My latest book The Best Place in the World was published on this year’s World Book Day: 5th March. I was so pleased to see the printed copy, since Walker Books once again did a great job. The book smells good, it is a nice format, the paper is thick and feels good and the colours came out very well too. Thank you Walker Books!
The Best Place in the World is a book about belonging and friendship, and it is also a book about home. It is definitely not the first time this theme has appeared in my book.
I travel back to the Czech Republic every autumn to write some ideas for my books. I always stay in a cottage which belongs to my friends. They don’t live there. It is their summer cottage and I am allowed to stay as long as I wish. To me this place is one of the nicest places in the world. I have woods and meadows all around me and from the small apple orchard I can see the whole country.
I was born in Czechoslovakia and I have now spent almost half my life living in England. My wife is English and my children were born in England. I have family and friends in both of these countries.
Being in this place on my own for some time brings to me lots of different thoughts. The question of where is home and where I belong is one of them. We all know the feeling when we are coming home after being away for some time. We know the feeling very well from our childhood. The strange feeling in the stomach when we appear in our street and then in front of our house. All the details we know so well, the colour of the door, the door handle, even the nice, familiar smell of our home.
The Best Place in the World is also very much a book about pictures. As I was writing it I was already looking forward to getting out my paint and getting on with the art work.
I could see right in front of my eyes the hare running through the meadow
and walking through the orchard I know so well.
I wanted the book to be as visual as possible.
Working on the illustrations was great fun and I enjoyed it very much, although I was quite surprised at how many times I wasn’t happy with a certain picture and ended up doing it again and again until I was happy and could show it to my editors.
The book is published now and I hope that those, who read it, will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed working on it.