‘Choose your own adventure’ picture book to raise funds for COVID-19 support charity
21 July 2020
University staff and students have written and illustrated ‘The Invisible King’
Students and staff have created a ‘choose your own adventure’ picture book for children to raise money to support vulnerable people during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Invisible King is a story written by Dr Chrissi Nerantzi, Principal Lecturer in Academic CPD, and illustrated by illustration students and academics.
An ‘invisible king’ is set on causing damage, the story explains, and despite people’s best efforts he cannot be stopped. That is, until the world works together to overturn him – but how they do so is up to the reader to decide.
The open-ended inclusive picture book can be downloaded for free, for young readers and their families and carers to engage creatively and critically with the story during these challenging times.
Children can decide how the story will end, using their imagination to draw on the pages or stick onto them to take the story into new directions.
While the book is free to download and print, those who are in a position to do so are encouraged to make a contribution to the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity to support the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Benjamin Greenhalgh and Louise Batchelor, tutors on the Foundation Art and Design programme, worked alongside 10 University students, and five-year-old girl Phaedra Maria Chatzidamianou, to illustrate the story.
Dr Nerantzi said: “During the lockdown I felt the need to create something that would give hope and help young minds and their families and careers come together in a creative way while also raising money for those in need during this pandemic. The collaborative picture book idea was born.
“I reached out to Ben and Louise and shared the story I had written. I was excited and grateful that both said yes and agreed to co-create our collaborative picture book The Invisible King with many of their students. The journey of putting the book together was an adventure. The book brought different styles and ideas together in imaginative ways.”
Professor Malcolm Press, Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University, said: “This project will help to unlock imagination and creativity in young minds and at the same time engage future generations in the importance of working collectively across boundaries to create a more sustainable and socially just world.”
Greenhalgh said: “The Invisible King project provided an exciting, unique experience for academic staff at the University and students to collaborate on a professional ‘live’ brief that had the added incentive of being for charity.
“The students were dedicated, committed and imaginative in answering the brief – it was fabulous to see the initial story evolve from written form to initial sketches to beautiful finished illustrations. It was a pleasure to be able to bring all the visual and written elements together in to a designed, formatted illustrated children’s picture book.”
During the lockdown I felt the need to create something that would give hope and help young minds and their families and careers come together in a creative way while also raising money for those in need during this pandemic
Batchelor said: “I feel very proud of my students, at a particularly strange and stressful time in their lives they chose to engage with this extra curriculum project. I really enjoyed the creative decision making and seeing the book evolve from the original idea into a lovely, gentle illustrated children’s story book that deals with this unprecedented difficult time in history.”
Children are encouraged to share their designs on Twitter using the hashtag #invisibleking.
Students who worked on the book are: Evie Hurst, Lucas McCoy, Lucy Waterworth, Ellie Kilshaw, Lisa Silva, Will Fairbrother-Clarke, Marianne Storer, Georgina Moore, Ted Bain Smith, Luisa Ventisei with five-year-old Phaedra Maria Chatzidamianou.