Jacqueline Wilson is revisiting her famous character Tracy Beaker, 27 years after the original book was published.
The lauded children’s author is bringing Tracy back as a single mum in her 30s, struggling to hold down a job and make ends meet.
We last saw Tracy as a fierce and funny 10-year-old growing up in the care home that she nicknamed “the dumping ground”. The book was adapted into a hugely successful TV series on the BBC, with Tracy played by Dani Harmer.
Wilson’s new book, My Mum Tracy Beaker, will be illustrated by her long-time collaborator Nick Sharratt and is set on a council estate in modern-day London.
Tracy, all grown up, will have a formidable nine-year-old daughter of her own called Jess. The book will be told from Jess’s point of view.
In an interview with the Guardian, Wilson revealed that the idea grew out of seeing mothers who had read The Story of Tracy Beaker as youngsters encouraging their own daughters to read it today.
“It’s stimulating to think about how people develop as they get older,” she said.
“Tracy has been a character that’s haunted me. She’s the sort of person who sticks in your mind.
“When I realised just how long ago it was since I wrote the first Tracy Beaker book, I thought: if we were in real time, Tracy herself would be in her 30s. And I’ve always thought that, even though Tracy had lots of problems in her life and a pretty rubbish mum who was never there for her, Tracy herself would be a good mum, no matter what.”
My Mum Tracy Beaker – which will be Wilson’s 108th book – has a target audience of not only 7-11-year-olds but also teens and adults. “A knowing teenager or an adult will read something and understand it,” Wilson explained, “while it will go straight over Jess’s head.”
Wilson said she wanted the sequel to be realistic and reflect current issues. “How many young women without much education earn enough, with a daughter, to be able to buy their own home in London today?” she asked. “Being Tracy, she wants to be independent, but with a child, how can she be? So she’s having to scratch around.”
Wilson is still in the process of writing the book which is due to be published in October 2018.