When Sara Jackson’s eldest was entering his terrible 2’s, his baby brother had just been diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. Desperate for stories to help the family during this difficult time, she found nothing suitable or uplifting in the market. With a career in TV drama and a passion for storytelling she decided to write her own, and turned to her friend, fellow creative mum and graphic designer Karen Shooter, to join forces. Together over the next 8 years they collaborated while balancing life as working mums, and what emerged were some beautifully designed children’s stories.
As a powerful force, the duo continue to write and illustrate alongside their continuing careers and family lives. The stories they create are intended to inspire and entertain, opening the eyes of both the kids and parents who read them. The Treehouse at Number 9 is the first series in this journey and something very close to their hearts.
The Treehouse at Number 9 is a beautifully designed musical e-book about an exciting gang of friends, the Genies, who all have differences in their abilities. The rhyming story shows their adventures and them having lots of fun together, and the accompanying music, which is adaptive and originally created, is the real genius of this lovely App. There is also a narration option for early readers, where Sara, her children and their friend, will read the story to you.
WHO WILL YOU MEET ALONG THE WAY?
Jean Genie is the granny of this family who live at Number 9. She shares her big happy house with her son The Duke and his wife Mummy Carey, who are parents to Joe and his little brother Ted. The boys go to school with Macro, Angel, Oscar, Cee-Cee, Flo and Lugs and together they make up the Genies Gang.
Since we first met them, the Genies have made two more fantastic friends, both of whom have been shaped and co-created with Jess, our new 12-year-old Ambassador for The Treehouse at Number 9. First we have Pip, a funny crazy curly girl who happens to have a condition called NF2, and, in direct support of Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week 2016, we are excited to introduce you to FREDDIE.
As a gang of friends all these children have things that they both are brilliant at or struggle a little with, and some of those challenges are caused by medical conditions that they happen to live with. The existing App showcases the original eight Genies, living life, having as much fun as possible, and supporting each other so that they can all enjoy themselves in the same way. The characters that you will find there – Flo, Macro, Angel, Ted and Oscar – have friends with similar conditions in the fantastic films on the Genetic Disorders UK website.
Sara and Karen have decided to bring Freddie to life as a new friend for the Genies, to help support the families of, and children with, Down’s Syndrome. Freddie will be making his entrance on the website www.treehouseatnumbernine.org during Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week – 20th-26th March 2016.
Since the launch of the App, Sara has carried out storytelling and imagination sessions involving the Genies at various schools and nurseries in North London. She (alongside The Treehouse at Number 9’s Ambassador Jess) has plans to showcase Freddie in all his glory sometime during Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week in March, and would love to hear of local schools who would like a visit.