Monday, 22 October 2018

Halloween Giveaway!



To celebrate the spookiest time of year, we have a trio of frighteningly fun picture books to be won!

Five lucky winners will receive I Want to Be in a Scary Story by Sean Taylor, illustrated by Jean Jullien, Boo Who? by Ben Clanton, and What's in the Witch's Kitchen? by Nick Sharratt.

To enter the competition just enter your name and email address below. Competition closes Tuesday 6th November 2018.   

Are you under 13? If so please do NOT provide your details. Please ask your parent or guardian to enter using their email address.


By entering this competition you confirm that you accept our terms and conditions of entry.


Name:

Email:



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Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Picture Book of the Month - Dragon Post by Emma Yarlett


A fiery story about friendship and asking for help from award-winning author-illustrator Emma Yarlett.


One day Alex finds a dragon living under his stairs. He isn't sure what to do - but luckily he knows just who to ask for help. Open the envelopes and read the hilarious letters Alex receives from the fire brigade, the butcher and more as he tries to take care of his new friend. Who would have thought having a dragon for a pet would be so tricky? A joyful, touching and vibrantly-illustrated interactive book.

We're very excited to welcome our very own designer Charlie Moyler to the Picture Book Party blog to discuss working on Dragon Post


At Walker there are many wonderful and exciting things that happen: dreams made, breakthroughs celebrated, awards announced, artwork and text delivered to cheers of delight. And there are moments that feel totally entrancing because you know THIS IS IT – a book idea shared that has the hairs on your arms raised within seconds, your inhaled breath stuck between your grinning mouth and about-to-explode chest, blood thumping in your ears and an ‘eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’ of excitement buzzing about you like a rogue honeybee.


I’m a designer – a children’s book designer. And though I have never once said this to someone outside the biz and not been asked “Oh so you illustrate books, then?” (“No, but close,” tends to be my short answer) I think I have one of the most precious and privileged roles in the journey of a book – but of course I would say that!

A young Emma with 90s hair 

The basic gist, so that we’re all on the same page, is that a children’s book designer is the person who often sees the initial book idea come in and works with absolutely every aspect of the content, piecing it together in a digital form until it’s ready to leave the building to be printed. It’s a job to treasure.

I won’t downplay the publishers and editors roles, as a picture book team is collaborative and needs lots of clever people involved. But of course the most important members of the team are the author and illustrator, and it’s they that We (the creative team) help along.

Together, we consider everything about the book. The words, the right number of pages, the story arc, the best moments in the story to turn the page, whether to have images on a single page or across a double page spread, which fonts to use, the size of the font and where to place the text, character development and clarity of emotion, colour palettes, continuity and believability, all the way through to cover design. All the while encouraging the author-illustrator (one person or two) and working with them to develop and deliver the best work they can: empowering them with their vision and creation.

So … in February 2017, when Emma Yarlett, an extraordinarily talented author-illustrator, sat at our creative meeting table with a dummy book embossed with the words “Dragon Post”, We were excited. We had met Emma a few times already as I was desperate to find her a place on the Walker list. And although we had a few book ideas in development, Dragon Post was totally NEW!


Denise, soon to be Emma’s editor and publisher, started reading the dummy and before she’d reached the last line of the book it was clear from the smiles on our faces: we had had the THIS IS IT moment. We were thrilled and Emma was over the moon that Dragon Post was going to be her first book published by Walker. We scheduled the book into Emma’s diary and soon after began work on the edits, reworkings, rough sketches and dummies of the story, to check that everything worked as well as possible before Emma started painting the artwork.

The story of a boy who finds a dragon in his basement was inspired by Emma’s husband, who as a child was convinced there was a dragon living beneath his grandparent’s house in Battersea, south London. 

The original thumbnail rough of Alex finding the dragon

Emma developed the boy’s character visuals by drawing inspiration from 90s haircuts and old family photos – and decided to name the boy Alex after her husband. 

Development sketches of Alex

The dragon, who doesn’t speak in the book, also had a few different reincarnations. Emma worked hard to find a way of creating a character that embodied the right space on the page and conjured the imagination – a mythical beast that was misunderstood, and was both impressive and ultimately friendly.

