Thursday, 17 April 2014

Easter Eggstravaganza

Easter is upon us, and the team at Walker Books HQ have been hard at work coming up with some egg-citing Easter activities for you! From egg hunts to egg decorating, we have plenty of ways for you and your kids to get creative in the sunshine.

Why not kick of your Easter weekend with some egg decorating. Here at Walker we've been busy turning our favourite Walker characters into eggs.

The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the Walker team, armed with glitter and colourful pens, were ready to get cracking (pun intended!)

How many of our characters can you recognise?

Special thanks to Petr Horáček  who also took part, painting two beautiful eggs and even designing a character background to put them in!

Decorate your own eggs for your chance to WIN our Easter top picks!

We've got a set of our top three picks for Easter to give away, including A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld, Guess How Much I Love You: Here There And Everywhere by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, and Maisy's Hide-and-Seek sticker book by Lucy Cousins; the perfect picture books to read with your little ones over the Easter hols. For your chance to win, just send us a picture of an egg that your child has decorated to and our favourite will win!
What you'll need:
A pin
A bowl
Felt tip pens, paint, glitter or anything you'd like to decorate your eggs with!

How to do it:
Start by blowing the egg until it's hollow (learn how to do this here).

Next, dig out your children's favourite Walker picture books and pick your favorite characters to draw. Use felt tip pens, paint, glitter or anything you like to bring the characters to life!

Easter fun with Tilly and Friends

If you're still stuck for activities, check out these lovely Tilly and Friends Easter activity sheets, perfect for keeping little fingers busy!Try Tilly's Easter Egg Hunt, make some delicious Easter chocolate nests, or colour in your own Easter eggs!

Happy Easter from everyone at Walker Books!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Story Space

"The picture book is a place we can share, a place to be together as humans, no matter what age we are." Nicola Davies, author of A First Book of Nature tells Picture Book Party about the importance of 'story space', and how the power of a simple story can inspire great things in children and adults alike...

Narrative is a wonderful device! It’s the psychological bag we humans have used since we sat around the first fires, to carry information and to pass it to others. It is an incredibly flexible container, that can adopt all sorts of shapes and sizes, a sonnet, a song, a picture book, a novel. It is robust too - it can hold information about the deepest tides and currents in our nature, the instructions for making a soup or the life history of a polar bear. Narrative creates ‘story space’, that liminal region between the exterior world and the interior world of emotion and reflection. In it, boundaries are dissolved, the real and the imagined are combined in unique cocktails of experience, allowing us new insights into the world and our place within it. Story space allows us to to see things differently; it facilitates fresh thinking and helps both artists and scientists to formulate new questions, theories, new ways to describe the world.

Story space does its best work when it is combining things we never thought about putting together in the real world, so it’s no coincidence that the narrative media that create the story space with the greatest capacity to hold layered meaning and huge emotion, are songs and picture books, media that are themselves combinations of two art forms. We’re familiar with the idea that our lives can have a soundtrack of songs but the picture book still remains the most under estimated of art forms. Words and pictures, like words and music, have an unrivaled ability to create the most vivid story space, where the biggest and boldest, the strangest and the tiniest of human experiences can be portrayed, examined, recorded. This immense power to hold ideas and information of all kinds, and at all scales, makes picture books an incredibly valuable engine for learning; the story space they create is a learning environment far too valuable to abandon at six or seven.

One of the things that I’m most delighted about the picture books that I’ve created with Laura Carlin and Mark Hearld, is their ability to speak to people of all ages. A First Book of Nature has reminded adult readers of their own experiences of first contacts with the natural world, and renewed their commitment to seeking those experiences for the children in their care.  The story of The Promise has inspired children to plant seeds and moved adults to consider the ever present possibility of personal change and evolution.

In a society increasingly compartmentalised into age bands, fragmented by loss of community and isolated by the use of technology, the picture book is a place we can share, a place to be together as humans, no matter what age we are: Story Space, perhaps the most important, powerful and unique invention of human culture.

By Nicola Davies.

A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld is now available in paperback. Find it at your local bookshop.

Discover the world on your doorstep with your free, downloadable A First Book of Nature activity sheet.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Top three picks for Mother's Day

Stuck for a last minute Mother's Day gift? Here are our top three picture book picks:

1. 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. 

 2. Say Hello Like This by Mary Murphy

Different kinds of animals say hello in their own way. Some say it LOUD – Bow-wow! Some say it PROUD – Meow! And some say it SILLY – Hee-haw! Say Hello Like This is an ideal read-aloud for the very youngest of listeners. Have fun making all the different animal sounds that are sure to have babies and toddlers gurgling, giggling, clapping hands and making plenty more of their own noises, too!

3. My Mum is Beautiful by Jessica Spanyol

In this gorgeous picture book, Jessica Spanyol captures the wonderful bond between a mother and a child. Told from the perspective of a small bear, this book encapsulates how love is measured in a child's mind: a gesture so simple can mean so very much. Perfect for children 0-5 years.

