Merseyside author’s children’s book to help kids understand lockdown
3 years ago
Merseyside author Natalie Reeves-Billing has written a new children’s book which she says is perfect for families who might be struggling with the coronavirus lockdown.
My Mummy Is A Monster is the first in a series of books which tell a story from two different sides – children’s and parents’ – to help them understand each other’s perspectives.
They are told back-to-back, so young readers can experience both one after the next and hopefully see the bigger picture.
Natalie, who comes from Toxteth and now lives in Wirral, says My Mummy Is A Monster is a way to help children and parents in what has been a testing few weeks.
She said: “It’s been a very tough time for a lot of families trying to balance working from home, home schooling, exercise, entertainment and general day to day living.
“That was one of the reasons why I thought the monsters theme was perfect for now because in lockdown families are on top of each other all the time, so you end up thinking that way sometimes. I think all of us can feel pretty monstrous now and then, and there are times when we see little monsters in our children and they see that in us.
“Kids are adjusting to this new pattern of life where they haven’t got their routine and they’re missing their friends and family and all of a sudden parents have had to become their teachers, trying to make them learn when we’re really not that adept at it.
“It changes the dynamic a bit between parent and child, and that can be really hard.”
Natalie, who’s 39, has two young children herself. She’s currently in lockdown with husband Colin, her stepson Greg who’s 23 and his girlfriend Meg, and her two children Ellie-Rose, aged six, and seven-year-old Nathaniel.
It was when her children were born that the former singer and songwriter discovered a love of children’s fiction.
“I decided to take some time off, and that’s when I started writing for my own kids and things really came into focus.
“They came along and they give me that window into a place I’d forgotten existed, where every day seems like an adventure.”
Natalie created the new series of books off the back of her social enterprise project Split Perspectivz which helps Liverpool schoolchildren to use storytelling as a way of therapy and better understanding family dynamics.
“The idea is that they are a fun, light-hearted way to show there are two sides to every story,” she explained. “And when I went into schools, teachers said they could also be a jump-off point to a bigger debate, encouraging children to see things from another point of view.
“So now there are activities as well that parents can download free from the website (monsterousme.com), which get children thinking about and writing down things that are more relevant specifically to them, their own families and friends.
“Everybody has a story to be told, and once you start writing everything down, you start understanding more.”
Illustrated by artist Lisa Williams, My Mummy Is A Monster will be published on Amazon from midnight on Tuesday, May 5. Natalie will be recording live read-a-long sessions and question forums on her social media pages throughout the week. Find them on Natalie’s Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.
An eBook will be released on May 15 and a special hardback flipbook edition will be released later this summer.
Natalie hopes the new books – My Daddy, My Teacher and even My Dog are in the pipeline – can give parents and children a chance to look at situations from another point of view so they develop a sense of balance and wellbeing.
“So the timing of the launch really couldn’t be more apt,” she added. “I hope this first book is a way to bring families together and get them to see things from both perspectives and hopefully make the rest of lockdown (and life) that bit easier to understand.”