Slowly I asked, “You want HOW many children involved?”

The Unique Unicorn Book Cover Image

A few weeks ago I took some vacation from my day job at IBM and spent a week with a primary school in the UK to embark on an extremely rewarding experience.

So why would I take a number of vacation days and dedicate it to a school?

The school had previously got in contact with me (as a children’s author), because the teachers were having different themed days celebrating the culture of the different languages (now 25) that are spoken at the school. They asked if I could read to the children on English day.

This was a simple enough request, as readings only take a few minutes, but the conversation took a somewhat unusual turn, as they started to enquire about the process of book creation.

Within minutes I found myself enthusiastically agreeing I would be delighted to help them bring out their own book and given the current theme, the subject was very quickly decided on as diversity.

Then something I hadn’t thought about, happened next.

“Well,” one of the teachers said, “we would have to involve all 330 children.”

I looked at both teachers, whom were wide eyed with excitement, but I needed clarification of the statement and quite slowly asked; “You want HOW many children involved?”

The reply hadn’t changed and whilst the teachers were chatting away about the possibilities and wonders of bringing out their very own book, my brain was racing with thoughts of “I’m not sure it’s possible…” and “how on earth?”

For me the publishing process tends to be;

  1. I write the story
  2. I work with my illustrator
  3. A lot of editing of both
  4. The book gets published

But to include 330 potential illustrators and authors seemed crazy.  How could I possibly include that many people in one story?

The stop of chattering of the teachers brought my thoughts sharply back to their attention as I realised they were both waiting for a response from me.

“I’m not sure how I can include that many children…” I began to say, but one of the teachers sweetly smiled and explained that diversity in their school meant the inclusion of every child.

They were absolutely right. I had to find a way to achieve it.

In a few days time… you will see the result.

www.facebook.com/TheUniqueUnicornBook

 

Through tears she said: “If you can help those with Dementia, then you must.”

In 2014, I participated as an IBM advisor for the students in the International Healthcare Competition hosted by Warwick Business School.  The case study was based on how technology can help the carers of those with Dementia.

After the event, I was having dinner with a group of friends and was explaining some of the ideas that the students had came up with and how impressed I was at their suggestions.

What happened next, shocked me.

One friend, leaned across from the table, grabbed me, and through the tears running down her face she said, “If you can help those with Dementia, then you must.”

She made me promise.

My friend, who was a nurse on a Dementia ward, told me of the agony that the family, friends, nurses and carers go through on a daily basis.

Over the following months, I discussed this with lots of people and was saddened by how many were affected.

It dawned on me the incredible heartache that is associated to each person diagnosed.  The on-going battle of emotions of love and frustration of every generation involved.

For months I kept asking myself, “what can I do to help?”

I considered how heart-breaking it would be, if I had to explain the situation to my own children who adore their grandparents.

As a published children’s author, it was this part that I felt I may be able to make a difference.

In January 2016, I published “The Buttercup Game” (Amazon UK , Amazon US) which is for children aged 8 and younger. It follows a young rabbit called Grady Grey, whose Nana is losing her memory but he wants to find a way to still have fun.

I believe I am only just getting started on what I can do to make a difference, but for now…

I hope this helps.