Thursday, 19 September 2019

Q&A with Marcia Williams

Children Who Changed the World by Marcia Williams

From the heroes familiar to everyone, such as Malala Yousafzai, to the amazing activists you might not have heard of, like Baruani Ndume, the teenager who gave a voice to fellow refugee children in Tanzania, discover the incredible true stories of child activists in Marcia Williams' Children Who Changed The World.

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Rights of the Child and the amazing children who have stood up for them all over the world. Author-Illustrator extraordinaire Marcia Williams answered some questions for us in this behind-the-scenes feature:

1. What initially sparked the idea for the book?
Initially, it was reading about Eglantybe Jebb who founded the organisation ‘Save the Children’ and wrote the first 5 rights for children in 1923. Until I read her story I didn’t even know that children had special rights, but there are 54 articles of the Convention on Rights of the Child now, and they have been signed up to by the leaders of 196 countries. 

Marcia is known for her accessible comic-strip illustration style. Here is the page on the world-famous Malala

2. Can you tell us a bit about both your writing and illustrating process?

I always start by researching and then I will create a vague outline for the book and write an initial draft of the text. Once this is done I can start putting the words and pictures together, at which point much of the text will change or become unnecessary as the pictures and bubble text develop. Although, this book proved more tricky than most in terms of creating a clear layout that would not confuse the reader!

Some early illustrations...

A behind-the-scenes shot from Marcia's studio

3. What was the most interesting fact you discovered whilst writing the book?

That’s a tricky one as almost everything I discovered while writing the book was amazingly interesting and inspiring! Perhaps the most interesting, apart from the 54 rights themselves, was the fact that even small gestures can have a vast impact. I realised that you don’t have to always move a mountain to change the world. I think it is the passion to make a difference that counts, which is encouraging because it means we all have the potential to be world changers!

4. Are there any particular stories that affected you whilst researching?

Oh, what a question! I wept over the pages many times - how could I not. Children’s courage, often in dire circumstances, never ceases to amaze me and then when their luck changes the compassion they show to others really breaks your heart. I can honestly say that the story of every child in the book affected me - some of the children in the book are very young, one is only 4 years old - to show such empathy and compassion at that young age and the persistence needed to make a difference is truly affecting!

Baruani Ndume, an activist in Tanzania known for reuniting children with their families with his radio show

5. Are there any children right now who you think are or will change our world?

Oh definitely, I could name many but you only have to look on the Kidsrights website and the winners and nominees for the International Children’s Peace Prize to see the difference children are making to our world. It is fantastic, they are fantastic - they are making the change!

At the back of the book there is a two-page spread detailing each and every right of the child

Children Who Changed The World is available in all good bookshops! 

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Top new picture books from Walker Books this September!

The Child of Dreams

A little girl wants to know where she came from and why she doesn’t have a father. When her mother cannot tell her, the girl decides to find out for herself. Her journey leads her on a quest through the woods, tracing her own story back to its source with the help of the animals she meets, until she discovers what truly matters in making a family. A beautiful, timeless story with sumptuous illustrations, this classic gift book from acclaimed screenwriter Irena Brignull and exciting illustrator Richard Jones will be shared and treasured by all families whatever their shape or size.

This is Not My Hat (Board Book)

A tiny fish proudly wears a blue hat. It fits him perfectly. Problem is, trouble could be following close behind... So it's a good thing that the enormous fish he took it from won't wake up. And even if he does, it's not as though he'll ever know what happened, right?

Jon Klassen for the smallest hands! A board book edition of the bestselling, multiple award-winning cautionary tale.

“There is character and narrative drive, suspense, menace, morality and a twist” The Sunday Times

Small in the City

Being small can be overwhelming in a city. People don't see you. The loud sounds of the sirens and cyclists can be scary. And the streets are so busy it can make your brain feel like there's too much stuff in it. But if you know where to find good hiding places, warm dryer vents that blow out hot steam that smells like summer, music to listen to or friends to say hi to, there can be comfort in the city, too. We follow our little protagonist, who knows all about what its like to be small in the city, as he gives his best advice for surviving there. As we turn the pages, winner of the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal, Sydney Smith's masterful storytelling allows us to glimpse exactly who this advice is for, leading us to a powerful, heart-rending realization...

