I loved making I Do Not Like Books Anymore! because the subject was so important to me – and because it’s always fun to spend time with Natalie and Alphonse. But I also felt quite a lot of anxiety about getting it right, and about how it would be received. Natalie’s struggles with reading, and the ways she and Alphonse find of reclaiming books and stories, were largely based on my own experiences as a child. Things I learnt as a Teaching Assistant and while working for an early-years education charity fed into the book too but I’m (obviously) no expert.
I think all that worrying about making A MASSIVE PEDAGOGICAL/DEVELOPMENTAL ERROR has made it extra-lovely that people have responded so positively to the story. The support of wonderful organisations like Empathy Lab and Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) means a lot – as do all the messages I’ve received from individual teachers, librarians and parents. I especially love it when children make their own books in response to the story, as Natalie and Alphonse do: like these ones shared by teacher @today_we_read on instagram or those I’ve been lucky enough to see develop at workshops and events (below is a very excellent book being created at Heffers in Cambridge in 2018).
There are foldable books to download and fill with stories on my Free stuff page, based on the titles of Natalie and Alphonse’s books – but I’m just as excited if children’s stories have nothing to do with Tomato And The Chair or The Magic Pigeon (although I would love to find out what happens in Whale Goes Shopping).
Hamish takes the train is the story of a bear who wants to see the world and of his friend Noreen, a goose. It’s about trains and cranes and friendship and pizza and is available now from Two Hoots Books.
This book has been many years in the making – it took us a long time to decide how I should make the illustrations and in the end they look quite different to the screenprints in my other books. Hamish is illustrated with pencil drawings and black ink washes, coloured and assembled in photoshop. There are more images of the book and of the processes behind it on my Instagram but here is a gif of the layers building up and a picture of some of the ink washes:
Well that was a lie. I had a monstrously good time at the launch for I DO NOT LIKE BOOKS ANYMORE! at Gosh Comics on 10th May – so many of my favourite people in one room and oh my giddy aunt THE BISCUITS!! The biscuits were made by the completely amazing Emily Wilkinson who has been baking my books since before they were books (see previous biscuitmania). One of my favourite things was seeing photos of children clutching monster biscuits at breakfast time – very impressive of their parents to get them all the way home without even nibbling their ears (the BISCUITS’ I mean!).
I’m so hugely grateful to everyone who came and made it such a lovely evening, and to Gosh! for being grand hosts again (and just the most brilliant shop). And I was extremely touched by the things Deirdre and Lizzie, Walker Books Publisher and my Editor, said – I’m very very lucky to work with them.
Many thanks to Emma O’Donovan and Penny Dixie for the photos.
I made these two gifs to celebrate the publication of my fourth picture book, I DO NOT LIKE BOOKS ANYMORE! This is Natalie and Alphonse’s second adventure, following ALPHONSE, THAT IS NOT OK TO DO!and is all about what happens when Natalie starts learning to read, and how she and Alphonse manage to carry on enjoying books and stories in their own way.
I only started making gifs again a couple of months ago – you can find a few others on my Instagram. Alphonse in his fairy costume comes from a part of the book where he and Natalie dress up to play “stories they remembered or made up.”
If you’d like to know more about the book and how I made it, have a look at Walker Books’ Instagram which I took over for publication week. I also have a couple of events coming up soon, and am busy making window displays – this one was at Jaffe and Neale, a bookshop-cafe in Chipping Norton, and it will be moving to their Stow shop in a few weeks too.