The Launch of Pip’s Storybook

Published on: July 11, 2024

The A Better Start Southend mascot Pip has come to life in it’s own storybook. Crafted by previous ABSS Parent Champion’s and the team at SAVS, ABSS are proud to announce it’s release! The storybook follows Pip on a fun-filled adventure during a little one’s first day of school! From walking to school and arts and crafts, to exploring the outdoors, bath time, and bedtime, Pip is there every step of the way.

We hear from one of our previous Parent Champion, Kate on the journey of bringing Pip’s storybook to life!

I was super excited to be part of a small project to deliver the mission of writing a short children’s book – the brainchild of Kirsty, a previous parent champion who had a vision for creating a story featuring Pip.

I love reading and always have done… even as a child my appetite for books was huge; once I started, I just couldn’t stop – I would sit up late and wake up early to read as much as I could. I remember borrowing Ronald Dahl’s Matilda from a friend at school, the shock on her face when I returned her book the next day, I could only have been 9 or 10 years old.

Working on the development of a book felt like a beautiful and natural thing to be part of, however Julia Donaldson I am not, and she was definitely my inspiration for storytelling; the rhyme & rhythm, the fun and energy in every book she writes.

I accepted the challenge and it was great to start working with the team. We began creating together, looking at what we wanted to achieve with the book and agreed the story should follow the same goals as the ABSS programme; with a focus on starting Reception class, separation from main carer, new experiences and the possible rollercoaster of emotions.  Pip would feature, providing support for each of the situations in the story. We also wanted Julia’s unique and adorable drawings to reflect the different groups of people living in our City.

As we worked together, our big ambitions became clearer as we considered what the drawings might look like and how to create a meaningful story that would keep readers interested and spark conversation. We also used Google Sheets to work together sharing suggestions and feedback. This worked well as the team couldn’t always meet up at the same time.  As the drawings were created, we really started to see the story come to life.

What I didn’t expect was how complicated it is to write a rhyming story, ensuring this continued and flowed throughout the book. I was sure rhyming was right but it certainly didn’t make things easier! I lost track of the hours spent both as a team and separately, creating wording that felt relatable to a child’s experience of the world, but once we got there, what an achievement that was – AN ACTUAL REAL BOOK – ONE THAT RHYMES!

What an exciting piece of work to have been involved in, I couldn’t feel more privileged! Thank you to ABSS for giving me the opportunity to grow by trying something different & unexpected and to Michelle for her patience with my endless feedback and suggestions! To the wider team – what a cracking bunch you were to work with and Julia for your artistic talent!

If you are an early years setting and would like a copy of the book please contact: mgray@savs-southend.co.uk

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