Once upon a time, a long time ago, I took my class of 10 year olds from Haxby to the National Railway Museum. On my worksheet I asked which was their favourite engine and why. The children, knowing my passion for stories, got together and decided that a story might follow if they all put the same engine. The old Cumbrian steam engine Coppernob was chosen because they wanted to know why she was covered in holes. This is where ‘Time for Coppernob’ began, from notes made in the Museum in an old exercise book.
I put the exercise book in a cupboard when I went to train teachers and teach psychology at York St John University. I wrote support sheets, modules, degrees programmes and an academic book on behaviour management but ‘Time for Coppernob’ stayed in the cupboard. I even told my students that ‘story’ was the best way to teach anything, but my story stayed in the cupboard for ten years until, following a car accident, I was off work for 6 months. ‘Time for Coppernob’ was re-written adding to it the memories of old railway men in Barrow-in-Furness and comments from another class of Haxby children, after reading it aloud to them. The book was finished, but back in the cupboard because returning to work robbed the time to pursue publication.
It took another ten years; retirement and a ride on the footplate of Coppernob’s younger sister before it really was time for Coppernob and my book came out of the cupboard for the last time. I gave it to the charity Cumbrian Railways Association who needed help to promote local history and the history of the railways with children. They loved it and wanted it illustrated. I chose the illustrator Philip Bannister and we had fun deciding on 34 watercolours. The charity will receive all the proceeds from the book if we sell it or it is sold through their website or on ebay. I am planning to go back into school to work initially with themes in the book of kindness, family and friendship. Although still new ‘Time for Coppernob’ is selling well, so we believe it will live happily ever after.
Time for Coppernob
Cumbrian Railways Association. 2015 Paperback
Genre: Fiction 8-12 years and adults of any age
Set in York? Yes
Description: Can York children, Liana and Joe, solve the problem with Coppernob, a real Cumbrian steam engine in the National Railway Museum? Do you dare go back in time with them? Face the dangers. Live the adventures. Solve the mysteries. This gripping story, illustrated throughout, will enchant children and adults alike.
Reviews: ‘Time for Coppernob, designed to introduce … railway history to a young audience is proving to be a runaway success.’ North West Evening Mail
‘What a great story.’ Sarah, aged 10
‘It is compelling and fun.’ Peter, a grown-up
Read a sample: Here
Find out more and buy from: Publisher’s website