Inspirations from the Bookshelf – Alice Hemming

Check out SCBWI British Isles online magazine, Words & Pictures, to read the interview I did with Alice Hemming about how she is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen.

Alice hemming writes for children of all ages. She has over 50 books published in the UK and internationally, including picture books and chapter books. She has also written for websites, reading schemes and even a talking bear! Two of her books were selected for the National Library Summer Reading Challenge.

Alice Hemming

Alice recalls how The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen captured her attention when she was a child. She revealed that when revisiting the story as an adult, it was difficult for her to imagine what appealed to her four-year-old self, but she believes it had something to do with the comfort that is to be found within the tale in the flashes of warmth provided by the matches as the little girl tries to keep warm in the snow. A ‘polished stove’. A table set with a mouth-watering feast. A Christmas tree ablaze with candles. And, above all, the hug from the grandmother.

The Little Matchgirl

From that moment on Alice was hooked on Hans Christian Andersen. She told me she has even read Andersen’s autobiography, The Fairy Tale of My Life, although she still prefers the 1952 film with Danny Kaye!

Danny Kaye in the Hans Christina Snderson movie

She explained:

“Andresen hasn’t influenced my writing style, in that every Andersen fairytale I’ve read has been in translation, but he’s had a huge impact on my storytelling.”

Alice Hemming quote from Inspirations from the Bookshelf Interview

Her book The Frozen Unicorn (Scholastic 2022), is the first to reference Hans Christian Andersen and her absolute favourite story (or seven stories) of Andersen’s: The Snow Queen.

The Frozen Unicorn by Alice Hemming

Alice Hemming’s protagonist in The Frozen Unicorn, crosses a snowy landscape to confront an antagonist with a frozen heart, to save her lost love. She meets a hostile stranger in a flower garden, magically blooming in the snowy landscape. Alice has taken these ideas and made them her own. She captures the feeling of magical warmth and safety she found in Andersen’s work.

She explained she is sure she will continue to draw on Andersen’s stories for inspiration and the stories of Hans Christian Andersen will always give her a warm glow.

To read the complete feature please take a look at: Inspirations from the Bookshelf Hans Christian Anderson

You can find out more about Alice and her books on her website:

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