"[...] exceptional picture book." - The Times, Children's Book of the Week

"[a] warm, sweet tale..." - The Observer

Tiny and Teeny

Deep down, in between the blades of grass, lives Tiny with her best friend Teeny. Can you see them? Keep looking … closer still … squint a bit … yes, there they are! Tiny and Teeny keep very busy in the buzzing place of Glengadget. Every day of the week, they have a different neighbour to meet – they do some gardening for Mandy Small, read to Bitsy McGee and give Minkin a hand with her lively twins. But when disaster strikes, Tiny and Teeny find their teeny-tiny world turned upside down… 

Handa's Noisy Night

When Handa has a sleepover with her friend Akeyo, the girls are allowed to spend the night in a little hut near the house. They’re excited to be on their own, but as they get ready for bed, Handa feels more and more nervous. She keeps hearing things – strange snorts, chitter chattering, a big thud. Akeyo says it’s only her noisy family, but on the opposite page the reader sees the nocturnal animals who are really making the noise – and while some of them are familiar, others are very peculiar-looking indeed!

The latest installment from acclaimed author-illustrator, Eileen Browne, the creator of best-selling, Handa's Surprise.

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

WINNER of the Klaus Flugge Prize for Illustration - 'Julian is a Mermaid' by Jessica Love

Jessica Love has won this year's Klaus Flugge Prize for the most promising newcomer to children's picture books with her "barrier-breaking" and "heartwarming" tale, Julian is a Mermaid.

Partly inspired by a trans friend of Love, Julian is a Mermaid is the story of a young boy who loves mermaids and how he finds a way to become one, with the help of his nana. The book was also shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal.

Love told The Bookseller: "I'm completely amazed. I didn't imagine this book would have even a tiny amount of success much less the kind of reception it has received. I thought I would self-publish and give it to my friends. I've been really lucky and I'm just over the moon. It was an incredible year for picture books and I would have been delighted to just be mentioned in the same sentence as these authors and illustrators."

Praise for Julian is a Mermaid:

celebratory and ground-breaking” - The Sunday Times

The stand-out title this month is a picture book, Julian Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love. […] In the bravura feat of understated storytelling, the richness of Julian’s free-floating imagination is caught in images layered with colour, movement, muscle and life, celebrating black and Latino experience. Julian invents a tail and flowing hair, and Nana’s acceptance, as she accompanies him on a wild parade of mermaids, will leave the reader filler with joy.” - The Guardian

"Beautiful [...] Magnificent [...] Lovely [...] Magical [...] Gorgeous" - RuPaul

This utterly gorgeous picture book is great for questioning our gender stereotypes but without being at all preachy." - The Sun

Monday, 9 September 2019

International Dot Day

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

Celebrate International Dot Day on 15th-ish September!

International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009. Now, every 15-ish September, more than 10 million teachers, librarians, and children in 170 countries participate in International Dot Day, making their mark by getting busy with writing, drawing, painting, or other creative outlets and sharing their Dot Day inspiration with others.

Join in the global celebrations on 15-ish September by hosting a reading of The Dot, throwing a creative dot-making event, or planning a weeklong series of activities — the possibilities are endless! To get started, download the free International Dot Day pack from Walker Books packed with simple ideas to help you celebrate creativity in your classroom or library, and you can also download a free International Dot Day event poster.

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 #DotDay, #Makeyourmark.

To find out more and to discover other great ideas for making your mark on International Dot Day, visit

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

WIN our September Book of the Month - Small in the City by Sydney Smith

Small in the City

The brand new picture book from the winner of the 2017 Kate Greenaway Medal, Sydney Smith. 

Being small can be overwhelming in a city. People don't see you. The loud sounds of the sirens and cyclists can be scary. And the streets are so busy it can make your brain feel like there's too much stuff in it. 

