hey little penguin

Don’t be sad. It’s not easy making friends.

I hear you. I’ve been there. Sometimes I go to parties and everyone smiles at me and I think GREAT! but it turns out I just had spinach stuck in my beak.

Other times I sit on the bus and I get a little sad, too. Do you remember when people read on the bus, penguin? I loved stealing glances at the covers. I’d think:


But now people are too busy looking at their tiny shiny screens. Or flicking through the pages of their gossip magazines. And you can’t just read over their shoulders, penguin, that would just be rude and a little bit creepy.

But the thing is, penguin, people still love stories. Kate Middleton? An Austen heroine who married well but is still prone to improprieties. Gangnam style? A Dickensian tale of social climbing. The Great British Bakeoff? A chivalric quest, with many trials. Yup, we love a little tale. And we love books. Oh books, with their frayed corners and bent pages, their smell of attics and long summers. And e-books too, the screens scratched and dusty, a frenzy of books, of romance and essays, of knowledge and tears, all at our grubby fingertips. Sweet, sweet books. They show us worlds beyond our own. They shift our mood and elevate us. People are crazy about them.

And they’re crazy about you too, my aquatic, flightless friend.

No no no, don’t shuffle awkwardly on your little webbed feet. It’s true. You are cute and cheerful and just a general all-round good egg. And your books… well. They are our old friends. We treasure them. We covet their covers. We give them to our friends, and our lovers, and our children.

Some guy once said:

One last thing, little penguin: remember the guy on the bus – the one hunched over his little screen?

He was playing SOLITAIRE.

So, penguin, hand me a flipper. Let’s go make some friends together.

PS: What’s that? How do we actually make that happen? The truth is, penguin, I don’t know. It’s a bit of a dark art. I’ll need to know you and your friends better first. But I can tell you this: I met my best friend online while impersonating a dinosaur. Someone I’ve never met once sent me a care package containing pork rub and BBQ sauce all the way from the States. I’ve ended up on the pages of Elle and Red Magazine through online adventures. Some of life’s best moments start online: romances, careers, long nights of laughter and mad ideas that might just turn out to be brilliant.

What would make you read more, penguin? Let’s answer that question together.  Let’s give people little things to take away with them to brighten their day. Quotes, nosy looks at author’s desks, interviews and warm stories to read or watch with a cup of tea. Let’s do book drops in secret locations, like book giving ninjas (but less deadly). Let’s  absolutely do something with the penguin webcam, when it finally gets fixed. Let’s make people feel at home on our pages, and let them do the talking. Let’s help them do some writing.

Let’s make them hug a penguin.

How does that sound?