Development sketches of the dragon

Following Emma’s genius, we helped her to create the “real-life letters” that the reader would be able to open and read as part of the story. And we suggested making the dragon a neon pantone red – to give him extra zing and pizazz.

First test proofs of the neon pantone dragon to help us work out how we wanted to use it in the images

By November 2017 Emma had delivered all of the art, had created all of the intricate letters, had painted a show-stopping cover, and had hand-lettered the entire book. Then together, we added the pantone colouring to the dragon, and made the final touches, and just before Christmas we were ready to send this beautiful, funny, tear-jerking story to the printer. My job was done – and what a privilege to see a master picture book maker do her thing so, so well!

Running sheets, the final book and some original dragon artwork created with the neon pantone in mind

Dragon Post will be published in the UK on October 4th. It has printed over 100,000 copies in its first print run and will be published in nine languages across the world. So we’re not the only ones to fall in love with this wonderful book!

Friday, 21 September 2018

Top new picture book picks!

We have some fabulous new picture books to share with you. Check out our top picks below with everything from playtime rhymes to trains and diggers, we have plenty of new stories for you to discover!


The Dam by David Almond, illustrated by Levi Pinfold


A lyrical, captivating and beautiful picture book by Carnegie Medal-winner David Almond, illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal-winner Levi Pinfold.

This astonishing picture book combines themes of loss, hope and music as David Almond pays homage to all musicians, showing the ancient and unstoppable power of creativity.



Time Now to Dream by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

“This must be among Helen Oxenbury’s most beautiful work … exquisite” The Times 

When Alice and Jack are out playing, they hear a strange noise. Alice wants to know what it is, but Jack is afraid. He thinks it might be the Wicked Wolf with big, bad claws and snap-trap jaws. But Alice takes his hand and they follow the noise, right into the heart of the forest… Just what will they discover there? Timothy Knapman's atmospheric narration alongside Helen Oxenbury’s spectacular illustrations skilfully convey Jack’s growing fear and Alice’s curious excitement, all the while building towards the reveal of that mysterious sound…

Big Digger Little Digger by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Daron Parton

A story about a little digger with a very big heart, perfect for all fans of construction site stories!

Little Digger loves to work hard, digging holes all day long. “Little digger, little digger, little digger,” he hums happily as he digs. But, one day, an especially BIG hole needs to be dug, and so in comes … BIG DIGGER. He begins to dig the biggest hole that anyone on the building site has ever seen… With the arrival of Big Digger, will there still be a place for Little Digger on the building site? A heart-warming read-aloud story about the power of hard work, teamwork and positivity.


Follow the Track All the Way Back by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Ben Mantle


Today is a big day for little Train ... he's going out on the track, all by himself, for the very first time!

Little Train is going out on the track, all by himself, for the very first time! But before he goes, his mummy and daddy remind him: “When it’s time to come home, no matter how far you are, just follow the track all the way back, where we’ll be waiting.” So Little Train heads off into the unknown with a clickety-clack… But, when night falls and the track runs out, will he remember what to do? Taking its place beside the classic The Little Engine That Could, young readers will share Little Train’s trepidation and excitement in this uplifting and extraordinary read-aloud adventure, and rejoice in the gorgeously atmospheric artwork of illustrator Ben Mantle.
             

His Royal Tinyness by Sally Lloyd-Jones, illustrated by David Roberts

A new baby story that turns the sibling lament into a hilarious memoir. Meet the rightful heir to the throne: the big sister!

Marianna, the most beautiful, ever so kindest princess, lives happily with her mum, dad and gerbil. Happy, that is, until the new baby comes along. His Royal Highness King Baby is so smelly. He’s so noisy. And all the talk in the Land is about him – non-stop. ALL THE TIME! 

New York Times bestselling author Sally Lloyd-Jones’ hilarious narrative voice is brought exquisitely to life by David Roberts in this home-grown fairy tale about a little girl with a new baby brother.

Wiggly Wiggly by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Wiggle, jiggle and giggle along with this board-book of playtime rhymes.

