First book aims to educate children about coronavirus

A Leasingham woman better known as a accessibility campaigner and founder of the Sleaford Laffletics young people’s disability sports club has penned her first book.

Thelma Smith, of Leasingham, with her first children's book, The Huggable Hoglet. EMN-211125-171022001
Thelma Smith, of Leasingham, with her first children's book, The Huggable Hoglet. EMN-211125-171022001

Thelma Smith found herself with time on her hands during lockdown and finally fulfilled a long-held ambition to publish a children’s book, called The Huggable Hoglet.

She said: “When the weather turned bad and I couldn’t go outdoors, I noticed a hedgehog in the garden and so focussed on that.

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“I came up with the idea of the little hedgehog going on a journey.”

She explained the story, aimed at seven and eight year olds, is a metaphor to help children interpret and understand what has been happening with coronavirus.

“Henrietta wakes up from hibernation to see the world is different and goes on an adventure to get a hug from a friend, but the virus means no-one will hug her,” said Thelma. “It answers the questions children would be asking to gain comfort, but has a nice outcome at the end.

“I came up with the idea on my 60th birthday in January 2020 and it has been a journey to find out how to publish it. I learned a lot about how to make a book.

“I have also illustrated it myself and so it is all my own work - with guidance from the publishers,” she said.

She ended up using an Australian publisher, Ocean Reeve, who she got in touch with through a friend of a friend, after discovering UK publishers too busy at the time.

“I tested it out on family and friends and their little ones to see what they thought of it and I am hoping to get it read in schools. It nicely explains things, from a child’s point of view, why all these changes have happened,” said Thelma.

She has already sold around 100 copies of the book, priced at £7.99, via Facebook in less than a week and it will be available as an ebook on Amazon.

She is also sending them out by post on request and you can call 07974 306754 to arrange to get a copy.

Thelma admits: “It is not a money-making project, but I will make a donation to the Laffletics Club.”

“It is quite exciting,” she said. “I have another idea for a book but I will wait and see how I go with this one.”