From scientist to author: Graduate publishes first children’s book

A University of Sunderland graduate has teamed up with her husband to launch her first book – inspired by their love of reading with their children.

Lisa and Mark Cryer have together written and self-published Roundabout Rabbits, a rhyming children’s picture book, which follows the adventures of three rabbits who live on a roundabout in Newcastle city centre.

The release comes just in time for International Children’s Book Day tomorrow (Saturday, 2 April).

Lisa, 39, who is mum to sons Jude (9) and Sonny (3), said: “Mark was working in the centre of Newcastle and his office window overlooked a roundabout where some real rabbits live.

“One day he was stuck in traffic driving to work and came up with the idea for the Roundabout Rabbits book. He called me to tell me about it and I just knew I needed to make this happen as people needed to read it.”

Lisa added: “We are both really passionate about children’s development and instilling a love of literature and reading from a young age.

“The book also follows a real route in Newcastle, with the illustrations based on photographs of real places so we hope to encourage families to go out and explore their local area.”

Mark, 42, who is now a manager of a children’s home in Sunderland, added: “It’s been such a good experience to write the book and to have belief and encouragement from others.

“Collaborating with local artist and illustrator, Kylie Dixon, really brought our characters to life and the feedback we’ve had already from the children and parents alike has been so nice – everyone loves it!”

Lisa, who worked as a scientist in Newcastle, decided to take the plunge and pursue her passion for teaching and in 2008 completed a Science with Biology Secondary Education PGCE at the University of Sunderland. She then returned five years later to complete her Diploma in Education.

Lisa now teaches part-time at Whitburn Church of England Academy in Sunderland while running her own social enterprise, BlueJay Wellness CIC, which aims to empower young people across the north-east to take control of their mental and physical health by getting involved in a variety of activities.

Lisa is receiving support from the Enterprise Place, the University’s business support facility which offers students and graduates access to co-working office space in Hope Street Xchange, Sunderland’s centre for enterprise and innovation.

Jenny Westgate, Enterprise Place Operations Coordinator, said: “During her time with us Lisa has made real progress with her Community Interest Company as well as launching her first ever children’s book.

“Lisa is a credit to the University, and I know that she will continue to grow and develop a successful social enterprise which will continue to have an incredibly positive impact on young people’s mental and physical wellbeing in the local community.”

For every 20 books sold, Lisa and Mark – who live in Jarrow – are donating one to a local school, nursery or community group.

Roundabout Rabbits is available to buy here.

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