Thursday, 14 May 2015

Footpath Flowers by JonArno Lawson and Sydney Smith

From award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and illustrator Sydney Smith, comes a beautifully illustrated wordless picture book – an ode to the importance of small things, small people and small gestures.

A little girl collects wild flowers while her distracted father pays her – and their surroundings – little attention. Each flower the little girl gathers becomes a gift for a person or animal, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. An ode to the importance of small things, small people and small gestures, Footpath Flowers is a quiet but powerful testament to the joy that children can find in ordinary things and the mutual value of giving.

Find Footpath Flowers at your local bookshop.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise by Sean Taylor and Jean Jullien – launch party!

Hoot Owl, written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien, is one of our favourite new picture books this year. On Wednesday 29th April we had a party to celebrate the book at Byron Burger.

We all love burgers here at Walker HQ – who doesn’t?! – but this wasn’t the only reason we chose to have the launch party here. Before the book was made, our lovely Picture Books Publisher, Dee, had read Sean Taylor’s hilarious story about an owl who adopts many disguises in the hope of catching his dinner, but she hadn’t yet found an illustrator to bring the story to life. It was during a visit to Byron Burger that Dee came across one of Byron’s postcards, illustrated by Jean Jullien, and thought that Jean’s art style was the perfect match for Sean’s story. She then went about tracking down Jean to ask him to illustrate Hoot Owl, and the rest, they say, is history!

Here are some photos of Dee, Sean and Jean all together at the party:

Jean has also designed some fabulous Hoot Owl children’s menus and colouring sheets for Byron Burger, which some of our guests had a lot of fun with at the party. You can see these in Byron Burger restaurants until June:

One of the biggest highlights of the night was Sean Taylor treating us to a hilarious live reading of Hoot Owl: Master of Disguise. There’s nothing like hearing a story read by its own author! 

Later in the evening, Sean and Jean sat down to sign lots of guests’ copies of the book. In a fun feat of teamwork, Sean signed each book with a lovely, personalised Hoot Owl-inspired message, and then Jean drew a speech bubble around the message and a personalised owl for each reader. We particularly love the owl he drew for Joe, complete with characteristic glasses!

All in all, it was a fabulous night celebrating a brilliant new book – with really scrumptious burgers!