Sue Atkins In Conversation With Laura Henry-Allain Author of the new Cbeebies Series ‘JoJo & Gran Gran’ & Founder of ‘My Family Week’


Show Notes

Laura Henry – ‘JoJo & Gran Gran’ Interview

Laura Henry is an expert international award-winning Early Childhood specialist. She is the the author of the first CBeebies animation focused on a black British family that celebrates grandparents.

The special bond between children and their grandparents will be celebrated in the first animation on CBeebies to focus on a black British family.
JoJo & Gran Gran is about the everyday adventures of a four-year-old girl who is cared for by her fun, wise grandmother while her parents are at work.
Gran Gran is proud of her Saint Lucian heritage and teaches JoJo about the Caribbean island’s culture.
Gran Gran (voiced by Cathy Tyson) and JoJo (Taiya Samuel) are based on characters created by Laura Henry-Allain, whose books were inspired by her relationship with her own grandmother.

Marie-Helena, who looked after Henry-Allain and her five siblings when the author was very young, moved back to Saint Lucia and remained there until her death in 2009 aged 101.

Henry-Allain, who has two grown up sons, told the PA news agency her grandmother, who she called “Mama”, had been a talented seamstress who was very creative and “adored her grandchildren”.

The 51-year-old former teacher, nursery manager and Ofsted inspector – whose middle name is Josephine – said her grandmother would be very proud of the show, adding: “I’m pinching myself.”

Read more here 



Laura is also a national representative for the World Forum on Early Care and Education and the passion behind ‘My Family Week.

My Family Week is the concept of international Early Years trainer, author and consultant, Laura Henry. Laura has worked with children and their families for three decades and has recently reflected on what we mean by family in the modern sense of the word.

On a personal level, Laura’s parents divorced when she was young and she remembers the stigma attached to belonging to a single parent household. Fast forward 40 years, and although there is less of a stigma, certain types of ‘non-conventional’ families still find themselves less accepted by wider society.

Every family is unique and this uniqueness should be celebrated. With this in mind, Laura has created My Family Week 2017, using the characters from her bestselling book and new Cbeebies TV Series  Jo-Jo and Gran-Gran .

Traditionally, we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which may trigger for some children a sense that they don’t belong. My Family Week aims to celebrate all families, irrespective of a child’s circumstances including children with same-sex parents, those who are fostered, disabled, have step families or half brothers and sisters, are bereaved, blended, those who are adopted or who live with grandparents and other family members.

It is important that every child, wherever they are in the world, is able to tell their own story, in their own voice about their family, irrespective of whether this is their blood family or not.

Laura shares a range of open-ended activities & experiences that Early Years settings, schools and parents can use to support children to tell their personalised story. 

She also shares stories via social media.

Go to My Family Week Downloads to get involved follow #MyFamilyWeek on Twitter here @MyFamilyWeek

I’m so very excited for my friend Laura Henry-Allain ?

It is no mean feat to write a book that turns into a global phenomena that has 44 episodes produced so far! 

It airs for the 1st time on Monday 16th March at 5.30pm on Cbeebies on BBC – it is fun, educational and a wonderful programme for children, parents and grandparents around the world.