A Torbay couple have written a children’s picture book inspired by their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter.
Kayleigh and Jules Bond are in the process of self publishing the first book in a series called The Adventures of Rory and Friends.
The main character is a lovable Raccoon named Rory who has a facial birthmark, as does the couple’s daughter River.
He and his many friends have great adventures together in Yonder Forest.
The illustrated 32 page picture book features the world of Rory and his friends Heidi Hedgehog, Brody Badger, Will Woodpecker and Molly Mole.
Characters with birthmarks never seem to feature in children’s books and the parents were keen to help children to become more accepting, inclusive and reduce bullying.
Also they want children with birthmarks to feel included and have a lovable character that they can relate too, as currently there are none.
Kayleigh explained: “The book doesn’t focus on the birthmark however it is mentioned, which makes it perfect for all children.
“We decided to create this book as our daughter River was born with a facial Hemangioma Birthmark.
“We knew little about them but educated ourselves with the help of The Birthmark Support Group, various Facebook groups and other parents.
“Her birthmark was a lot bigger than it is now but as it was obstructing her nose when she fed as a baby she was given Propanalol a beta blocker to shrink it.
“We noticed that there are no characters her or others with facial differences can relate too, whether that is toys, books, cartoons and we really want to change that.
“We believe that educating young people at an early age will leave them more tolerant and accepting of others with differences.
“Our goal is to get our book into as many primary schools, nursery and childminding settings in the UK as possible, to encourage teachers to start up conversations surrounding facial differences, as this is not something currently taught.”
The couple are keen to try to encourage healthy conversations.
The first book in the series is due to be published in November