Jo Guy writes children's book to take on bullying
Jo Guy's latest children's book spreads the word about standing up to bad behaviour and going through tough times.
That's a topic the Manawatū author knows about, after her son Scott Guy was killed in 2010 in a high-profile unsolved murder.
Now, Guy is a regular visitor to lower North Island primary schools to read her books and share her experiences about getting through the down periods.
"I say a little bit about losing Scott and the other kids in the family with their father in prison, but it doesn't mean your life's ruined and you can work through stuff.
"I hope I'm a little bit of a beacon."
READ MORE: Jo Guy releases children's book
Scott's brother-in-law Ewen Macdonald was acquitted of his murder, but served time in jail for other offences.
Guy said she gets few questions at school assemblies, but sharing her story was important, as was sharing her literary creation Snooty Stanley the Cat.
It hit the shelves last year on a mission to get children to think of others.
Now, the feline has met his match, Bob Cat The Bully, in Guy's second children's book, which came off the printers last week.
In the 18 months since the first book's release, Guy has visited about 50 primary schools in the lower North Island, reading and giving talks.
When she caught up with Stuff this week she was in the middle of a day of school visits in Whanganui for the Duffy Books programme. Later this month, she's off to Napier for more.
The idea for the latest book, also illustrated by Paul Cornwell, came from hearing children's experiences.
"A lot of the kids have trouble with bullying and I thought maybe I could write a story about it," Guy said.
"The interesting thing is some businesses use the books – they used the first one. There's a lot of bullying in the workplace for adults. I thought we really need to stop it when they are young and deal with it effectively."
There are plans for more books too, possibly featuring Snooty Stanley, looking at self-worth and self-esteem.
"That's quite a big thing for me because I think if kids have got really strong self-worth, and it's the same with adults, they'll make much better choices."
Away from writing, including her Makelemonade blog with daughter Anna, Jo and husband Bryan Guy are busy developing the three-acre garden at their relatively new Colyton home, after last year's move from Feilding.
Surrounded by native birds, Guy said the property was "a little bit of paradise".
Jo and Bryan Guy are also ready to welcome their 14th grandchild, with son Callum and his wife Brooke expecting their second child in October.