AN RAF officer turned foster carer has teamed up with a local illustrator to publish a book for young children.

Emma LLoyd, who lives in Tracebridge, spent 21 years as an RAF officer before retiring to become a full-time foster carer. Now, with the help of illustrator Sophie Jones from Holcombe Rogus, she has created a book, The Little Red Dragon, aimed at two to six year-olds.

Emma who lives with her husband, her two children and up to three foster children, always enjoyed making up stories for her younger sister during her own childhood, and later passed these stories down to her own children. Emma said she was inspired by her own children to put the story down on paper.

Emma said: “The story of The Little Red Dragon is something that I made up years ago and told to my children. One day my daughter said ‘you really ought to write this down so other children can experience the story.’ I think that really touched me.”

The book is a heart warming tale of friendship, with characters of all shapes and sizes. It follows the Little Red Dragon after he lost his warm jumper on a cold snowy day. He ventures down a mountain, meeting friends along the way who try to help him.

Emma said she chose these themes purposefully and wants to explore different themes in her work that aren’t often seen in books for youngsters.

she said: “As a foster carer I noticed that there aren’t many characters for younger kids that cover topics like same sex parents and all the different types of families, that is definitley something that I want to cover in my future work as it educates kids about what a family can look like.”

Emma put a call out on social media for an illustrator, and was soon introduced to Sophie Jones , who had a huge ammount of experience in the industry with her work on books including Farmer Christmas and Harry the Hippo - and the two got to work over the pandemic to produce the book.

Emma said she was “A little nervous” about working with Sophie, but added: “After meeting Sophie and seeing my ideas come to life, I was excited about what was to come.

“The first sketch she did of the dragon was exactly how I had always imagined him.”

Emma said her book has been received “Exceptionally well” so far, and she’s posted at least 100 books already and recived positive feedback from many readers. Emma said the book may even become a series.

The book is available at