The wobbly tooth that led to a wonderful wildlife watch!

Tatsfield author Janice Akhtar has recently published her latest children’s book, A Wobbly Tooth, which tells the story of Layla, a young girl who gets more than just money when the Tooth Fairy visits. The discovery of a tiny map under her pillow leads her and her younger brother on a series of enchanting encounters with the wildlife in their garden. 

A Wobbly Tooth is Janice’s fourth book. Aimed at four to seven year olds, it follows on from her earlier publications Snail Loses His Shell, Snail Saves a Friend, and her modern-day version of The Night Before Christmas, A Magical Christmas Eve. All are beautifully illustrated by Mariya Yelizarova.

A retired primary school teacher with a love of children’s literature, as well as a mother of four – now grown-up – boys, Janice’s writing journey began during the first COVID lockdown in 2020, with the creation of what is now a Tatsfield icon: the Charity Wagon. Built by her husband Aslam, she parked it outside her home in the village, and used it to sell homemade items, such as cards, jam and cake, to raise money for dementia charities, a condition which her father, who passed away at the end of that year, suffered with for eight years. 

A wooden trolley on wheels called the Charity Wagon, which is located in Tatsfield
Janice’s Charity Wagon stands outside her Tatsfield home

An honesty box allowed people to buy her wares when they were passing, and before long other villagers began leaving their craft creations and plants to be sold as well. Four years on and the wagon is still there, and Janice has raised an incredible £14,000, with profits from the wagon being boosted by further donations from Tatsfield’s generous residents.

“I then thought that if I wrote a book, which I’ve always wanted to do but had never had time,” said Janice, “I can sell it on the wagon and put 10% of the proceeds to charity as well.”

The local community has been supportive of Janet’s writing.

“I was a local school teacher, so lots of people know me. I sold lots of copies of my first Snail book through word of mouth, and Sherree’s Store and Tearoom and Knights Garden Centre began stocking it, and then my other books, too. It’s been so satisfying, and I’ve had some lovely feedback.”

Janet also uses her teaching experience to provide free assemblies in primary schools, where she talks to the children about writing stories, and they can buy her books to take home.

You can find out more about Janice and her writing on her website. Her books are available at Sheree’s Store and Tearoom and Knights Garden Centre (Chelsham & Woldingham) and you can also arrange to buy them, or book her for a school visit, by using the contact form.

Make sure you pick up your copy of the Tandridge Independent in March to read our review of A Wobbly Tooth!

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