But if you know where to find good hiding places, warm dryer vents that blow out hot steam that smells like summer, music to listen to or friends to say hi to, there can be comfort in the city, too. 

We follow our little protagonist, who knows all about what it's like to be small in the city, as he gives his best advice for surviving there. As we turn the pages Sydney Smith's masterful storytelling allows us to glimpse exactly who this advice is for, leading us to a powerful, heart-rending realization...

"[...] exceptional picture book." - The Times, Children's Book of the Week

"[a] warm, sweet tale..." - The Observer

We have a competition to WIN a copy of Small in the City plus a limited edition print!

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

Competition closes midday on Monday 7th September 2019.   

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.



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.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!

We all remember what it was like to start school. The worries of leaving your parents, making new friends, having too much stuff to learn, AND having to be up the same time, every. single. day! 

It is all just a bit much.

Well, Mo Willems' new picture book, The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!, the tenth installment in his best-selling pigeon series, is sure to settle the nervous tummies of your little ones.

The Pigeon is about to get SCHOOLED. Do YOU think he should go?

Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! Well ... almost everything. And what if he doesn’t like it? What if the teacher doesn’t like him? I mean, what if he learns TOO MUCH!?!

It all starts with the why... 

Then they remind you that they already know everything already, so there is definitely no reason to go.

And finally, comes the worrying: Will the teacher like me? Will I like the teacher? What will the other boys and girls think of me? 

But in the end, all is well, as Pigeon soon discovers. 

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School! is the perfect summer read to remind all new school children that not only is there nothing to worry about, but they will soon learn to love heading off to school!

 “As the summer holidays begin, and you’re looking for literature to line little stomachs, you are unlikely to find a funnier, jollier, truer book than this on the subject. […] Willems plays with scale and colour to express the pigeon’s feelings in his utterly distinctive illustrations. The words and pictures are as strong as each other. […] This got a big laugh with my one-boy focus group.” - The Times, Children’s Book of the Week

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Behind the Scenes with Jarvis!

Count from one to ten in This Little Piggy, or spot eight bright colours in Mary Had a Little Lamb! Two goofy board book twists on classic nursery rhymes from award-winning bookmaker, Jarvis! 

From award-winning bookmaker Jarvis, the creator of Alan’s Big, Scary TeethMrs Mole, I’m Home! and Tropical Terry, comes these fresh, very funny first number and colours books – perfect for sharing whilst wriggling tiny toes! 

Today we have a very special Q&A with the author-illustrator himself:

Where did the ideas for these books come from?

When I started visiting schools and book festivals, I quickly realised I would have to do more than read my latest book. So I started to write poems (sometimes they go down better than the big stories!). Tanya at Walker Books came to an event I did at the Tate Modern and she saw my poem This Little Piggy (a topsy turvy version of the traditional ditty) and she thought it could be a book. So I went away and very quickly wrote Mary Had a Little Lamb to accompany it. The poems very naturally lend themselves to some early learning concepts, so This Little Piggy has a counting theme and Mary Had A Little Lamb has a colours theme. And that's the story behind them: sometimes school visits, bookshops and festivals can be a great testing ground for new bits and bobs. 

Jarvis on a school visit in China.

How did you come up with the style for the illustrations?

When I start a book I generally have no idea what it should look like. I'm not the type of illustrator who creates magic from thin air; I have to try things out. I ummm and arrr (and a bit of AARGH) before I settle on a look. Often the story tells me what it should be like; it just takes me time to get there. I love using traditional media and mixing it with digital. I can never seem to get life into solely digital images, so by mixing charcoal and flat fluorescent colours the style came together and felt lively, natural and fun. 

How I tell stories...

Often when I create books I think of how I will tell it. Telling stories is perhaps my favourite part of being a children's book maker. I like to try and make storytelling interactive and immersive. These board books are so fun to read aloud, full of silly scenarios, sounds and actions, and I look forward to taking Mary had a Little Lamb and This Little Piggy to schools, festivals and libraries. 

You can pick up copies of both of these hilarious books from your local bookshop.

This Little Piggy being enjoyed by Ada, our very own editor Maria's daughter!