FCBG and painting

It has been a busy, but also fun couple of weeks. Last weekend Nicola Davies and I were invited to the  The Federation of Children’s Book Groups conference

It was so nice to see so many familiar faces. People I know and people I’ve met over the years. They all have one thing in common – they all love books.

We had a lovely evening , we talked books and we laughed a lot. I found the whole weekend incredibly inspiring.

On Sunday Nicola and I did the the last talk at the conference. We talked each about writing our books and finished talking about “A First Book of Animals”. C8-APJrXkAMIBggHere I am rolling up my sleeves, as when Nicola’s talking I’m painting.

Here I must mention very exciting news. “A First Book of Animals” was shortlisted for the  School Library Association’s  INFORMATION BOOK AWARD 2017 !

..and The English Association’s 2017 ENGLISH 4-11 PICTURE BOOK AWARD !

A First Book of Animals

I always enjoy events with Nicola and this one wasn’t different. The atmosphere was great and listening Nicola reading from some of her books was a real treat.

C9CtcF-XoAAAQLwWe managed to do quick campaigning as well. When you’re at a place like this and when you talk to people who are absolutely devoted and work so hard to promote books, literature and reading for children, it’s incredibly upsetting to hear that some other people are making similar efforts to close libraries.

I also started working on a book which was on my table for too long. It’s called “A Long Journey”.2 Trp 2The book is about a garden gnome, who decided one day that what he really needs is to go for a walk.7 TrpFor a very……6 TrpVERY LONG  walk.

I was looking forward to doing this book for so long. I’m having a great time working on it now.

2 Trp

Printing the birds was a bit”fiddly”, but good fun.

8 Trp 2

That is all for now. More about the Garden Gnome next time.




cover moon3

A week ago I spent a couple of days in Wales. One of my books “When the Moon Smiled” was translated into Welsh and published by BookTrust Cymru’s Pori Drwy Stori programme.

Pori Drwy Stori includes the Boomerang Book Bags which are given to every school in Wales and encourage small children and families to enjoy books and to read for pleasure. Every pupil in reception classes in Wales will get one of my books!

“Whne the Moon Smiled” is one of my first books. It was published in 2003. I always liked the book and it’s nice to see that it is still appreciated by others. My publisher Walker Books is planning to publish the book again in a board book version. I think it would work pretty well. I’m looking forward to seeing it!

Wales is beautiful, so I started my trip a day earlier and went to see friends I hadn’t seen for while. They live in the Mumbles. The weather was gorgeous and we had a nice walk by the sea.20170322_100413

Word that somebody who can draw is staying over night traveled fast, so my breakfast the next day was turned into a mini drawing session.20170322_081632We drew lots of animals, but mainly dolphins.

My next stop was Merthyr. In the evening I’ve prepared four big boards for upcoming workshops. The impressive hall in the Red House next to Merthyr’s library was changed into a big studio.C7iJ_H7W0AESBNb

I like to work on a big scale and I like to get messy.C7iguMbXwAE-iyu It looks more like a factory rather than a studio. Painting four pictures at the same time saves time, but it’s also rather tiring.

During my stay in Wales I was accompanied by the lovely, BookTrust Cymru Coordinator Faaiza Bashir and very nice Rachel Lloyd who is BookTrust schools’ engagement manager and met with Helen Wales who works as the National Development Manager. It was a really nice couple of days meeting and working with great people and lovely children.moon2Over the time I did four talks in which Rachel read the book in Welsh. It sounded great. I wish I could speak Welsh!




Traveling from Merthyr to Wrexham was also fun. There was still snow on the hills, but Spring is coming fast.

In Wrexham I talked and worked on two big pantings with the children from Victoria Community Primary School in the morning and in the afternoon with children from Alexandra Primary School. The children were 4,5 and some of them 6 years old.C7rwm9ZXQAAYjFi

Look what we did together!FullSizeRender


Book cover and Bookaroo

I’m still travelling around schools, but it’s ok . The sun is shining and the days are longer.

The London Book Festival was on and I  managed to pop into London and meet with friends I know from the Indian book festival  ”Bookaroo”.
Sitting by the table is from the right, me, Venky, Marcia Williams, Swati and Jo Williams.

 Jo, Swati and Venky are the main people behind the wonderful Children’s literature festival Bookaroo.
They are all working extremely hard to promote children’s books and reading in India and the main reason for them to be in London was the fact, that Bookaroo was one of  three shortlisted festivals for an award!  It’s a great achievement and so well deserved too.


And the latest news is that ….THEY WON!


Children’s literature festival Bookaroo on Tuesday won the International Excellence Award in the Literary Festivals category at the London Book Fair, 2017!


It’s so exciting and I just hope that the achievement will also bring attention of those who can help and support such an amazing and important literature festival.
Marcia Williams and I were at the Bookaroo festival  in Delhi four years ago, but we still talk about it to this day. It was an amazing experience to meet so many children and people excited about books and stories.
Last week I also managed to do some painting. A First Book of Animals is going to be published in America. The American publisher is changing the title of the book to “ The Song of the Wild. A First Book of Animals .” They would also like to have an orangutan on the book’s cover.
Publishers do that from time to time. My Dutch publisher changed the cover too. They used a crocodile from the inside of the book and the cover looks great.Opmaak 1
For Candlewick Press I had to paint the orangutan from scratch.IMG_6742
So here is the first sketch.
Colour sketch.
Here is work in progress
Then I had a phone call telling me that they would like the orangutan to have a baby too.
Ok, there was still time and so…cover
The baby was born.
Talking about “A First Book of Animals”..here is more good news: “A First Book of Animals” is long listed for The School Library Association Information Book Award in non-fiction category. HURAY!