In dealing with the theme of this first story in the ‘Action Annie’ series of stories from the book of the same name, I wanted to address that perennial question that has perplexed the minds of millions of children ever since ‘Father Christmas’ became a prime feature of their Christmas Day celebrations. “If there is a Father Christmas, and he is a Christmas visitor to the home of every boy and girl across the world to give them a present; then why does he always give the most expensive presents to those children whose parents are the richest and the cheapest presents to those children whose parents are the poorest?”
Another reason for writing the ‘Action Annie’ stories was to correct an imbalance which had appeared to have developed between girls and boys; and in particular, the differing stereotypes. When one looked at ‘roles’ and ‘the type of behaviour’ that might be ‘expected’ from a boy, but which was wholly ‘never expected’ or considered ‘acceptable’ from a girl; the discrimination practised was more subtle: such as shouting, swearing, fighting, picking one’s nose and even making rude noises in public! In short; ‘Action Annie’ represented ‘girl power’ in action and was my humble attempt of redressing the perceptual balance.
Annie is an imaginative and very active seven-year-old whose mind and body is always on the move. She never seems to stop. Even as she sleeps, she is dreaming about the things she plans to do tomorrow. Annie is always thinking up new ideas and inventing things.
Once she gets an idea inside her head, she becomes determined to try it out. If her ideas don't work out the first time Annie tries them out, she will try and try again. Once Annie has decided to do something, nobody and nothing will stop her.
Annie's head is crammed with ideas and her body is filled with feelings, feelings which she finds impossible to hide from the outside world. Anyone can tell whether Annie is feeling happy or sad by simply looking at her and by listening to what she says, because she just can’t hide her feelings.
When Annie is happy, her smiley face tells you so and when she is sad, the smile on her face will quickly disappear and be replaced by a squashed-tomato look. When Annie is ‘very happy', the smile on her face widens, her two arms begin to rotate like the propellers of an aircraft, her two feet jump her body up into the air and her mouth gleefully yells out, "Yippee! Yippee! Yippee! Yippee for Annie!" But when she’s ‘very angry’, she rotates her arms, jumps in the air and lands saying, “Bother! Bother! Bother! And Double Bother!”
*When Annie gets angry she knows how to get the anger out of her. When Annie wants to get the anger out of her body, she writes it out, she talks it out and she acts it out. If she is angry with someone, she may write them a nasty letter and then tear it up without posting it. When she does this, she finds that expressing her feelings makes her feel a bit better. Whenever Annie becomes annoyed with another person she goes into a corner where she won’t be heard and calls the person a ‘Jolly old stinker!’ If she is very angry, she will go to her bedroom and pretend that the other person is her pillow. Then she will have a pillow fight, expressing her angry feelings to the pillow she is punching. Or she may lie on her back on the bed and peddle her legs up in the air furiously until she is physically exhausted and all the anger has left her body.*
The author of these stories ‘founded’ Anger Management Programmes in Great Britain in 1971 and freely gave them to the world. Within a few years, they had mushroomed across the English- speaking world and have helped millions of people since. Included within the asterisked paragraph above are some ‘easy to understand’ and ‘simple to follow’ instructions for helping to manage anger in a young child.
There is a little bit of Annie in every girl and boy. That is what makes her so likable. Are you like Annie in any of her ways?
|File size:||1 MB|
|Age Range:||5 - 11 Years|
About the Author
William Forde was born in Ireland and currently lives in Haworth, West Yorkshire with his wife Sheila. He is the father of five children and the author of over 60 published books and two musical plays. Approximately 20 of his books are suitable for the 7-11 year old readers while the remainder are suitable for young persons and adults. Since 2010, all of his new stories have been written for adults under his 'Tales from Portlaw' series of short stories. His website is www.fordefables.co.uk on which all his miscellaneous writings may be freely read. There are also a number of children's audio stories which can be freely heard. He is unique in the field of contemporary children's authors through the challenging emotional issues and story themes he addresses, preferring to focus upon those emotions that children and adults find most difficult to appropriately express. One of West Yorkshire's most popular children's authors, Between 1990 and 2002 his books were publicly read in over 2,000 Yorkshire school assemblies by over 800 famous names and celebrities from the realms of Royalty, Film, Stage, Screen, Politics, Church, Sport, etc. The late Princess Diana used to read his earlier books to her then young children, William and Harry and Nelson Mandela once telephoned him to praise an African story book he had written. Others who have supported his works have included three Princesses, three Prime Ministers, two Presidents and numerous Bishops of the realm. A former Chief Inspector of Schools for OFSTED described his writing to the press as 'High quality literature.' He has also written books which are suitable for adults along with a number of crossover books that are suitable for teenagers and adults. Forever at the forefront of change, at the age of 18 years, William became the youngest Youth Leader and Trade Union Shop Steward in Great Britain. In 1971, He founded Anger Management in Great Britain and freely gave his courses to the world. Within the next two years, Anger Management courses had mushroomed across the English-speaking world. During the mid-70's, he introduced Relaxation Training into H.M. Prisons and between 1970 and 1995, he worked in West Yorkshire as a Probation Officer specialising in Relaxation Training, Anger Management, Stress Management and Assertive Training Group Work. He retired early on the grounds of ill health in 1995 to further his writing career, which witnessed him working with the Minister of Youth and Culture in Jamaica to establish a trans-Atlantic pen-pal project between 32 primary schools in Falmouth, Jamaica and 32 primary schools in Yorkshire. William was awarded the MBE in the New Year's Honours List of 1995 for his services to West Yorkshire. He has never sought to materially profit from the publication of his books and writings and has allowed all profit from their sales (approx £200,000) to be given to charity. Since 2013, he was diagnosed with CLL; a terminal condition for which he is currently receiving treatment. In 2014, William had his very first 'strictly for adult' reader's novel puiblished called‘Rebecca’s Revenge'. This book was first written over twenty years ago and spans the period between the 1950s and the New Millennium. He initially refrained from having it published because of his ‘children’s author credentials and charity work’. He felt that it would have conflicted too adversely with the image which had taken a decade or more to establish with his audience and young person readership. Now, however as he approaches the final years of his life and cares less about his public image, besides no longer writing for children (only short stories for adults since 2010), he feels the time to be appropriate to publish this ‘strictly for adults only’ novel alongside the remainder of his work. In December 2016 he was diagnosed with skin cancer on his face and two weeks later he was diagnosed with High-grade Lymphoma (Richter’s Transformation from CLL). He was successfully treated during the first half of 2017 and is presently enjoying good health albeit with no effective immune system.