To order Abigay’s Farm see the Page “My Books”. It gives a link to Amazon and further details.
This page is for just a bit more information and background to the story.
I started writing the story at least six years ago, but I have been visiting the farms belonging to my husband’s cousins for decades. They are all ‘small’ farms and although they love their farming life, they have also struggled for a long time.
Janet Legge from Shortwood Farm expresses the situation beautifully in her Foreword to the book:
To be a farmer and have the privilege of working the land, caring for animals and living hand in hand with nature is a wonderful thing. However, it is not always plain sailing as the financial returns for hours and hours of hard work can almost be non-existent, and sometimes, in order to save their beloved farm as well as their way of life, farmers must ‘take the bull by the horns’ and diversify.
I won’t spoil the story for you by telling how Grandpa, Grandma, Abigay, Gabriel and the whole family cope with the situation at Willowfield!
Early reviews of Abigay’s Farm:
Wembley Matters 7 October 2021
A Willesden author, Odette Elliott, is reaching out across the generations in her latest book Abigay’s Farm, which reflects modern family life and age-old principles of standing up for what you value… Abigay, the heroine, lives in London with her twin brother and parents, but regularly visits her grandparents in Herefordshire. When she discovers to her horror that the farm may have to be sold, she is desperate to find a plan to save the farm. She has had experience of being taken to a local London City Farm when in primary school and this gives her an idea.
The Occasional Bookwitch – appeared on the day of the LAUNCH 27th October 2021:
This book by Odette Elliott, who has long been a reader of Bookwitch, is relatively short, but it has everything. By this I mean it’s a nice story, in that old-fashioned sense, while also giving us a mixed-race family, illness and potential disability, discussing problems facing farmers today, and how to deal with bullying. That might be all, but is definitely enough to be going on with.
Twins Abigay and Gabriel get on – I was going to say, surprisingly well – but they are twins, so this will explain their interaction with each other. Used to doing everything together, enjoying life on their grandparents’ farm, Abigay is shipped off on her own, because Gabriel is in hospital.
The farm is lovely, but there is something different about it too. The grandparents look worried and the local bully seems extra sure of himself. Abigay finally works out what it is, and she also works out how things might be solved. Back in London there are new problems for Gabriel, meaning more worrying on all fronts. But as I said, this is a nice story, and things will work out. Eventually.
I would like to have a farm like this to visit. I suppose having grandparents would be taking wishes too far, but a favourite spot in the countryside would be lovely.
In my experience, writers in the children’s writing ‘community’ are so helpful to each other.
As I say in the Acknowledgements in the book, I owe a lot to a kind writing colleague, John O’Leary. We spent around 17 months editing and working on every line and he even helped me to improve the plot in a couple of places.
Stephanie Ward, another fellow writer, kindly prepared a most useful, well laid-out information sheet for me, including this charming illustration by Patrice Aggs, of a key moment in the story. You’ll have to read the book to find out what is happening…