imageOur project

Peter Digs A Den is a beautifully illustrated children’s book told in rhyme, written by me (Amy Stretch-Parker) and illustrated by Kate Brunskill. It’s the story of a small  boy with a big idea. Peter has a dream, to build a den big enough for his entire family (and all their pets) to sleep in. He works hard to get the money to buy the tools he needs and works even harder to achieve his goal.

Our book is still a work in progress but we have created the storyboard, developed the illustrative style and have researched and decided upon the best way to print, market and promote our work. The story has been edited and has received very positive feedback.

How it all began…


I love where I live. The Cumbrian landscape inspires me daily, which is why I decided to embark on creating Peter Digs A Den. I wanted to tell the story of a child who grew up like I did, surrounded by beautiful countryside, unlimited by fear but in an environment full of potential risk taking opportunities. Where a simple dream can become a reality with hard work and determination and where isolation (and often boredom) fuels the imagination.

Cumbria has a rich literary heritage, especially for children’s literature. The Lake District is the place Peter Rabbit came to life and where Arthur Ransom’s Swallows and Amazons ventured into the unknown. It’s wild and rugged and the perfect setting for a children’s story.

Our Peter is real. This isn’t the story of a child with magical powers, this isn’t the story of another world.This is simply the story of a boy who has an idea, figures out what he needs to do to accomplish it and sets to work. It’s a story that all children can relate to. It’s a story that will hopefully inspire children to self-motivate; that sometimes the journey is the reward, that sometimes the simple things in life are the greatest pleasures.

My partner was homeschooled. His opportunity for self-directed play unfettered by a classroom environment. One day he decided to dig a den in the garden and so he did. This is his story. Opportunities for digging a den in a back garden are few and far between these days, but the simplicity of his decision to do something, figuring out how to buy the tools and setting to work spoke to me on many levels.  It reminded me of all the things I deemed possible when I was little; digging my way to China with a bucket and spade on the beach, flying to the moon in a cardboard rocket, winning the Eurovision song contest with mine and my sister’s song “I can stand on my own two feet”. His simple tale of digging a den inspired me to follow one of my childhood dreams. Writing a children’s book. And so I did.

The illustrator

Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting people, especially when you live in such a remote area as Cumbria. The community I live in is full of artists and reaching out to find an illustrator was an easy process. Kate Brunskill also lives in my home town of Ulverston in the South Lakes. Kate’s an incredibly talented woman whose art captures the imagination and the colours of our countryside perfectly. Her artwork brightens the windows of our town during the festival season and lends itself to storytelling well. She’s also very hard working, methodical and self-directed, talents I deem necessary for completing a project within a deadline and without external pressures.



We’ve recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund completion of Peter Digs A Den and we’re looking for people to back us. We need £3800 to turn our dream into reality so if you love what we’re trying to do please head over to Kickstarter and back our campaign. Self-publishing is not everyone’s route but it’s one I felt excited about trying. I love a challenge! Especially ones that use all the skills I have learned throughout my career. Kickstarter seemed like a great place to crowdfund, there were many other crowdfunding platforms but this is the one I know most people have heard of. It’s working so far! There are so many great projects on their site so after you’ve taken a look at ours why not browse around all the other amazing ideas.

For our project we have created a professional audiobook and will have an e-book, hardback and paperback version available for sale throughout the Lake District and with various online sellers. All we are looking for now are the funds to pay the illustrator, get the necessary barcodes and ISBNs, a little towards marketing and promotion, some extra editing software, professional assistance in the printing process and for an initial print run. We will be using a print on demand service to keep our costs as low as possible and have already gained interest from local newspapers, community organisations and online media.

I believe we have created reward tiers that will encourage you to back our project. Kate has created some wonderful artwork just for our backers, there’s an audiobook version up for grabs, an e-book, the book itself in either paperback or hardback, signed of course. There are invitations to our Den Day storytelling festival in Ulverston in October which promises to be an event for all the family with craft activities, storytellers, book swaps and workshops. Large pledges mean a special workshop for your child’s school or organisation and for those who pledge the highest tier, a dedication in the book itself.

Whatever you can pledge we will be truly grateful for.

Amy x