Meet the Ripon author who's on a mission to inspire children with her powerful new book

Ripon illustrator and author Jay Stelling.
Ripon illustrator and author Jay Stelling.

A Ripon illustrator and author has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a book that has a powerful and important message - one which aims to inspire children to think more deeply about how they can help the environment.

Jay Stelling is on a mission to publish her book that encourages children to get crafty with recycled materials, and what makes the project all the more special is the stunning illustrations inside - all of the characters, figures and scenery depicted in Whistle-Stop Thistle have been painstakingly created by Jay herself.

It's a book about a community of little people called Thistle-Folk who live in a miniature town behind a bramble bush. The Thistle-Folk are scavengers, who together with a friendly magpie try to find new uses for the rubbish left behind by lazy humans. The Thistle-folk try to look after their tiny world by reusing any scrap materials they find.

Jay is inviting Ripon residents to support her book and help reach her £2,000 fundraising goal to make the project happen.

Jay said: "If we can teach our children to reduce the amount of waste they throw away and educate them about recycling then we can help to make the future greener for them.

"This book aims to show children how important it is to recycle, and how easy it can be to make art from repurposed materials that would otherwise be thrown away. Maybe if we were all a bit more curious and crafty with our waste then we could preserve our green landscape."

Jay said the process of creating the book has in itself inspired her to think more about recycling.

She said: "I have had so much fun collecting things and using them to make buildings or props for the town. It makes me look at the world differently, through the eyes of the Thistle-Folk. I get excited by looking at junk that would usually be thrown away and thinking about how the Thistle-Folk could use it.

"I imagined the little Thistle-Folk first, these tiny people that I could picture peeking out behind a bramble bush or plodding around in the woods. I wondered what would be important to such a community.

"I love walking in the woods, especially in and around Ripon, but then would get really upset seeing the rubbish people dropped in the beautiful landscape. I thought about what the Thistle-Folk would do, and how litter would impact their lives, or the lives of other small creatures."

Jay hopes the book will be a stimulus for wider discussions at home and in the classroom for children to grow their green conscience.

She said: "Children have the biggest imaginations. Children's books tell so many brilliant stories, and they can also teach children a lot about the world and how to behave within it.

"Children's books are read with parents, caregivers and in class, so they can start conversations about important topics. After reading, children can discuss the values of the Thistle-Folk and practically respond to the book by having a go at making art with cereal boxes. Books are a great starting point or building block."

Click here to read more about Jay's crowdfunding campaign and how you can support the book.