Martha’s magic tales for children

Martha Begley Schade began writing fairy stories by accident in 2019  – and found her calling. The businesswoman had settled in Galway 11 years previously, after moving here from Germany. Divorced and with two young children, life wasn’t easy initially but perseverance paid off. BERNIE Ní FHLATHARTA learns how Martha’s books which are set in Galway, are making their mark. 

Storytelling is in Martha Begley Schade’s blood and she’s always been able to tell a good yarn but it’s her collection of fairytales for children that has finally tapped into a talent that she had always taken for granted.

Her Galway Fairytales are receiving rave reviews, nationally and internationally and the books may be included on some home-schooling curriculums in the United States.

Martha is blown away by the success of her 12 publications –  10 single books and two compilations of what she calls her Merlin Fairy Series and Merlin Woods Series.

She’s very excited about the response and is particularly thrilled that schools are beginning to recognise that these little colourful paperbacks could be valuable teaching tools.

In each book, the characters, be they fairies or animals, face some kind of situation or crisis that is resolved by the end, making them a great discussion tool. In addition, each book comes with its own discussion list as well as tips on coping with anxiety or overcoming differences, for example.

Each small story concentrates on one particular issue, be it bullying, a family break-up, the importance of friends, kindness and teamwork, as well as working towards making strong communities, appreciating nature and the environment. The importance of a simple apology and how it can make a difference is the subject of one.

Not rocket science but simple common sense, although as Martha observes, there’s little of that around at times.

All the formal education in the world doesn’t seem to teach life skills but Martha remembers her parents’ old sayings, as well as stories she heard around the hearth in her native Limerick, and much of that has stood to her over the years.

Then, while writing these books, many more adages and folk tales came to her from memory and she’s honed all this knowledge in the stories.

She arrived in Galway in 2008 with her two young sons as “a proud divorcee” from Germany. It was a tough decision for her and her first few years here were hard. Martha had left a highly paid job as a professional business coach to some of Germany’s top companies, including Siemens.

“There were times when I didn’t know how we were going to survive or even if we would have a roof over our heads, but thankfully it all worked out in the end. But not without a lot of support from old and new friends, here in Galway,” she explains.

She uses the word return because she attended UCG (now the University of Galway) in the 1980s, graduating with a BSc in Physics and Maths, and always believed she would live in the city again. She later got an MBA (Masters in Business).


Pictured: Martha Begley Schade: ‘It’s joyous now to have found myself with a purpose again after years of being a single parent with little or no money. PHOTO JOE O’SHAUGHNESSY.

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