“The Children’s Bookshow takes children’s authors to meet tens of thousands of children, introducing children to how and why writers write, illustrators illustrate. They give children insights into how they too can transform thoughts and feelings into words and pictures. This is not simply a matter of it being enjoyable, it’s a necessary part of what we understand by the word ‘education’.” Michael Rosen
The much loved and hugely popular national tour of writers and illustrators of children’s literature brings the joy of books and reading to children across the UK each autumn. The series of free workshops runs alongside the performances in the theatres. Past participants have included Quentin Blake, Michael Rosen and Judith Kerr from the UK, and from abroad, Tomi Ungerer, Fabio Geda, Satoshi Kitamura and many more.
BookBlast® is delighted to be celebrating The Children’s Bookshow and its 15 years on the road! We are running exclusive interviews with visionary founder, Sian Williams, publisher Julia Marshall from Gecko Press, feature review(s) and there’s a competition . . .
Competition: The Children’s Bookshow and the Times Educational Supplement are offering you a chance to win a signed copy of a book by each of the authors in this year’s tour! PLUS £200 of FREE books for your school! PLUS A two year subscription (3 issues a year) to the wonderful magazine Carousel which is THE guide to children’s books. | For more info email email@example.com
This year the tour runs from Friday 22 September, 10.30am at Theatre Royal Newcastle NE1 6BR and ends on Friday 24 November at Europe House, 32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU.
The Children’s Bookshow tour dates & venues . . .
Michael Rosen | Friday 22 September, 10.30am & 1.30pm, Theatre Royal, Newcastle NE1 6BR;
Megumi Iwasa & Jun Takabate | Wednesday 27 September, 11am Stafford Gatehouse ST16 2LT;
Judith Kerr & John Burningham | Friday 29 September, 11am The Old Vic, London SE1 8NB;
Clare Farrow & Guo Yue | Monday 2 October, 11am The Curve, Leicester LE1 1SB;
Rachel Rooney | Tuesday 3 October, 11am, King’s Hall, Ilkley LS29 8HB;
Michael Rosen | Thursday 12 October, 11am, The Grand, Wolverhampton WV1 1DE;
Jo Empson | Tuesday 17 October, 11am, Courtyard, Hereford HR4 9JR;
David Litchfield | Thursday 19 October, 11am, New Wolsey, Ipswich IP1 2AS;
Michael Rosen | Friday 20 October, 11am, Bristol Hippodrome BS1 4UZ;
Bruce Ingman | Wednesday 1 November, 11am, De La Warr, Bexhill-on-Sea TN40 1DP;
Daniel Morden | Thursday 2 November, 11am, Liverpool Philharmonic L1 9BP;
Jessica Souhami | Wednesday 8 November, 11am The Marina, Lowestoft NR32 1HH;
Kitty Crowther | Thursday 16 November, 11am, L’Institut Français, London SW7 2DT;
Horatio Clare & Jane Matthews | Wednesday 22 November, 11am Theatre Royal Plymouth PL1 2TR;
Timo Parvela, Virpi Talvitie, Kätlin Vainola, Ulla Saar, Alexis Deacon, Eugene Ostashevsky, Nicolette Jones, Adam Freudenberg & Jen Shenton | Friday 24th November, all day, Europe House, London SW1P 3EU.
The Children’s Bookshow 2017, authors and illustrators . . .
Horatio Clare was born in 1973, and is best known for his memoirs and travel writing. His 2006 memoir Running for the Hills won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, and 2014’s Down to Sea in Ships won Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year. Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, published in 2015 by Firefly, is his ravishing first novel for children, which won the Branford Boase Award in 2016. The sequel, Aubrey and the Terrible Ladybirds, is published in Autumn 2017.
“Horatio Clare has the voice of a great storyteller,” Michael Morpurgo.
Jane Matthews grew up in Bristol. After studying Fine Art at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, and Art History at the Courtauld Institute in London, she worked in the film and TV industry, before escaping to the remote Welsh island of Skomer, where she monitored seals, and wrote a book about the island. Now based in Shetland, Jane works as an illustrator and exhibition manager. She illustrated both of Horatio’s children’s books, and has also just illustrated a book of short stories reinterpreting myths and legends of Wales, by Horatio, published by Graffeg in 2017.
