Susie Mallett

Parent blog

Monday 10 January 2011

"Let me tell you a story"

"Let me tell you a story, Book One"
Conductor, Nürnberg 2010

"Front cover"

"Back cover"

"A peek inside"

It is a true story, I wrote a book!

I still find this very hard to believe, despite there being two big boxes full of them in the corner of my living room.

Now at long last I am getting around to the job of advertising this book on my blogs. First, though, I must say a big Thank-you to fellow bloggers who have done some advertising for me already. This is very much appreciated and has already sent a few interested customers my way.

Launched in Hong Kong

The book was, as I had hoped, ready to launch along with my poster presentation in Hong Kong.
It was a wonderful feeling on November 26th 2010 to hold that very first copy in my hands, to open it up, and immediately see the first error staring me in the face!

It was an even nicer feeling to hear that the second copy, the one that I immediately sent to my Dad, had at last arrived on December 3rd , just seconds before I went off on my travels.

It was lovely to then hear via frantic text messages from my sister as I boarded the plane to Hong Kong that Dad was so pleased with my work and had tears in his eyes as he started to read it the moment it fell through his letter box!

Sis had done the last proof-read and Dad had done some sponsoring, a few others (you know who you are) had done their parts along the long path to publication, so all got their copy pressed in their hands or through the post.

The reactions were positive and this has boosted my confidence. After months of writing, editing, re-writing, designing and re-designing, then the initial thrill of holding the book in my hands, there was a short period of anti-climax. This only lasted until the first reactions to my book came rolling in and of course when I was in China I got drawn up in to the excitement of Hong Kong.

The nice things people say

I have collected some of those reactions to the book. It seems a bit big-headed to include them here. They are the sort of things one reads on the back cover of a paperback edition after the hardback has been read by the critics!

But I am here writing this posting to advertise, so advertise I will and I will begin with these nice things that people have written. I do not have any not-so-nice things to include but I hope that the comments facility at the bottom of this posting will encourage readers to add their critical reports, so that I can pay heed to them while planning my next publication.

Big Sis sent a text:

“Just rang Dad, he is in tears reading about Princess Littlie! His book arrived!”

One of my friends, a conductor with children of her own, so a very busy person, wrote in an email:

Hi Susie, I have decided that instead of just reading your book I will translate it immediately (into German), I have discovered that although I try I do not find it so easy to stay true to your words. Please look and tell me if these first lines are just as you would like them. OK you bestest friend?”

Another conductor colleague, and since Hong Kong I think also a friend, wrote:

“I have just read your book on the plane, you should be very proud of yourself as a conductor and as a person to put together such a wonderful thing!!!”

Yet another friend and colleague sent a very encouraging text message at New Year: "Your book is great. So lovingly written and your humanitarian concept of mankind is praise-worthy, I am so thankful that I know you, from the heart, L….”.

My Dad’s neighbour sent a picture of my Dad’s garden covered in snow and wrote:

“Thank you for the copy of your is so interesting and beautifully produced”

A friend in Hong Kong said:

Susie, it is marvellous! On top of a new angle to CE the entire layout is so beautiful and inspirational. That’s totally beyond my expectation of a CE publication.”
And to top it all my big sister said “Well done!”

Chinese, German and English

I do not think that I could wish for any better quotes for the back page of Book Two, that I hope will be published soon, alongside a Chinese version and a German version of Book One!

How it all began...

I had decided two years ago that I would like to present something in Hong Kong. But what?
I also decided a long time ago, in fact as long ago as 2008, that I would like to make a book from some of the articles in my blog. But how?

I toyed with presenting something in Hong Kong about my use of art in all things conductive. I toyed with a book with many chapters about all things conductive including art and upbringing.

I was overwhelmed by the enormity of both of these projects.So what to do?

As the Hong Kong Congress date came nearer I began talking to others about their projects for presentations and through doing this my own ideas for a poster presentation and not just one book but a series of books began to take shape.

I decided to keep my book small and to move just one step at a time, as my own conductive life-style has taught me.

I decided to combine the two projects, and that my poster presentation in Hong Kong would be the story of how and why I, a blogger, became not only and author but a publisher too.

I sent off my abstract to the organisers of the 7th World Congress of Conductive Education in Hong Kong.

This is what I wrote:

"Let me tell you a story..."

Narrative, blogging and conductive upbringing

Bringing up children over the long course of their childhood may be construed as a 'story' or narrative. For anyone outside the family, such narrative is very difficult to capture and then to portray, especially when one considers the breadth, duration and emotionality of human upbringing. No wonder therefore that narrative is such a minor feature of professional discourse on children's development, their upbringing, and the family in which this occurs. Perhaps just because narrative reports are so hard to do they are not done, with the effect that tasks of everyday upbringing, and their solutions, of immense significance to those personally involved, rarely if ever feature in the professional “literature”.

