Karen Owen on Major and Mynah and illustrated detective books for kids

Major and Mynah by Karen Owen. Book cover and author photo.


This month we’ve sent our Parakeet subscribers a super fun and wildly charming story that is perfect for budding young detectives! Callie has hearing loss and does not like wearing her hearing aids – until she discovers they’re the source of a very special superpower. With her best friend Grace and Bo the Mynah bird, she sets out to catch a troublesome thief. We love that this book combines humour, action and adventure, not to mention the brilliant characters and talking animals! Here author Karen Owen tells us all about what inspired the book and which detective books for young readers she recommends you read next.

What inspired you to write Major and Mynah?

When I was younger, I had to miss out on a lot of fun things because I was poorly. My way of coping with this was to imagine I had a superpower. I pretended I could fly as fast as a plane, swim like a dolphin, and hear things that no-one else could. That gave me the idea for Major and Mynah.

Why did you choose to write about a character with hearing loss?

I have hearing loss which means I wear hearing aids in both ears. Also, I use lip-reading to help me, and I’m learning sign language (BSL). When I was a child, I never found a story where the main character has hearing loss but it’s not the main point of the story. For Callie, her hearing issue is just part of who she is and it’s not the end of the world for her.

Do you think you would make a good detective? What are your special skills?

I think I’d be a good detective! Because I don’t hear so well, I watch a lot instead. I watch how people move, at the looks on their faces, and I wonder what they’re doing and why. I like writing as well, so I’d take lots of notes. I like reading mystery stories, looking for clues and discovering things – just like Callie and Grace. Oh, and I’m rather nosey!

Do you think Bo would make a good pet?

Bo is funny and loyal and a good friend to Callie, so I think he’d make a great pet. BUT he’s also greedy and doesn’t always listen. I think he’d need to work on that!

Can you tell us anything about what happens next to Callie, Grace and Bo?

Expect more fun and adventures and a little bit of naughtiness from Bo! He sneaks into Callie’s bag and goes with her on a school trip to the Tower of London. But when some precious gold coins are stolen, S.P.U.D. have another case on their hands to solve – and they need the help of the famous ravens who live there.

Do you have a favourite place to write?

I like writing in my room at home because it’s my happy place: it’s where I dream up ideas and play in my imagination. I’ve got a purple sofa that I like daydreaming on, and there’s lots of books and photos and colourful fairy lights in there. When I’m creating a new story, I’ll often go for very long walks and then scribble ideas in my notebook. It’s only when I can imagine the story that I’ll write it on my computer

Which other detective books for younger readers would you recommend our subscribers read next?

I loved Max the Detective Cat series by Sarah Todd Taylor (published by Nosy Crow).  

Copies of our Major and Mynah pack, including a copy of the book and loads of fun activities to go with it, are now available for individual purchase. Grab a copy while stocks last!

This post includes affiliate links to our bookshop.org page, meaning we receive a small percentage of the sale should you purchase through them. Additionally, a percentage from all sales on the platform goes directly to local UK bookshops which is an initiative we're delighted to support!


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