Every cloud has a silver lining
9:01am Thursday 3rd October 2013 in News
A BARRY cake designer who struggled in school English lessons is hoping her talent for storytelling will mix it with the best in children’s literature.
Thirty-year-old Laura Shire, who also works as a cleaner at Fonmon Castle and volunteers as a Weight Watchers clerk in Palmerston, Barry, has published her first ever illustrated book, The Cloud That Couldn’t Cry, with the aim that it will encourage children to understand their emotions and the effect on them.
The former Holton primary and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive pupil, who also studied childcare at Barry College, worked at Marco’s Cafe, and volunteered at the Ty Hafan shop, said she had been inspired to write the book by her childhood experiences.
Laura, of Rectory Road, said: “I was rubbish in school – I was in the bottom set for English.
“I was always really creative, but I could never work in school.
“I never knew how creative I was until I started doing the cakes.
“I knew I wanted to work with children, but I was lost.
“My dad Tony Shire died when I was ten and I moved up to Bryn Hafren and I never used to say anything.
“Teachers said it was like trying to get blood out of a stone.
“I wanted to get children talking about things instead of bottling it up.”
Laura came up with the idea of Roxy the rain cloud who found it difficult to rain.
“The idea was really random,” she said. “I was driving home through town and I thought about what was the easiest way possible to talk about something.
“The story came together really quickly.”
Laura contacted Cardiff-based publisher Candy Jar and, with illustrator Terry Cooper, produced an initial print run which is now available for sale.
The book has already found a home in the US with a family who don’t conform to the five-and-under guide. The book is also suitable for child therapists, nursery schools and parents.
Laura said: “I had a message from a lady whose 11-year-old daughter has Asperger’s.
“I was really touched.
“The little girl said ‘I get it mum’ and is really happy.
“I never wanted to be a big success, but hearing that one little girl is so happy with her book I feel like I’ve succeeded.
“It’s not every day you get to touch someone’s life.”
Laura’s proud mum, Julie Shire, brother Mike and nieces 11-year-old Chloe Spire and 15-year-old Caitlin Griffiths have helped spread the word and have assisted with sales and Laura is already dreaming of where Roxy the rain cloud could feature next.
The Cloud That Couldn’t Cry, costing £4.99, is available from the post office, on Merthyr Dyfan Road, the Property Bureau, Holton Road, or directly from Laura on www.facebook.com/TheCloudThatCouldntCryByLauraShire