A manager at a flood-hit nursery in Carlisle has worked with publishing professionals to create a new children’s book that tackles the devastation of water damage.
Sarah Cooper at Crosby Nursery, Low Crosby, came up with the idea for Katie and The Floods and enlisted author Sue Fox, whose home near the nursery was also flooded, to help her.
A book launch is taking place on Friday 27 May at the Halston Hotel in Carlisle from 6pm to 9pm.
Katie in the book was inspired by Sarah’s own daughter, Katie, aged four, who struggled to make her feelings known after Storm Desmond hit last December as her parents rushed around fixing things and helping people.
The aim of the story is to reflect on the events, provide an opportunity to discuss fears and uncertainties and help to heal emotional scars.
The ground floor of NDNA member Crosby Nursery was completely flooded with water from a nearby river meaning it had to bring in portable buildings in its car park for several weeks.
A couple of nursery children had flooded homes and many more saw friends and relatives suffer disruption.
Sarah said: “A few weeks after the storm, Katie told my husband, her dad, Nick, that he was no good for her any more.
“My eyes filled with tears and I asked why. She said it was because he was too busy to play with her – and that she knew he was trying to help other people, so hadn’t wanted to say anything. Nick is a joiner so he was lending a hand wherever he could.”
Sarah continued: “I started to think back and I realised that Katie had tried to tell us how she was feeling but sadly we were just too busy to listen. I wondered about other children and how they might be feeling after something so devastating happening where they live.”
Sue Fox, an experienced children’s author, fleshed out Sarah’s ideas and brought in renowned artists Irene Sanderson and Anna McKay, also from the local area, to illustrate the book.
Aimed at three to seven-year-olds, Katie and the Floods is now on sale locally at £5, thanks to contributions from local business sponsors that covered printing costs.
Pre-school children at Cosby Nursery were among the first to listen to the story when Sue visited to read it. Sarah says: “They were interested and engaged. They shared their memories of Storm Desmond and asked lots of questions.”
Other nurseries, including from NDNA’s Carlisle network, and schools affected by the floods are set to attend the book launch, which is open to the general public.
NDNA Chief Executive, Purnima Tanuku OBE, said: “This book is something good to come out of a very difficult time for Crosby Nursery and several other nurseries in Carlisle and other areas hit by floods.
“It was great to see how the NDNA Carlisle network members pulled together to help each other. I hope the book will help children to reflect on the disruption they faced and to talk about it and make sense of it.”