The Sad Banana and The Lonely Lemon are the first two books in The Fruit Salad Series for young children, focusing on overcoming emotional challenges. The books teach kids the importance of gratitude, self-acceptance and emotional regulation with a focus on building resilience and positive self-esteem. These special books are full of catchy rhymes and are complemented by Kiwi cartoonist Jeff Bell’s lively illustrations that really catapult these characters into life.
Author Tim Bateman (Ngai Tahu) is passionate about wellbeing. He played professional rugby in New Zealand and Japan for 17 years but retired in 2022 to spend more time with his family. Tim’s wife Laura was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2012 when their kids were aged 4 and 6. This was an extremely difficult time for the family and was the catalyst for Tim delving into the well-being space. In 2016 he opened Cloud 9 Float Club and then in 2019 he opened O-Studio which is NZ’s largest modern wellness centre. O-Studio is the “one-stop-shop” for all things wellbeing. Tim’s focus with O-Studio is supporting others in setting up their own O-Studio’s around NZ.
Tim says, ‘Despite the world becoming more ‘connected’ through things like social media, feelings of sadness and loneliness are as prevalent as ever, and continue to have a negative impact on communities of children within NZ and abroad. By overlaying important mental health messages into funny, fruit-based characters, my hope is that these light-hearted, fun, and engaging books spark deeper conversations between the reader and the listener, while giving real and practical ways for children to overcome their emotional challenges.’
Most of Tim’s rugby career was spent with the Crusaders and the Hurricanes in NZ, winning four Super Rugby Championships with the Crusaders between 2008 and 2020. The highlight of his career was captaining the Māori All Blacks on their Northern Tour and living in Japan for four years with his family, where he became fluent in Japanese. Tim has always been passionate about writing and about supporting people’s wellbeing therefore writing these children’s books was a natural progression. It just took seven weeks during lockdown in a Japanese apartment for the first book to come to life!