Thursday, 24 July 2014

Interview with John Burningham

Legendary illustrator John Burningham recently sat down with fellow illustrator David Roberts to talk all about illustration, and illustrating children’s books. The interview was covered by The Bookseller’s consumer magazine, We Love This Book and you can read the full interview here.

The interview was in celebration of John's latest picture book, The Way to the Zoo, which is about little girl Sylvie who finds a mysterious door in her bedroom - which leads to a zoo.

Here's a little preview from the interview:

DR: One of the things I like about your style of illustration is that it seems to have a fearlessness to it, it seems so spontaneous and free. Have you found that you always worked that way or is this something that’s come out as a signature? Do you look back at earlier work and think it’s much tighter whereas now it feels much more free?

JB: To obtain that sort of free illustration look is an awful lot of work and pre-thought. I dislike the whole process, I mean, I quite like having achieved something but there’s building up to doing a drawing is no easier for me now than it was 50 years ago and I don’t really feel I have any ability until I manage to produce something that works.

Check out the full interview here.

We’d love to know what your favourite John Burningham picture book is – leave us a comment on the blog post, or tweet us a picture @WalkerBooksUK #johnburningham

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Brave Bear Hunters break a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title!

We did it! On July 15th 2014, 1,438 children broke the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for the Largest Reading Lesson, celebrating 25 years of the classic picture book We're Going On a Bear Hunt at Charter Hall in Colchester, Essex UK! 

Walker Books and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) hosted the Largest reading lesson starring Michael Rosen, the author of the best-selling picture book. 

“What a beautiful day!” for the young brave bear-lovers, all wearing paper bear ears, and enjoying a unique fun-packed Bear Hunt reading lesson, created especially for the occasion. 

 “We're not scared” as the event was also live-streamed into schools across the UK, making this a national celebration. 100's of schools and nurseries countrywide, totalling over 30,000 children, joined in the live fun Largest Reading Lesson: from Armagh to Birmingham, Caerphilly to Cornwall, Dunbartonshire to Jersey, Staffordshire to Yorkshire and everywhere in-between; and not forgetting the RNIB's Pears Centre for Specialist Learning in Coventry and the RNIB Sunshine House School in Northwood London.

“We really did catch a big one!” said Michael Rosen, “We did it! We broke the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title for Largest Reading Lesson by taking 1,438 children on the biggest ever bear hunt! The response from everyone for the 25th anniversary of We're Going on a Bear Hunt has just been incredible. Thank you to all the schools who took part live on the day and to all those schools and libraries around the country who tuned in live online and enjoyed the fun, thanks everyone for helping to raise much-needed funds for RNIB. We’ve all had a real adventure together.”   

The Largest Reading Lesson with We're Going on a Bear Hunt was created by Walker Books and RNIB to celebrate 25 years of the ultimate join-in book with Michael Rosen’s bouncy text and Helen Oxenbury’s warm and funny pictures, including the nearly scary bear; all of which has made it irresistible to children and parents worldwide. 

Every child involved in the events countrywide donated £1 to Read for RNIB Day to help open up a world of reading and make more books accessible to blind and partially sighted children.  

“Swishy Swashy! Squelch Squerch!” what a GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ title breaking day! 

If you require a copy of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen in audio or Braille, please contact RNIB on 0845 345 0054 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm), or email

Friday, 4 July 2014

Win a Picture Book Party summer goody bag

Forget the sunnies, break out the reading glasses because we have some brand new books for your little ones this summer. From dinosaurs to zebras to squidleggers (!) our top three picture book picks for summer are charming, beautifully illustrated, and filled with fantastic and creative characters. Whether it’s rain or (fingers crossed!) shine, everyone can be kept entertained this summer with these exciting reads:
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs retold by Mo Willems
“Once upon a time, there were three hungry Dinosaurs” – wait, dinosaurs? Yes, that’s right. From the author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mo Willems retells a classic fairytale with his characteristic dark and witty humour in a riotous and hugely entertaining tale. 

The Zebra who Ran Too Fast by Jenni Desmond
Zebra, Elephant and Bird are three best friends together.  Then one day they all fall out because Zebra runs too fast. Only then do they really discover the true meaning of friendship. From the winner of the Cambridgeshire ‘Read it Again’ Picture Book award 2013, this is a delightful story about the ups and downs of friendship.

The Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger by Timothy Basil Ering
How many adventures can one brave little Squidlegger have before the sun sets and it’s time for BEDTIME? A dazzlingly illustrated and endearing tale of a boy overcoming his bedtime fears with a little help from Dad, this unique and energetic book is a perfect bedtime read!
We have a Picture Book Party goody bag up for grabs, including these three fantastic picture books, posters, activity sheets, stickers and a bear cookie cutter. For your chance to win, just answer the following question:

What is the Almost Fearless Hamilton Squidlegger afraid of?
a)    Ghosts
b)    Clowns
c)    Bedtime

Email your answer along with your name and address to with PBP Summer in the subject line for your chance to win. Competition closes 31 July 2014. Terms and conditions apply.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Peck Peck Peck wins Kindle Booktrust Best Book Award

We couldn't be happier that the beautiful, bold and bouncy Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins has won Best Picture Book in the Kindle Booktrust Best Book Awards!

12,000 schoolchildren nationwide voted for the winning titles to produce a host of superb winners crossing six categories. The award is for the best picture book for children aged five and under and recognises the most engaging books for the youngest readers, taking into account the quality of both writing and illustration. Booktrust CEO, Viv Bird said: "What's unique about the new Booktrust Best Book Awards is that children choose the winners themselves." Lucy Cousins was there to accept her award in person, and it came as a complete surprise to her! 

