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HART Farm, a not-for-profit organisation in the Yorkshire Dales, was set up in 2011 to help children cope with life challenges such as illness, disabilities and bereavement. It provides opportunities for children (and adults) to gain the therapeutic benefits of spending time stroking, grooming, walking and feeding animals, who offer their calmness, companionship and unconditional love.

The farm animals all graze together in the fields and the relationship between them is extraordinary. Dogs rub noses with giant rabbits, the pygmy goats play with the dogs, the cats sniff noses with the alpacas and the ducks and hens happily scrat for grubs underneath the grazing mini donkeys.  This tranquil sight, together with the impact the animals have on children, inspired Penny to start writing children’s picture books.

HART PUBLICATIONS  was launched in January 2016 to service the children’s picture books written about the animals on the Hart Farm.


Penny was fortunate to find the skills of local artist Rob  Keep to illustrate her books. Rob is a trained artist with a studio at The Smithy in Grassington. His paintings have been accepted and sold at many exhibitions including the Royal Watercolour Annual Exhibition and the Sunday Times Water Colour Competition. Rob had never tried his hand at illustrating children’s books before but quickly found a new talent. He spends time on the farm getting to know and photographing the animals. He  has captured not only the character and features of each animal  but brought a unique style which will appeal to children and adults alike.

Penny turned her hand from writing education materials and leading training courses to writing children’s stories in verse and written under the pen name of Penny Hartdale.  Writing these has become a joy and a passion and every week brings new ideas!