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Local copywriter produces children's books used in Barnet nurseries

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Nutty the squirrel
By Michelle Eshkeri  

During the first pandemic lockdown and through to the autumn of 2020, I fulfilled a childhood ambition to write books for children.

My journey to writing began in October 2019 at a business networking session in Kings Cross where I met the photographer Maini. We connected online and saw each other’s content from time to time. By April 2020 lockdown was well underway. The sun was shining but I was head down at my computer writing a client’s website. Then, the phone rang and it was Maini who told me she had ideas for a health and wellbeing children’s book series and was looking for a co-author. The project sounded fun and important – we would be helping parents and teachers introduce common childhood issues to kids, in a sensitive and sometimes humorous way – I couldn’t wait to get started.

The first story is about Nutty, a squirrel with a problem. He has a nut allergy and cannot work in the family business. Over the next few months, we wrote twelve books and a great deal of care was taken by our illustrators Juliette Najman, Bettinal Fernandez and Farman Mirza, to bring the texts to life.

Ten books make up the ‘Dare To Be Different’ series aimed at children aged three-seven years. Each book features an animal character who is dealing with a common childhood issue. We’ve covered nut allergy, insomnia, hay fever and fussy eating to name a few. The books help parents, carers and teachers to introduce these topics to young children to inspire empathy with siblings and friends or cope better themselves with tricky wellbeing problems.

The remaining two books are a counting book in multiple languages for two to three-year-olds called Poppy Puppy Counts and a story about different types of families. The books are being used in Barnet nursery and primary schools and there are plans to do some author readings once schools are accepting visits again.

Marianne Corcoran, The Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) Belmont School, Mill Hill Preparatory School said: “We all have strengths that can be nurtured and this little book is an ideal way to explore nut allergies with young children. The tale of a delightful squirrel with a nut allergy is a wonderful addition to the school library. I look forward to reading more in the series.”

We would love to see our books used to support the PSHE curriculum in early years and primary education. So far four books are available on Amazon. You can contact us or you can email me directly at [email protected]

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