SBCC’s Dr. Christina Pagès writes award-winning children’s novel

DELANEY SMITH, Staff Writer

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English Instructor Dr. Christina Pagès pulled on a character created by the great Romantic poet, William Wordsworth, in her first novel.

The character is Lucy Gray, and Pagès said she—along with her own childhood—created the “magic” that inspired her most recent children’s novel, “Lucy in Her Secret Wood.”

“If we don’t feel ourselves as part of creation, then we don’t really know our place in the world,” Pagès said.

Pagès is an award-winning author, poet, and painter. ‘‘Lucy in Her Secret Wood’’ has already won five different awards since it was published last year, such as The Eloquent Quill Award for Youth Fiction and the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award.

In a review by Literary Classics the book is described as “…the sort of book that is so absorbing, so entirely enchanting, you wish it would never end.”

The main character, Lucy, spends years locked in a tiny room by her stepfather. When she is abandoned and left in the woods at the age of eight, she immediately connects with all the beauty and creativity of the forest and feels her place in nature for the first time.

Pagès is passionate about the importance of nature in the lives of children and young adults, and she uses the book to expand on this message.

“I feel like young people are getting more and more into their gadgets, and they are becoming so disconnected from nature they hardly see anything outside of their screens,” Pagès said as she imitated someone looking down at their phone. “In a way, Lucy being locked in her room is like today’s youth being ‘locked’ inside of a screen.”

Pagès grew up in Kent, England and she described nature as “her childhood toy.” When she was eight-years-old, she wrote her first poem while sitting up in a tree. In the novel there is a similar scene, painted by Pagès herself, where Lucy is crawling into a tree.

Courtesy art from painter Christina Pagès. The scene portrayed in the painting alludes to the first time she ever wrote a poem when she was 8-years-old, sitting up in a tree.

Christina Pagès
Courtesy art from painter Christina Pagès. The scene portrayed in the painting alludes to the first time she ever wrote a poem when she was 8-years-old, sitting up in a tree.

She explained that her own childhood growing up in Kent was in many ways parallel to Lucy’s in that her self-discovery and growth was connected to nature.

Pagés moved to the United States in 1970, where she had her four children and earned her doctorate in English at the University of South Carolina. She has won several awards for her different poetry collections.

“I would say first and foremost I think of myself as a poet and this children’s writing is just something I’ve done for the last five years or so,” Pagès explained. “I also paint, and I’ve done all the paintings in ‘Lucy in Her Secret Wood’ myself.”  

While a longtime poet, Pagès says she writes children’s books for a different reason.

“If you can’t make a plot work in an adult novel, you’ve got to find something reasonable, right? But in a children’s book, you can just use a bit of magic. You can just kind of take a leap. It’s like, the sky’s the limit.”

Pagès is currently working on her next two books in the series, “The Woodland Adventure of Lucy and Will” and “Lucy and the School of Wonder.”

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