A board-book collection of playtime rhymes from not one but two Children's Laureates. Join a band of mischievous monkeys, tigers, lions, elephants and bears as they tippy-tapboing-boingwiggle-wiggle and wave hello – and goodbye! The most energetic poems from the award-winning anthology A Great Big Cuddle have found the perfect new home in this friendly format. Michael Rosen has adapted his rhymes so that even the very littlest readers can join in; Chris Riddell's vibrant, extraordinary pictures fizz off the page. Pairing two of the biggest names in the world of children’s books, Wiggly Wiggly is a small book that contains a lot of action!

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Guess How Much We Love Playing Outdoors



Haven’t we had a beautiful summer? 

Here at Walker, we have spent lots of time enjoying the sunshine. Now that it’s September the autumnal chill will soon be creeping in, but don’t despair – our favourite pair of nutbrown hares are here to keep the sunshine coming! Here I Am! is a beautiful new finger puppet book from Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, inspired by the well-loved classic Guess How Much I Love You.  


The book follows Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare as they play a game of hide-and-seek. Reading about the adorable duo playing through fields and in the ferns has made us all nostalgic about our favourite outdoor memories. Here’s a lovely selection from the team!

Nghiem Ta, Art Director

As a special treat, my brother and I would visit a nearby playground. I used to love the swings and the slide! My brother and I would take turns to sit on the swings and push each other. Near the park was a river, so after we played, we would go and feed the ducks. I think it’s wonderful that sometimes the best outdoors things are free!


Mara Alperin, Creative Commissioning Editor

I have always loved playing games outside. In the woods behind my house, there was an old pine tree, and from its branches hung a rope swing. My Dad used to push me in the swing so I could pretend that I was flying. “Don't forget your fairy dust,” he would say, and I would sprinkle the “dust” to enact the magic (sometimes I even wore fairy wings as well!). “I can fly, I can fly,” I would sing.

Ruby Constable, Assistant Editor

My parents often took my whole rabble of siblings on long country walks when I was little. Wherever we went, we’d soon find the tallest trees to climb and make up elaborate games to play, giggling and squabbling as we went. Looking back, we must have been a bit of a shock to the mild-mannered country ramblers and Sunday morning dog walkers. We never had to call “Here I Am!” because everyone knew we were there.

What do you love doing outside? Do you have a particular favourite place, an excellent hiding spot or a special memory you’d like to share? Let us know below! And don’t forget to go looking for Here I Am! (hopefully not hiding) in bookshops near you.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Picture Book of the Month - Angry Cookie by Laura Dockrill

What happens when a little cookie gets up on the wrong side of bed?
Prepare to fall absolutely in love with this irresistible cookie, crumbly chocolate chips and all. 

OH NO! Barbra the cactus won’t stop playing her recorder, the yummy strawberry toothpaste has run out, and now – to top it all off – Cookie has to have his hair cut! Which all makes for one VERY ANGRY little cookie... But perhaps you, the reader, can find a way to turn his grumpy frown upside down? This wildly inventive, interactive, laugh-out-loud tale brings together Laura Dockrill's one-of-a-kind voice and Maria Karipidou's hilarious illustrations.

Watch the Angry Cookie trailer below! Plus you can see Laura read part of the book.
        
        

Laura Dockrill, a graduate of the Brit School of Performing Arts, is a performance poet, an author and an illustrator. At the age of twenty-two, she was named one of The Times’ "Top Ten Literary Stars". She is the author of the bestselling Darcy Burdock series and Lorali. Angry Cookie is her debut picture book. Find her online at lauradockrill.co.uk and on Twitter and Instagram 

Maria Karipidou studied Communication Design, and has since illustrated a number of children's books, working mostly with French and German publishing houses. In 2015, she received the Leipziger Lesekompass Award at the Leipzig Book Fair. Find her online at www.mariakaripidou.de.

To enter the competition just enter your name and email address below.   

WIN! 
We have five copies of Angry Cookie with posters to give away! To be in with a chance of winning just enter your name and email address below. Competition closes 1st November 2018. 

Are you under 13? If so please do NOT provide your details. Please ask your parent or guardian to enter using their email address.


By entering this competition you confirm that you accept our terms and conditions of entry.


Name:

Email:



If you’d like to find out more about Picture Book Party please tick here to sign up to the Picture Book Party quarterly newsletter. Please be assured we won’t share your email address with other organisations for their own marketing purposes, and you can unsubscribe at any point in future using the unsubscribe link on any of our emails. For more information please see our Privacy Policy.



