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Teacher’s plastic-fighting superhero is back for more adventures!

LOCAL teacher and author, Claire Vowell, has published two new books, expanding her series of children’s environment-themed books.

Claire, who teaches at Rode and Norton School Federation, used spare minutes between teaching her class and her own children during lockdown two and three, to write the new books about the superhero character ‘Nurdle’, who shares an environmental message about microplastics and plastic pollution. The books encourage readers to reduce their use of single use plastics.

The two new books follow on from Claire’s debut book, titled  ‘Nurdle’, launched last year after a successful crowdfunding campaign during the first lockdown.

About the star of her books, Claire explains, “Nurdle is a pre-production microplastic with a really important message.  He has been really well received by both children and teachers alike. He has been on the recommended reading list of the Somerset Literacy Network and I have done virtual talks and assemblies in a number of schools, even to a fabulously exciting class of nursery children. 

“Over lockdown two and three, I decided that Nurdle had many more stories that he could share with children, so I went back to the notebook and penned Nurdle 2 and Nurdle 3.  

“This really helped with the feelings of helplessness created within a beach cleaner who cannot clean beaches – especially when I saw all the PPE and single use Covid-related plastic building up across the country and in the seas.  

“There are so many different problems faced by our oceans and though children are the next generation of guardians for them, there are very few books that explains the problems in ways they can understand and gives them practical things they can do to make a difference. 

“So, I wrote about what I was seeing and hearing in rhyming text for children.

“Nurdle 2: Nurdle and the Microplastics sees poor Nurdle ending up back in the ocean and he hears the stories of the other plastics that he meets. The book asks children to reduce and reuse the plastic that they buy and look after their things.

“In Nurdle 3: Nurdle and the Ghost Net, we meet Nurdle’s family as they set off for adventures on the sea blue and wild. They soon meet a dolphin trapped in an abandoned fishing net and help to pull off a daring rescue mission.  

“50% of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage patch is plastic fishing waste and this book gently introduces the perils it faces to sea creatures.

“This time Jo Joof – the fabulous artist and illustrator from the Black Swan studios knew exactly what was needed and quickly applied her magic to the scribbled pictures I handed her.  

“Each page is illustrated with Jo’s stunning watercolour artwork and then plastics and microplastics, collected from my beach cleans are photographed and superimposed into the illustrations. Nurdle himself is a photograph of an actual Nurdle [a pre-production microplastic pellet].  

“The Nurdle books have been supported by a wide range of amazing Frome independent shops.  All three Nurdle books can be found in the beautiful Hunting Raven in Cheap Street and if you hurry you may be able to get yourself some signed copies.

“Some of the original illustrations and books can be found in Jo’s studio next to the Black Swan café.

“Make your own Nurdle – plastic-free sewing kits can be found in the gorgeous Millie Moon shop up Catherine’s Hill as so many children asked me if I could make them a Nurdle of their own!”

To support her books and her awareness campaign,  Claire has also created a website filled with free resources to help teach about the ongoing plastic problem. 

And she is also available to visit schools for talks – if you are a teacher and you would like Claire to come into your school to talk about writing, her beach cleaning finds, or to talk about the ‘plastic problem’, Claire can be contacted via her Nurdle Nerd website: www.nurdlenerd.co.uk; or through her Instagram account: @seaborndesign

Claire also makes her own jewellery using ocean plastics and microplastics, saving them from landfill, which can found online in her Etsy shop or on her stall at the Frome Independent Market.  

Sales from the jewellery helps to fund the books and the free website resources.

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