Joe Wicks reveals hopes for new children’s picture-book series

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Fitness expert Joe Wicks says he hopes his children’s book helps inspire families to “do things together”.

The 36-year-old, who has risen to fame as The Body Coach, has released The Burpee Bears, written in partnership with Vivian French and illustrated by Paul Howard.

Each edition in the picture-book series features illustrated warm-up and wind-down exercise routines, and the books also contain recipes.

Wicks, father to Indie and Marley with wife Rosie Jones, said: “The message is really about how important it is to do things together as a family. Like movement, going for a little walk, little adventures, getting out, breaking away from the TV and the screens for a little bit and cooking together.

“At the end there’s a little bit about gratitude, I say, what was your favourite parts of the day? Because I like asking Indie, what are you grateful for? What made you happy today?

“And she’ll say the cutest little things like my porridge or Marley’s smile, holding hands with you daddy when we went to the park. So there’s a little question at the end of the book and I think that’s a nice kind of thing to share with children. I think about being grateful for things.”

During lockdown in 2020, Wicks started his PE With Joe lessons on YouTube to help children stay active at home, breaking a Guinness World Record after one of his classes was watched live by 955,000 people on the site.

Through daily workouts he also raised more than £550,000 for the NHS and was subsequently made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Wicks added: “But really the most important thing is the connection between exercise and mental health and energy… you feel happy when you exercise, you feel happy when you move your body, that’s what I want kids to think, ‘Yeah that does make sense and I want to do a bit more of that…'”.

French, the author of books including Emily Mouse’s Christmas and Emily Mouse’s Birthday Party, is co-founder of the Picture Hooks scheme to help emerging art graduates find their feet in the book illustration industry.

Illustrator Howard has worked on books including The Bravest Ever Bear, written by Allan Ahlberg, and is a winner of the Blue Peter Book Award.

A burpee is a full body exercise used in strength training that features a squat thrust and an additional stand between reps.

The Burpee Bears, by Joe Wicks, published by HarperCollins is out now in hardback.

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