Long Journey to Dlouhá cesta

FINAL _ TEXT-01Dlouhá cesta is published!

Dlouhá cesta (Long Journey) is my very first book written in Czech, published by an emerging Czech publisher pinwheels.

The publisher pinwheels is actually just a couple of enthusiastic ladies:  Tereza Booth and Alžběta Němcová. I met Tereza some time ago purely by chance.

I heard, that Tereza has a bookshop where she is selling only books for children, only books she likes and if you come there she will make you a coffee. Then, one day, it happened that I was in Prague and I was near the shop. I popped in.

Tereza and I  had a good chat about books. Tereza told me about her ambition to publish books. The next time we met, she asked me if I have anything I would like to be published in the Czech Republic.

I’ve been making books for decades, but my only books which were published in the Czech Republic so far were those, which were translated from English. It was time to change it.

We made a deal. I will deliver a book without asking for an advance and pinwheels will make a book in the best possible quality. It sounded rather crazy, but we both thought it is worth the risk.

To be honest I was expecting things to go wrong. Things often go wrong in the publishing world and often compromises need to be made. But…it never happened. I’m not saying that everything was easy, but we didn’t need to make any compromises.

As this Czech text in the book says: “Not everything went smoothly”FINAL _ TEXT-15


“But he never gave up and in the end everything worked well.”


Holding the beautifully printed book in my hands for the first time was a great moment. Over the years I’ve published lots of books and it’s always nice to see the final book, but this time was rather special.

Yes, it is my first Czech book published in my language. Yes, it’s beautifully produced, the format is great, the colours, the quality of the paper, but it’s not what makes me so happy.

What makes me SO happy are the circumstances in which the book was published. Pinwheels raised the money to publish the book with the help of crowd funding.

That means, that parents, book lovers, people who like picture books and art supported the project and raised the money themselves. That’s what makes me SO HAPPY and proud. That Dlouhá cesta is the product of people who love books. I had chance to say “Thank You” at least to some of the people at the book launch in Prague. The launch of Dlouhá cesta happened in Nerudova Street right in the centre of Prague and it was a very nice evening.

Here is a short interview I did at the book launch for the English section of Radio Praha.


THANK YOU to everybody who supported and helped us to publish Dlouhá cesta!


A special THANK YOU to pinwheels – Tereza and Alžběta. A big thank you to Martina Waclawicova for helping with the text. Thank you to Filip Blažek for the great work on the graphic design. Thank you to Ruth Fraňková and Lucie Truhelková-Hašová for their support and help with promoting the book. And thank you to Jitka Netušilová for her long time support and for introducing my books to Czech readers in the first place.


It is snowing outside!

19 Trp






One more award and one more book!

It happened last Wednesday. Nicola Davies and I received the School Library Association Information Book Award for our book ‘A First Book of Animals’. Nicola also won the Hachette Children’s Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to Information Books, in a new category introduced this year. CONGRATULATIONS NICOLA!

You can read more about the SLA award here.

SLA awardIt was a nice evening and we celebrated with the lovely editors and designers who did such a great job and helped us to make the book a success.

Later, on my way home, I was thinking how nice it was to work on the book. I remembered how inspired I was at the time I read the Nicola’s text the very first time.  I was actually travelling on the same train.Dragon fly

When I got home, I looked at the old sketches.AFBOA37Some of the final illustrations differ very little from the first sketches.

Whale SharkLike this basking shark for example.


Weaver Bird

Or the weaver bird.


When you read Nicola’s poems, you can understand how inspired I felt working on the pictures.

AFBOA46The book is now getting published in other countries. Recently in Russia. In USA it’s called ‘Song of the Wild’ and has an orang-utan on the cover.


In Holland the cover has an illustration of a crocodile.Opmaak 1

I’m now getting ready for my trip to Prague.

My very first book written exclusively for a Czech publisher is being published!FINAL _ TEXT-01The book is called ‘Dlouhá Cesta’ – Long Journey and it is published by a new publisher Pinwheels.

I’m very excited about it and I will write about the trip next time. FINAL _ TEXT-11This couple of spreads from the book can symbolise my trip to Prague quite well.

FINAL _ TEXT-12One more picture. This one is for me from Jaromir Zidek.20171023_2354441Here is also a letter to Father Christmas. Jaromir’s wish is to get ‘The Long Journey’ for Christmas. I believe he will!


And the Winner is …The Greedy Goat

Last Friday morning I was in Sheffield, attending the Sheffield Picture Book Award ceremony held at the Crucible Theatre. The theatre was packed with children from 302 schools!

There were a number of books nominated in different categories. ‘The Greedy Goat’ was one of them.DOMvEMPWsAAKURh

The whole event was so overwhelming. It was amazing to see so many excited children, meeting up with fellow writers, artists and meeting  librarians and the organisers of the event. The atmosphere was great.DOTBriXX0AAPhQR-1Here are all the nominated writers and illustrators together.

I don’t know why, but I assumed, that if my book had won, I would know it in advance, so I just sat comfortably in my chair enjoying the show and waiting for the winners to be called out.

How surprised I was when the winner of the Toddler books category was announced. It was ‘The Greedy Goat’!   DOQ_L6hXcAAVUdv-1


The Gready Goat

The whole event was very well organised and it was nice to meet so many children and people who love and are dedicated to picture books.

The award itself is rather special, since it is decided by the votes of children.  ’Nibbles the Book Monster’ was announced as the overall winner! Congratulations!


After the ceremony, there was still enough time for the authors and illustrators to visit some of the local schools. I did lots of drawings and reading. We had fun and it was a nice day in Sheffield.

Thank you to everybody involved in organising such a great event!

One more announcement;  ’A First Book of Animals’ was recently published in America. A First Book of AnimalsThe book has a different cover and also a different title. It’s called ‘Song of the Wild’.


We have already got a couple of nice reviews. One in New York Times and another in Kirkus Review. How exciting!