Local schoolgirl publishes charity book

20th January 2023

A student from Galley Hill Primary School in Guisborough has published her own book at the age of seven. Sienna McLaren, currently in year three created the book, including the illustrations to raise money for charity.

Inspired by a school lesson

In April 2022, Sienna studied The Papaya That Spoke and wrote her own adaptation of the story, making several fundamental changes including the introduction of a lot of friendly animals. Sienna took so much enjoyment from writing and showing her story to people that her family decided to work on bringing this story to life and get it published.

Over the following six months, Sienna learnt how to use a professional iPad drawing application and set to, creating all of the characters and animals that are in the final published book. Through her self study, Sienna became skilled in digital illustration.


Published for a cause

Sienna and her family decided to donate the money from the book sales to a local animal charity, S.A.R.A, because of her love for kittens and link to the book title. The book was released on 11th December 2022 and on 7th January 2023, Sienna dropped off £150 in donations.

Matt McLaren, Sienna’s father said:

“The feedback from the book has been very special. The book sales are currently going well and Sienna has also sold internationally to America and Germany.  The reaction from the children has been extremely positive, they are absolutely blown away that a child their age has written a book and this inspires them to go and write their own stories. We have been told by many parents that their child is now writing their own book because they were inspired by this one. This is what makes this book different to other books, it is done completely by a child, not an adult.”

Chris Zarraga, Director of Schools North East commented:

“It is great to see that the lesson at Galley Hill Primary School inspired Sienna to create and publish her very own book. This story highlights that children in our region are innovative and use their skills towards good causes. We hope Sienna continues to write books, practise her digital illustrations and publish many more stories. The book would be a great resource for schools in the region to show how to expand upon ‘The Payaya that Spoke’ and demonstrate how you’re never too young to publish a book. A big well done to Sienna from all the team at Schools North East! ”

Availability for schools

At present, the book is available online through Amazon for £5.  It is the perfect accompaniment for classes studying ‘The Papaya That Spoke’ lesson plan, or as an example to show that it is possible for primary age children to publish their own book. School web designer iTCHYROBOT is supporting by donating marketing promotional materials and purchasing some books to donate to a local classroom.

Sienna’s family are looking into alternative printing options which would be more cost efficient than using Amazon. This will involve taking orders in advance. If anyone would like to place an order with us please contact Matt McLaren at Matthew.McLaren@live.co.uk (07813  038983).  

iTCHYROBOT are a Schools North East Commercial Supporter. If you’d like to find out more about our Commercial Supporters, visit The Marketplace here.

We love to hear good news from North East Schools, to share your news with Schools North East please tag @SchoolsNE on Twitter or apply here.