Children’s’ Book Cones Make New Friends has done just that with children in Brazil (Cones Fazem Novos Amigos) thanks to the talents and chance meeting of Keith Madeley and Karen Mendes Barbosa Fletcher, receptionist at Cloth Hall Court, Leeds.
Originally from Brazil, Karen has worked as the receptionist at Cloth Hall Court, part of Well Met, the conference office of Leeds Beckett University, since its opening in 2017 and meets people from different walks of life every day. Having met Keith Madeley, Chairman of the Unity Club, a city centre meeting place for Leeds’s business community based at Cloth Hall Court, he chatted about the networking club and about his wife, Chris Madeley’s selection of children’s books – The Cones.
With work on book 11 due to start imminently, Chris’s creation is a series of fun stories featuring traffic cones, that come to life when no-one’s looking. The four Cone friends: Consestance, Conerad, Conen and Cone Vera – offer children valuable safety advice through storytelling – and it’s not just restricted to traffic. Their repertoire includes waterside safety, construction sites, cones and electricity and cones on the rails.
Karen takes up the story, she said: “When Keith told me about Mrs Madeley’s books, I told him that in Brazil, where I am from, schools ask parents to purchase books their children use in schools. I have been fascinated with languages, travelling and books from a young age, they are my three biggest passions. So, I offered to translate the books for Mr Madeley, so that they could be sent to Brazil, without a language barrier preventing schools from purchasing them.
“With that, things happened very quickly. Keith passed on my details to the managing director of a publishing company and from there I got the draft for Cones Make New Friends, which I translated into Portuguese and then proof-read the versions to be printed. I never realised I could become a translator or interpreter and we are currently in the process of getting in touch with more schools in Brazil, so the book reaches more children. Keith is contacting other interpreters so that we can translate the book into Mandarin, Spanish and French.”
Being something of a bookworm it only took a few enjoyable hours for Karen to translate the book, which is currently available on Amazon. Karen is keen to translate the full series to send to more Portuguese-speaking countries.
Karen is quite happy to carry on her role as receptionist at Cloth Hall Court, as she loves working for the University. However, a role as part time freelance translator is feasible in her spare time. She said: “It was such an amazing feeling when I saw the first book in its translated form. It was great to mix two of my biggest passions, languages and books, and made me feel very proud of myself. I completed the translation in my own time, so it was quite good to mix business with pleasure. If I were to compare myself to a Cone character, I would say that I am Conestance, who is responsible and sweet and cares so much about her friends’ safety. I’d like to think that I am a little like that!”
Keith said: “We’d like to say a big thank you to Karen for translating Cones Make New Friends into Portuguese. Karen has already sent details of the translated book to schools in Brazil and we thank her for the tremendous support in taking the Cones books to a new level and new audience. Watch out for further details of the books in other languages too.”
Clare Vidler, Conference Manager, Well Met, said: “Karen’s super-star turn as translator and interpreter for Cones Make New Friends totally epitomises the collaborative effect our visitors can expect at Cloth Hall Court and the Unity Club. Leeds Beckett University is an active partner in the organisation and we share ambitions to cultivate a strong link between business and education.”
You can find out more about the Cone Books here: www.theconesbooks.com
Or purchase a copy of Cones Fazem Novos Amigos by going on to Amazon here:
PHOTO DESCRIPTOR: L-R: Karen Fletcher with Cones Fazem Novos Amigos and Author Chris Madeley with Cones Make New Friends
The Cones Make New Friends book which have just been translated into Portuguese