M is for Manx Cat

M is for Manx Cat
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M is for Manx Cat! An Isle of Man ABC by Gemma Hjerth and Kim Gee is out now!

Local marketer, Gemma Hjerth has announced the launch of her first book: M is for Manx Cat! An Isle of Man ABC

Gemma is a Ramsey-based freelance marketer and project manager (‘Project Gem’) and has self-published her debut children’s picture book.

M is for Manx Cat! An Isle of Man ABC has been supported by Isle of Man Arts Council and Year of Our Island.

The Book cover image for Isle of Man ABC

Written and ‘conceived’ by Gemma Hjerth, it has been illustrated and designed by Kim Gee (AKA Kim Graziano) of ‘Kim Gee Studio’.

To celebrate the book launch, Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited, has gifted a copy of the book to every child in Year 2 at Bunscoill Rhumsaa, as well as one for each classroom in the school and the school library.

Gemma Hjerth, of Isle of Man ABC/ Project Gem, said:

I’m delighted (and nervous!) to be publishing my first book and I’m thrilled to have received financial and moral support from Isle of Man Arts Council, Year of Our Island and Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited, without which I couldn’t have done it.

I love our Island, and was surprised and frustrated by the lack of a concise, image-focused summary of its icons that could be enjoyed by young children/early readers and shared with ‘grown up’ Isle of Man enthusiasts (and novices) from near and far away.

The idea for the book first came about during my maternity leave with my son Colby, now 6, and became more insistent whilst I was more recently on maternity leave with my daughter Aalin, now 20 months.

Inside book spreads – Yy/Zz designed by Kim Gee 

In January this year, when Aalin started playschool, I decided that now was my chance to try publishing my book, and that it would be a fulfilling way to restart my self-employment as a freelance marketer and project manager – and now author and publisher too!

I have had so much support and feedback from people along the way that there is a whole page of thanks dedicated to them at the back of the book.

It’s wonderful to have been able to surprise the Year 2 pupils at Bunscoill Rhumsaa today, as I attended Auldyn Infants School on this site! This is where I learned to read and write, and it feels fantastic to have created a book for local children and their families to enjoy and learn from.

Kim Gee, of Kim Gee Studio, said:

Creating this book was a very educational experience for this 'come over'!

I'd lived in the Isle of Man for around 3 years before being approached by Gemma to illustrate and design M is for Manx Cat!, and I learned so many facts about Manx culture and history through diving into this project.

I'm thrilled that my artwork will now be in the hands of young readers from near and far, learning those same facts much earlier than I did.

Every illustration in this book was created digitally in a friendly, simplified style that appeals to all ages, and the limited colour palette was inspired by the 5 colours of the Manx tartan.

Gemma presenting her book to Year 2 pupils at Bunscoill Rhumsaa

Nina Johnston, Managing Director of Equiom (Isle of Man) Limited said:

This is a brilliant initiative that we are delighted to have the opportunity to support. There are so few books about the Isle of Man, especially aimed at primary school children, which puts us in danger of leaving our culture behind. By passing this knowledge on to future generations, while at the same time offering a learning experience for the Island’s children, we are helping to keep that heritage alive. Congratulations to Gemma and Kim on a great book. I encourage everyone to go out and buy one!

Mrs Quane, Deputy Headteacher of Bunscoill Rhumsaa said:

On behalf of the children at Bunscoill Rhumaa, I would like to say thank you very much to Gemma and Nina from Equiom for this surprise gift! The children were very excited to receive M is for Manx Cat! as an early Easter present, and it’s fabulous to see Manx culture and language presented in a way that is accessible to our young children.

About the Book

M is for Manx Cat! An Isle of Man ABC is a 36-page, full colour picture book, written in rhyme.
It has understated, digital illustrations in a colour palette inspired by the Manx tartan and a modern, matt paper finish.
It will appeal to young children, early readers and Isle of Man enthusiasts from near and far away.
The book gives readers the opportunity to practice the alphabet and spot iconic Isle of Man attractions.

It also includes:
• A full page of Manx Gaelic translations and pronunciations, provided by Culture Vannin (with sound files of these to listen to at www.isleofmanabc.com)
• Four Manx Songs (the Manx National Anthem, The Laxey Wheel Song, Ramsey Town and Hunt the Wren)
• Two pages of interesting facts about the Isle of Man
• A little wren to hunt for
• Lots of Three Legs of Man to count!

The book is now available to purchase from Island-based bookshops, heritage sites and gift retailers.

Inside book spreads – Mm/Nn designed by Kim Gee

From the back cover:

This is an Isle of Man ABC:
to celebrate Our Island, fair and free.
Mm is for Manx Cat, with no tail to chase,
Zz is for zZZEEEOOowm! - a TT bike race!
Dd is for Dancer, a smile on her face,
Yy is for Yachts, that sail at some pace!
Learn about letters, play Hunt the Wren,
practise Manx Songs that we sing now and then.
Explore the gems of the Isle of Man,
speak Manx Gaelic - you certainly can!
Manx culture, heritage, wildlife too,
a book of true treasures, especially for you.

Gemma with the book in Bridge Bookshop, Ramsey

About the Author and Publisher – Gemma Hjerth

A Ramsey girl, born on the Isle of Man, Gemma is an experienced marketer and project manager. She published M is for Manx Cat! An Isle of Man ABC to express her love of the Island and all things Manx, through colourful, understated illustrations and rhyming verse.

About the Designer and Illustrator – Kim Gee

Born in New York, Kim is a talented graphic designer, illustrator and artist, who has made the Isle of Man her home. She expertly and patiently translated Gemma’s visions and imaginings into the wonderful artwork in M is for Manx Cat!

For further information, please contact Gemma Hjerth at isleofmanabc@gmail.com or call her on 07624 461246.

A sponsored body of
The Department of Education, Sport and Culture
Rheynn Ynsee, Spoyrt as Cultoor
Isle of Man Government
Reiltys Ellan Vannin
Isle of man Government