Liverpool’s Natalie Reeves Billing, founder of a venture that helps children from underprivileged areas, sees My Mummy Is A Monster published this week
Book signings and launch events may be on pause, but one Liverpool social entrepreneur is forging ahead with the launch of her debut children’s book.
Toxteth-born Natalie Reeves Billing, is seeing her debut children’s book published this week, on May 5. Called My Mummy Is A Monster, it is the first in her Monstrous Me collection. They have a back-to-back parent and child version format, which Natalie hopes will help struggling families better communicate through the Coronavirus crisis and beyond.
The series comes off the back of Natalie’s work as a social entrepreneur and owner of Split Perspectivz, a project which encourages school children from underprivileged areas of Liverpool to use storytelling as a way of therapy and to better understand family dynamics.
The books, which are being released in paperback on Amazon, have already caused a stir with Natalie’s 27,000 Twitter followers and have caught the attention of those, such Natalie, who have found the challenges of family life in 2020 hard.
She said: “It’s been a very tough time for a lot of families trying to balance working from home, home schooling, exercise, entertainment and general day to day living. A lot of parents have probably felt like monsters at one time or another over the last six weeks and I’m sure they’ve thought the same about their kids.
“It’s hoped that this book is a way to bring families together and get them to see things from both perspectives and hopefully make the rest of lockdown (and life) that bit easier to understand. After all, people need creativity, books and quality time, now more than ever.”
While the restrictions in place due to the Coronavirus crisis mean there will be no official launch event for My Mummy Is A Monster, Natalie will be adapting by recording Live read along sessions and question forums on her social media pages on the day of the launch and throughout the next week.
Natalie has been an internationally regarded songwriter and poet for many years, however after having her own two children, began her journey into writing for children. Then mum-of-two added: “The idea of the books is to show there are two sides to every story.
“They are supposed to be fun and on the cusp of a bit daring! I’m not afraid to talk about bogies and bums and things that gets the kids attention, it definitely makes the messages easier to understand.”
My Mummy is a Monster, is pitched from the child’s perspective, remarking on daily tasks such as how brushing their hair is like mummy using “a club made of spikes”, to tales of being “tossed into a hard iron cage to go monster shopping.”.
My Children are Monsters flips the story and recalls it very differently – such as how “brushing fur is not something they like”, and when they go shopping “they take out veg and pound me with it”.
Natalie hopes the new books can give both parent and child a chance to look at situations from another point of view, helping children develop a sense of balance, roundedness and wellbeing.
“Children can literally and figuratively, turn the story on its head,” she said. “It’s a cathartic experience for both parent and child and as the series goes on more aspects of family life will be involved.”
Working with Liverpool-based social enterprise, The Women’s Organisation, Natalie was able to access fully-funded business support, training and advice through the Enterprise Hub programme to help launch Split Perspectivz earlier this year.
Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund to support local people to explore self-employment as a way to make an income for themselves and helps them through the start-up phase and the early years of growing.
As a first-time author Natalie was also able to tap into further support from Enterprise Hub partners, Writing On the Wall, who helped her with the practicalities of writing a book.
Natalie said: “As soon as I arrived at The Women’s Organisation, I knew I was in safe hands. Through the support and advice I’ve received so far, I’ve made huge leaps with my self-confidence as a new author.
“It’s allowed me to take stock and to start putting together solid plans and strategies. The team there have been a great help to me at this challenging time.”
My Mummy is a Monster will be published on Amazon from midnight on Tuesday, May 5.
Live read along sessions and question forums will be available on Natalie’s social media platforms.
Twitter: /billingreeves Instagram: /natalie_reeves_billing
An ebook will be released on May 15 and a special hardback flip book edition will be released later this summer. For further details about the Monstrous Me collection go to: monsterousme.com and to discover more about Natalie Reeves Billing visit lollipoplodge.net