Archie Nolan: Family Detective, written by Beverley Ward, is the new book published by the Donor Conception Network, which gives an insightful look into the world of donor conceived children. Once again our very own Spike Gerrell has tackled this delicate subject with his comical, yet sensitive illustrations.
Archie Nolan, the main character, is a science-obsessed schoolboy whose world is shaken when his teacher tells his class to research their family tree for a school project. That raises the prospect of him revealing what until now he has kept a secret from his friends: that his mum and dad used other people’s eggs and sperm to create him and his twin sister Jemima.
This 11 year old’s hunt for the man and woman who helped his parents conceive is an important one, as there are 49,000 donor-conceived children in the UK and rising numbers of 3000 children born each year through donor conception. This expertly illustrated book uses cartoons and humour – plus a subplot involving a vampire – to explore a much deeper understanding of the processes involved and how children, as well as parents, can be educated on donor conception.
The book is aimed at eight to twelve year olds, as eight is the age from which donor-conceived children usually start to ask their parents exploratory questions about their origins.
Nina Barnsley, director of the Donor Conception Network stated in a recent Observer article, “…Archie Nolan is a book for everyone because it’s a book about difference and how we treat people who are different – and how, if we are different, we can be confident in recognising who we are and embrace that.”
There are a lot of different types of families and donor conception can be a tricky subject, but if someone really wants a family and decides on this method, then Archie Nolan can help them.