A NEWPORT great-grandmother has published a children’s book on the state of the world – with a message of hope.

Barbara Hawkins, 84, originally wrote Finella and the Deadly Virus to help her seven-year-old grandson Finlay understand issues such as the environment and the coronavirus pandemic.

“Finlay was asking questions, especially in lockdown, as he couldn’t visit and there was lots of talk about it [Covid],” said Ms Hawkins.

“Trying to find answers I wrote this little book and illustrated it – people loved it, and a few said I should try to publish it.”

South Wales Argus:

Ms Hawkins – who has written poetry and prose but not attempted to publish her work previously – has now published the book, which she illustrated, through Amazon.

For every copy sold £1 will be donated to the World Wildlife Fund.

“The £1 royalty I get will go to the World Wildlife Fund,” said Ms Hawkins.

“The World Wildlife Fund is doing huge things to help the planet – including regrowing forests and getting plastic out of the sea.

South Wales Argus:

“The book has a strong message for young children but explains it gently. It tells children not to be greedy and about pollution in the sea and skies.

“And it ends with a message of hope – we must never stop hoping.”


The tale follows a mermaid called Finella who grows concerned about the pollution in the water and seeks out Mother Nature for answers.

Joined by her friend, Finlay, the duo set out – encountering underwater forests, a giant octopus, and more – before they find Mother Nature who says she will send a bug to slow people down and “give them time to think” about the impact of pollution.

South Wales Argus:

“I think it conveys a good message for children,” added Ms Hawkins.

“My great grandson took a copy to school [in Swansea] and the headteacher loved it; I would love to do talks about the book.”

Ms Hawkins is now working on her next book: Finella and the Pesky Plastic.

People can buy Finella and the Deadly Virus, with £1 of the purchase going to the World Wildlife Fund, online at https://www.amazon.com/Finella-Deadly-Virus-Book-1/dp/B08LNBHDX2