Author dedicates first children's book about nature to mother and grandma

Jane Rhodes

Author Jane Rhodes, pictured with youngest daughter Ruby, published Margot and the Magical Plant in April - Credit: Jane Rhodes

An Upminster mother-of-three has published her first children’s book, ten years after she came up with the idea. 

Jane Rhodes wrote Margot and the Magical Plant while furloughed from her job as a youth worker for a London council, which she has not yet returned to. 

She explained: “I had always wanted to write the book, and the story has been in the back of my mind since my children were small. 

“But I never had a chunk of time to do it properly. 

“I’m quite chuffed to have finally done it.” 

Margot and the Magical Plant

The children's book, illustrated by David Gregory, follows Margot as she plants her own tomatoes - Credit: Jane Rhodes

Jane began writing the book in March 2020, and self-published it just over a year later at the end of this April. 

The story follows character Margot as she plants her tomato seeds, and readers are encouraged to plant their own tomatoes and stick a picture of their handiwork at the back of the book. 

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The youth worker of 20 years stressed the importance of children learning outside of the classroom through educational activities, and said she often uses gardening when working with young people. 

“That way they can see it come to life,” Jane explained. 

“I hope it will also be a memory book for children, who can look back at it when they’re older and remember growing their own plants.” 

Her children Ruby, 12, Dylan, 18 and Holly, 20, are all proud of their mum, and Jane said the story was inspired by her own family’s love of the outdoors. 

She explained: “The book was inspired by the activities I shared with my children when they were young, and is dedicated to my own mum and grandmother.” 

Jane Rhodes 2

Jane dedicated the book to her three children, mother and grandmother - Credit: Jane Rhodes

She also emphasised the role of strong females in the story, and character Margot is named after Jane’s own grandmother, who was born on a Greek island before her family was uprooted and relocated to France. 

“I’m not at all saying men can’t also be nurturing, but for me, my mum and grandmother played a big part in nurturing and supporting me when I was growing up,” Jane said. 

Jane will be launching her book at nursery schools in the area, and said she is looking forward to Covid restrictions easing so she can attend school fetes and book festivals. 

To purchase the book visit: