Search

Gidea Park author’s storybook cat helps children fit in and accept cultural differences

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:28 25 May 2018

Michelle Hird published Binx the Jinx last August and visited Tilbury Pioneer Academy school as part of her book tour.

Michelle Hird published Binx the Jinx last August and visited Tilbury Pioneer Academy school as part of her book tour.

Archant

An illustrator has taken her first published book on a tour of primary schools to share her story about bullying and accepting cultural differences.

Michelle Hird from Gidea Park published her first novel, Binx the Jinx last year in August. Michelle Hird from Gidea Park published her first novel, Binx the Jinx last year in August.

Michelle Hird, 31, of Carlton Road, Gidea Park, published her first novel, Binx the Jinx in August 2017.

The children’s book tells the story of a black cat who is finding it hard to make new friends after moving into a new town.

Other cats judge Binx on the colour of his fur and tell him that black cats are unlucky and cursed.

Michelle told the Recorder: “[Binx the Jinx] is about cultural beliefs, racism and making new friends.

“There’s another, friendly cat who comes in and defends Binx – she’s the heroine of the story.”

Like Binx, Michelle also travelled from one town to another when she moved from Liverpool to Gidea Park.

Michelle Hird published Binx the Jinx last August and visited Prescot Primary school as part of her book tour. Michelle Hird published Binx the Jinx last August and visited Prescot Primary school as part of her book tour.

She now hopes the story will encourage children who have moved from other countries and locations. “I focused on the bullying aspect because I think, with social networks and children as young as five or six having phones, it’s important for children to learn at an early age to befriend people.

“It also touches a little bit on depression, when Binx is having a hard time from the cats who are bullying him.

“I see the book as an onion, it’s got quite a few layers, and hopefully the children can relate to a lot of the layers.”

For the past two months, Michelle has been touring schools to bring the story of Binx to the classroom.

Her book tour began on World Book Day, March 1 at Hill View Primary School in Runcorn, Cheshire and ended on Tuesday May 8 at Tilbury Pioneer Academy in Tilbury, Thurrock.

She also visited schools in Merseyside and Camden.

Michelle Hird published Binx the Jinx last August and visited Evelyn CP Primary School in Prescot as part of her book tour. Michelle Hird published Binx the Jinx last August and visited Evelyn CP Primary School in Prescot as part of her book tour.

Lisa Seddon, deputy headteacher at Prescot Primary School, Merseyside, said: “We were so happy to welcome a local author, illustrator to our school.

“Our children were left feeling incredibly inspired and eager to read all about Binx.

“We value visits such as these – they raise aspirations and can help to shape our children’s futures.”

Colette McLoughlin, a teacher Evelyn Community Primary School, also Merseyside, added: “Through its enchanting illustrations and lovable characters Michelle’s book is a story of celebrating differences – it taught the children how having a friend can help you achieve anything.

“She really helped inspire some budding illustrators.”

Michelle not only spoke about her book but gave presentations on the writing process and how she went from a student who struggled with English at school to become a published author.

Michelle Hird, illustrator and graphic designer from Gidea Park published her first novel, Binx the Jinx last year in August. Michelle Hird, illustrator and graphic designer from Gidea Park published her first novel, Binx the Jinx last year in August.

“I wanted to show how important education is.

“I’m from a quite a small village in Rainhill, Merseyside, and I remember learning about London and all of the opportunties there,” said Michelle.

“I have accomplished a massive goal to be working in London as an illustrator and designer and to have published a novel.

“I had to stay behind in school because my English was quite poor, but being held back has helped me.

“[Touring] was a very rewarding and satisfying experience.”

Kerri Fennell, a teacher at Hill View Primary School in Runcorn, said: “The presentations were catered for children of all ages, they gave the children an insight into Michelle’s background, what routes she took to become an author and some of her illustration work.

“Michelle also showed the children how she creates a story including illustrations which the children loved.

“I would definitely recommend Michelle to all schools, we will be arranging for her to visit our school again when she has released her next book.”

Michelle’s next book will be a Binx the Jinx sequel will be released in April next year.

Binx the Jinx is available to buy from Amazon. online only from Waterstones, various bookshops and at matthewjamespublishing.com.

Related articles

Latest Romford Entertainment Stories

10:00

An enthusiastic Gidea Park pupil with dreams of stardom is starting her career early with a part in a new West End musical.

Yesterday, 15:53

Fans of one of X-Factor’s finest exports are invited to see The Little Mix Experience at the Queen’s Theatre.

Tue, 15:00

For one night only the Queen’s Theatre will be transported into 1920s New York City for an evening at Harlem’s legendary nightclub, the Cotton Club.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A cold prison cell transforms into an atmospheric seascape in this special sensory exhibit created to demonstrate the struggles and dreams of a 32-year-old woman with a painful terminal condition.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

A rock ‘n’ roll musical telling the tale of singer Buddy Holly’s life is set to take centre stage at a Romford theatre.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Queen’s Theatre will be celebrating its 65th anniversary in style with a 70s themed party and everyone is invited.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sunny weather and a popular performance attracted a full capacity crowd to the popular Langtons Summer Concert, with some residents being turned away from the Hornchurch garden’s gates.

Monday, June 11, 2018

To celebrate more than 2000 performances of jazz at a well-known Hornchurch theatre, Corrigan’s Band of Hope will be holding their biggest concert yet.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The next step in renewable energy could be right beneath your feet as you walk through a Romford shopping centre.

There are many reasons people decide to join a gym. Some want to pack on muscle for strength, train for endurance, or lose weight. But did you know it also does wonders for your mental health? Two members at Romford’s Better Gym in the Market Place talk about their personal fitness journey and the importance of replacing bad habits with good ones.

Sean Watson, director at the family-run St Michaels Homes which runs Howard Lodge and Dudbrook Hall, answers the common questions people have about care homes.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

News from your area

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now