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Thatcham couple pen children's book Do You Know The Colours Of The Rainbow? during labour




A THATCHAM couple certainly made the most of a really long labour – they penned a best-selling children’s book.

Ben and Jo Harte’s daughter Isabella, now three, was 12 days overdue when they headed into Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital for Mrs Harte to be induced.

It took another four days for their daughter to arrive so the husband and wife team, who are both teachers, put the time to good use and finally wrote the book they had been talking about for a while.

Ben and Jo Harte with daughter Isabella..Ref: 22-1321..Picture by Phil Cannings. (47769364)
Ben and Jo Harte with daughter Isabella..Ref: 22-1321..Picture by Phil Cannings. (47769364)

The book, entitled Do You Know The Colours Of The Rainbow?, tells the story of teacher Mr Brown educating his class about the colours of the rainbow.

“We were a bit bored and had hardly anything to do, going backwards and forwards to the hospital,” Mr Harte, 37, explained.

“We had had this idea for a story and so just used the time to get it down on paper.

Ben and Jo Harte with daughter Isabella..Ref: 22-1321..Picture by Phil Cannings. (47769365)
Ben and Jo Harte with daughter Isabella..Ref: 22-1321..Picture by Phil Cannings. (47769365)

“We knew we wanted to include the names of children that meant something to us.”

The central character is then, unsurprisingly, called Isabella, while her friends are Harry and William – the names of Mr and Mrs Harte’s grandfathers.

Mr Harte, a teacher at Compton Primary School, said he also included a little girl called Zoe, who has red hair, which is a character based on a pupil he once taught.

“I asked her mum if it was okay and she said it was fine,” he said. “Her mum gave her the book and let her read it and find out she was in it as a surprise.”

Ben and Jo Harte with daughter Isabella..Ref: 22-1321..Picture by Phil Cannings. (47769480)
Ben and Jo Harte with daughter Isabella..Ref: 22-1321..Picture by Phil Cannings. (47769480)

In the book, Isabella and Harry return to their classroom after lunch to discover their pictures of rainbows have disappeared. Suspicion falls on a naughty magpie called Marvin.

Mr Harte, who has previously worked as a body double for Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, said the character of Marvin came from the idea that children ‘magpie’ from other work – or get ideas and inspiration from other people as they develop.

Ben and Jo Harte with daughter Isabella..Ref: 22-1321..Picture by Phil Cannings. (47769360)
Ben and Jo Harte with daughter Isabella..Ref: 22-1321..Picture by Phil Cannings. (47769360)

He added: “That was all in 2017 and we didn’t think anything of it until 2019 when I started putting it out to publishers.

“Austin Macauley were interested and we are really grateful to them. We didn’t have an illustrator so one of their team took that on board too.

“It was quite a lengthy process, especially with Covid, but it is all really exciting and it’s just exploded since it was published.”

Mrs Harte, 32, teaches deaf pupils and so the couple are now planning their second book, which will teach children more about what it is like to not be able to hear.

Their book is currently selling out on Amazon and is also available from bookshops including Waterstones and WH Smith.



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