North Tyneside mum helps lead crowdfunding for general election children's book

Newly-published picture book explains whole democratic process to pre-schoolers prior to General Election

Lucy Dixon with daughters Evie, 9 and Rosie 7 at home in Monkseaton, Lucy has helped crowd fund a book on the election
Lucy Dixon with daughters Evie, 9 and Rosie 7 at home in Monkseaton, Lucy has helped crowd fund a book on the election

A North East mum has helped get a children’s picture book all about the General Election off the ground.

Mum Lucy Dixon who has struggled in the past to explain politics to her two young ones.

But when the 40-year-old read about the fledgling idea on crowdfunding website Kickstarter to launch the book, she jumped at the chance to get involved.

And, partly thanks to her efforts, The Election makes its colourful debut this week.

Lucy, who lives in Whitley Bay with husband Daren and daughters Evie, nine, and seven-year-old Rosie, is delighted with the storybook, which explains voting, elections and democracy to pre-schoolers onwards, and received an early copy as thanks for being one of those who contributed to the crowdfunding campaign to fund its production.

She’ll be sitting down with her girls to go through it and thinks it will prove a huge help in simplifying a subject so complex it can turn off many adults.

Ellie Levenson, author of new picture book The Election which explains democracy to pre-schoolers
Ellie Levenson, author of new picture book The Election which explains democracy to pre-schoolers

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” she said. “I think it’s really important that children understand how democracy works and the importance of voting.

“I know many adults that don’t vote and I think it’s a tricky subject to talk to kids about.”

Lucy, regional campaigns officer for the RNIB charity, first saw the book mentioned among the projects on funding platform Kickstarter, inviting pledges from as little as £2, and was quick to make a contribution.

“It really caught my eye,” she said.

Lucy then shared the link on Facebook and more people from the region opted to get involved.

Front cover of new picture book The Election
Front cover of new picture book The Election

At the time its writer, journalist and author Ellie Levenson, had not even found an illustrator for her concept story following young characters Alex and Evie and their parents who support different parties - stripy and spotty - through the process of door-knocking, voting, television debates and results night.

As a signed-up supporter, Lucy got to follow the book’s progress as artist Marek Jagucki came on board to provide its colourful illustrations as a total of 121 backers - representatives from all three main political parties said to be among them - helped it hit its £2,000 funding target.

The Election was published on Monday by Levenson’s new company Fisherton Press and is thought to be the only book of its kind in the UK which explains democracy to toddlers.

It’s certainly something Lucy would have been glad of in the past.

“There’s nothing out there like it,” she said.

Marek Jagucki who has illustrated the colourful new picture book The Election which explains democracy to pre-schoolers
Marek Jagucki who has illustrated the colourful new picture book The Election which explains democracy to pre-schoolers

“My kids are a little bit older now but I remember at the 2010 election having to take them along when I went to vote and wishing there was a simple way of saying what I was doing.

“Now I think this is a great opportunity to get children involved and to understand it’s not about a lot of people at the top making decisions that have nothing to do with them.

“It can seem like that when you live up here as it can very London-centric so it’s important to get people quite young.”

She added: “My parents were quite political and I’ve always been interested myself and I’ve always wanted to vote.” But she knows many people these days are disillusioned and fears the young generation may follow suit.

“There’s talk all the time of votes for 16 and 17-year-olds and if they are prepared they will be ready for that when it comes to them.

“I personally think they are mature enough at that age but, if you’re going to give them the vote, they need the education early and it’s important to have this kind of book.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer