A WEST Cumbrian children’s author opened a new library at a Carlisle school – accompanied by one of her lead characters, Petra the dog.

Helen Haraldsen, who did the honours at the Gillford Centre, grew up in Whitehaven and now lives in Great Clifton. She is an English teacher and librarian at Keswick School.

"I love to champion anything related to improving children’s literacy skills, so I was delighted and honoured to be asked to open the library at the school," she said.

Petra is the lead character in Helen’s new book, the second in the Daley’s Dog Tales series, Petra and the Dogs in Danger.

In addition to opening the library, Helen also spoke to pupils about her books and explained how she writes about her real-life animals.

"Because I know them so well, it's easy to make them the main characters in my books," she said.

Helen spoke about Petra's personality and how that helped her to plot the storylines.

"After that, the pupils were excited to start planning their own story involving Petra," she said.

“It was great to get back out to deliver an in-person author visit again, and having Petra with me made it extra special.

"She really engaged the pupils and seeing their reactions to meeting her for real, after seeing the illustrated version of her on the book cover was priceless.

"Afterwards, the teacher told me that she'd never seen them so focused before.

"I'm hoping Petra will be able to come with me on more school visits in the future, to inspire children to want to read and write, because, of course, after meeting her, they couldn't wait to read her book!

"It would be funny if Petra were to become something of a school dog as that's part of the plot of the third Daley's Dog Tales book, which is being edited right now and will hopefully start the illustration process early next month.”

Helen also gave pupils a sneak peak at her book ‘A Game of Ponies’ which was released last week.