Thursday, 15 March 2018

Three Walker Picture Books Shortlisted for the 2018 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

We are absolutely thrilled to say that three Walker picture books have made the shortlist of the 2018 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. You can see the full selection of titles below.

King of the Sky illustrated by Laura Carlin, written by Nicola Davies

A Fist Book of Animals illustrated by Petr Horáček, written by Nicola Davies 

Town is by the Sea illustrated by Sydney Smith, written by Joanne Schwartz

Good to luck to all the illustrators shortlisted! You can pick copies of all these books at your local bookshop.


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

Friday, 9 March 2018

The Pencil 10th Anniversary Edition to publish next month!

The acclaimed duo behind The Runaway Dinner and Previously imagine the comical world that comes to life when a pencil starts to draw…
“A hilarious and utterly enchanting new classic” The Times 
We are delighted to be publishing a special 10th anniversary edition of a modern classic, The Pencil is a playful, witty, wonderfully quirky story about the power of imagination. Say hi to Banjo! Once a pencil draws him, there's no telling what will come next – a dog, a cat, a chase (of course), and a paintbrush to colour in an ever-expanding group of family and friends. But it's not long before the complaints begin – "This hat looks silly!" "My ears are too big!" – until the poor pencil has no choice but to draw … a rubber. Oh no! 
In the hands of Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman, can anything but havoc and hilarity ensue? With gorgeous golden foil on the cover and spine, this edition is one to share and treasure.
You can pick up a copy of The Pencil 10th Anniversary Edition in your local bookshop from 5th April!

Meet Allan Ahlberg
Allan Ahlberg has written nearly 140 titles for children, including Everybody Was a Baby Once and The Runaway Dinner and such classics as The Jolly Postman series and Peepo. His books have won numerous awards: the Kurt Maschler Award, the Blue Peter Award and the Children's Book Award.

Meet Bruce Ingman

Bruce Ingman's first book, When Martha’s Away, was published in 1995 and was honoured with the National Art Library Award. It also won the 1996 Mother Goose Award for the most exciting British newcomer to children's books. Since then, he has made a fantastic range of picture books, including Bad News, I’m in Charge and Boing!, written by Sean Taylor.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Happy International Women’s Day from Walker Books!

Here at Walker HQ, we’re using International Women’s Day as the perfect opportunity to talk about the female characters that have inspired us. Some of them were created by our own beloved authors and illustrators, and some of them are from further afield, but all of them are examples of fantastic females that have helped us become the people we are today. 

Ruby, Assistant Editor 

Mrs Large, brainchild of the wonderful Jill Murphy, is a role model for elephants girls children people everywhere. 

She knows what she wants, has amazing confidence and is a champion of body positivity. As a shy child who was terrified of most people, places and things, reading about a beautiful, bold elephant running her family (and in the unpublished spin-off that I wrote in my head, the world) put a little bit more beat in my step. It got me to put my hand up when I knew the answer, and prompted me to think about what I actually wanted to do, not just what was expected. 

When I interviewed at Walker years later, I walked into the meeting room and
saw a copy of “Five Minutes’ Peace” on the shelf (for those unacquainted, it’s the tale of Mrs Large’s epic struggle to just have a bath and chill out). Somehow, I managed not to faint on the spot and I got the job. Now, every morning I think about how lucky I am to work with one of my feminist heroes (category: cartoon animals from books. If I had to talk about all the women who have inspired me, this website would crash…). 

Mara, Senior Editor 

In “One Morning in Maine” by Robert McCloskey, Sal wakes up and discovers she has a loose tooth. “When your tooth does come out, you put it under your pillow and make a wish,” her mother tells her, so Sal thinks of a special, secret wish (hint: she wishes for a chocolate ice-cream). But Sal’s tooth is lost in the mud while she’s helping her father gather clams for lunch. Sal is distraught. What if a clam finds her tooth and gets her wish?

“If we come back here tomorrow and find a clam eating a chocolate ice-cream cone, why, we’ll have to take it away from him and make him give my tooth back too,” she said.

On her way to Buck’s Harbour, Sal finds a seagull

feather and decides to make her secret wish on the feather instead. She helps her little sister Jane into the boat, and her father rows them to the harbor … where Sal gets her chocolate ice-cream after all!

Sal is a bright, independent protagonist and a great role model for girls AND boys. She is imaginative and resourceful, and capable of finding her own solutions. She is patient and kind to her little sister. Plus she loves spending time with her family, playing outside, befriending local wildlife and wading barefoot through the mud – a girl after my own heart!

