Bella and the Wandering House

Bella frontlow-resWritten by Meg McKinlay
Illustrated by Nicholas Schafer

Fremantle Press, September 2015
Ages 6-10-ish

It was the same as every other day – out the door, down the path, into the car, off to school. But when Bella stepped off the veranda, she stopped.

Bella looked back at the house. And as she did, a shiver prickled her skin. Because what she saw made no sense.

What’s a girl to do, when her house can’t find a home?


What Readers Are Saying:

‘Poignant and full of heart, this is exactly the kind of winsomely quirky story I can imagine a future adult enquiring about in a bookshop or library: “Do you know this book? I loved it as a child, and I remember it was about a family, and a house that moved…”‘

‘… a wonderfully imaginative story about family, belonging and what ‘coming home’ really means.’
– Kids Book Review

‘This is a magical story about slowing down and family bonds, that girls aged 6 – 10 will love.’
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Behind the Story

Although Bella and the Wandering House is my twelfth published children’s book, it’s actually the first story I ever wrote. The idea grew accidentally out of some silliness with a friend of my then-four-year-old daughter.

I was driving the little boy home after a sleepover at our place, and I started pretending not to know where his house was: Is this where I turn? Or the next corner? Wait … are we on the right street? Oh, no! I think we’re lost!

He wasn’t keen to play along, and sort of rolled his eyes and said wearily, “You know where my house is.”

And perhaps because I thought it was a shame for a four-year-old to be so unwilling to be playful, instead of just letting it go, I replied: “Well, I know where it was yesterday, but who’s to say where it will be today?”

Before I knew it, I had begun spinning a story about a house that had legs folded beneath it, a house which got up at night and roamed restlessly through the streets so that the people who lived there never knew where they were going to wake up the next morning.

I wasn’t a writer then, but I did love books, and I spent a lot of time reading to my daughter. Perhaps that’s why at some point in my rambling, the thought occurred to me: Huh. I wonder if that could be a picture book.

So that was where the story started. It’s been a long and winding road from there to publication. If you’d like to read more about that, I blogged about it here.