Story of bullied Galway pigeon to be launched this weekend

Martha Begley Schade

Martha Begley Schade

A Galway-based author will this weekend see her first children’s book launched in the city. The tale of a bullied pigeon which is ridiculed for having loud flapping wings has just been published and is available in paperback and on Amazon and all major online booksellers.

The children’s storybook Flappy — The Pigeon Who Overcame Bullying is the first children’s publication by Martha Begley Schade. This book works well as a group reader for 8 - 14 year olds and will stimulate discussion around important social aspects of life such as bullying.

Speaking to the Advertiser last evening, Ms Schade said that she had been inspired to write the book by storytelling with her own children.

“One of my coping skills being a parent was using the power of stories. When my children were small, I would initiate a story and let them create the rest by asking; “Can you guess what happened next?” Many beautiful, and yes, even ridiculous, stories were created.

“This one simply stuck with us all these years. As part of a bet with one son who could get a story written first, I put pen to paper and Flappy ‘happened’. With this story came the mission. We have to educate more about bullying and its effects,” she said ahead of Saturday’s launch in Galway City Library.

The story starts out in Merlin Woods in Galway, where Flappy is born. His wings are malformed and they flap so loudly when he tries to fly that he frightens everyone. He is asked to leave the neighbourhood and is bullied, taunted and name-called.

It is when he attempts to save the Princess from the Claddagh who has been kidnapped by dragons, that his worst trait emerges as his strength.

The Dragons are so terrified by this loud flapping, they release the young princess. The King of the Claddagh awards Flappy a medal of honour for his bravery and he goes to live forever after with his princess, his adoring friend.

With a focus on antibullying, the charming story comes with discussion points that will help the young reader find reliable and relatable ideas that may help them .

“The book offers ideas on how bullying affects others; how utterly lonely a bullied person can feel; how bullying can happen to anyone. It even happened to a pigeon.

“It shows how parents can make mistakes and that apologies matter. It also illustrates how friends can be found in the strangest of places; one only needs to get out there and find them.

“Readers need to know that bad phases can pass; good phases come too. Sometimes the worst trait we think we have can often be our greatest strength. If even one child can relate to what Flappy learned, then this book is a success,” she said.

The official book launch for Flappy will be held in Galway City Library on Saturday, November 30 at 2pm where you can get your signed copy. It will be launched by Cllr Terry O’Flaherty.

Reared in Croom, Co. Limerick, Martha Begley Schade qualified with a B.Sc and an MBA, but she always had an interest in amateur dramatics and storytelling, which was handed down in the family.

After living and working in Germany for over 25 years in companies such as Bosch and Siemens as a management consultant, she returned with her two sons to live in Galway. She is already working on the next books. Publishing houses are eagerly keeping an eye on her output.

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