For over twenty years, The Children’s Bookshow has tirelessly promoted, up and down the country, not only a love of reading, but also emerging and established children’s authors who are not TV celebrities chatting on a sofa.
In 2022, Michael Rosen, who was children’s laureate from 2007 to 2009, flagged up the problem that the promotion of the children’s book industry is generally celebrity-focused, “We are the Cinderellas of the book business, with very little media attention, so it’s small wonder that some children’s writers feel miffed by the fact that seemingly the only attention given to a children’s book is because the writer is already a star.”
The good news is that children’s books are getting more attention than ever before in the media, and today, The Children’s Bookshow is recognised as being an incredible asset to the book trade and an acknowledged talent-spotter. So we are delighted to share with you our second line up of authors and illustrators and their books on tour this year.
Ele Fountain worked as an editor in children’s publishing, where she was responsible for launching and nurturing the careers of many prize-winning and bestselling authors before moving to Hampshire to live in a “not quite falling-down house” with her husband and two young daughters.
Wild is a beautifully written emotional novel which also highlights the devastating impact of deforestation and the violent actions of illegal loggers.
BookTrust: “When his dad dies, teenager Jack is devastated as they were close – especially because his mum, an environmental anthropologist, is so often away for work. Struggling to manage his grief, Jack spirals out of control, and falls in with the wrong crowd. Serious trouble looms . . . So Mum takes her rebellious son with her to South America on a work trip. Guided by her local colleague Maria and her teenage daughter Pakoyai, they journey deep into the rainforest in search of an indigenous tribe at risk from illegal loggers. Jack has to set aside his emotions in order to cope with the daily challenges of rainforest life, and then his Mum disappears . . . ”
Irish-born, Bristol-based Yasmeen Ismail is an award-winning author, illustrator, and animator. Her first picture book, Time for Bed, Fred, won the V&A Best Illustrated Book Award and The New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award. A picture book featuring an irrepressible and irresistible dog and his diversionary tactics, when the clock chimes 8 o’clock, it is an endearing and playful way to get your kid to bed!
Kirkus Reviews: “Fred is a bedtime-avoidance pro. The owner’s affectionate yet exasperated remonstrations aptly capture a parent’s bedtime struggle, as Fred continues to hide and make mischief. He pretends a chair, laundry basket – and, yes, the parent’s bed! – is his own. At last, Fred’s asleep, tucked in to the appropriate bed. Ismail applies her watercolors skillfully, capturing the precision of Leo Lionni’s collage work and the exuberance of Mary Blair’s palette. The sophisticated and loose artwork is the ideal match for the simple, emotive text.”
Renowned poet, novelist and playwright, Owen Sheers, and award-winning illustrator Helen Stephens, conjure up the story of a little boy named Drew who sets off on an adventure with his best friends, Bunny and Moo. As the three fly around the world on a magic carpet, powered by their friendship, they see beautiful things in the natural world like a whale’s moonlight waterspout, or a sleeping tiger . . . but then they run into pirates on the dark sea. How will they get home safely?
Drew, Moo and Bunny, toowas created in collaboration with Mel and Jon, founders of the Drew Barker-Wright Charity, in memory of their son Drew.
Alexis Deacon has always loved to draw and has kept sketchbooks since he was a small child, when he would often move from playing games with toys into drawing stories about them. He started work on his first picture book, Slow Loris, while studying illustration at the University of Brighton. His second book, Beegu, about a lonely baby alien trying to find its mother on Earth, was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal. His more recent work includes a fantastic new version of Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant.
Children’s Books Wiki / Fandom: “The story of a family of hamsters’ journey to find a new home warms the reader, as both adult and child can emotionally relate to the hamsters’ situation. There are pages throughout A Place to Call Home which include all of the family of hamsters standing in a line with their emotions and thoughts displayed in speech bubbles around them. This ingenious revealing of feeling used by Alexis shows the reader the raw emotion felt by the family.”
When it comes to storytelling, Jan Blake is a world class artiste who has been performing world-wide since 1986. She brings across why it is so important for kids to engage in and enjoy storytelling, and read beautifully illustrated and well written books that open up the world and lead to discovering myriad cultures and ways of being and seeing.
Born in Manchester, of Jamaican parentage, Jan Blake specialises in stories from Africa, the Caribbean, and Arabia, and she has a well-earned reputation for dynamic and generous storytelling. Recent highlights include Hay Festival, where she was storyteller in-residence, the Viljandi Harvest Festival in Estonia and TEDx Warsaw.
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