How a cat from Hartlepool is helping to raise awareness of special needs and disabilities
A Hartlepool author is spreading messages – including about disability and inclusion – and he is using his beloved cat as his inspiration.
Buster the brave feline was a rescue cat which had previously been badly hurt, could not walk properly and had mental health issues, said Alan Wright who took him in to his own home.
But his courageous past inspired Alan into writing about him and Buster, who has been in Alan’s family for five years, has become one of the stars in a series of books for children.
It spreads a very important message to the younger generation – that people are still important just because they might look or speak differently.
And Buster is not the only feline to feature in Alan’s series of new publications which are already getting global interest.
Two fictional cats called Cuthbert and Sherbert are also stars and the terrific trio have great times as they travel the world.
The books, illustrated by Tom Burchell, are an extension of Alan’s cherished memories with his grandchildren. He would tell them stories of cats and soon got the writing bug as a result of those family tales.
Each book has a theme and treating people with respect is one. Each book is a tale of cats having an adventure. They get to enjoy travelling on a train, learning about money, going to hospital, school days and family trees.
They are a great read for children but there’s an extra bonus. They always carry lots of quirky facts so that youngsters are learning as well, said Alan who is known to thousands of people as a Hartlepool Mail columnist, radio and TV presenter and a public speaker.
"They are fun books but they teach children as well,” he said. “They learn about topics such as foreign languages and how history happened.”
Each book has a foreword which encourages children to talk to their parents if they have learned something new.
Now he is appealing to a completely different audience and is loving his time as an author.
"It is enjoyable and I have kept the books anchored in the North East,” said Alan. “But it is the reaction from the children which makes it special.”
Three books have been published in the series – titled Kitten Cuthbert – so far and Alan is in the middle of his fourth but he has just been commissioned to produce 10 more.
One of his books, which looks at the Vikings, teaches people about countries such as Denmark and Norway. Others teach children about language and history.
Alan said feedback has indicated that the Kitten Cuthbert series is superb at targeting the STEAM topics of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.
The Kitten Cuthbert series of books is available to buy either through the Kitten Cuthbert website at http://kittencuthbert.com/ or through Amazon and cost £9.99 each.
Kitten Cuthbert’s website also includes his first film, and his shop as well as how people can find out more about “meet the author” events for schools and charities.