Our aim is to publish an illustrated full colour children's storybook 'Mummy's Got Bipolar' which explains Bipolar disorder in a gentle way appropriate for young readers. We will also make the story available free online as a five minute, full colour animated short, so that it can be accessed by anyone working with children and families affected by Bipolar disorder.
We have some great rewards to offer our supporters; copies of the book, postcards and prints of Jon's illustrations, and even toy guinea pigs - perfect to use at storytime! (see above) We've included options to allow you to gift books to libraries, schools, nurseries or other settings if you don't want to receive them yourself. See the rewards boxes on the right for more details.
We're passionate about working to reduce the stigma of mental illness so we want to see these books distributed as widely as possible! Why not gift one to your child's school or your local library?
Pledge £750 and sculptor Iain Cotton will carve you a stone guinea pig!
We want families, schools, children centres, nurseries, libraries, mental health units and GP practices to have access to this book and animation, to use as a resource to support children and families affected by Bipolar. We want children and parents to be able to sit together and read the storybook or watch the animation and then be able to talk about the subject.
"I wanted to use books with my own children to help them learn about Bipolar
- but was unable to find any"
"My Mum has bipolar, I grew up knowing that sometimes she was very ill, but I didn't know that other Mums were like that. I didn't understand about her illness but I did notice that some of her family didn't like to talk about it. When I had my own children I wanted them to understand about Granny’s illness, and understand that they didn't need to be scared - that sometimes she would be unwell and other times she would be fine. I wanted to use books with my own children to help them learn about Bipolar but I was unable to find any books that were suitable for my daughters when they were young. This is why I have written the book Mummy has Bipolar. To help families and professionals explain and talk about Bipolar. To help young children begin to understand about the illness, that it is nothing to be afraid of and they can talk about it."
Sample character development sketches for the book - copyright Jon Birch
Why a Book?
"As an early years consultant I love using books with children to help them understand and find out about things. Young children are curious, interested and want to know things. If we can help children from a young age to understand that Bipolar is an illness and that it is good to talk about it, and it's OK to ask questions; my hope is that the stigma and taboo around mental illness will begin to go."
The story is about a family with a mum, a dad, 2 daughters and 2 guinea pigs. The story gently introduces Bipolar, and is aimed at children aged 3-7 years.
Why an Animation?
We want to reach as many people as possible, and we are aware that all kinds of families are affected by Bipolar. By making the animation available free online, we hope that it will be shared in places where our book might not be easily available or affordable.
Our Project Team
Sonia Mainstone-Cotton - Writer
I worked for a UK national children’s charity for 20 years. During this time I managed participation work for a local authority, managed Gypsy and Traveller play work and led on participation training across the country. My background is in early years, I started out with an NNEB and then went on to achieve a BA honours in Early Childhood Studies and an MA in Early Years Education. I have a wide range of experience working with children and young people across the ages; from working closely with nurseries and children’s centres advising them on their practice to working with older teenagers around issues of mental health.
Since 2014 I have been a freelance trainer and consultant and a nurture support worker with young children transitioning into school.
My website with more details of my experience and what I offer is http://soniamainstone-cotton.com
Jon Birch - Illustrator/Animator
I am an independent multimedia artist with over 30 years professional experience. I have made many animations and illustrations over the years, winning awards with Paperhorse for the creation of cowforce.com. My 'Asbo Jesus' cartoon blog had over 2 million visitors and sparked many conversations. I have produced work for entertainment, health and education. You can see more of my animation work at https://vimeo.com/jonbirch/videos
Iain Cotton - Marketing & Support
I am a professional artist, letter cutter and carver. You can see my work at www.iaincotton.co.uk
I am Sonia's husband and on this project am using my creative and financial managment skills to support the successful delivery of the book and animation.
Clare Birch - Marketing & Support
I have many years experience of working with young people and those with mental health issues. I am Jon's wife and on this project am lending my administrative skills to help with organising delivery of the book and animation.
How You Can Help
We need to raise £13,000 to cover our costs. Here's a breakdown:
Story writing & creation £1044
Illustration of book £2000
Animation of 5 minute film (to be made available free online) £4200
Publishing/printing 500 colour copies of softback book 'Mummy's Got Bipolar' £1426
Delivery of campaign and fulfilment of rewards £2905
Crowdfunder & payment admin fees £1425
We'll be posting regular updates if we are successful to keep you in the loop about where we are up to. You'll be able to see previews of the illustrations and animation, and we hope to have the physical books ready to despatch by late October - in plenty of time for Christmas.