Borough mum and teacher inspired by nature for children's book

Jennifer Doyle, from Astley, is the author behind 'Billy the Blackbird'

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 7:00 am
Jennifer Doyle with daughter Isabella and son Harry, holding up the Billy the Blackbird book

A mum-of-two and teacher has told how lockdown and nature inspired her to want to publish a children’s book.

As was the case with so many parents in the UK, Jennifer Doyle, from Astley, had the task of homeschooling her children during the first shutdown last year.

The 38-year-old said making a bird feeder and observing the birds in her garden everyday with daughter Isabella, eight, and son Harry, six, was the driving force behind her idea for the ‘Billy the Blackbird’ series.

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Her first story, ‘Billy and the Bird feeder’, sees the children at 6 Lavender Lane keeping themselves busy by making bird feeders with their mother.

The story is about adventure, friendship and well-being when humans connect with the nature around them.

And the beautifully illustrated book contains a step by step guide of how to build a bird feeder, a guide to British Garden Birds, and exclusive access to a downloadable “Garden Bird Detective” colouring-in sheet.

Describing the inspiration for the book, Jennifer, a languages teacher at Atherton high school, said: “I wrote the book in lockdown last year.

“I was doing homeschooling as I’m a teacher myself and my son didn’t want to read.

“We were out in the garden one day and saw a big blackbird and I wrote a story about the blackbird which we called Billy.

“My children really liked the story and encouraged me to share it with others.

“Around the same time, myself and my daughter were watching the birds in the garden and we made a bird feeder for them.

“She said she had some exciting news as one of the birds in the garden had been in my book.”

It spiralled from there for Jennifer, who launched the book in February, and it has gone down really well, with more than 200 copies sold aready.

She said: “I’ve read the book in a number of schools and promoted it on social media.

“It’s done really well.

“The story is about two children building a bird feed with their mum. At the same time, a baby blackbird is making a trip out of its nest for the first time.”

From reading the book, Jennifer said she hoped children would better engage with the nature around them.

She added: “During the lockdown, you couldn’t go out much and it was all about going back to the basics and being with nature.

“There are also many mental health benefits of playing out and watching nature, which I want kids to see.”

So far Jennifer has published one book but she wants to do the series overall as 10 books.

To order a book or any other item, visit billytheblackbird.com or they are available at Bents Garden Centre.

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