Bath-based mum-of-two, Rachel Lawrence, has launched a new children’s publishing business, Storyhouse, with an aim to inspire positivity and wellbeing of children from an early age.

Rachel has worked in children’s books for over 20 years, first at Ladybird, and then at Parragon, an international publishing company which had its UK headquarters in Bath, where she headed up the children’s team.

Storyhouse aims to produce beautiful and inspiring picture books children will treasure, while also promoting positivity and wellness for children.

“Good mental health begins early in childhood and great stories are an incredibly valuable way to communicate ideas,” said Rachel. “Stories can promote and inspire wellbeing, especially if they address experiences that children can identify with.

“I watch my own preschool children and the books they love, the books that they read endlessly, that make them laugh, that sparks questions. It’s something so special to share. Picture books really are a child’s first experience of reading, the beginning of a lifelong journey. It’s where they fall in love with books. You never forget the books you loved as a child, they have that enduring quality.”

Rachel will publish Storyhouse’s first two titles at the end of January 2021. DIG! DIG! DIG! by Josette Reeves and illustrated by Annabel Tempest looks at friendship and imaginative play, while Got to Dance by Wendy Surety and Andrea Stegmaier is a picture bookcelebrating doing the things you love. Nature’s Toy Box will publish in March.

“After the birth of my second child, I wanted more flexibility, especially with school starting for my eldest, balancing drop off and collections with a full-time role is quite a challenge. 

“Whilst on maternity leave, I was lucky to attend many of the brilliant local baby and toddler groups we have in Bath with people who were interested in starting up businesses, trying a new career direction or returning to the jobs they loved. A friend in one of the groups passed on the details of a life coach here in Bath and she was fantastic helping me to clarify what I wanted to do and finally have the confidence to make a start. Finally, I was sent a story and the content resonated with an activity that my daughter had been doing at her nursery, Atelier, that day. The first book is dedicated to them as I may not have commissioned it without that connection.”

Storyhouse Storyhouse’s first two books publish on 28 January: DIG! DIG! DIG! by Josette Reeves and illustrated by Annabel Tempest, and Got to Dance by Wenda Surety and illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier, £6.99 each. Available now via all good local bookshops or online at Nature’s Toy Box is out in March 2021.