From Teacher who Loved Writing to Author who Loves Storytelling
Born in the seaside town of Southport on the North West Coast of England, I spent 11 years living and teaching in London before settling back up north in Liverpool in 2011. I was an Early Years Teacher for 18 years which complemented my love of all things creative, books and words. Since leaving teaching I've changed from a teacher who loved writing into an author who loves storytelling.
By storytelling I mean traditional oral storytelling, allowing the listener to let their imagination run free. With my mascot Lamby and the rest of the Little Lamb Tales team, I tell stories at Primary schools, community events, festivals and libraries. Sometimes I take my beautiful van Buttercup with me too. She's a vintage VW camper van and she loves travelling to festivals during the summer months. She even appears in her very own book.
As for my work as an author, I was encouraged to think about publishing my work by former colleagues and some of the children who attended my storytelling events. When I won a writing competition, I made a promise to one of the judges that I would work towards publishing. In 2015, I published my first book, 'The Dragon of Allerton Oak' which is set in Calderstones Park in Liverpool. This book has sold across the country and as far away as New Zealand and Australia. I've since gone on to publish many more (you can find them in my shop) covering diverse themes such as space, exercise, Mindfulness for children, pirates, a collection of phonic poems and two bilingual books. The members of Little Lamb Tales (Team Lamby) have provided the inspiration for seven of these books and there are definitely more to come.
I love collaborating and in 2016 I started to work alongside The Bobby Colleran Trust and their Slow Down For Bobby Campaign. This is a Liverpool based charity set up following the tragic death of Bobby aged just 6 years old. His parents and family asked me to write two books both to remember Bobby and promote road safety.
Another collaboration I'm proud of is with Hal's Books A series of books which feature a main character with Autism. The characters, character names, some of the story ideas and the illustrations have all been provided by Will Hawkes. Will is autistic and wanted to create a book that he and others like him could relate to. . Since releasing the books, Will has grown in confidence and has been commissioned to illustrate for other people including author Lorna McCann. He is now studying art and design at Edge Hill University.
In February 2020 I teamed up with fellow author Natalie Reeves Billing to create Split Perspectivz a social enterprise which aims to get free literacy resources to the children who need them most. Our Builder Book project had a successful launch across Merseyside in July 2021. Since then, we have created, made and delivered around 25,000 creative literacy boxes which encourage children and families to spend time together having fun and developing a love for books and creativity. We received funding from The National Lottery, Culture Liverpool, National Lottery Heritage and Merseyside Play Action Council which allowed us to create and deliver Eurovision themed activity packs and workshops. It was wonderful to be part of the biggest party in town and make sure children enjoyed it too. We are now working on our Planet Pack which will encourage children to think about how they can be more environmentally friendly in their every day lives.
Since 2020, I have also been a core member of the Liverpool Literacy Cycle an initiative set up by Cllr Barbara Murray to improve and encourage reading, writing and spoken word across the Liverpool City Region.
Although writing for children will always be my first love, I have branched out into writing for the adult market with a collection of short stories called A Slice of Lennon and a full length novel called Kintsugi Writing these books allowed me to stretch my writing in new directions. In June 2023, Kintsugi won the Write Blend Book Award for best adult fiction novel.
So what do I get up to when I'm not writing? I love walking, camping in Buttercup, reading, music, going to gigs and the beach. I'm also rather partial to chocolate, gin and my favourite animals are elephants but don't tell Lamby!
"Jude created this workshop especially for our topic. It was wonderful for someone with specialist skills to come in. An excellent EYFS practitioner." Reception Teacher Hatfield Heath Primary.