Portsmouth teacher's dream comes true with publication of first book

Little Creatures and author Caroline S Henton
Little Creatures and author Caroline S Henton
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A COSHAM teacher’s ‘dream has come true’ with the publication of her first children’s book.

Caroline Henton, 55, penned the book, Little Creatures, after being inspired by the children she was teaching at Redwood Park Academy.

‘I used to work with Special Educational Needs (SEN) children as literacy co-ordinator and have seen first hand the difference reading can make. During my time working with SEN children I became aware that their potential is often overlooked. There are underlying messages in the book inspired by the children about the importance of perseverance and teamwork,’ she said.

The book is a fictional representation of the role of animals during both World Wars. While much of the story is a fictional creation of an animal army rising up to defeat the invaders it’s also steeped in fictional truth about how ‘little creatures’ were used during the conflicts. The army is led by Antoine the ant commander who uses the ‘voice of cicadas’ to call on his fellow creatures to stand firm against the ‘Boche’.     

Caroline said: ‘I’ve always been fascinated by the war and in particular the role of animals such as the horses and messenger pigeons. However there were lots of other little creatures which also played their part. In World War One, soldiers literally would use glow worms to read their maps at night and the cross threads from spiders webs were used to construct the crosshairs in gun sights.’

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The book was two years in the making, and Caroline had ‘hundreds of rejections’ before eventually seeing her dream come true.

Caroline said: ‘When I opened my acceptance letter from Olympia Publishers I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep that night. Finding out it was going to be published was like giving birth – I had been carrying this around with me for so long! It was amazing seeing the illustrated front cover for the first time – it was exactly how I’d imagined it.’

The book, which is aimed at seven to eight-year-olds, will see 10p of every copy sold donated to the Merchant Navy Association charity.

‘I feel it’s important we recognise their efforts during the war,’ said Caroline.

The book will be available from November 28. Caroline already has plans in place for a sequel based around the London Blitz.