Clare Nasir is moving from our TV screens and onto our bookshelves. The sunny-natured weather presenter has used her weather know-how and natural science knowledge to write Colin the Cloud, the first in a series of five children’s books. We sat down with the TV presenter to chat about her latest literary endeavour and find out her thoughts about the importance of inspiring children to become interested in science...
What motivated you to write a children's book?
I'm a bit of a weather geek and it’s my first love. I wrote the first book about ten years ago and it was a story that slowly came to me. I reread it, edited it down and since then I've written four other books which are all very similar in terms of style and rhyme. Really its about bringing alive the sky for a very young audience. For children that live in cities there's not much nature, but they can look up and experience a connection with the natural world.
Did you have any input in the book's illustrations?
Yes I did. I found an illustrator who I live near in Manchester, a man named Adam Stanway. He's a young guy, quite savvy, with a fresh take on how children's books can be. I gave him a very tight brief because I wanted the weather to be technically correct and the clouds had to look like they should look like relative to what family of clouds they come from. He did a brilliant job and is working with me on all five of the books in the series.
Can you tell us a little bit about the series?
There will be five books in total, each with a different learning point. The first is about what happens inside a thunderstorm and it teaches children about lightning and hail. The other books feature rain, the sun and uv rays, air pollution, monsoons in the Indian subcontinent, as well as extreme weather – when too much snow or rain falls and when fog forms.
Why do you think it's important for children to understand the weather and basic atmospheric physics?
I had a real passion for science, particularly natural science, from an early age and as a child it made me think, 'Wow I really love learning!' It makes you feel special and its very empowering when you feel that you've understood something. If a child can start learning about the world around them from an early age in a fun way, it’s a really great way to get them into science and nature. In particular I really want to encourage girls to be interested in science, engineering and maths, as they are all still male-dominated professions – for my daughter, whether she wants to study hairdressing or civil engineering, I just want her to know that there are lots of options out there and she can do whatever she sets her mind to, which is how my parents raised me.
Do you still enjoy presenting the weather forecasts?
Yes I do! I'm based up in Manchester now so I present the weather for BBC Northwest. But I've also filmed two series of a natural science show on CBBC called Fierce Earth, which investigates how people survive in extreme climates around the world. So I've gone from just doing weather to doing a lot more science-based stuff, which is where my passion is and always has been.
Colin the Cloud by Clare Nasir (£6.99, Rudling House) is out to buy now
Claire's fellow weather presenter, Kirsty McCabe, is Junior's weekly parenting columnist. Covering hot topics such as social media parenting misconduct, what to do with your kids on a rainy day and what to pack in a successful hospital bag, read all of Kirsty's columns, here