Room in the Nest follows a swan husband and wife who open up their nest and hearts to all the bird children in need for as long as necessary. What was the inspiration for your story?
I adopted my son a few years ago, and we stay in touch with his lovely foster carers. We’ve seen several children come into their care, some of whom have been reunited with their birth families, some of whom have been moved into kinship placements. My son understands that we adopted him, so he started to ask questions about why his foster siblings and other children looked after by his foster carers ended up in different sorts of families.
What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?
The moral is that children need to be kept safe, and the most important theme throughout the story is that all of the adults pictured have the best interests of the children at heart. The social worker character, Caring Goose, seeks advice from the Wise Owl, who makes suggestions to ensure that lots of options are considered before a child is removed from their family. The Wise Owl also ensures that the children are placed with family members when possible, or that a suitable adoptive family is found, but there are recurrent reminders throughout the book that the foster carers are there to help any children who need to be loved and looked after throughout these periods of uncertainty.
What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?
I wanted to help normalise all of these different family structures and help children to understand the basics of foster care, in an accessible way.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next story is created to help children to understand that making a few bad choices doesn’t make them a bad person, to try to help children who find themselves labelled as the “bad kid” at school, to see that they are not intrinsically “bad” and they can make kind choices. I am working on the illustrations now, and plan to publish it this Winter.
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