ACTOR James Norton is helping children learn more about diabetes with a special CBeebies Bedtime Story written by a Wrexham psychologist. 

Dr Rose Stewart will have her book read by the Happy Valley star on CBeebies Bedtime Stories this week, to help young children understand diabetes and how it can be managed.

During Diabetes Week 2024 (June 10-16) James, who has type one diabetes, will read ‘How to Manage a Mammoth’ written by Dr Stewart, a clinical psychologist at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and illustrated by Richard Dwyer.

The book, created in collaboration with NHS Wales and published by Cambridge University Press, was written to help families explore how they feel about living with diabetes and encourages them to think of it as an animal, something which won’t go away but which they can learn to accept and manage.

In ‘How to Manage a Mammoth’, 8-year-old Jake is learning to live with his diabetes which he imagines is a mammoth called Mel. Jake and his Mum join forces with their friends to work out how to shrink Mel the diabetes mammoth to a manageable size.

James, who was diagnosed with the condition at the age of 22, says: “My diabetes animal is a big shaggy dog called Bruce. When I first got Bruce, he was a puppy. He was difficult to control because he was always overexcited. Now, he's a bit older and calmer.

“He still gets scared when someone's at the door or he’s hungry. And then he barks very loudly. Or when he gets excited, he still runs around and knocks things over.

"But generally he strolls along by my side. Bruce is my pal. I'm pleased to say that today Bruce is under control and very calm, which makes me feel very happy and relaxed.”

To help families with children who have diabetes, BBC Bitesize Parents’ Toolkit has published an article including advice on coming to terms with a diagnosis from James and tips on how to handle the condition from experts at Diabetes UK and the author of ‘How to Manage a Mammoth’ - Dr Stewart.

Dr Stewart said: “Living with diabetes can be really stressful sometimes and accessing support for this can be difficult.

"The Talking type 1 guided self-help book range was developed to address some of the gap in psychological health resources for people living with diabetes.

"We wrote the children’s book as a way to help families explore how they feel about living with diabetes using the format of a fun picture book that helps things to feel safe.

“It also gives families a way to talk about diabetes and their feelings about diabetes in a different way, and to make it less scary or boring. The important thing is that Mel doesn’t go away. He will always be a part of Jake and part of Jake’s family.

"Understanding how to accept Mel, while continuing to do all the things he enjoys is how Jake finally learns to manage him; and we hope that this book will help children and their families go some way towards accepting their diabetes too.


Dr Stewart added: “Having an enormous platform like CBeebies and a reader like James Norton is a really exciting development for everyone involved with the books.

"We’re hoping that being able to communicate about the stresses of living with a long-term condition on a mainstream TV slot like the bedtime story, will help children and families around the UK feel supported and empowered, and crucially to know that they are not alone if they feel like they are struggling.”

James Norton’s CBeebies Bedtime Story will air on CBeebies at 6.50pm on Friday, June 14.