New book will help children understand dementia

Grandpa Nick offers a new children’s book, self-published by Lucy Jennings who was born and raised in Petworth (£14.99 from lucyjenningsbooks.com).

Monday, 18th January 2021, 6:00 am
Lucy Jennings and son Noah

Lucy, aged 33, explains: “Grandpa Nick is about a young girl called Jane, whose grandpa comes to live with her and her family. He’s old, forgetful, gets lost all the time… stuff like that.

“Grandpa Nick is actually based on my own grandfather when he had early onset dementia. My brother and I didn’t understand the seriousness of it at the time. We didn’t understand that he was sick. We just found him kind of funny. Anyway, Jane is very disappointed in her grandpa until she finds out that he’s Santa and he’s late for Christmas!

“I feel like a lot of people will be able to relate to that old, somewhat dotty, grandparent. Grandpa Nick was just my way of honouring my grandfather and letting him know that I now, as an adult, understand why he kept his glasses in the fridge!

“Essentially, I wrote the book that I wanted to read to my own kids. It’s a book for all ages. On paper it would be for kids aged between three and eight, but I also wrote it with the parents in mind. After all, they are the ones that will be reading it!

“Grandpa Nick is a stand-alone publication. I am, however, working on a series that I plan to start publishing (in 2021). The series is called The Adventures of Pip and Ted. It’s about a girl called Pippilotta Pots and her average stuffed toy Ted.

“They find a time machine and visit various characters throughout British history. In the first book, they meet William the Conqueror. I found it hard, as a kid, to place periods of history in the right order. This series is intended to help with that – naturally, with a healthy dose of magic and humour to spice things up a bit!

“I am a first-time author. I’ve been writing for myself ever since I left school, but Grandpa Nick will be my first actual publication. I wrote it over a Christmas period a couple of years ago and was all up for publishing it until I found out how much it would cost!

“That put me off for a while. I was worried that I’d invest thousands and it would completely backfire!

“But then I had a frying pan moment last year (that’s what I’m calling it). I have three sons under five. Maybe that’s enough explanation! No, seriously though, I was cleaning up the kitchen, washing up a frying pan for the 50 millionth time. My kids were running/crawling around shooting each other with soggy tissues through straws whilst jumping off furniture.

“The little one had the top half of a recorder and was whistling repeatedly whilst trying to keep up with the bigger ones. It was literally like domestic Armageddon in my apartment and I thought: if I don’t do something for myself and my brain I’m going to go completely full-blown nuts! So I just decided to bite the bullet and to do it. Publish Grandpa Nick. Take a risk for something you believe in. You never know until you try!

Lucy , who now lives in Vienna, Austria, added: “I’m self-publishing Grandpa Nick. I did get some interest from publishing houses but after reading their contracts I quickly decided it wasn’t for me. I didn’t want to take a back seat whilst someone else made all the important decisions. I wanted to choose the illustrator, choose the price, choose where I sell and, most importantly, retain the rights to the book.”