Natalie, a social entrepreneur, has launched Ben and the Bug, a book to teach kids about coronavirus
“We live in a small cottage house in the middle of the countryside with my 2 children who are 6 and 7 years old, my stepson who is 23, and my dog. Ah, and my husband, I forgot about him (haha!). We are home birds who like to stay home a lot, and we are quite used to this pattern of life. When lockdown happened, it almost felt like another day apart from the fact that children were home too.
I am Natalie Reeves Billing, an author, and a social entrepreneur from Liverpool, UK. It has been very challenging for us to have each other home the whole time every day, and I felt it was really important for my mental health to keep doing something even more than before, not just to validate myself but to sort of fight back and show that life is worth living and life will get back to the way it was one day.
From an early age I've been in a band. When I started studying Law at University, the band got an offer for a record deal, and I took the risk to leave university and fly to the LA to live the dream. Songwriting to me is pretty much like telling a story. Chorus keeps repeating as that is the main message. Similarly, in children’s books, you want kids to remember the main learning from the book.
I have launched my first series during the Pandemic called Monstrous Me. The first book of the series is My Mommy is a Monster. I plan to launch ‘My Daddy is a Monster’, ‘My Teacher is a Monster’, ‘My Nana is a Monster’, etc. I will not stop until I make every character into a monster. My Mommy is a Monster is a perfect representation of my fun and honest everyday instances with my children. I have fun and honest moments with my kids at home, and I thought I am going to write them down. So my books have instances from everyday situations with my children.
My daughter is very dramatic, and I cannot get angry with her because she is just a version of me, but tiny. So whenever she is mad at me, she says, “Mommy, you can be so monstrous at times.” And guess what? This is only because I ask her to wash her hair or brush her teeth. So I capture these little moments into my book.
When I started writing my first book, my daughter said, “Mommy, you always say that there are two sides to every story, but this book has only one side - your side.”
This is how I got the idea of joining two narratives to the book - one, mine as a mother, and other, my daughter’s - for the same situations.
So the book starts with narratives from a mother’s perspective. Halfway through the book, you physically flip it and read your way from the back. The same scenes are narrated from my daughter’s viewpoint. That is how my books have two sides to every story. It is a lovely way to defuse problematic things in the house in a humorous way.
The second book that I have launched on May 11th, 2020 is Ben and the Bug. It is my effort to alleviate fear and anxiety amongst kids in a very lighthearted yet clear and precise way. The book has a narrative from the virus’s perspective. What does it think of the world? It just wants to play and interact with everyone. But unfortunately, wherever it goes, it leaves its germs behind. In a fictitious world, a boy is his friend but unknowingly the people around the boy are falling ill. It is a very lighthearted book with fact boxes along the way that teach basic hygiene and dos and don’ts to the kids.
As I am a social entrepreneur, it means a lot to me when people connect with my work, with my book, and with my thoughts. Hence, I keep sending the books out to raffles, care homes, etc. I am totally out of pocket right now. But making a profit is the least of my priorities right now.”
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You Humanity pays respect and gratitude to Natalie Reeves Billing for going above and beyond to contribute towards Humanity.
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