After two years in the making a children’s picture book promoting diversity and kindness is finally due to be published by independent publisher, Dreamy Books.
Created by former Broadstairs creative writing student Lauren Busby and illustrated by Margate’s award-winning Alex Foster, Woblin is an uplifting children’s rhyming story with strong moral messages throughout.
Focusing on a character by the same name, Woblin, previously ridiculed and driven to exile due to her physical appearance, meets a young boy who has also been teased. Together, they embark on an adventure, which leads them to discover the importance of what’s inside and the value of helping others, giving them both the new-found inner strength and sense of self-worth they had been missing.
The book, which has already gained interest from more than 400 people on Dreamy Books’ social media pages, is due to be released mid-November, with a signing and exhibition event scheduled to commemorate the launch.
Taking place at the recently-opened live music venue and record store Elsewhere in Margate, the launch night will feature a reading of the story by a small group of children close to the author’s heart, plus inspiring talks from esteemed members of the local community.
With Woblin’s message centered around being “kind and brave and smart”, Ann Wells MBE (President of Thanet Scouts & St Johns Ambulance Southern Division) will speak on kindness. Daniel Jackson (Changing Faces, Let’s Face It, YMCA and The Scar Free Foundation charities ambassador) will tackle bravery and Susan Emm (Kent Adult Education Tutor and co-founder of Wandering with Words at Quex) will discuss being smart.
The book will be available to buy on the evening, along with Woblin-branded notebooks, pencils, stickers and prints.
Lauren, 38, said: “I wrote Woblin as I was – and still am – feeling frustrated with the world we live in. It feels as though such emphasis and importance is placed on physical beauty and perfection.
“Not only does this irresponsible and damaging message fuel the flames of insecurities and poor self-esteem/self-worth, it also ostracises those with physical differences, which is completely unacceptable.
“With the digital age we live in, this information is readily available to people of all ages – including children and teens in the midst of their formative and delicate years. It’s who you are on the inside that really counts.
“This has been my greatest life lesson to date. It took me the longest time to realise it myself, as I have always struggled with my own physical identity. From the youngest age, I was conscious that I was different to the other girls I saw – not only on TV and in magazines, but also peers in my classroom and other girls I would see in the street.
“Being over 6ft tall myself, I have always stood out and felt like an “enormous creature” – a bit of a freak. It was rare to see overly tall girls during the 80s and 90s and the constant gawking and disparaging comments were difficult to process positively.
“I hated how different I was physically to others – I just desperately wanted to fit in. It battered my own self-esteem over the years and brought some inner demons into my adulthood. It was only as I began to age and mature that I realised it was my actions and my inner self that define me.
“Every single person in the world is different in one way or another and that is, really, a beautiful thing. I get that now, but it would have been really helpful to have a role model like Woblin telling me it was okay to be different! Even the stories I read as a child would describe and feature the most beautiful and perfect characters.
“To me, kindness, bravery and being smart are life’s true gifts. It doesn’t matter where we come from, how privileged our upbringing was, we all have it in us to be kind. It costs nothing and yet the results are limitless. I do not just mean being kind to ourselves, but to others, too. I just wanted to send some positivity into the world.”
Woblin launch night and exhibition will be on Saturday,November 17 at 6pm, at Elsewhere, 21-22 The Centre, Margate. Free entry for all!
If you are interested in buying the book, priced £11.95, and/or merchandise, visit www.dreamybooks.co.uk after November 17.