Perhaps the greatest educational writer on upbringing in modern times was A. S. Makarenko, unique in that his work is read as literature. Most of us cannot aspire to literary writing so another, lesser genre may have to serve as means to facilitate us in creating narrative accounts of what happens in upbringing[1].

A new 'method': Over the last few years a new genre has emerged for diarists, journalists, 'citizen journalists', essayists etc. that enormously facilitates and encourages the production of narrative. This is the 'blog' (an abbreviation of 'web log'). Those who blog are called 'bloggers' and their activity is called 'blogging'. The collective and interlinked product of the many millions who now blog around the world is referred to as the 'blogosphere'.

The last three years have seen the emergence of a conductive education blogosphere. Conductive education bloggers include parents and conductors and the focus of their writing differs considerably from previous written materials in this field.

Conductive education blogging has brought to the fore the neglected topic of conductive upbringing in the family (as opposed to pedagogic practice in schools etc.) and the powerful emotional forces.

Since there is so little published generally in this field, the growing blogosphere may prove influential in resetting the image and understanding of conductive education of those being introduced to it for the first time, moving away from being considered a 'therapy' with all that this implies.

Blogging offers a potentially valuable means for generating much-needed public narrative on conductive upbringing, it promises to fill a gap in our common understandings of our field, and produces important questions for future enquiry.

Attention is now being directed to how written material generated in this way on the Internet may be adapted to 'hard copy' in various ways for the benefit of those who wish or require information on Conductive Education in their hands, in the form of book, part-book pamphlets or other traditional means of publishing.

This poster display will present examples from the author's own blog [2], now more than two years in publication, partly to illustrate this genre, and partly to encourage others to try writing in this way.


[1] Makarenko, A. S. (1953): 'Learning to live', Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House.[2] Mallett, S. (2008 –) Conductor,

Getting it together

The poster presentation was eventually accepted and I set to work on designing my poster. I knew that I would present it in the format of my blog, and the “postings” would be paragraphs taken from the writings chosen for my book. Therefore, before this poster could be printed (on canvas of course, with me being a painter) the material to be included in the book had to be compiled too.

So with work for the poster and the book being carried out hand-in-hand, and me working hand-in-hand with a wonderful designer, Uli, both parts of the project fairly quickly started to take shape.

When I was in the UK in September 2010, I spread out a length of paper tablecloth on the floor in my Dad’s kitchen and got dabbing with the watercolours, producing the first “poster” design. This still hangs on the living room door! I then sat painting together with my Dad at the kitchen table where I produced half-a-dozen Norfolk landscapes to use as title pictures for both poster and book.

In every spare minute that I had I searched for articles from my blog, I wrote introductions and additions and PSs, and edited and got the whole extended family involved to help on some aspect of the work!


On the 12th November I travelled home on the tram from Uli’s with a rather lovely poster grasped tightly in my hands, feeling relieved that I had something concrete, no longer an abstract idea, to take with me to Hong Kong.

I had seen my designs for the book on a huge computer screen, looking the title page alone, and with its sketch of Dr Mária Hári had brought tears to my eyes.

I was absolutely amazed at the skills that my designer Uli had used to translate my painterly ideas into graphics in a book. She did it all perfectly.

Uli has done this all before. She knows how to produce little books, it is her job, and it is what she is trained to do. But she is not trained to do all the other things that she did for me. I could not believe it when she asked me “Is this correct in English?” and “However does that little girl manage to do all that?”

Uli was actually reading my book. She said that she had never worked with an author before!

She also said she had never had a client cry when seeing her work on the computer screen for the first time!

Uli was my guide. She advised me on including an introduction page and an "About me" on the back cover. She suggested many changes in the format of the contents, and even chose extra pictures herself from my blog whenever she had a spare space to fill!

Uli can be found here:

Ulrike Pichl at :

Now the hard sell!

After all our hard work it is time the books got sold so as a starter-for-ten I finish off this posting with the “back cover” of my book:

I am a British conductor living and working in Germany, and I write the Conductor blog.

I write about conductive upbringing rather than “”Conductive Education”.

I write for myself, for young conductors, and for families with children who are together on the long, long road of following a conductive life style, or who are just embarking on one. I write too for disabled adults and their families. Maybe some of my postings will be useful to you.

Blogging has offered me a valuable means to generate much-needed public narrative about conductive upbringing, and promises to fill a gap in understanding our field, to produce important questions for future enquiry and research.

I am now looking at how written material generated in this way on the internet may be adapted to” hard copy” in various ways, for the benefit of those who wish to have information on Conductive Education in their hands in the form of a book, part-book, pamphlets or other traditional means of publishing.

This little booklet is the first “hard copy” of material originally published on the Conductor website:

Coming soon

Susie Mallett’s Conductive Upbringing and Lifestyle

“Let me tell you a story...”

Book Two


The price is 8.50 Euros per copy. If you would like to order more than one copy, handy to sell on, to lend out, or to give away, then get in touch and perhaps i can offer a special price for bulk buying!

Postage will vary according to where you are and how many copies you order.

Watch out here for further details.