Meet the Cones helping Corporate Britain educate children around the world
The Cones Books are beautifully illustrated books designed for children to have fun while at the same time learning moral, ethical, ecological, diversity, inclusivity, social conscience issues, etc., to help them grow into life around them.
This strategy gives children the lessons in context of various industries whilst enjoying fun with the different Cone characters, their Guardians, and other Cones they meet.
Chris Madeley writes the children’s stories, using traffic Cones which come to life!
Traffic cones are common objects, easy for even small children to draw and seen universally. In these days of lock-down and isolation, Chris says, “I am hoping that the Cones stories will excite and intrigue children while assuring them that out there, their world is still waiting for them to explore when the Covid 19 crisis is over.”
Chris has always been passionate about reading, firm in her conviction that children gain so much from the quiet world of a good book where imagination makes the visuals, butterflies in the tummy are felt as adventures and plots are uncovered, and the relief of knowing all is well. Children benefit greatly from the parental bond and peace of a good night story which makes for incredibly happy and contented memories. During her visits to schools and nurseries, Chris became increasingly concerned that some children may not have access to books outside these establishments. At the same time, she became aware that Corporate Britain was required to engage with areas in which they work to engage in Social Purpose – to “give back” to communities. It became apparent that these two elements could come together so research was undertaken, enquiries were made, and the result is an ongoing series of children’s stories.
The strap line for this project is Helping Corporate Britain Educate Children. It is particularly important, in the light of the current pandemic, for children to understand how the corporate world is so much a part of their own with construction, power, hospitals etc. ongoing. It is hoped that this will be a reassurance to children to know that things are in place to feed them, keep them warm, provide homes despite these difficult times and be there to provide them with employment when their time comes.
Chris explained, “wherever possible, each industry has its own Cone which helps the four young Cone friends learn about the industry, its opportunities for employment and how they do things. In industries which have been traditionally male-dominated, females are encouraged by being the engineer etc in the story. Wherever possible the Cone helping the four friends learn has a ‘Cone’ name relevant to their industry. Sometimes the name is re-used as are human names, but the name always reflects the subject matter.”
Some other industries Chris is looking to partner with are:
- Railway building and electrification
- Financial knowledge
- Waste Management
- Waste Management to Power
Here are the Cones Books in order of publication :
Meet the Cones – Partners Q Parks Ltd, H A Fox Jaguar, NSPCC, Enjoy Digital
Meet the Cones establishing the need for Cones, the factory and on to the roads. It introduces the first of the two Cones characters; explains why they are needed and what job they do to keep everyone safe.
We are also introduced to their Guardians: Police Car whose significance is that, although he is a figure of authority, he’s there to help the Cones and keep them safe, is in the background and not intrusive; Wise Owl oversees them from above, silently flying and is the go-between when the Cones get into trouble to bring Police Car to help, and New Moon who, when the worst comes to the worst always makes things better with her magic moondust.
Cones Make New Friends – Partner Eurovia Ringways
Cones Make New Friends the other two Cones, which make up the quartet – who go and have the adventures and learn.
This book helps children to understand the need for greater care in car parks.
Cones on the Rails – Partner Grand Central Railway
In Cones on the Rails we meet Conecourse Conetroller who teaches them how to have fun on the railways, but to always keep safe and obey the rules, not to go on the tracks etc, respect and observe level crossings.
This book won the UKRIA (UK Rail Industry Awards) for Passenger Safety for being proactive, not reactive.
Cones and Electricity – Partner Northern Power Grid
Cones and Electricity helps children learn how to play safely around electricity outside the home, near overhead cables, sub-stations etc.
Cones on Site – Partner Caddick Construction
Cones on Site was written with the construction sector in mind. We meet Conestructor, who teaches them the various aspects of site work, and the Cones come to the conclusion that it is not safe to play on a building site. Thanks to Caddick Construction this book is now on the Considerate Constructors website for best practice on safety.
