My latest picture book, I Like Trains, is Book of the Week at Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Libraries this week! I had a lovely time visiting St John’s Wood Library a couple of years ago and had hoped to go back with I Like Trains, so this is a kind of virtual visit – and the upside is anyone anywhere can join in through Facebook.
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).
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.
It was really exciting to be invited to exhibit some of the original screenprints from Hilda and the Runaway Baby as part of a group show at the Hive library in Worcester. Hatched! featured illustrations from seven new books by four Illustration tutors at Worcester University: Piet Grobler, Becky Palmer, Stephen Fowler and me. Here are few photos by Steve Waldron:
The Hive is such an amazing space for an exhibition – or to just visit and read in. The children’s library has tunnels under the bookcases and a brilliant workshop space, where Becky Palmer and I ran some vegetable print-making sessions. It turns out you can do incredible things with carrots and cauliflower, so after the workshops we added the children’s prints to the main exhibition. Here are an owl and a rabbit followed by a purple bear.