Leeds school worker's lockdown children's story is published after praise from pupils and parents

A Leeds school teaching assistant has written, illustrated and published a  new children's book after a recording of her reading the story went down a storm with children at  home during lockdown.

By Mark Lavery
Wednesday, 13th January 2021, 6:00 am

Mum-of-three Angela Callard said her book called 'The Truth about Itty Bitties' - aimed at children aged four to seven - is written in rhyme and is an "introduction to a secret world of minute garden creatures who live under our noses."

Angela, 43, of Pudsey, said her late grandmother Gladys Prescott would tell her stories about her garden, which fired Angela's imagination when she was a child.

Angela said: "My memories of that garden are teaming with fairies, hopping frogs and contentment."

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Angela Callard with her illustration for the front cover of her children's book ''The Truth about Itty Bitties' and a model, of an Itty Bitty.

Angela, made up stories for her own children - Otis, four, Max, 12, and Eva, 22 - and created characters and stories about creatures in their garden

Angela, who studied Fine Art at Leeds Metropolitan University, has worked with children for 15 years and is currently a teaching assistant at Southroyd School, Pudsey.

She said: "Last year when the pandemic hit and gardens suddenly became our children’s only playgrounds, it struck me how useful my story could be.

"If only every child could experience a feeling of magic on their doorsteps.

The book's front cover

"As a key worker in school my role was to involve supporting the vulnerable and key worker children in school, delivering food parcels to families and church.

"When working remotely from home we were asked to record ourselves reading stories for the children in lockdown at home.

"I decided I would share my own and I was overwhelmed by the response.

"The video was also played to the children in school many of whom still come up to me with evidence they have found that proves the Itties’ existence.

"I was inundated with positive emails encouraging me to try and get my story published. I decided to take their advice and here we are.

"My wish is for my story to whisper to children about the magic outside their doors, encourage them to question the world around them and wonder if maybe, just maybe it was something more interesting than a snail that was responsible for the holes in daddy's flowers.

"I hope that it offers those who read it a small taste of magic in these otherwise difficult times."

Angela's book 'The Truth about Itty Bitties' is published by Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd of London.