Perry Emerson, Publishing Co-ordinator 

As the eldest of three brothers, I have always felt a great affinity with Sarah, the eldest of Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson’s “Owl Babies”. 

Considered, stoic, logical – these are the characteristics Sarah embodies. She also carries the responsibility felt by eldest children everywhere. Compared with the exaggerated flap that middle brother Percy gets himself into, and the adorable (but essentially useless) contributions from Bill, the youngest, Sarah’s words are a reassuring and measured response to the mystery of their missing Mummy. “She’ll be back”, she says, “I think she’s gone hunting … to bring us back mice and all things nice”. And although the illustrations betray the trepidation she herself shares with her little brothers, these are the words of a big sister whose concern for her siblings’ comfort is greater than her concern for her own. I see Sarah as the true hero of Owl Babies; an owlet wise beyond her years with the courage to comfort despite her fears. 

Since my first brother arrived when I was two, I have earnestly taken to the example of elder sibling responsibility given by Sarah, although often with absurdly comic rather than admirably courageous results. I was once discovered by my parents amongst a pile of clean clothes, strewn from a laundry basket upended by my brother, quite sincerely admonishing him for his actions. “STOP, that’s against the RULES,” four-year-old me scolded my not-yet-two-year-old giggling brother. I like to think that Sarah, too, would be found in a feathered fury over little Bill upsetting their nest. In truth, though, even twenty years after the fact, I feel I still have a lot to learn from Sarah as an exemplary and aspirational older sister.

Tanya Rosie, Editor

I love Beverly Cleary’s “Beezus and Ramona”.

Beezus, the big sister, is quiet and sensible. She follows the rules. She gets competitive playing board games with Henry Huggins next door and is over the moon when her Aunt Beatrice buys her a beautiful sewing kit for her birthday.

Then there’s Ramona, just four years old. She’s mischievous, she’s impulsive. She powders her face with fluffy white marshmallows and wears bunny ears to the library. When she discovers a box of apples in the basement, she eats a single bite out of every last one – because (she explains) the first CRUNCH tastes best.
For me, Ramona and Beezus, together, are magic. Because neither girl – the more mischievous, the more reserved – is ever portrayed as a better example of a girl. And, of course, there is and never should be an example. You can ride your bike around furiously (Ramona-style) AND learn how to cross-stitch (channelling your inner Beezus). When you’re upset, you can SHOUT or be quietly exasperated. And if there are qualities a girl should have … well, they’re qualities that ALL humans should strive to have: The ability to be kind, accepting and empathetic … and not too hard on yourself.

Beverly Cleary gets it. I mean, she got it in 1955! These sisters, with their embarrassment, guilt, joy, confusion and imagination, feel real and they feel free … and they are very, very funny. (Here’s me and my sister clearly up to no good … I’m the smaller one). 

Maria Tunney, Senior Editor 

I adore “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott. I was introduced to this tale of a struggling, impoverished family of women growing up in New England during the Civil War when I was eleven years old. Experiencing the four March sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy – and the stoic Marmee for the very first time, I thought (and I still think) THIS is how life should be: EPIC, with great sweeping adventures, abounding with lessons of love and loss; learning about yourself; knowing what is important and who is.

I am inspired by the character of Jo March in lots of ways – I love her passion, her determination, her absolute resolve of character. She never wavers in the face of adversity and, instead, digs deeper within herself for courage and strength – cutting off all her hair and selling it so that her mother will have enough money to get a train ticket to visit their father, who has been injured in war; seeing her fragile sister Beth through the final days of her short life. She even turns down a marriage proposal from Laurie, her best friend, saying to him: “You know it’s impossible for people to make themselves love other people if they don’t.”

Jo is so wholly sure of who she is and what she wants. And she is never surer of that when nestled in between her sisters, drawing strength and inspiration from their chat and play. There is such strength in sisterhood and I carry that idea with me always.

Isabelle Gamon, Art Director 

Mafalda was probably my favourite female character when I was a child growing up in the early seventies. She is the star of the Argentine comic strip from cartoonist Quinto. Mafalda is incredibly smart and funny. She is particularly concerned about very serious matters and has strong opinions about the world we live in, the people, the political, ethical or environmental issues, and would debate these with her friends and family. The charm obviously comes from the contrast between her childish looks and her intelligence, and the way she tackles bossy adults is very clever and satisfying for a young audience! 

Anna Robinette, Artworker/Typesetter 

Lirael, from Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series, is an outsider in her all-female community of clairvoyants for one reason: she cannot See into the future. Noticing her despair, two leaders in her mountain community suggest she finds work to help with her isolation. 

