Tuesday 27 February 2018

Mrs Mole, I’m Home! By Jarvis Shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award

We are delighted that Mrs Mole, I'm Home! has been shortlisted for the Children's Book Award by the Federation of Children's Books Group!

Morris the mole can’t find his glasses anywhere. So, he decides to go on without them, trusting his instincts to lead him the right way home to his waiting family and delicious dinner of worm noodles. 

“Mrs Mole, I’m homeeee!” he sings … as he burrows right into some poor unsuspecting rabbit family’s hole. Oh dear. Without his spectacles, Morris really can’t see a single thing – how will he ever get home? With perfect comic timing and a whole lot of heart, Jarvis will have all readers rooting for Morris to find his family, and rejoicing in the idea that – glasses or no glasses – you can always make your way back to home sweet home.

The Children’s Book Award is the only national award for children’s books that is voted for entirely by children. Children nationwide are now invited to vote for their favourite books. The deadline for online voting is 12.00 Friday 18th May.  

Good luck to Jarvis! You can see his fun animated trailer for Mrs Mole, I'm Home! below.

Thursday 15 February 2018

Viola Wang wins the 2018 Sebastian Walker Award for Illustration

We are very pleased to announce that Viola Wang has been awarded the 7th annual Sebastian Walker Award for Illustration

Viola’s illustration stood apart from a group of MA students’ work that was this year, once again, exceptional. Viola was awarded her prize at a private viewing of the exhibition in the Candid Arts Gallery in Islington.

Set up in honour of Walker’s founder, Sebastian Walker, this award is dedicated to discovering and celebrating exciting new unpublished illustration talent. The Sebastian Walker Award was created in 2011 and is partnered with Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge School of Art and their MA course in Children’s Book Illustration. Walker Books have published more than 20 books by Cambridge School of Art graduates since Birgitta Sif’s Greenaway Medal shortlisted Oliver in 2012 and continue to work with many previous award winners and shortlistees.

About Viola Wang

“I was born and raised in Beijing, China. Having spent ten years in England, I fully embrace the multicultural environment in London, to the point where diversity and equality have become my main focus – understanding where we come from and learning about other cultures. I see diversity as an increasingly important feature of children’s literature. I want the children who read my books to experience a wide range of information and views, so that they will grow up with their own opinions about – and solutions for – the world around them.”

Find Viola online: www.violawang.com     @ViolaWangStudio

Deirdre McDermott, Walker Picture Book Publisher and Creative Director said: 

"Viola’s fresh and original work captured our attention from the moment we opened her portfolio. Her pictures combine a contemporary sense of style with bold colour with a strong understanding of artistic composition to create artwork that is truly striking. A concern for diverse representation and an intuition for the child’s perspective are threaded through her work, and we admire how her art seeks to explore and express the rich variety of our world. We look forward to seeing her first picture book and to watching her flourish into an exciting and relevant picture book maker. 

This year we also remember our dear Louise Power, who passed away last year.  Louise was our Art Department Manager at Walker for more than 25 years. She was heavily involved with, and so inspired by, the Sebastian Walker Award and we have truly missed her valuable and insightful contribution this year."

Seven Walker Picture Books Long-Listed for the 2018 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

We are very proud to announce that seven Walker picture books have been long-listed for 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 

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston 

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Penguin Problems illustrated by Lane Smith, written by Jory John

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

Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth illustrated by Emily Sutton, written by Nicola Davies

Good to luck to all the illustrators long-listed! 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

Top new picture book picks for February

What a great selection we have for you this month! From a suspicious lion to a brave little mouse, there will be something here for you: 

From the creator of Penguin and the Tilly and Friends series comes a wicked, rollicking read-aloud which asks the question: Is a lion still a lion if he … wears a hat? And carries an umbrella? Is a lion still a lion if he … arrives at your door and invites himself in with a “How do you do?” (Isn’t he polite!) And is a lion still a lion if he asks for a dance? What about when he licks his lips and says, “Oh yes, lunch would be lovely, thank you...” Is a lion still a lion then?

Flap your wings, fly up high, open your beak and sing in this fun action rhyme story about fantastical birds by multi-award-winning author Lucy Cousins. "Can you imagine ... just for one day ... you're a busy bird? Yes, a bird! Hooray!" Can you stand on one leg like a flamingo or waddle like a penguin? How about say "cock-a-doodle-doo!", "tuwit-tuwoo" and even "tra-la-la"? What a busy day you will have! 