Peck, Peck, Peck introduces readers to an enthusiastic and eager woodpecker who is being taught to peck by its dad. Off he goes to its first joyous adventure learning to peck results in a session of creative destruction! Little woodpecker pecks the door, pecks the hat, pecks the shirt and everything else he sees. This is the kind of book your children will want you to read again and again, and belongs in every parent's collection!


And here are some lovely things other people are saying about Peck, Peck, Peck:

"Brilliant.  Lucy Cousins has created a fabulous new book which is full of holes . . . young readers will love to explore them with  their little fingers while they laugh at the ridiculous places the  woodpecker has pecked." Julia Eccleshare, Lovereading4kids

"A great introduction to counting using all the holes and to the rhythms and sounds of rhyme." Daily Mail 

"One of the best picture books of 2013." Junior 

Do you  have a copy of Peck Peck Peck yet? Find a copy now at your local bookshop.
Join in the fun and download our free Peck Peck Peck activity sheets.

Friday, 27 June 2014

A First Book of Nature wins Children’s Picture Book category award in the IBW Book Awards

We are absolutely thrilled that Nicola Davies has won the inaugural Children’s Picture Book category award in the 2014 Independent Booksellers Week Book Awards for A First Book of Nature.
Judges praised the book for its inspiring text, stunning illustration, superb design and quality production – a “perfect marriage of words and stunning illustrations.” Congratulations Nicola!

Nicola Davies, said: “I couldn’t be more delighted about this prize from the people who know the most about books. Indy bookshops are the future because they offer guidance through the sea of books we don’t want to read to the ones we DO, instead of just throwing us in without a float or a compass like the big sellers do.”

The judges specifically made a point about the wins, which is that the decision is testament to the quality of the publishing Walker is doing – producing beautiful, high quality books that suit independent bookshops and which bring the best in innovation, design and book production together with the best writing and illustration in the business to create very special books that booksellers are delighted to sell to customers.

Independent Booksellers Week is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, and seeks to celebrate independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland. We do this with events, celebrations, reading groups, storytelling, author signings, literary lunches and face painting! Your local bookshop will have their own way of celebrating, and we encourage you to visit to celebrate with them.

Find A First Book of Nature at your local bookshop.
Get out and about with the kids with this free A First Book of Nature activity sheet. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Hold on to your hats!
When a tiny fish shoots into view wearing a round blue top hat (which happens to fit him perfectly), trouble could be following close behind. So it’s a good thing that enormous fish won’t wake up. And even if he does, it’s not as though he’ll ever know what happened…will he?

This Is Not My Hat is the follow up picture book to I Want My Hat Back, by award-winning author and illustrator Jon Klassen, and is the ONLY book EVER to win both the Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott Awards!

If you’re as excited as we are about this tiny fish in a blue bowler hat, then take a look at this quirky trailer made by Jon Klassen himself:

To celebrate the launch of the quirky new picture book by Jon Klassen This Is Not My Hat, we sent 100 sparkly blue bowler hats around the country and we waited to see where they would end up...

We asked anyone who came across a hat to tweet us their pictures using
the hashtag #notmyhat, and here are just a few of the photos that came back...

It was certainly a close call, but in the end we decided to take our hats off to Topping & Company bookshop, who featured the hat in their shop and shared it with their customers. We'd also like to give a huge congratulations to The Lamb Bookshop who won our This Is Not My Hat window display competition with their hat-tastic window, complete with paper seaweed and lots of hats...

Thank you to everyone who sent us their lovely hat pictures!

Have your little ones read This Is Not My Hat yet? Find a copy at your local bookshop.

Join in the fun and download these free This Is Not My Hat activity sheets here.

Historic Kate Greenaway Medal win for Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat

Jon Klassen wins Walker Books’ 10th Kate Greenaway Medal for This is Not My Hat, and becomes the only book to win both the Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott Awards.

We are delighted to announce that Jon Klassen has won the 2014 Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration for his beautiful picture book This is Not My Hat.

The Greenaway Medal would always be an incredible achievement for any artist or publishing house, but for us this marks our TENTH Greenaway Medal, which we are absolutely thrilled about. This is Not My Hat will also go into the history books as the first ever title to win both the UK’s highest illustration honour with the Kate Greenaway Medal, but also win the USA’s highest prize for illustration, the Randolph Caldecott Medal, which was awarded in 2013.

On winning the CILIP Kate Greenaway, Jon Klassen said:

"Winning this award is hugely encouraging. Making a book, you're kind of going out on a limb in the belief that what you think of as a satisfying story is the same as what other people think of as a satisfying story. This doesn't mean everything in the story turns out alright for everybody, but you, as a storyteller, try and make sure it ends the way the story should end. Any audience, children included, take reassurance from that. Storytelling is an act of community, of looking at one another afterward and agreeing that we enjoyed it, or not, whether the story itself portrays happiness or doom. The hope is found when we agree we liked it, and I'm so glad you liked this one."

Have your little ones read This Is Not My Hat yet? Find a copy at your local bookshop.

Join in the fun and download these free This Is Not My Hat activity sheets here.


2014 Jon Klassen, This is Not My Hat
2012 Jim Kay, A Monster Calls
2004 Chris Riddell, Jonathan Swift's “Gulliver”
2002 Bob Graham, Jethro Byrde- Fairy Child
2001 Chris Riddell, Pirate Diary
1999 Helen Oxenbury, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
1997 P J Lynch, When Jessie Came Across the Sea
1995 P J Lynch, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey
1988 Barbara Firth, Can't You Sleep Little Bear?
1985 Juan Wijngaard, Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady