Berwick author Bea Davenport drew on her own painful experience of hairloss when writing her debut children’s novel.
The Serpent House, out this month, features alopecia sufferer Annie as its central character.
Bea herself suffered from alopecia for over two decades, losing her hair when she was eight years old and continuing in to her 30s wearing a wig.
She said: “I strongly believe that children should be able to see ‘themselves’ in books – in other words, that they should be able to read about young people like themselves.
“A long time ago, writers realised that there was no reason why the hero of a story shouldn’t look or act different to the norm, but I’ve never found another book where the main character has lost her hair.”
The book was launched at the Lit & Phil Library in Newcastle yesterday. A partnership with leading alopecia charity, BeBold, was also announced which aims to raise awareness of childhood hair loss.
The partnership, which will see children gifted books and continuing PR activity, was born out of Bea’s passion to help children who have lost their hair.
BeBold director Darren Payne said: “We work with children managing alopecia and their families in many different ways, from self-confidence and friendship-building summer camps, our informative annual conference and taking our message in to schools.
“So to hear about a book which features a character with alopecia by an author who has personal experience of it, is another fantastic way that children suffering with hair loss can feel normal and positive about their condition.”
Bea will also work with BeBold to develop their new mascot figure, Captain BeBold.
“I know how devastating losing your hair as a child can be, so to be working with BeBold, who are leading the way in terms of parental and child support educationally, holistically and practically, is a really special thing for me,” she said.
Darren added: “My 10 year old daughter, Katelyn, has read The Serpent House and loved it.
“We’re really looking forward to working with Bea.”