Newcastle couple who write children’s books receive thank you letter from the Duchess of Cambridge


A Newcastle couple have teamed up to become bestselling children’s book authors and have even received accolades from the Royal Family.

Husband and wife Ben Grisdale and Frances Rodgers, of Wideopen, together created the books Roly the Hedgehog, Rory the Garden Bird, Rosy the Bumblebee and Roxy the Butterfly.

They began to write them in order to encourage children to take an interest in the wildlife in their gardens.

Frances wrote the books and Ben, who recently started painting, illustrated them.

The books came out in March 2020 and they say they received very positive feedback from those who purchased them.

They even sent books to the Duchess of Cambridge and received a thank you letter.

Ben says, “We self-published the books on Amazon and it hit the top 2 best-selling books in September 2020.

“They were posted on Facebook by Chris Packham with kind words. From there, gross sales

“We even sent our books to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and received a thank you letter.

“Shortly after, we were approached by publisher DK who has since bought us the publishing rights to our 4 books.

Inspiration struck in 2019 when Frances watched a show hosted by Brian May on the extinction of hedgehogs in the UK.

As a result, Ben made a hedgehog house in the garden with a camera. Soon after, they had regular visits from hedgehogs and watched them on TV.

She also said that if the books ever get published, she will donate back to thank Brian May for igniting their interest in helping wildlife.

Thus, 10% of all profits from Roly the Hedgehog Books are donated to Amazing Grace.

Their first launch event will take place at Waterstones in Newcastle on Saturday, October 16, and the couple will be signing books for those who come.

A Roly the Hedgehog mascot will also be present to entertain you.

Ben and Frances are publishing four more books on climate change in the spring of 2022.

You can visit their Facebook page to see videos and photos of their own garden here.

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