Books inspired by my daughter, born a boy

A Lutterworth author has written a colourful book aimed at primary school children about a girl who wants to become a boy.

Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 8:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 30th January 2018, 8:57 am
Nicola Rolfe, mum to a transgender daughter aged 13, who has been living as her true self for over a year. She has written and illustrated a series of seven kids books called Rainbow Street, which have lots of diverse characters including transgender. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER NNL-180123-103617005

The book by Nick Rolfe (married name Nickola Coughlan) was inspired by her daugher Charlie Coughlan (13) a Lutterworth College student who was born a boy, but has transitioned in the last year into living as a girl.

The book is called “I Am Fred” and is one of a series of seven books about families simply written and beautifully illustrated by the former primary school teacher and mum of two.

Nickola said: “When Charlie transitioned, I felt I needed to be at home to support her properly.

“And of course I also had to tell her sister Tabitha, who was five (she’s now six).

“That’s when I made up a little story which turned into “I Am Fred”, a story about a cat, born a girl, who wanted to be a boy.”

The key line is: “Fred looked like a girl. But inside Fred was a boy. He was a boy trapped inside a girl’s body.”

The book has become one of seven in a series called Rainbow Street. They celebrate diversity, many featuring LBGTQ characters, like the family with two mums.

The author herself describes them as “gentle stories set in love, respect and acceptance”.

Charlie – the girl who inspired mum’s books – told the Mail: “I am proud of mum, as she is trying to help children understand about different types of families and people.

“I wish books like this had been around when I was at primary so my friends would understand more.

“I hope my sister Tabitha’s generation grow up more open- minded.”

Nickola said Charlie was born as a boy, but was always interested in books, films and toys more typically loved by girls – “Snow White, rather than Buzz Lightyear”.

“I was expecting Charlie to be gay” said Nickola. “Being transgender was not even on my radar.”

But last year Charlie decided to start living – and going to school – as a girl.

“Lutterworth College has been awesome” said mum, “starting with a school assembly so all the children knew”.

“School has been good” said Charlie. “Mrs Wildbore who is my pastoral care teacher has been very supportive.”

More on The Rainbow Street series at

From February, you can buy the books from Quinns in Market Harborough.