An author and illustrator from Ewood has released his first children’s book titled Ember’s Zoo Adventure about a red panda learning to accept herself.

Craig Antony Spence, 51, was inspired by the trips him and his daughter Bethany used to take to Blackpool Zoo when she was younger.

The idea to create a book centring on an animal’s journey of self-acceptance was sparked by raising his daughter Bethany who is now 20.

The book follows Ember, a red panda who begins to question herself and her place in the zoo amongst all of the other animal friends but along the way realises that being happy and true to yourself is the best way to live.

Lancashire Telegraph: Ember's Zoo AdventureEmber's Zoo Adventure (Image: Craig Spence)

Craig said: “Social media wasn’t as big when I was growing up so the story which is about being happy with who you are which was influenced by my daughter growing up around social media and looking at photoshopped image of people.

“So I wanted to create a story that’s for children about making friends and accepting who you are and being happy with yourself.

“And I want it to be accessible and inclusive for all children. Whilst it’s loosely based off the trips me and my daughter used to take, this story is made for all children.”

Craig created the watercolour drawings of animals in the book, at the Bureau Blackburn on Fridays after he had finished work.

The author and illustrator had taken part in art classes before and fell in love with the creation of art because of how self-therapeutic can be.

He said: “I’ve been making this book, leisurely, for the past couple of months or so.

“Painting is a really good way to focus on something and put your mind on something, so I’d enjoy going to the Bureau on a Friday to just focus and clear your mind.”

Craig completed a foundation degree in graphic design and has had his artwork of the Wainwright Bridge on display at a festival in Witton Park around seven years ago and decided he wanted to get back into creating artwork.

Thanking those who motivated and inspired his exciting creation, Craig thanked the Lancashire Adult Learning for helping him begin his own adventure as an author, as well as the Bureau Blackburn and, of course, his daughter Bethany.

The book has been released on iBook and the author and illustrator is looking to get the book published in print in the future.

You can read Ember’s Zoo Adventure here.