An animal-lover author hopes her debut book will teach children the importance of kindness and responsibility towards pets.
Janine Wilkinson, from Great Harwood, who writes under the pseudonym Harriet Hall, released her first children’s book ‘The Tales of Louis the Rabbit’ last month.
Janine, 57, who works both as an artist and also with children in care, was inspired to write the books by her own experiences of caring for injured and lost animals.
As the first in a series of six, the book looks to teach children about tolerance, cultural differences, independence, freedom of expression and much more.
Janine said when she was growing up animals were a big part of her life.
She said: “We had a menagerie of pets.
“There was always an injured bird that we found and people would bring animals to us - they knew we were ‘animal people’.”
Janine, who lives on James Street in Great Harwood, says her books - which she has illustrated herself - will teach children how to care for both their pets and their peers.
After inventing stories for her children and grandchildren, she thought she would try her hand at publishing them.
The series, which is for children aged three and above, follows the adventures of a rabbit called Louis, a house rabbit who befriends a wild rabbit and is exposed to unfamiliar places and animals.
She said: “Children will not only empathise with Louis, but will also learn from his experiences and hopefully feel empowered through these stories which offer escapism, and highlight the importance of individuality.
“It’s a privilege to have a pet, not a right. I hope to encourage young readers to escape into Louis’ world and empathise with an animal kept as a pet. People get pets and they don’t know how to look after them - we need to teach people how. I also want to teach children to be accepting of other people and other cultures.”
Janine chose rabbits because, after researching them, she realised they often have a tough life, despite them being ‘cute’.
She is also about embark on a tour - reading and discussing the book and its themes with children and parents.
She said: “It’s sold well and the feedback has been really positive - a mothers’ group want me to do a talk for them. I’ve put everything I’ve taught my children into this book.”