Beloved TV presenter Pam Royle makes her debut as a children’s book narrator, providing the voice of an adorable little zebra and her jungle pals.
Pam, who left her role as Tyne Tees Television presenter last year after a career spanning nearly 40 years, tells the audio version of Zizu loses his stripes.
The book, written by North East journalist Peter Barron and illustrated by local artist Jonathan Raiseborough, is part of an initiative to fund nursery places for disadvantaged children.
The story is about the power of friendship because when Zizu zebra loses his stripes, he turns to Geoffrey Giraffe, Cody Crocodile, Priscilla Gorilla, Poppy Parrot and Ellie Elephant for help.
The book was commissioned by Teesside businessman Maaz Rahman and Nicci Knight, who run Zizu Nursery and Learning Center in Middlesbrough town centre.
Proceeds will go to support the new Zizu Foundation, a charity committed to providing pre-school places for children who might otherwise lack them.
The book has been endorsed by the North East Autism Society, and Pam has also worked with Signpost Productions, in Gateshead, to narrate a signed video version for deaf children.
Maaz launched the Zizu Daycare and Learning Center in 2016 following the death of his wife, Saerah, the mother of their two children. Saerah, who was only 36, was passionate about childcare and education, and the book is dedicated to her memory.
Maaz said: “We believe Zizu’s is the first nursery in the world to have its own children’s book and we are delighted to be teaming up with Peter, Jonathan and Pam in such an innovative way. They have a wealth of talent and experience between them, and I know Saerah would be so proud to know that Zizu has come to life in a beautiful book that will enrich children’s lives.
Pam added: “It was a joy to tell such a beautiful book with a strong message about friendship and to be part of something that will make a difference in the lives of children in the North East.”
Peter Barron, former editor of The Northern Echo, has already published eight children’s books, including the Monstrous Morals series. He and Jonathan, who has autism, previously worked together on a novel called Snowdrop The Spikeshuffler, which featured on the ITV programme, This Time Next Year.
Peter will give a reading from the book at the Cockerton Library, Darlington, between 10am and 11am on Saturday July 9. This will be followed by a book signing at Waterstones, Cornmill Centre, Darlington, from 12-2pm, with Pam Royle making a special appearance to give readings between 1-2pm. There will then be another autograph session at the Guru, in Darlington, between 2 and 4 p.m.