A SOUTHAMPTON based author has turned his hand to children's books after years of academic writing.

Dave Berry, previously a lecturer at Solent University also included a 'gender neutral' character.

The Welsh-native's tale is calle The Biggidy Boggidy Bog Monster and follows a "harmless monster" that has been banished from a village for being different.

Berry said: "‘This charming book is about accepting people for who they are. It’s about embracing difference and tolerating others, whatever they look like or whatever their views. It is also about standing up to bullies. The monster is deliberately characterised as gender neutral, so there is no use of ‘she’ or ‘he’ as a point of reference."

He said children can decide what gender the monster is - "or even not have one at all."

The independently-published book is brought to life by Illustrator Izzy Bean.

The Biggidy Boggidy Bog Monster is available on paperback and Kindle on Amazon.