A new Children’s Book by the Revd David Ackerman Vicar of St John’s Church, Kensal Green

In December 2019, as St Johns welcomed six new bells, a children’s play took place based on the names of the saints to whom the bells are dedicated. This is the story that inspired it and the book which will be given to the children of the church as they return. The themes of freedom, appreciating good things from the past, and taking nothing for granted are woven together and include references to the pandemic. Above all it is a celebration of courage, resilience and renewal.

“This delightful story, charmingly illustrated by Helena Tarrant, is a tale of exile and return; loss and re-discovery. It is both a warning and a celebration. It reminds us of just how carelessly we can turn our backs on the wisdom we have learnt down through the ages. At the same time, it invites us to believe that that wisdom is never entirely lost; it will endure. Somewhere, deep in our human consciousness, it is as if a bell will ring and we shall recognise what will bring us true contentment”. The Very Revd David Conner, Dean of Windsor

Through a contemporary and vividly imaginative re-telling of the story of St Nicholas, this most charming and delightful book draws out those core values of love, forgiveness and hope that lie at the very heart of the Christian Gospel.  I am sure that this will prove to be a book that both teaches and inspires and that it will be enjoyed by children and grown-ups alike. The Right Reverend Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham

David wants us to think about freedom and faith, about strength and hope.  This lovely little book may not have many pages, but there are lots of big ideas’. The Very Reverend Dr David Hoyle MBE, Dean of Westminster

This book will help children ask questions and share stories. Relevant to our times it touches on well-being and mental health. It is a great resource as we emerge together from the experiences of past months.  Cllr Stella Wilson, Manager Westminster Children’s University

Freedom to imagine and the courage to be brave are at the heart of this wonderful story. Each of us is invited into a world being made new. Perhaps we will get to hear the bells ring for a future we hope for. The Reverend Tim Silk, Vicar, Bristol Central


I hope this book might help in a small way to inspire you to seek out the great people of the past, as well as the present. Many can inspire you, especially the saints. Be courageous, be brave, one day be leaders of a more just and equal society. It is never too late to change and it is never too late to learn. Make the words of Nicolas at the end of this book (first spoken by Sir Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King) your own.

This is your hour: work together, pray together, struggle together,

stand up for freedom together, let freedom ring. 

The Book, sold in aid of Aid to the Church in Need, will be available to 

purchase from the ACN website at £9.99