Music news

Tom Fletcher explains how he researched for new children’s book

Tom Fletcher speaking to a young boy in a wheelchair

McFly member Tom Fletcher has revealed how he researched the background of one of the lead characters for his new children’s book, A Christmasaurus Carol.

Away from playing in one of the most successful boy bands around, Fletcher, 38, finds time to write stories for the younger generation which are flying off the bookshelves.

His latest book singles out a prehistoric creature who doesn’t fit in with the rest of the flock.

“I thought the dinosaur might feel excluded and understand that he is not like the rest of the magical creatures in the North Pole,” the multi-talented author told The Times. “And perhaps that mirrored this young boy, who is ten 10 years old and realising he is not quite the same as everyone else in his school.”

Fletcher may be a proud father, but he has no experience of what life can be like if you are a disabled child.

“I realised really early on that if I wanted to tell the story, there was a big responsibility on my shoulders and I needed to do it properly,” he told the publication. “That required a lot of research.”

To ensure he had his facts right Fletcher contacted Whizz-Kidz, the leading UK charity for children, who gave him their blessing to go ahead with the book when he dreamt up the idea in 2014.

The charity put the singer in contact with some of their young ambassadors so he could have a better understanding of what life is like if you are in a wheelchair.

Fast forward nine years and A Christmasaurus Carol is proving a bestseller with parents and children telling the story of William Trundle, a disabled boy being bullied at school who embarks on an exciting adventure with a dinosaur raised at the North Pole.

Talking to the guys at Whizz-Kidz helped Fletcher grasp the realities of living with a disability.

“You start to become fully aware that you are different from the other people at your school, and there are things that you fundamentally cannot do that your friends can,” he explained. “The biggest thing that went along with that was starting to become aware that you might, because of your disability, be a burden to family members or friends or your carers who have to adapt their life because of it. That’s a difficult thing to understand as an adult, let alone if you’re a ten-year-old. I absolutely wouldn’t have thought of that at all, if it hadn’t been for these people sharing their own experiences.”

Fletcher is now a patron of Whizz-Kidz, the charity helps disabled children find suitable made-to-measure wheelchairs, which cost an average of £5,000 each.

“What we do is not really work. It’s an amazing thing being in a band, writing songs and being on stage every night at the moment, which is incredible,” the singer told The Times. “My other job is sitting in a room writing stories about Christmas and dinosaurs. It’s an amazing thing to do as a career. I absolutely love it — it’s worth the stress, the juggling and hecticness.”

His new book has been welcomed by disabled children and their families applauding him for the inclusive story.

“I cannot tell you how many letters I get from children with disabilities and wheelchair users, and kids with other disabilities, who can associate with William. That is just an incredible feeling,” he said. “William is one of the first times those children have seen someone like themselves in a book — and being the hero.”

Fletcher went on to say the book would never have been published if it wasn’t for the support he had from Whizzz-Kidz.

“I wouldn’t have been able to or dreamed of writing any of these stories without their support and their input,” he said. “They continue to be such an incredible source of inspiration for everything that I do.”

[ A Christmasaurus Carol is on sale now, priced £14.99, published by Puffin. ]

Related Articles

Help support us continuing our groundbreaking work. Make a donation to help with our running costs, and support us with continuing to bring you all the latest news, reviews and accessibility reports. Become a supporter or sponsor of Able2UK today!

Able2UK Logo