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 five 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. The campaign is gathering momentum and to date I've spoken to around 150,000 children about the importance of being safe on the roads. The campaign is starting to spread beyond Merseyside. Primary Schools can get in touch to enquire about a FREE assembly by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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. The first book 'Hal and the End Street' was an Amazon No 1 Best Seller in Category following its release to coincide with Autism Awareness Week. Will and I launched book two in April 2019. Since releasing the books, Will has grown in confidence and has been commissioned to illustrate for other people including author Lorna McCann.
In February 2020 I teamed up with fellow author Natalie Reeves Billing and designer Joe Totti 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. We have plans to take it further afield in the future.
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.