Former doula turned children's author releases 'bonkers' Grandma series

Alison Grunwald and grandchildren

Grandma-of-eight Alison Grunwald has published four children's books - Credit: Alison Grunwald

A Childs Hill author has published a series of children's books after being encouraged by her grandson to write down her "bonkers" stories.

Alison Grunwald, 67, released her first four books, titled Whatever Next, Grandma, during lockdown following the adventures of a "bossy, eccentric and hilarious" grandmother who gets herself into all sorts of trouble.

Before the pandemic Alison had worked as a doula for the past 10 years,  supporting women during their pregnancies, births and offering post-natal care. She was with her daughter when she gave birth to her youngest grandchild Chloe.

Alison told the Ham&High: "I gave up my work during lockdown, as I didn't want to risk bringing germs into pregnant women's homes, who are very vulnerable. It was the ideal time to really focus on my writing and spend more time on the books."

Over the following year she published four books in the series, including Grandma's Jungle Adventure, Grandma and the Angry Octopus, and Grandma's Christmas Surprise.

"Three years ago, I was with my grandson Ben and he said 'you're bonkers grandma, write down your stories.' 

"He was only seven but it inspired me to start writing, and I wrote the jungle story soon after. I just want to make children, and hopefully their parents and grandparents, laugh."

drawing or grandma

Grandma gets herself into mischief in the What Next, Grandma series - Credit: Mike Phillips

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Alison used her experience as a teaching assistant and local newspaper reporter to capture the imaginations of young readers.

She began working with illustrator Mike Phillips, after being drawn to his "dry humour" drawings, and together they brought Grandma and her cynical black-and-white cat Gertrude to life.

The books are written for five to eight-year-olds, and the author stressed the importance of reading to build children's confidence. All the stories are interactive and have quizzes at the back.

The grandma-of-eight said she has already written another eight stories in the series which she hopes to publish.

"I've done quite a few remote readings to schools and I hope to do readings in person very soon. The children love Grandma's nuttiness and one class stood up and applauded at the end which was lovely", Alison said.

The Whatever Next, Grandma series is available on Amazon:

grandma drawing with octopus

Alison said she hopes to make children and their families laugh - Credit: Mike Phillips