Find all of these book at your local bookshop.

A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino

From buzzing markets to beautiful patisseries, illustrator Salvatore Rubbino takes us on a journey through the making of his new book, A Walk in Paris, in an exclusive guest blog post for Picture Book Party...

I love to look.

And drawing helps me to notice things that I may otherwise have overlooked.

A Walk in Paris is the third ‘city book’ (A Walk in NewYork followed by A Walk in London are the other two). The book is the story of a day in Paris but is also a guide through the city. In fact, one of the first tasks was to plan a walking route of no more that 4 miles so that a family could cover this distance in a day if they were lucking enough to visit Paris. It was a case of finding a way to join up all the places I liked. Some places and landmarks I could include whilst others proved too far away (although I managed to include them in the view from Notre Dame instead).

In the book, a girl and her granddad walk the journey I plotted. I identified with the granddad because like me he enjoys a good market and is tempted by delicious cakes.

Paris is a visual feast, it delights the eyes and lifts the soul. There is a beautiful view everywhere you look! Even so, I tried hard to find different ways to describe familiar landmarks and Paris motifs. The things that interest me are the moments that remind me about life – like when the characters from the story get lost in the district called the Marais (that happened to me) or when the girl in the book looks at the cakes through a patisserie window (I did that a lot too). These moments and others attempt to describe how it feels like to experience Paris and it’s daily rhythms.

I like to play with the pacing of pictures through the book and have included a fold out page to create a very different effect towards the end. I joked that the fold out could reveal a very long baguette for a while but it was clear early on that there was only one choice – the Eiffel Tower. At night the Eiffel Tower fizzes with lights and is the most wonderful spectacle. And my son also made a picture of it for the last page but was shrewd enough to ask me for a fee – now there’s someone who’s going places!

Hear more about the book in this interview with Salvatore Rubbino for French Radio London. 

Get your hands on a copy of A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbino at your local bookshop. Join in the fun and download this free A Walk in Paris maze activity sheet.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Make your own birdy activity

Hello Birdy!

To celebrate the publication of Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton, we invite you all to try your hand at designing and making a bird of your own – using this brilliant activity sheet that Chris made!

This is great fun to do either at home over the holidays or at school. 

What you'll need:
  • A blank piece of A4 paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue

1. With the help of an adult – carefully cut out the bird shapes. 

2. Rearrange the shapes in any way you like to create your own new bird!   
3. Use glue to stick your bird to a blank piece of paper. 

You don’t need to use every item on the worksheet - you could pick your favourite shapes
The wackier the bird the better   
Why not give your bird a name or make up a story about it?

Here are some that the children of Orchard Primary School in Hackney, London made:

We love this one!

We would love to see what you come up with!
Tweet us a picture at @BIGPictureBooks using #HelloBirdy

Friday, 14 March 2014

Win a signed, limited edition Chris Haughton print

This week the main word you'll hear around Walker HQ is "Shh!" - not because we're a noisy bunch, but because we're all buzzing with excitement about Chris Haughton's brand new, beautiful picture book, Shh! We Have a Plan.

We kicked off the celebrations in style with an "Ink and Drink" event at The Museum of Childhood, where everyone put their creative hats on and took part in a big draw, involving lots of squirrels, witches and dragons!

The No Plan Tour has taken Chris all around the country, from Seven Stories in Newcastle, to Silverdell Books, Preston; Leeds Met University; the Pop Up Festival in Hackney; Birmingham New Central Library; West End Lane Books, London. And next week Chris will be visiting Ireland, holding events at Riverside Arts Centre, Co. Kildare; an Eason’s Event in Dublin in association with Elev8 on RTE Kids; Hodges Figgis, and an appearance on Ireland AM on Thursday!


Embedded image permalink

We have a signed copy of Shh! We Have a Plan up for grabs, plus a signed limited edition print! To be in with a chance of winning, just fill out your details below before 30th March. Good luck!

I'd like to receive the Picture Book Party newsletter to keep up-to-date with new books, events and exclusives.

Please tick this box if you would like to receive the Picture Book Party newsletter and are under 13 years old. If you are under 13 years old you must get permission to sign-up to the Picture Book Party newsletter from a parent or guardian. If they agree please show them the notice below.

Notice to parent/guardian of children under 13 years old. If you are a parent/guardian of the entrant and you consent to the retention and use of the entrant's personal details by Walker for the purpose of email updates, please tick this box.

 By entering this competition, you are agreeing to our terms and conditions. Your details will not be shared with third parties.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Happy World Book Day from Walker!

To celebrate World Book Day at Walker HQ, we couldn't resist getting dressed up as our favourite Walker Books characters. The Walker Bear was joined by Maisy, Alex Rider, Total (Timmy Failure's impressively lazy polar bear business partner) and three Wally watchers!

And it's not just actors at the Oscars who can have selfie fun!


From all at Walker HQ