An English teacher and librarian at Keswick School has just had her third children’s book published and it has gone on sale in the town.
Helen Robinson, who writes under her maiden name, Haraldsen, was inspired to pen A Tale of Two Shoes following a challenge she set children in the school’s writers and illustrators club and a dog walk she took in woods on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake.
“I challenged the children to write a story from the point of view of an object,” said 40-year-old Helen.
“I gave them the option of a clock, a mirror or a shoe.
“They all chose either a clock or a mirror, but I’d recently seen a leopard print, high-heeled boot abandoned in woodland while I was walking my dogs.
“It got me wondering about how it had got there and where its partner was, and how you often see random single shoes lying around in strange places. That was what sparked my idea to write about two shoes — Shane and Sheila — who get separated and struggle to cope without each other.
“It was written two years ago, but it’s actually quite relevant for the current times as it deals with characters who are forced with a sudden and unexpected change to their lives.”
Last year Helen released the first two books in her Amber’s Pony Tales series and her third was to be launched at the Badminton Horse Trials in May, but the event was cancelled because of COVID-19. It will now come out on 4th October — World Animal Day.
Her fourth book, The Dalmatian that Lost its Spots – will come out just before Christmas.
Her latest book is aimed at children aged seven and under, while her pony books — Little Pearl and The Second Best Pony — are for an older audience.
“You would have thought it would be easier to write for younger children,” said Helen, who lives at Great Clifton, near Workington.
“But it’s much harder trying to pack a full story into a limited word count.
“I spent a lot of time thinking about how these two shoes which got separated are reunited. After spending so much time thinking about how they get back together I decided to change the storyline to how they don’t and explore the idea of how you can lose a friend.”
Helen’s new book is available at Bookends in Main Street.