A bouncy read-aloud book to be enjoyed; beautifully illustrated with bold, bright colours and packed with all sorts of wild and wonderful birds!

Little Mouse wants to play in the woods. They are dark and full of big scary animals. But Little Mouse isn't afraid of anything – or is she? Lift the flap to find out. A charming story about bravery – with a hilarious lift the flap surprise – from a Kate Greenaway Medal-shortlisted illustrator, who has been described by The Washington Post as "the thinking tot's Eric Carle".

“Horacek — the master illustrator from Prague whose use of bold colour and cut-outs makes him a cut above" - The Sunday Times, Children's Book of the Week 

Hilda the pot-bellied pig lives at the foot of a hill. Life is uneventful and she is always where she expects herself to be. At the top of the hill lives a mischievous baby who is never ever where people expect him to be … which is why he is known as the Runaway Baby. But on a high-speed escapade in a pram, the Runaway Baby and Hilda’s worlds collide ... and an unlikely friendship begins.

There are living things everywhere: the more we look, the more we find. There are creatures on the tops of the tallest jungle trees, at the bottom of the coldest oceans, even under the feathers of birds and in boiling volcanic pools. So how many different kinds are there? One, two, three ... lots! 

From the award-winning team behind Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes comes Lots, a beautifully illustrated introduction to the concept of biodiversity for younger readers. With words from Nicola Davies and exquisite artwork by Emily Sutton, this groundbreaking book is certain to enchant and inspire children.

What if dogs could walk and talk and go to work? Well, Raymond the dog has big ambitions beyond his ordinary, canine life in the big city. He wants to take himself for a walk and get his own dinner. And when he’s done all that? Well, he wants a job, just like his owners. But when Raymond begins a high-flying journalism career at Dogue magazine, he soon realizes it’s no walk in the park… 

With a stylish limited palette and incredible visual humour, children and adults alike will fall in love with Raymond and his laugh-out-loud antics in this absurdly original – yet highly relatable – world.

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

Thursday 8 February 2018

John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury win double BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award

John Burningham and Helen Oxenbury, two iconic children’s authors and illustrators have won the first ever double BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award.

The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates the body of work of an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children's literature.

John Burningham is the author and illustrator of such books as The Way to the Zoo and Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present. Helen Oxenbury, meanwhile, is best known for illustrating such classics as We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes. The couple, who married in 1964, have won several literary awards individually but have only collaborated on one book together, There’s Going to be a Baby, published by Walker in 2010.

John said of winning the award: “I’m incredibly grateful to be given an award for a lifetime of work. I’m so very flattered when I hear people now say they love my books and that something I did 50 years ago still works and is enjoyed by their family.”

Helen commented “It’s particularly lovely as we have been awarded this honour jointly - and to get an award from BookTrust who know everything there is to know about children’s books is just wonderful.”

Deirdre McDermott, Picture Book Publisher, Walker said: “Walker Books are deeply privileged to have worked with Helen Oxenbury throughout her exceptional picture book career. Helen's instinctive ability to know what delights little children and the grown-ups that read to them has enabled her to create more than eighty picture books since she was first published by Heinemann in 1967. Her own groundbreaking baby board books and her toddlers’ first experiences series for Walker Books have influenced and shaped the imaginations of so many, many children over the years. It is remarkable to realise that all of Helen’s unparalleled achievements have taken place in the same household where another of the twentieth century’s most iconic picture book makers, her husband John Burningham, has also been writing and painting his own children’s books. In 2010, Walker Books worked with both Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham on their unique collaboration, There’s Going to Be a Baby, uniting two peerless masters of picture books together onto the page for the very first time. We congratulate Helen Oxenbury and John Burningham on their astonishing multitude of vivid and amusing picture books, and we look forward to their continued creative vision for many picture books to come.”

Monday 5 February 2018

WIN Guess How Much I Love You Baby Card Gift Set

A delightful book and baby card gift set from the award-winning creators of Guess How Much I Love You. This classic board book comes with 24 gorgeous cards for recording important milestones in your baby's life. Simply take a photo of your little one with the card for a beautiful way to capture and share memories. 

Highlighting the bond between parent and child this set is the perfect gift for baby showers, christenings and new or expecting parents. A new generation of little ones can now enjoy this cherished classic complete with milestone moments cards to capture each magical moment.

