Sue Perks, from Gnosall, has been telling stories to children in schools and libraries across the country for two decades and reached out to Staffordshire University when she decided to publish her first book.
With support from Career Liaison Manger Sally Thompson within the Careers Team, Sue was introduced to student Amber Bond who has just completed her BA (Hons) Illustration degree
Sue explained: “I’ve been telling my stories for years and some of the teachers I work with encouraged me to turn one of them into a children’s book. It’s the first time that I’ve ever actually typed up one of my stories.”
After seeing some of Amber’s work, Sue knew she was the right person to bring the tale ‘Dandelion’s Unexpected Adventure’ to life.
“Amber didn’t run away when I said that I wanted to make a book about a fairy riding a grasshopper!” Sue commented.
“When I first saw her illustrations for the book it was amazing. It was almost like Amber could see how I imagined all the characters in my mind.”
Amber, 21, from Fenton, said: “As soon as I got the email about this opportunity, I knew it was perfect for me! I had so much fun designing the characters, I’ve really enjoyed it.
“I’m so happy that Sue likes my illustrations. The hardest part was the type setting and page layout and making sure that it all worked. But it was a great opportunity to put some of the skills that I’ve learned on the course into practice.”
The book tells the story of woodland fairy Dandelion who befriends a grasshopper when she gets lost one day.
Sue said: “Dandelion’s job is to take buckets of honey to every fairy house but she is quite clumsy and it ends up in her hair, on her slippers, on her dress.
“She feels a bit useless and asks her mum why she can’t be clever, pretty or brave like her friends. Her mum tells her that everyone is good at something, you’ve just got to find out what it is. That’s the main message of the book.”
After being printed on campus at Staffordshire University, ‘Dandelion’s Unexpected Adventure’ is now available to buy online and Sue and Amber are hosting a book launch at Stoke Library on Thursday 12 October which will be attended by local schoolchildren.
Amber, who has just begun an MA Illustration at Staffordshire University, added: “To get a job like this straight off the bat after graduating was amazing. I’ve made my own comic books and colouring books but nothing like a proper story book.
“It feels incredible and I’m glad that all the hard work has paid off. Now I have the book to show to potential employers and I hope to get more jobs like this in the future.”