Children’s book aims to inspire scientists of the future

Dr Mandy Hartley, technical manager at Anglia DNA.

Dr Mandy Hartley, technical manager at Anglia DNA. - Credit: Submitted

A scientist's new children's book which challenges youngsters to solve crimes using DNA aims to inspire young people to take up future careers in the industry,

Children learn how to become DNA detectives at a workshop at New Buckenham. Looking like forensic sc

Children learn how to become DNA detectives at a workshop at New Buckenham. Looking like forensic scientists, Benjamin Chirodian, 10, right; Madeleine Ayrdon, 5, 2nd left; and her brother James, 7; collect evidence for DNA testing from a crime scene, with Mandy Hartley, a former technical and quality manager at a DNA lab. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Mandy Hartley's book The DNA Detective - To Catch A Thief could be used in schools to help inspire the next generation to take up careers as forensic detectives and generally learn more about science.

Mrs Hartley, from New Buckenham, was a technical manager at a DNA firm but now runs the Little Storytelling Company, where she gives workshops to young people designed to spark their interest in the subject.

The 43-year-old was motivated to write a book about her children, which they would pass on to their children.

However she also wanted to get the message across to young people at an early age that rewarding, well-paid and satisfying careers in science are available to them.

Dr Mandy Hartley at the John Innes Centre. Picture: ANDY DARNELL

Dr Mandy Hartley at the John Innes Centre. Picture: ANDY DARNELL - Credit: Archant � 2008

'There are fewer children going into science,' she explained.

MORE: Old Buckenham workshop by Mandy Hartley inspires next generation of scientists'We need to enthuse them at a young age and get them excited about science.


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'Speaking to teachers, the problem is that because they're getting no experience of DNA when they come to secondary school, to absorb the basics is really hard.

'If they learn about it earlier, they have a greater capacity to learn more and retain the information.'

A DNA workshop run by Mandy Hartley at Old Buckenham Village Hall. Picture: JONATHAN HARTLEY

A DNA workshop run by Mandy Hartley at Old Buckenham Village Hall. Picture: JONATHAN HARTLEY - Credit: Archant

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She added: 'It shows them what careers are out there.'

Her children Annabelle, 10, and Harry, seven, are featured in the book - which is illustrated by Jamie Maxwell - alongside four-year-old Millie the dog, the family's pet.

Annabelle and Harry helped to write the book, as Mrs Hartley would read it to them at home as a way of testing her material.

'Their feedback was fantastic,' she said.

The book is available for sale from tomorrow (Thursday, September 28) and is due to be available on Amazon, in Waterstone's and at WH Smith, priced £6.99.

Those who buy a copy from Mrs Hartley's website, www.thelittlestorytellingcompany.co.uk, will get a copy signed by the author.

The official launch of the book is due to take place on Sunday, October 1 between 2pm and 4pm.

The children will be participating in a workshop based on the book where they find out what it is like to be an author, learn about DNA and use DNA to find out who is the pet thief.

They will also be making DNA bracelets, creating chalk paintings of a DNA helix, making an origami DNA helix and some dog characters.

The event is by invitation-only and is already full subscribed. However a second book launch in Waterstone's in Norwich is due to take place in Norwich on Saturday, October 7 for those who couldn't attend the first event.

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