28 October 2021

Values that can save the world

Book cover illustration showing a boy, dog and UFO

Last year we published an article by our Marketing Associate, Robert Martin, for World Values Day, about writing a children’s book.

 A year later, the book is finally out.

 Here, Robert talks about why the values he wrote about a year ago matter now even more.

This morning, 13 boxes of books arrived. It’s 500 copies of the paperback version of my children’s book, Joe and Dusty Save the World. The hardback arrives next week.

I opened one of the boxes and held in my hands something I had imagined so long ago now that it seems like a very distant memory. It was in my head and now, here it is, a real actual thing I can hold, read and share with you. After the words ‘Written by’ on the cover, it says my name. What a lovely, magical feeling.

In the article I wrote this time last year, we still had a fundraiser going as I’ll be giving away copies to schools, libraries, charities, or children who just want it. I said that the book would be out for Christmas 2020. I was wrong. It’s only just made it for Christmas this year!

Part of the delay on this journey has been due to practical things - you wouldn’t believe how long it takes to make adjustments for printing, you wouldn’t believe how many mistakes you spot at the last minute and the knock-on effect that can have on design and you may also not believe how much you sometimes just can’t be bothered to go through all of this again and again…

But persistence has paid off and I can absolutely assure you that all of that effort to get it right has only sweetened the end of this part of the journey.

But part of the delay was also emotional.

In the book, a little boy with a learning disability and his carer dog show that kindness, fun, laughter, and love are powerful enough to save the world. In December 2020, my best friend of over 30 years died. The following day, we lost my mother-in-law. Two people who epitomized the very values I’d written about. 

There’s an expectation when somebody is old and unwell. You know what’s coming, you just don’t quite know when. You prepare. You mourn for the loss of that person even before they’ve gone. You can never be ready but you know it’s going to happen.

But my friend was 50, and his death came from nowhere.

For a while, I just couldn’t focus much on anything, let alone something that needed my full attention, my need to be creative. All of this during lockdown too, a situation that made everything strange and unsettling, to say the least.

Almost a year later I still find it unfathomable that he’s not here. I still find it hard to think about him without sadness filling my heart. I still find it hard to hear his voice in my head and to know that, at some point in the future, this beautiful person who only ever showed me kindness and love, will be someone I used to know. 

But today, when I opened my book, and read the small dedication to him that I added before we went to print, it reminded me that kindness and love live on. 

And I hope that’s the message of the book and it will be what people take away when they read it, either with their children or for themselves. 

So a year ago I wrote about the values of kindness, laughter, and love and now, 12 months later, my book has three dedications to those very values. In the long journey we sometimes take to make something we dream of a reality, be it something creative, starting a business, a new life, taking a step towards asking for help, aren’t these the very values that will help us to get there?

Yes. Yes, they are.

Joe and Dusty Save the World is out now and available here.

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