Friday, 31 August 2018

International Dot Day


Celebrate 15 years of the Dot and 10 years of International Dot Day on 15th -ish September! 

It all started TEN years ago, when a teacher and his students in Iowa celebrated the themes of creativity and courage in Peter H. Reynolds’ The Dot on the anniversary of the original publication. 

In this inspiring, award-winning story of self-expression and creativity, Vashti thinks she can’t draw. But her teacher is sure that she can. She knows that there’s creative spirit in everyone and encourages Vashti to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.

Now, every 15th-ish September, more than 10 million teachers, librarians and children in 170 countries participate in International Dot Day getting busy with writing, drawing, painting, or other creative outlets and sharing their Dot Day inspiration with others. What started as a story in the pages of a book is transforming teaching and learning around the world as people of all ages with just a little bit of bravery and encouragement re-discover the power and potential of creativity in all they do. 

You can join the celebration! Host a reading of The Dot, throw a creative dot-making event, plan a week-long series of activities or even a year-long theme – the possibilities are endless! 

We have a classroom guide to get you started with some simple ideas to help you celebrate creativity in your classroom or library. Find the guide here.

You can also find other great ideas by visiting the gallery on www.thedotclub.org

We can’t wait to hear about your International Dot Day event in your classroom or library. Keep us updated by sharing any news, photos and art with us via Twitter @WalkerBooksUK using #DotDay and #Makeyourmark.

Follow Dot Day on Twitter and visit the Dot Day Facebook page.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Cinderfella by Malachy Doyle


To all the brothers at Number 12. You're invited to Kayleigh's party. Dress fancy. Come fancy. Dance!


Once upon a time, there lived Cinderfella – a little boy, forever bossed around by his two older brothers, Gus and Gareth. “Turn up the TV! Shine our scooters!" the brothers cry. "Finish our homework!” But on the day of our story, Kayleigh, the town's kick-fastic karate champion, is having a party, and Cinderfella is determined to dream big, dress fancy and DANCE. He’ll just need a little help along the way from his fairy dog-mother, Ruff – woof! A feel-good twist on the classic fairytale, brought to life with fresh vision and huge humour by Matt Hunt.

      We're very excited to welcome Malachy Doyle to talk about Cinderfella
Growing up, I had four older brothers.  Later I had one younger one. And later still I had two step-brothers. And a couple of sisters and a step-sister, too. My eldest brother, David, used to tell me bedtime stories – folk tales and fairy tales, mainly. And then I’d lie in bed, imagining myself in the stories.

I was always the lead character. It didn’t matter if it was a girl or a boy. Red Riding Hood, The Sleeping Beauty, Goldilocks – it was me, always me.
So when it came to Cinderella, I was the one with the bossy brothers, as I had in real life. And, as I grew up, I was the one who had to do jobs round the house. Well, some of them, anyway. Like polish everyone’s shoes on a Saturday evening, so we’d all be spick and span for church the following morning.

And so, over 50 years later, I got round to writing down the story. In my first draft, Cinderfella lived with two sisters, Sybil and Slob. But the boys in my family were much more slobby than the girls, so boys they became – Gareth and Gus.
At first the fairy who helps him was a giant rat, but somehow he turned into a funky dancing dog. And then a female funky dancing dog - well, if we’re playing with gender reversal, why not go the whole hog? And it makes for a good line on the back-cover about his ‘fairy dog-mother’, courtesy of my clever-clogs editor, Tanya.


At first Cinderfella zoomed off to the party on a Harley Davidson, but somehow it became a super-sparkly skateboard. Somewhat safer!

At first Cinderfella took on the role of a DJ at the party, spinning the discs and saving the night when the booked DJ didn’t turn up, but somehow it was his hop, bop, giggle and groovy dancing that took over.  

At first it was Princess PeachieBlossom’s party, but somehow she turned into Kayleigh, the junior karate champ.  Much more fun!

Then over to Matt Hunt for some fab illustrations and there we had it – Cinderfella. HAI-YAH!

You can pick up a copy of Cinderfella at your local bookshop.