Cones on the Waterfront – Partners Bam Nuttall, Environment Agency, Leeds City Council
In Cones on the Waterfront we meet Conefluence, the Cone who helps them learn about flood alleviation, the dangers and pleasures of canals and rivers and how to do their bit for ecology, respecting nature and not leaving litter.
Cones and the Power Cut – Partner Northern Power Grid (2nd commission)
Cones and the Power Cut finds the Cones learning about the importance of the Priority Services Register with Conecern to help them.
There is a thunderstorm which wipes out the electricity supply and children learn that people with special needs, older people, sick people who may need to be on the register are dealt with and how children can help by prompting their parents / teachers / carers if they know of someone who is in need. In the story there is also a disabled child who needs dialysis.
Cones, Power and Nature -Partner Drax
In Cones, Power and Nature Coneservator teaches the Cones about the process of clean production of electricity by using Biomass instead of fossil fuel, and how this can work alongside a nature reserve which has been built from the spoil when the power producer was using coal.
Cones in the Roadworks – Partner Eurovia Ringways (2nd commission)
Cones in the Roadworks highlights some unpleasant incidents in the road-working industry, including physical and verbal abuse of employees, even deaths.
Conetractor helps the Cones to learn to respect and value everyone and to obey road signs.
Cones visit the Children’s Hospital – Partners Town Centre Securities, Citipark and Leeds Children’s Hospital
Cones visit the Children’s Hospital was commissioned to help children if they have to go into hospital.
With Coronavirus prevalent in everyone’s life, whether on the news, sick friends or relatives, Chris was delighted that this book has been published in time to help children if they need to go into hospital. They learn the process of admission, weighing, measuring, taking blood, and having to wait – but with lots of fun and toys to enjoy.
This book has been sanctioned by Buckingham Palace with the Leeds Children’s Hospital’s Patron HRH The Countess of Wessex featuring in it and making an encouraging comment for the children.
Cones and Cleaner Air – Partners Bam Nuttall (2nd commission) and Leeds City Council
Cones and Cleaner Air details the importance of taking steps to make cleaner air in our towns and cities.
There is an asthmatic cone called Conegested, who is struggling to breathe because of pollution on over-crowded roads. The Cones learn about the steps being taken to alleviate the problem with cycle lanes, intensive planting of urban parks, green barriers and the importance of Park and Rides. They visit an out of town park and ride and see ‘green’ buses, thousands of parked cars, electric plug-ins, and how a park and ride is being built with all vehicles undercover, the cover being solar panels to power buses and cars.
Cones and Greener Power – Partner Genovate Power Solutions
The Cones and Greener Power book shows how generators plug a gap in places like hospitals, schools and factories when there is a power cut to ensure that vital services are maintained.
These generators also power out-of-the-way places which are not easily accessed by the National Grid. They learn how the generators produce clean power with special exhausts to minimise pollution and how they are easily transported to where they need to be.
Future Cones Books
Balfour Beatty engaged Chris at the end of 2019, and she is now in the process of writing the first of two books. The first book deals with the modernisation and replacement of a large flyover. This is being carried out while keeping the traffic moving and everyone safe. It will draw attention to the exciting and varied opportunities in Civil Engineering, the excitement of transforming the landscape and looking to improve the air quality in towns, cities and local villages by creating sympathetic developments which provide for the ecology of the area. Such developments also help improve the quality of life in villages which have become ‘rat-runs.’ Chris commented, “It never ceases to amaze me how, in an industry such as Construction and Civil Engineering, there are so many and varied jobs our young people can look to engage in. There is literally something for everyone!”
With twelve books now published and two more on the way, Chris is going to be busy and as she says, “this is no bad thing during the hard times inflicted on us all by COVID 19. The pandemic doesn’t stop books being written, published and read to and by children and I am still able to ‘visit’ schools via technology.”
If your company is interested in commissioning an educational Cones Book you can contact Chris via the Cones website.
The Cones – all around the world
Some of Chris’ stories have been translated into different languages: Portuguese, French, Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, Polish, German and Romanian, with with other languages on their way.