Kitty Crowther is a Belgian writer and illustrator who grew up listening to Wind in the Willows read by her English father and grandfather (her mother was Swedish) and she grew up in Brussels. Kitty has published around forty picture books, illustrating her own and other writers’ texts. Another favourite author, amongst Beatrix Potter, Richard Scarry and Quentin Blake, was Astrid Lindgren, and in 2010 she won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Her books include Mon Ami Jim (Jack and Jim), the Poka and Mia series which include Poka and Mia at the Bottom of the Garden, At the Cinema, Football and Wakey-wakey, all published by Tate Publishing, as well as the wonderful Va Faire Un Tour, an extraordinary picture book without words of a journey around the world published by the French publisher Pastel. Enchanted Lion Books publish Scritch Scratch Scraww Plop! about how every evening after Dad’s read him a story and Mum’s kissed him goodnight, Jeremy begins to hear noises under his bed . . .
“I’ve admired the enchanted world of Kitty Crowther for a long time and I’m happy that English speaking children can now get to know it as well,” Axel Scheffler, illustrator of The Gruffalo.
Alexis Deacon was named one of Booktrust’s top ten illustrators. Random House published his first book Slow Loris, the popular favourite Beegu, a picture book about a small lonely alien, While You Are Sleeping, Jitterbug Jam: A Monster Tale, Croc and Bird and a version of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant. Walker Books published A Place to Call Home, written by Alexis and illustrated by Vivian Schwartz and I Am Henry Finch. Alexis has also illustrated Russell Hoban’s Jim’s Lion. Nobrow published his latest book Geis in 2016.
Jo Empson graduated from Cambridge School of Art with a MA in Children’s Book Illustration. Her background as a graphic designer has had a great influence on her work, illustrations that are inspired by nature and marked by their distinctive shapes and bold colours. Her highly original first book Rabbityness, published by Child’s Play, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2013. Never Ever was also published in 2012, and Little Home Bird was published last year. Chimpanzees for Tea, her most recent work, was also published in 2016 by Puffin.
Bruce Ingman is a writer and illustrator of children’s books. As a child, he spent long periods of time in hospital due to a hearing problem, so drawing was not only useful to him creatively, but also as a form of communication. He had planned to be a painter, but decided that a place at the Royal College of Art, to study illustration under Quentin Blake, was too good to pass up! His first book, When Martha’s Away, was a stylish fantasy about what cats get up to when they have the house to themselves . . . Bruce values collaboration, and is known for many books including The Pencil, written by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce in 2008. The incredibly inventive The Hole Story, written by Paul Bright, was also illustrated by Bruce in 2016.
Megumi Iwasa was born in Tokyo in 1958. She studied Graphic Design at the Tama Art University, and continued working there until 1986. Today she still lives in Tokyo, with her husband and two children. Yours Sincerely, Giraffe is her delightful first book, published in 2016 by Gecko Press, an exciting New Zealand publisher.
Jun Takabatake, the illustrator, was born in Aichi in 1948. He has illustrated over a dozen books, including Oh! Suppa which won the ‘Grand Prix’ of the Nippon Prize for Picture Books in 2004. He is currently a professor at Tokai Woman’s University.
Judith Kerr was born in Berlin in 1923 into a Jewish family. They fled Germany just before Hitler came to power, to Switzerland, France, and eventually Britain. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, her 1971 children’s novel, recreates this experience, and won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1974. Judith is also known for the well-loved Mog books, which began in 1970, and for The Tiger Who Came to Tea, published in 1968 and also adapted for the stage.
John Burningham was born in 1936, and lives with his wife Helen Oxenbury. His best known works include Mr Gumpy’s Outing, published in 1970, and Granpa, published in 1984 and adapted into an animated film. He has won countless awards, including the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. In 2012 he was a finalist for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration. His latest book is Motor Miles published by Penguin Random House.
David Litchfield is a rising star in the world of UK illustration. His exquisite picture book The Bear and the Piano, published in 2015 by Frances Lincoln, won the 2016 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Best Illustrated Book. Grandad’s Secret Giant was also published by Frances Lincolon in 2016. His art has also appeared in newspapers, books and on t-shirts, and has been exhibited around the world. David started to draw when he was very young, creating comics for his older siblings. On YouTube, you can watch his inspiring Ted Talk “How doing a drawing a day changed my life.”
Daniel Morden was born in 1964 in Wales, and is known for his evocative oral retellings of classical tales. He has performed across the world, including at the Vancouver and Oslo storytelling festivals, and at the National Theatre and Barbican Centre. In 2006 he was awarded the Classical Association Award for ‘the most significant contribution to the public understanding of the classics’ for his books The Adventures of Odysseus and The Adventures of Achilles written with Hugh Lupton and published by Barefoot Books. In 2006 Dark Tales from the Woods, published by Gomer Press, won the English-language section of the Tir na n-Og Awards, which he won a second time for 2012’s Tree of Leaf and Flame. He has also written two marvellous picture books for younger children So Hungry and Tuck Your Vest In, Iestyn. His latest book is Secret Tales from Wales, a collection of folk stories published by Gomer Press in 2017.
