about books

The media writes about the importance of books for children roughly about once a year. Usually around World Book Day. So it was a pleasant surprise to open The Guardian last Saturday and see an independent Supplement all about books for children.Screen Shot 2016-06-19 at 07.53.56

Winners of the Independent Bookshop Week Book Award 2016 were announced!

And the winners are…..

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  • Adult Category

The Green Road by Anne Enright (Vintage)

  • Children’s Category

Pugs of the Frozen North by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)

  • Children’s Picture Book Category

Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat by Emily MacKenzie (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)


I was pleased to see the cover of ”The Mouse Who Reached the Sky”  on the cover of the mentioned supplement. Unfortunately the shortlist of the nominated books didn’t make it to the supplement, so let me get the things right - here it is.IBW award

I value the importance and hard work of independent booksellers very much , so it was a great honour to be on the list.


I looked at the list yesterday, saw the name of the amazing Judith Kerr and remembered this beautiful documentary - Hitler, the Tiger and Me . If you haven’t seen it yet, do have a look. You are in for a real treat.

This week I continued working on my new book.
IMG_4468I do lots of painting and printing. Just the way I like it.IMG_4471 I really want to keep the art work loose and fresh. In fact so much, that my editor told me off at the last meeting. I have to calm down a bit and do a bit more detail in the book. I know she is right.IMG_4467I added little changes to some of the finished illustrations.IMG_4469Do you know who is hiding behind the tree?

More about more books later.

Meeting people, drawing Mouse

I had to look at the calendar to make sense of what I did in last two weeks. I started to work on the final illustrations for my new book about Little Mouse, which is very exciting!IMG_4435Here are some of the finished pictures.mouse


IMG_4442Not everything went smoothly. This picture was a disaster. It was too late and I wanted to finish it off before I went to bed.IMG_4455As my grandfather used to say: “When you’re rushing, do it slowly!”  He was right. Since then I’ve changed the picture.

IMG_4454As I was working on my new book I got an email with an image of the window of the  Children’s Bookshop in Huddersfield.Children’s Bookshop, Huddersfield6The window display was dedicated to “The Mouse Who Reached the Sky”. Thank you!

The last couple of weeks wasn’t just about drawing and painting. I did a couple of talks and a couple of festivals. One of them was the very first book festival in Ilminster in Somerset. It was probably the very first time when an event of mine consisted of more adults than children, but it was really good fun and it all went pretty well.

Then it was Wychwood  on Cheltenham Racecourse. I like the atmosphere of the Wychwood festival and I like the people who organise it, so I go every year. This year I teamed up with my friend Tony de Saulles and we did a joint event together. Tony and i SlothWe’ve never done anything like this before and we had lots of laughs in the morning rehearsing.   Tony is very funny and very quick with his pen. I think everybody who came to our event had good time, at least it’s what we were told when it was all over.

It was nice seeing Tony and when I’m talking about festivals and meeting people… when I was at the Bradford Literary Festival a Czech writer Ivana Chribkova came to see me and we swapped books.Ivana Chribkova

Ivana gave me her new book, the title could be translated as “Dry Rag on the Bottom of the Sea”. 211509_big

I’ve finished reading the book now and loved it. Although Ivana is younger than me, she also experienced the time before and after the Czech Velvet Revolution. The book is about growing up, being a teenager and young woman in the time of change. It’s well observed and very funny. Ivana is now living in England and I think she is keen to find an english publisher for her book, so good luck.

Bradford and Andover was next

waterstonesLast week was rather busy. It all started at the Bradford Literary Festival. I was doing a talk in the prettiest Waterstones I’ve ever been in. Just look at the picture.

The event went very well. It’s always nice doing a talk and reading at the festivals because the parents who bring their children to the events are parents who read books and their children are use to being read to. They all like picture books.DSC_0075

After my event I stayed to see my friend, the wonderful Vivian French. did you know that Vivian has written more than 270 books?9780340634790 This book is one of them. It was very popular in our house a long time before I met Vivian. My daughters loved the book also for the illustrations by Alison Bartlett and I hope I’m not telling a secret, but Vivian and Alison are having a new book together. I can’t wait to see it.

The next day I met with one of the organisers of the Bradford Literature Festival Irna, who was very nice and she took me to Canterbury Children’s Centre where I talked to a bigger group of children and parents. It was a nice event and my publisher Walker Books gave every child who came one of my books! How nice! It was like Christmas in the spring and it was really nice to see children so happy and proud to have a new book. Thank you Walker Books!

On Monday afternoon I traveled from Bradford to Andover. Luckily I had a very big book to read. It’s a long journey to Andover from Bradford.

I visited Portway Infant School in Andover. I’ve been to the school before and it’s  definitely one of my favourite schools. It was like coming home. All the teachers at the school are so friendly and jolly. It works, because the children are the same. everybody in a happy mood, no shouting no crying, just fun.

As soon as I arrived I heard two little girls talking to each other. One of them said: “I think this is Peter Horacek!” and the other little girl said: “Whoopsy Daisy – IT IS!” I knew straight away, that this will be another good day with lots of fun. And it was!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs I was in Portway Infant School before and we’ve already made two big murals, one about an Elephant and one about Suzy Goose, I was asked to help the children making a picture about Blue Penguin.

So Blue Penguin it was.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI think there was about 80 children who worked on this masterpiece with me. We had lots of fun and I think the mural looks pretty good!

I also did some reading and drawing and it was nice to see children doing their own sketches inspired by some of my books.  Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 16.07.15Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 16.07.35Here are some of them.Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 16.07.52

I like this one very much.Screen Shot 2016-05-26 at 16.08.09In the afternoon I did book signing and I talked to the parents of the children too. The book sale was organised by a great independent  book shop P&G Wells in Winchester. Thank you for that!P&G

And a Big THANK You to Portway Infant School in Andover for making me so welcome – again.