She asks to work in the Great Library of the Clayr, a place “that can be dangerous to a girl of fourteen. Or a woman of forty, for that matter” and is home to “very special or dangerous items that had to be fetched in person, or even by large parties of armed librarians.” The Library is shaped like a nautilus shell, spiralling into the depths of the mountain and contains not just endless books but scrolls and maps of magic, armouries, odd paraphernalia, costume rooms and greenhouses underground. As time goes by she makes friends, learns magic and discovers her true purpose… 

For me, as a quiet, bookish girl, the idea of a library so full of the unknowns, of danger and of adventure immediately appealed to me (#dreamlibrary). And like most teenagers, I could relate to feeling like an outsider. Every so often I go back to the book to reabsorb the magic and to remember that we are as only as isolated as we make ourselves; inner strength and courage go a long way; and finding our passions to keep busy and to get out of/into trouble is one of life’s great pleasures. 

Konrad Kirkham, Deputy Production Manager 

My absolute favourite book in the world is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Scout Finch is a strong-willed, independent and feisty girl, whose ever-curiosity and occasional recklessness makes her a force to be reckoned with! She stands up to the patriarchy whenever she can (albeit sometimes due to ignorance), and defies bigotry and hatred in an age of extreme bias. You rock, Scout! 

So, there you have it, some of our (many) favourite female book characters. Let us know yours below! And don’t forget to check out some of Walker’s best female-led picture books this International Women’s Day! 

Find all of these book at your local bookshop.

Three Cheers for Women on International Women's Day!

On International Women's Day we are celebrating inspirational women from all over the world and throughout history and we have the perfect book for celebrating these women: Three Cheers for Women!
Join Marcia Williams as she celebrates incredible women. From writers to warriors and astronauts to activists, you can discover their awesome stories and be amazed by their achievements. Featuring Cleopatra, Boudicca, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Florence Nightingale, Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Wangari Maathai, Mae C. Jemison, Cathy Freeman and Malala, and packed with facts, quotes and jokes - hip, hip, hooray! 

We're excited to welcome Marcia Williams to the Picture Book Party blog for International Women's Day

When my mother was a child in the early 1900’s she was passionate about books – as was her father.  His library was large, with books for every age and every interest, into which my mother was not allowed to enter. Nor was she permitted to borrow books from it – because she was a girl.  My mother was one of five children, three girls and two boys.  Both boys were allowed to take books from their father’s library, but ‘giggling girls’ as my grandfather referred to his daughters, were not - there were books in the nursery for them!   Later both boys went to university, while my mother wanted to go to drama school.  But this was not considered ‘proper’ for a girl.  She got married, had children and, although she became a writer and lived until she was ninety-nine, she always hankered after the two things forbidden to her by her father: entry to his library and to drama school.
      These may seem small frustrations in the whole scheme of the struggle for votes, the right to an education, or to sit in parliament.  But I think that witnessing my mother’s distress at these injustices and her feeling of helplessness when faced with her father’s rule, gave me a small insight into the courage it must have taken for some of the amazing women in my book to overcome their patriarchal heritage.   Each one of them had to fight to achieve her place in history.  It is not enough to say that they were incredible, talented or clever - they were warrior women who fought for the right not to live in the shadows – to take an equal place in society.  The women in “Three Cheers for WOMEN!” come from across the world and throughout history.  Some have found success in their lifetime, others, like Jane Austen, would be amazed by their present fame and popularity.
    I love these women not only for their brilliance, but also because none of them followed their paths in search of fame, money or glory.  They all had a passion they wanted to share with others, to make the world a richer, better place.  Because of them I have never been locked out of a library and can be who I am today. Which is why I say: Three Cheers for Women!

Marcia Williams is famous for her retellings of classic stories. From Shakespeare and Dickens to the Canterbury Tales and Greek Myths, her humorous comic-strip illustrations are hugely popular all over the world. 

Visit her website at

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

It’s Mother’s Day this Sunday and time to celebrate brilliant mummies and mammies everywhere! Stuck for a last minute Mother's Day gift? Here are our top five picture book picks:

1. Mother's Day by Shirley Hughes

In this classic story Shirley Hughes, Katy and her little brother Olly tell us about their day with Mum. From the fun of waking Mum and Dad up in the morning, getting the bus into town with Mum or even stories all together at bedtime, this joyous tale gives readers a snapshot into a child's day and celebrates the special bond between a mother and child.

2. Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy

A family picture book favourite, this is the story of Mrs Large the elephant – who just needs five minutes of peace and quiet away from her boisterous children! It soon becomes clear that mum's quiet time is to be very short-lived! Family life is beautifully observed in this warm and funny modern classic from Jill Murphy.

3. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram

"I love you right up to the moon – and back." The story of Little and Big Nutbrown Hares’ efforts to express their love for each other has become a bestselling classic, and is a firm favourite with children aged 0-5 years.

4. A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton

The heart-warming story of Little Owl who has fallen from his nest. Where is his mummy? With the earnest assistance of his new friend Squirrel, Little Owl sets off in search of her, and meets a sequence of other animals. Yet while one might have his mummy's big eyes, and another her pointy ears, they are simply not her. Chris Haughton's striking colour illustrations follow Little Owl on his quest. Which of his new friends will lead him back to his mummy?

5. My Mum is Fantastic by Nick Butterworth

The mum in this book is truly fantastic. She's a brilliant artist, she can balance on a tightrope, she can swim like a fish, do amazing stunts on a bike and she can even tame wild animals ... in fact, there's very little this astounding mum can't do. The book ends: "It's great to have a mum like mine. It's fantastic!" And no one can argue with that!

Find all of these book at your local bookshop.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Top new picture books for March

A brilliant selection of picture books out this month: there are ducks, birthday parties, presidents and even a trickster triangle!

Splish, Splash, Ducky!

Quack, quack, quack! Ducky Duckling loves playing outside in the rain. He hops with frog, squirms with wriggly worm and splashes with the fishes. But when the rain stops, Ducky feels sad. Can Daddy help cheer him up? With bright, bold illustrations and a rhythmic text from multi-award-winning Lucy Cousins, this book shows younger readers the joys of a rainy day. This delightful story also highlights the special bond between father and child. A bouncy read-aloud book to be enjoyed!

When's My Birthday?

When’s my birthday? Where’s my birthday? How many days until my birthday? I’d like a big cake on my birthday with lots of chocolate on my birthday and lots of candles on my birthday 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6! In this joyous celebration of all things BIRTHDAY, acclaimed author Julie Fogliano and award-winning illustrator Christian Robinson bring you the perfect birthday book! Join our excited narrator in breathless anticipation as she lists all the things that will make her birthday the BEST birthday.


From the award-winning team behind Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, and illustrated by Jon Klassen, the Kate Greenaway-winning creator of This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back, comes the first tale in an exciting new trilogy. Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks... Visually stunning and full of wry humour, here is a perfectly-paced treat that flips the traditional concept book, and approaches it from a whole new angle.

Patrick and the President

From foremost radio and television broadcaster Ryan Tubridy, and Kate Greenaway Medal-winner P. J. Lynch, comes a picture book about President John F. Kennedy’s return to his ancestral home in Ireland. When the much-loved President visited Ireland in 1963, he described it as the best four days of his life. In this big-hearted picture book, Ryan captures the fevered excitement in the build-up to JFK’s visit – all evoked through the eyes of a young boy called Patrick who wants to know, more than anything, what it would feel like to shake the President’s hand.

Pick up copies of all these books at your local bookshop.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Win the Picture Book of the Month - Splish, Splash, Ducky!

Splash in puddles, dance with raindrops and join in with Ducky Duckling on a lovely, rainy day.

Quack, quack, quack! Ducky Duckling loves playing outside in the rain. He hops with frog, squirms with wriggly worm and splashes with the fishes. But when the rain stops, Ducky feels sad. Can Daddy help cheer him up? 
With bright, bold illustrations and a rhythmic text from multi-award-winning Lucy Cousins, Splish, Splash Ducky! shows younger readers the joys of a rainy day.

We have five copies of Splish, Splash, Ducky! with posters to give away! To enter, just email your name and address to with ‘Splish Splash Ducky' in the subject line for your chance to win. 

Competition closes on 1st April 2018. Terms and conditions apply.

Pick up a copy of Splish, Splash, Ducky! in your local bookshop.

Lucy Cousins is the multi-award-winning creator of Maisy. Her unique titles fascinate toddlers with their child-like simplicity, bold outlines and vivid colours. 

Other titles include Hooray for Fish! – the bestselling New York Times Top 10 Best Illustrated Children's Book Yummy; the critically acclaimed Peck Peck Peck, which won Best Picture Book in the Booktrust Best Book Awards, as well as the British Book Design and Production Award in the Children's Trade category; and more recently A Busy Day for Birds.