Blog tour: ‘The Worst Day Ever,’ by James Bishop, illustrated by Fay Austin.

Introducing a super-funny blast around the galaxy featuring some very empathetic aliens! Make sure you read author, James Bishop’s piece on how he set about creating and unusually empathetic alien race.

Meet Mylan – an ordinary blue alien. He’s travelling the universe, looking for someone having a bad day, to help them. 
Meet Chloe. She’s just stubbed her toe. Now she’s being followed by an alien. Her day can only get better, right? WRONG. 

Every bad day begins with a stubbed toe. Mylan Bletzleburger’s research proves this. But even he couldn’t predict how Chloe’s day would escalate from a sore foot to the entire Earth being swallowed up.

Can Mylan and Chloe save the planet? Will Mylan ever pilot a cool spaceship? And will Tanka Tanka Woo Woo, the Queen of the Universe, ever share her haircare secrets?

Funny and packed with action and quirky aliens, this intergalactic adventure is out of this world!

‘Creating an empathetic alien race’ by James Bishop.

I have always had the ability to put myself in other peoples shoes. Not just because I have small feet and therefore can slip into most peoples trainers, but also because I often find myself empathising with those around me, understanding what they are going through and feeling their pain. This is at the heart of why I chose for Mylan Bletzleburger, a lead character in my new book The Worst Day Ever, to be from an alien race that feels a tremendous amount of empathy.

I thought it would be interesting to imagine it as a superpower, but having written about many a superpower in my Iguana Boy series, I wanted it to feel different, hence making it part of his genetic make-up, an ability shared by all Empathians. I did however take a little bit of inspiration from a well-known superhero; Superman.

Superman has the ability to hear everything that is happening on the planet at once with his super hearing. Mylan’s Empathy is similar, in that he can feel what everyone is feeling across an entire planet all at once. Much like Superman, he has learnt over the years to drown out the noise and focus in on those who are in desperate need of help. Those having the worst days ever.

Empathy is a subject that I haven’t often come across in funny middle grade books, and it is something I think is really important for kids to understand. Like any other parent, I teach my kids basic life skills; drink lot’s of water; eat your vegetables; get a good night’s rest; ALWAYS slide into the corners on Mario Kart and most importantly, treat other people like you want to be treated.

That last one sometimes escapes them (and they don’t ALWAYS slide into the corners on Mario Kart, but hey, keeps me winning!). Although they understand that they SHOULD be kind and that of course they want others to be kind to them, they can often be found in a cartoonlike rumble in the middle of the living room floor, fighting each other.

Once they calm down, I try to impart some wisdom. That before they fight and potentially/inevitably hurt each other, they should try to think about how their actions could make the other one FEEL.

I would like to take this opportunity to defend my boys, having painted a picture that I live in some sort of WWE style wrestling federation instead of a family home. They are both very young and its completely normal to lack empathy at such an age, but books and stories are an excellent way of reinforcing key messages in impressionable minds, and this was something I considered when creating the character of Mylan and his fellow Empathians.

The humour, action, and quirky illustrations make this book a surefire hit with readers aged 7+ and will help them develop the skills of empathy for others too.

Library Girl.

*Many thanks to Hodder Children’s Books for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour*

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