The star of one of children’s TV ‘s most loved shows is using her own experiences of disability to help children understand what it’s like to be different and how to embrace their own uniqueness.
Kim Tserkezie who played Penny Pocket in the hit CBeebies series, Balamory has written her first children’s book, “Toys for Tomorrow” about young Millie, a wheelchair user who has a love for adventure and an amazing Grandad who helps her see how, with a little guidance, even the cheekiest little ones can channel their energy into something positive and wonderful.
The book is the first in a series entitled, “The Wheelie Wonderful Life of Millie Monroe” and Kim is now taking the time to talk to children about the book and her experiences of disability and how she became successful in her chosen career.
Indeed, the Newcastle based actress has had a fully active life. As well as being a mum to her two children Stella and Jay, Kim’s acting credits have seen her working alongside Robson Green and gaining membership of the prestigious BAFTA organisation. She has also recently launched her own production company, Scattered Pictures and was voted in a national poll as ‘the best representation of a wheelchair user on screen’ and one of the ‘most influential disabled people in the UK.
Millie’s story simply came into Kim’s head one morning and led her to question the lack of disabled lead characters in children’s books. That realisation made Kim even more determined to address the balance and give other disabled children a positive role model to look up to and learn from.
“The books are based on a young wheelchair-user, her little life and her little community, based on a little bit of my own experience. I’m hoping it’ll be something that children find fun and enjoy” said Kim.
Kim has received mentoring and support from her publisher and fellow author Catherine Muir from Edinburgh who herself has written a series of books about a girl who is teased because of her name, Scarlet Underpants. The two authors will soon be doing a short tour of North East venues and bookstores where Kim will be reading from Toys for Tomorrow.
As a taster for the tour, the first venue visited was Collingwood School & Media Arts College in Morpeth where Kim read the book to xx students who all have special needs.
“I wanted to launch this book in the North East at a school where the children would be able to identify with Millie. Their reactions were great and they all seemed to enjoy the experience of the reading and the messages conveyed in the story.”
Head teacher Richard Jones was delighted that Kim has chosen his school for the book launch.
“We are a specialist media arts college and therefore we not only benefited from hearing Kim read the new book but we also heard about her career as an actress and how she started the production company too. Coincidently too, we have just won a Green Schools award and Kim’s book deals with recycling. We wish Kim every success with the book and look forward to welcoming her back when the next one is released.”
Dates for Kim’s book reading appearances will be posted soon.
Copies of the book are available from the publisher at kittycatpublishing.com/books/toys-for-tomorrow