflessly love something that can offer you so little is the greatest gift humans possess.

The illustrations by Rosalind Beardshaw are beautiful – full of light and colour! Do you have a favourite illustration in the book? Why is it your favourite?

I completely agree, Rosalind has infused this whole book with her unique sunshine and the most loveable characters. Hard to choose a favourite but that rock pool scene is so vivid and intimate… the way she’s placed us in it at eye level rather than the traditional looking down or over.

What do you hope young readers might take from A Home For Stone?

I hope the stone collectors and nature lovers will see themselves reflected back; I hope those children who aren’t as familiar will be inspired to look closer; I hope the message about diversity and inclusion is absorbed in an identifiable and non-patronising way and I hope everyone simply enjoys this long sunny summer’s day by the sea.

I was wondering if you had any ideas about what Stone might be up to now?

He’s telling his friends – Coin, Leaf and Shell about that awful incident with the rock pool! 

Finally, can you describe A Home For Stone in three words?

Kindness. Friendship. Difference.

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