Tyrone-born author Barry pens children's book to inspire and reassure

Author-illustrator Barry Falls with two-year-old daughter May, who provided the inspiration for his new book

"SO GO and play and live and learn. It's your world now, this is your turn to think and ask and make and do. This world is magic, just like you."

This is the message Tyrone-born author-illustrator Barry Falls gives to children in his debut picture book It's Your World Now! A colourful and heart-warming story to help children to appreciate the wonderful things that exist in the world, and the great things that they can do, as well as allowing them to understand some of the setbacks that may happen. And whatever happens, the child is reassured that their parents will always love them.

Born in Aughnacloy, Barry studied visual communication at Ulster University, Belfast, before moving to London where he produced illustrations for well-known clients including the Guardian, The New Yorker and The Woodland Trust, as well as producing book covers for publishers HarperCollins and Macmillan, to name a few.

Love brought him back to Ireland, where he settled in Lisburn. Now a dad-of-three, Barry used his skills to entertain his own children, having made little books for his two older boys Jack (eight) and Noah (four). However, it was the birth of his daughter May (now two), that inspired his first children's book publication, which he describes as "a labour of love".

"I guess there's something about having a daughter that as a father makes you extra protective and feel you have to provide them with guidance and prepare them for the world ahead.

"As it developed and I thought more about it I realised how difficult it is to give instruction and how it's best for children to discover the world themselves," he explains.

While aimed mainly at two-to-five-year-olds, Barry believes there is plenty for older children to discover too, including spotting a ladybird on every page.

Barry's works with a variety of pen, pencil and paint, creating the images individually before assembling them on computer like a digital collage. Texture, colour, animals and flora are very much a feature of It's Your World Now! which Barry's admits was inspired by the artwork of Peter Blake, who designed the cover for The Beatles's 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and the rhyming text of American children's author Theodor Seuss Geisel ('Dr Seuss').

:: It's Your World Now! by Barry Falls is published by Pavilion Books and is available now from book stores, and Barry is having a book signing in Books Paper Scissors in Stranmillis, Belfast, on Saturday May 11 from 4.30-5.30pm.

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