"I have over 15 years experience in copywriting and journalism for a variety of High Street and online retailers, as well as various media outlets. I run a local children's storytelling club and I love writing.
I had the idea for Picture-This Books™, whilst reading to my youngest son in 2017. We were on holiday in Northern Ireland at the time and he was especially relaxed and being extra sprite-like. We got to the end of the book and he remarked that something didn't look as he had imagined it. My son is autistic and often interprets information in a really original way. His creativity is out of this world but that doesn't stop the world doing everything it can to encourage it back down to earth.
I could write pages and pages on my opinion of the education system teach-to-the-test mentality, the hollow understanding it gives our children and the side-effects of a narrowed curriculum that is increasingly lacking in creative subject choice. But you get the gist, right?
My son's comments got me thinking about representation in general, so I did some research and it led to some alarming findings.
For example, a study by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) and funded by Arts Council England, found that of the 9,115 children’s books published in the UK in 2017, only 391 – 4% - featured a character from an ethnic minority.
As for physical disabilities, neurodiversity and any other minority group, they are also grossly under-represented in children's books, especially when it comes to central characters.
Children's literature is an important tool for education but what are we teaching our children if they can't relate to the protagonists of their favourite books?
I decided to stop procrastinating and start work on a series of fully inclusive books that kids can put themselves into; children's books that spark the imagination, whilst celebrating creativity and individuality.
There was something else too, since I'd begun delving into the world of children's literature, I'd begun questioning the information our children receive on a daily basis. That's when I started looking into the power of affirmations, breath-work and mindfulness.
Our children don't remember a time before phones and tablets. They will only ever know their parents as plugged in and connected - always available.
Emails, social media, messaging services - it's a stroke of modern genius. It's also utterly exhausting.
Life has become one huge shouty spectacle - and it's always streaming.
I decided that Picture-This Books™ would do its bit to offer an alternative. One that inspires children to steal their time back, and spend it in a universe of their own extraordinary creation."
Book 2 will be published in autumn 2020!