‘I love you right up to the moon – and back’

At Walker HQ we've been capturing some magical moments of our own



We have three copies of the gift set and a Little Nutbrown Hare Ring Rattle from Rainbow Designs to give away! To enter, just email your name and address to competitions@walker.co.uk with ‘Guess How Much I Love You' in the subject line for your chance to win.

Competition closes on 5th March 2018. Terms and conditions apply.

Thursday 1 February 2018

The Mouse Who Wasn't Scared by Petr Horáček

Little Mouse wants to play in the woods. They are dark and full of big scary animals. But Little Mouse isn't afraid of anything – or is she? 

Lift the flap to find out. A charming story about bravery – with a hilarious lift the flap surprise – from a Kate Greenaway Medal-shortlisted illustrator, who has been described by The Washington Post as "the thinking tot's Eric Carle".

Behind the scenes with Petr Horáček

We’re excited to welcome Petr Horáček to the Picture Book Party blog for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Mouse Who Wasn't Scared

The Mouse Who Wasn’t Scared is the fourth book with the character of Little

The very first book was called A New House for Mouse.

The book won the award 'Picture Book of the Year 2005' in Holland and was
part of Book Trust’s ‘Bookstart’ programme.

I remember being on holiday in Greece when I received a phone call from my
publisher. I was asked if I would consider writing a second book with the
character of Little Mouse.

I had no ambition to make a series of books with the same character, so I
rejected the idea straight away.

The same day, sitting on the beach, looking at the starry sky I wrote The Mouse
Who Ate the Moon'The Mouse Who Reached the Sky followed a couple years later.

The truth is, that I fell in love with Little Mouse. She is childlike, naive, jolly,
funny and she makes me smile.

The Mouse Who wasn't Scared is about the fact that we all are scared of something. Often we are scared of very different things.

Is the bear the scariest animal in the woods?

Is the wolf the scariest?

Or…..is it the little, fluffy, pussycat?!!

One inspiration for The Mouse Who Wasn't Scared was probably the artwork

Every autumn I spend a couple of weeks on my own. I stay in a cottage in the
Czech Republic. The cottage is on a hill by a wood.

I love walking in woods and I love painting and drawing in woods. It’s often
during these walks that I get an idea for a book.

This book wasn’t different.

Whilst working on the book’s illustrations I enjoyed the contrast of the outside
world and the interior of woods; the contrast of the gloomy, grey tree trunks with the occasional appearance of the colour of leaves, mushrooms or the Mouse's colourful, stripy socks.

Painting the big ‘scary’ animals was also fun. Especially painting the moose. 

I’ve never drawn a moose before. Now I would love to do a book about a moose
one day. 

The whole process of working on ' The Mouse Who Wasn't Scared' was great

I hope that some of the joy of working on the story got into the book and the
book will make you smile.

Petr Horacek’s bold and imaginative illustrations continue to captivate children and critics. 

His stories, often about loyalty and belonging, are told with an instinctive warmth and humour and are beautifully brought to life through his evocative use of colour and texture. He has won many awards around the world for classics such as Suzy Goose  and was shortlisted for the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012.

Visit Petr's website: www.petrhoracek.co.uk

Win the Picture Book of the Month, A Lion is a Lion

All lions are fierce, right? Well, maybe, just maybe, this Lion – so well dressed and polite and charming – isn't too fierce for you...

From Polly Dunbar comes a wicked, rollicking read-aloud which asks the question: Is a lion still a lion if he … wears a hat? And carries an umbrella? And is a lion still a lion if he asks for a dance? What about when he licks his lips and says, “Oh yes, lunch would be lovely, thank you...” Is a lion still a lion then?

            “A wonderfully raucous read-aloud romp.” Baby Hampshire


We have five copies of A Lion is a Lion to give away! To enter, just email your name and address to competitions@walker.co.uk with ‘A Lion is a Lion' in the subject line for your chance to win. 

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

Pick up a copy of A Lion is a Lion in your local bookshop.

Polly Dunbar is the author-illustrator of the bestselling picture book Penguin and winner of numerous awards including the Book Trust Early Years Award and the Red House Children's Book of the Year. 

Polly is the co-founder of Long Nose Puppets, a children’s theatre company. Find her online at pollydunbar.com and on Twitter as @PollyDunbar.