Eugene Ostashevsky was born in 1968 in Leningrad, and moved to the United States in 1979, becoming bilingual. He studied at Stanford University, and now teaches literature at New York University. He is a poet and translator, best known for his collection The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza. His latest translation is a beautiful picture book entitled The Fire Horse, published this year by New York Review of Books Classics.
Timo Parvela was born in 1964 in the Finnish Lakeland. He is perhaps Finland’s most famous contemporary children’s writer; his series of Ella books are prescribed reading in schools. He also writes television screenplays, and radio scripts. Bicycling to the Moon is his first work to be translated into English, published by Gecko Press. He now lives in the Finnish countryside, 30km west of Helsinki.
Virpi Talvitie was born in 1961 in the west of Finland, and is one of the country’s best-known illustrators. She has collaborated with Timo on multiple projects, including 2006’s Keinulauta (Seesaw), which won the prestigious Junior Finlandia Prize. She has also won the 2010 WSOY Literature Foundation Award, the 2011 Mikkeli Illustration Triennial Prize, and was nominated thrice for the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration.
Rachel Rooney was born in London, the fifth of six children, and now lives in Brighton. She is both a children’s poet and special needs teacher. Her first collection of poetry, The Language of a Cat, was the 2011 Poetry Book Society children’s choice. It also won the 2012 CLPE Poetry Award and was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal. My Life as a Goldfish, published by Frances Lincoln in 2014, was shortlisted for the CLPE Poetry Award, and Sleeping Beauty was published by Collins Education in 2015.
Michael Rosen was born in 1946 and is one of Britain’s most prolific children’s writers and performers. He is best-known for We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, created with Helen Oxenbury, which is a classic in the picture book genre, and was recently adapted for television. He is also known for his collaborations with Quentin Blake, including Michael Rosen’s Sad Book and his first book Mind Your Own Business. Michael is also a professor, poet and former Children’s Laureate (2007-2009). His latest book for adults is The Disappearance of Emile Zola published by Faber and Faber.
Jessica Souhami grew up in East London and studied at a fine arts college. She is a gifted writer and illustrator who re-tells traditional tales from all over the world. Her picture books, with their vibrant colours and strong contrasts, can be enjoyed by all ages. Published by Frances Lincoln, they include King Pom and the Fox, Foxy!, Sausages, and No Dinner, in which an intrepid old woman outwits the fierce animals in the forest. Her latest book is Honk Honk! Hold Tight! and Otter-Barry Books will publish Please, Mr Magic Fish! in 2018.
Käitlin Vainola was born in 1978, and studied Estonian philology at Tallinn University. She has written over a dozen children’s books, including the memorable Lift, published in 2013 by Pegasus, which has been translated into Lithuanian, Italian and German. She is married to Allan Vainola, a musician.
Ulla Saar, one of Estonia’s most talented illustrators, lives ‘in a little grey wooden house’ with her cat and son.
Guo Yue was born in 1958 in Beijing, China. One of six children and the son of a violinist, he lived through the Cultural Revolution of Chairman Mao. His fascinating childhood is reflected in Little Leap Forward, which he wrote with Clare Farrow, his wife, and was published by Barefoot Books in 2008. As a musician he has travelled extensively, performing in Peter Gabriel’s Womad festivals, and for film soundtracks including The Last Emperor.
Clare Farrow is a freelance arts writer who met Yue in 1994. She curated the exhibition Childhood Recollections: Memory in Design at the Roca London Gallery in 2015. As well as writing Little Leap Forward, she wrote Music, Food and Love with Guo, which was published in 2006.
The Children’s Bookshow, a registered charity no. 1162410, is a national tour of some of the best children’s writers and illustrators from around the world, and travels this year across the country to 14 towns and cities ranging from Wolverhampton to Newcastle, Plymouth to Liverpool. With funding support from Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation, the Unwin Charitable Trust, the European Commission Representation in the UK, the Marsh Christian Trust, L’Institut Français, the Embassy of Finland, the Estonian Embassy in London, the Japan Foundation and the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, and most importantly, our writers’ publishers, we’re delighted to present a line-up of 22 brilliant writers and illustrators in 19 performances together with 60 free workshops in schools.
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