A CUMBRIAN author has published two new children’s books during the lockdown that will get readers thinking about how they can be kinder to each other.

Tim Stead, a Silloth-based author and illustrator, decided to jump the gun and release his two latest books during the lockdown to give children something to read in case their bookshelves were running low.

The first, Hanging with the Kool Squids, tells the tale of two best friends - Olly the octopus and Rab the crab - who get into a bit of trouble when they meet some "cool" kids.

"It's a fun story but there's an undertone there that it is peer pressure and obviously bullying which I encountered as a child at school," said Tim. "I think most people did or if they were a bully, they got bullied at home.

"I just wanted to write this story just to show children that you can stand up for yourself and deter bullies and bullying.

"As the story goes along Olly gets in a lot of trouble but has a lot of fun at the same time then realises he has done quite a lot of harm to his friends so he goes back to his best friend who forgives him as best friends do.

He was inspired to write Hanging with the Kool Squids after seeing how his son had stood up for himself at school.

But, it was also Tim's son, Thomas, that pushed him to release the books during the lockdown because he had run out of books to read.

Tim said: "The Kool Squids has been on hold for quite a while, it's just not been the right time because I have had other projects on.

"I thought it's the right time, children are at home and obviously they are spending time on their Ipads, Xboxes, and Fortnite.

"It's a hard battle getting children to read these days."

Harry and the Butter-bye-bye, the second book to be released by Tim during this time, has also been sat waiting to be published.

It follows Harry the Hippo who instantly falls in love with a butterfly so he tries to keep his new love - with disappointing consequences.

"The simple story is, it is just him trying to catch her with a big net, he goes through mountains, passes sleeping bears," commented Tim.

"Eventually he catches her, takes her home and puts her in a jar - the next morning when he wakes up she has lost all of her colours."

This one is aimed at younger children - his stepdaughter Anntonia loves it and tries to catch butter-bye-byes when she is out and about.

The message of this story is timeless and one that many people will be familiar with.

"It's the old phrase of if you love something let it go, if they don't come back they were never yours."

Tim has published almost ten books with vibrant and fun illustrations accompanying the words.

Creativity is flowing at the seams for Tim who can conjure up his incredible illustrations with ease such as the ones in the Kool Squids which reflect a love for the hip-hop music genre.

"It's just in my little head, the whole thing," he said.

"With The Kool Squids I had a great time because I grew up hip-hop music and I loved all of that."

Tim has plenty in the works for future releases with a couple of famous faces.