Eight years ago I wrote a picture book, the first book I ever wrote. Marjory and the Mouse is the story of a baby boy, Marjory Vendramini and the founding of the Macau-based orphanage, Cradle of Hope. Over twenty years ago a baby was found abandoned in a rubbish bin. Rats had bitten him and he was quickly rushed to hospital. Marjory offered to care for the child until a permanent home was found for him and when he was adopted Marjory found herself caring for more and more babies and children. Over 200 children to date, since 1993, within two residential homes – Cradle of Hope and Fountain of Hope.
Moved by the tale of this baby and Marjory’s incredible compassion I wrote the first draft for Marjory and the Mouse in a few days. Easy! But then I rewrote the draft. Many times. I explained the book idea to a friend and Cradle supporter, Fran Thomas, who quickly came on board as chief cheerleader and co-ordinator. We translated the story into Macau’s official languages – Chinese and Portuguese. We found an illustrator who, after several attempts, was then unable to complete the project. This happened several times. Years passed. Almost a decade. I was unsure if the project could be revived. But after a couple of serendipitous, mutually exclusive events, which reinstated the book as a priority for both Fran and me, it was slowly resuscitated. After the completion (hurrah!) of the illustrations by French artist Mahe Corrolleur, in mid-2015, I was sure we were very near to publication. We had words! We had pictures! We must be close now! Cut to over a year later and this week we are scrambling to get the book printed. Printed in time for the book launch. Which is on the 16th of October. Oh, my heart! I have to admit – I never thought producing a picture book would be easy, but I also never imagined it would be quite this challenging.
But wait till you see the completed book. Mahe’s illustrations are bright and charming, the translations have been completed with great care and the print quality is going to be gorgeous. A book to keep and gift, one to share with your youngest loved ones, a story to help explain that some are less fortunate than others, one that demonstrates that even if you feel small you can make a HUGE difference. Marjory and the Mouse is a simple but heartfelt story with illustrations that are darling and uncomplicated. Plus, 100% (yes, that’s right, 100%) of all proceeds from the book go directly to Cradle of Hope. To find out more, order the book and support Cradle of Hope go to: http://www.cradleofhope.org.mo
I’m hugely proud of this project and very grateful for all those who contributed and supported it including: Marjory Vendramini, Fran Thomas, Helene Wong, Timothy Ma, Joana Vann, Luis Pereira, Mahe Corolleur, Kylie Rogers and Melie Ruston. I will see you all in a week!
Love, Hannah x