Why this children’s book is more than just words…

Co-founder of Pickering - Polly Taylor

Eileen Leahy discovers more about this inspiring fundraising project which aims to help the victims of the war in Ukraine.

Nikki Young is a published author who writes books for the middle grade and young adult ages ranges. In July 2017 she set up Storymakers, a creative writing club for children. Providing weekly writing classes, holiday workshops and one-to-one sessions for children aged 7+ in the local area, the aim of this club is to encourage and inspire a love of writing.

“I have frequently found children are reluctant to write, yet they have incredible imaginations and love to make up stories. My aim is to get them to translate these imaginings into words,” Nikki told us when setting up the club.

Fast forward a few years and she has now had the idea to create an anthology of children’s words and artwork in order to help them understand what is going on in the world, post pandemic, with the situation in Ukraine and to help process any other anxiety little ones might have right now.

“We understand that children have been feeling anxious about the war in Ukraine. After such a difficult couple of years, many are still suffering the after-effects of the pandemic. Like us, children feel helpless, anxious and unsure about this terrible atrocity. They may feel like they want to do something, but don’t know what. That’s why we gave them the opportunity to contribute to this anthology; to help them feel that they can do something positive.”


“Our hope is that by reading these stories, we can help others.”


Earlier this year Nikki asked children aged 7-16 to contribute a story or poem of no more than 800 words or a piece of artwork. The request was for feel-good stories, poems or artwork about achievement, overcoming adversity, kindness, love and humour.

“Our hope is that by reading these stories, we can help others. The words you read in a book often stay with you for a very long time, especially if they are uplifting and inspiring. That’s what we wanted to achieve with this anthology. So, we asked for funny or heart-warming, not good versus evil and definitely no violence or war.”

The result is a book entitled Sunflowers and Nightingales which is published by Saronti, the proceeds of which will go to charities helping the displaced people of Ukraine.

“I wanted to do something but I didn’t know what and donating money didn’t seem like enough. Knowing how comforting writing and reading are in times of difficulty, putting together an anthology seemed like the right thing to do. I thought it would be a good idea to give children the opportunity to feel as though they could contribute to something that could make a difference. Ultimately, I felt that this anthology should be uplifting so that it could bring joy to not only those who read it but also to those who write the words that have filled it.”

The book is available to order from the http://www.saronti.com/book4ukraine 

More general info on Storymakers at storymakersclub.com

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