The new age of personalized children’s books has arrived. These wonderful stories created by wife and husband team Kate and Andy, combine brilliantly fun and intricate old fashioned watercolour artwork with engaging stories brimful of adventure. And best of all, they teach little ones the values we all cherish most dearly – those of kindness and courage, honesty and gratitude.
The first seeds were planted during the earliest CoVid lockdown of 2020 when the pair were confined to a tiny London apartment. At the time Kate was running a popular homeware brand she had created called Kate of Kensington, and Andy was working in the city having previously served in the army. Both of them had a passion for supporting the mental health of children, indeed Kate can trace her first interest in mindfulness back to her own school days.
It was only natural to combine this passion with their shared love of old-fashioned children’s books, especially the timeless classics of Wind in the Willows and Winnie the Pooh. As a young seven year old reader Kate would create her own books at home, lovingly mimicking the style of Beatrix Potter. And had long wanted to create a range of books with their silliness, humour and positive messaging.
So as the world hit pause for the CoVid lockdowns, the pair were presented with the perfect opportunity to hatch plots and create characters. Plus of course the small task of coming up with a name for the books. For which the name Hector was borrowed from a largely forgotten 1960s children’s television programme called Hector’s House, originally made in France. A happy childhood memory of Kate’s growing up.
So arrived the Hector’s Post whimsical tales of friendship, discovery and adventure. The inspiration for the stories came from all around them. Their five-year-old niece would create jokes about a glum penguin, or we would find an abandoned teddy while hiking the beautiful Chiltern hills, and together create wonderful stories about their own search for happiness.
But their plan was to make something bigger than just rip-roaring yarns. What they really wanted was to pack these short stories with the themes of mindfulness and positive thinking. So the books aim to create a culture that supports, encourages, and helps children navigate through this ever evolving world.
The idea to personalise the books came fairly naturally, as there is no better way for a child to learn and understand values or coping mechanisms than from a first-person perspective. When a child is in the adventure then they are truly empowered by reading about how they taught their new friend about kindness, happiness, honesty or courage. And in each story the child befriends either a lonely dinosaur, glum penguin, flustered turtle, or a frightened dragon, a thoughtless elephant or a bear cub… who tells a whopper of a fib.
Currently there is a range of six books; Be Brave, Be Happy, Be Kind, Be Unique, Be Honest and Be Calm. They are busy creating book 7 with the help of their 8 month old daughter Beatrix, who rather fittingly was born on World Book Day. And the family have wider ambitions too, with a desire to truly embody their core values by supporting the excellent work undertaken by charities for both children and mental health. So Hector’s Promise is to donate a percentage from every book sold, to a partner charity.