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Local artist ‘books’ a hit with Baldric the Blackbird


Jun 14, 2017

A local Teesside artist is celebrating after her self-published children’s book, inspired by a real-life animal, proved a sell-out hit on its first print run.

Yarm-based artist, Janice Foley, was already well-known for the Yarm Originals website and the ‘Roseberry Hare’ series of paintings, postcards and tiles, depicting stunning local landscapes and the popular hare character.

Janice got the idea to write her first book, Baldric’s Big Adventure, after noticing a blackbird which landed in her garden one day, minus any feathers on top of its head. Further research revealed the condition could be down to nervousness, inspiring Janice to put pen to paper to create the character of ‘Baldric the Blackbird’.

Set over the course of a year, the story helps children explore issues of nervousness and how to overcome fears.

Speaking of her first book, Janice said: “I was so excited to discover the book had sold-out and another run was necessary. The feedback has been wonderful, from those who recognise me as ‘The Lady in the Shed’ and my paintings to people who wouldn’t have come across any of my work in the past.

“The story is slightly longer than your average children’s book and that has resonated with people, who are enjoying reading a chapter at a time with their young ones and discovering what Baldric gets up to next!

“As well as online sales, we’ve also done readings in schools, with teachers able to use different elements of the book as a teaching aid; in addition to the themes explored in the story, the entire book rhymes and the children can create their own artwork using the book as a basis.”

Visitors to WHSmith at Teesside Park were recently treated to a book signing by Janice, with children able to leave good luck messages for Baldric to read. A second print run is currently available.

By Emily