No time to Lark about for son and mum authors

Pat Lidiker talks to Natalie Newman about her new book co-written with son Henry

TWO years ago, on the publication of her first children’s book Lark the Shark, with its environmentally-friendly theme, Natalie Newman showed she’s a woman ahead of her time.

Young readers will now be flocking to read the latest instalment in the series, again a collaboration with her 10-year-old son Henry, a pupil at Clore Tikva Primary School

“Henry takes everything in his stride and while proud of our achievements is in fact very shy about it,” his mum admits.

“Each story takes a couple of hours to write, then we put it aside and come back again and again to edit it with fresh eyes.”

This time Lark shares the title and his underwater adventures with a new friend, Wanda the Whale, and they clean up the sea together.

Natalie told us: “While the books are colourful and fun for young people to read, the key message is to inspire them to think about shark conservation, water pollution, recycling and looking after our planet.”

Natalie is a regular visitor to schools around Essex, where she holds interactive book reading sessions. Similar programmes are held online and seen by young people all over the world. The feedback to both has been amazing.

A self-employed hairdresser, as well as an author, Natalie lives in Romford with husband Adam, an IT engineer, Henry and his younger brother Leo, aged seven. Both boys attend Clore Tivka.

But life hasn’t always been an easy ride, far from it: Natalie told us: “Both boys were premature and in hospital for some time. It was a very tough, emotional journey I will never forget. But it also taught me never to take anything for granted.”

Today environmental issues make daily headlines. However, what Natalie has proved is that there are other effective ways of getting the message across rather than gluing oneself to the M25 or jetting around the world to conferences.

Hence the creation of lovable, sensitive Lark. As well as the environmental messages, the books also have an important point to make on diversity and inclusion.

Natalie explains: “Lark wants to banish negative feelings about him being a shark by teaching children not to judge others by the way they look but on what they do.”

If young readers’ response to this latest book is as enthusiastic as when Lark made his first appearance two years ago, the coming weeks and months will be even more hectic. Fortunately, though, Natalie is blessed with boundless energy and enthusiasm and says life’s too short to waste.

So how do she and Henry see their creation’s future? “We would absolutely love to see him brought to life as animated character,” she revealed. “That would be our dream, to see him on the big screen teaching children about the importance of his message in our book.”

• Lark the Shark is published by Austin Macauley, also responsible for the illustrations, and available from Waterstones, Amazon, WHSmith, Foyles and all good book shops.

• For those interested in arranging school visits, talks, book signings and other events, Natalie can be contacted on

Clore Tikva head Margot Buller with Henry Newman and his mum and co-author Natalie



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