Norwich author helps hurricane-struck US libraries

Norwich-born author Jason Bardwell is helping a project to re-supply books to US libraries damaged b

Norwich-born author Jason Bardwell is helping a project to re-supply books to US libraries damaged by Hurricane Sandy - Credit: Submitted

A Norwich-born writer has donated some of his children's books to help re-stock libraries destroyed by a tropical 'superstorm' in his adopted US homeland.

Hurricane Sandy wreaked a trail of devastation across the Atlantic coast of North America last October, with winds up to 115mph causing $75bn of damage and leaving 285 people dead in seven countries.

But Norwich author Jason Bardwell has been able to play his part in the reconstruction effort after his book, entitled 'When I Grow Up' was accepted by the Hurricane Sandy Libraries project.

His contribution of 10 copies will add to the 1,200 books already donated by more than 160 authors from all over the world, which have already been shipped to public and school libraries in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.

Mr Bardswell, 34, grew up on the Fiddlewood estate and studied at Catton Grove and Blyth Jex schools before moving to America in 2002.

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He said: 'I always look at things that happen like Hurricane Sandy and all these other disasters happening around the world and think: 'What can I do?'

'I am just an individual author. I don't have a lot of money coming in, but 10 books is really nothing. I am a very small part in this very big effort.

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'I was born and raised in Norwich, so I know nothing of these communities which were affected, but this is something small I could do which means a lot to those guys. I hope that it shows that it does not matter who you are, or where you are, every little thing you can do, however small, will be appreciated.'

Mr Bardswell now lives in the town of Greencastle in Pennsylvania with his fiancee, Rachael Garrett. 'When I Grow Up' is his second published book, which is also illustrated by his own drawings.

The author said his writing was inspired by Roald Dahl's humour, and that his interest in drawing started when he drew a picture of Canaries striker Robert Fleck at the age of eight or nine.

He said he still enjoys returning to visit family and friends in Norwich.

'When I went back in 2010 it was weird to actually go back to your home town as a tourist,' he said. 'My parents never had a car so we got public transport to the city centre. So when I drove past the cathedral and the castle again, even though it was a journey I had made every day, it was almost like seeing them for the first time – which was pretty cool.'

The founder of the Hurricane Sandy Libraries group, American author KS Brooks, said: 'We're happy to have Jason Bardwell as part of our effort. His generosity, which includes absorbing all related costs, is much appreciated.'

Jason Bardwell's books are available through online retailer Amazon and via his website at

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