Tuesday 19 February 2019

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2019 Longlist Announced

The longlist has been published for the country's oldest children’s book award: the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, recognising outstanding illustration in books for children and young people. 

Walker Books are proud to have 6 fantastic books on the longlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal!

Congratulations to all these fantastic illustrators and their books! 

       Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love 

Julian is a Mermaid illustrated by Jessica Love

Animals With Tiny Cat illustrated by Viviane Schwarz

The Day the War Came illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

A Stone for Sascha illustrated by Aaron Becker

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse illustrated by Jon Klassen

Friday 15 February 2019

Discussing feelings with children using How Monty Found His Magic

A book for anyone who’s ever lacked confidence or been afraid of failing at something new.
Monty is a marvellous magician, but why won’t he show his tricks to other people? Zephyr and Snuffles, Monty's best friends, want everyone to see just how amazing he is and keep reminding him that – together – they can do anything! They are a magical trio!

We are delighted to welcome Lerryn Korda to Picture Book Party to discuss 
How Monty Found His Magic

I wrote How Monty Found his Magic partly as a response to child mental health issues. Having suffered from anxiety all my life, I am now aware of the need to identify my feelings and where they are in my body. I wish I had understood this as a child. This inner tracking allows a pause before I react. It’s also a good time to get the support of friends and family like Monty, who has the support of Zephyr and Snuffles.

In my own life I try not to judge emotions that arise but to acknowledge them. Feelings come and go and sometimes we can’t make them better. However, just by talking them through they often can lose their power.

I asked Special Educational Needs Coordinator Rachael Taylor, who has a wealth of experience with child mental health, how she might use How Monty Found his Magic to start a conversation and an activity about feelings.

Resources: large piece of paper, thick black pen, colouring pens, paints, glue, dried beans, pasta, rice, feathers, cotton wool  etc.

Read the page which describes Monty’s whizzing tummy. Ask your child to look at the picture of Monty. Describe, or ask the child to describe, what they can see. How does Monty look? Where is he looking? What are his hands doing? The way he’s standing? Now ask about his feelings. Can you see the butterflies in his tummy? Or his heart thumping? No, this is happening all inside Monty’s body. Nobody can tell this is how he is feeling.  Ask the child if s/he ever feels like Monty. What do their butterflies feel like? Are they butterflies at all? Perhaps they’re more like worms slithering through the grass? Be curious and open to whatever your child describes.

Tell your child you’re going to draw around each other to make life-size pictures of each other, and then draw, paint or collage all the different sensations which can happen inside their bodies when different feelings arise.

Once you have your outlines, start to discuss the different sensations which happen when you’re feeling nervous like Monty. Chat to your child about the colour and texture you might choose to represent the sensation, e.g. Monty describes the feeling like butterflies, which is a common way to describe the sensation. Is that the same for your child? If so, what colour are they? Do they feel like feathers? Or bits of cotton wool? Draw or stick on whatever the child chooses for each sensation. Move around the body, discussing any sensation that might arise.

Open the conversation up to discuss other emotions. What about when we start to feel angry? Repeat the above, asking questions about skin? Face? Palms of hands? Heart? Chest? Back of neck? All the time accepting what your child says and describes. Be curious.

What about happiness? Sadness? Excitement? etc. Add word cards or pictures of different emotions.

Hang your pictures where your child can add to theirs when s/he notices any new sensations.

Thursday 14 February 2019

Al Rodin wins the 2019 Sebastian Walker Award for Illustration

We are very pleased to announce that Al Rodin has been awarded the 8th annual Sebastian Walker Award for IllustrationAl’s illustration stood apart from a group of MA students’ work that was this year, once again, exceptional.

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.

Al Rodin said:

"I am inspired by an ever-growing gang of artists and writers including William Kentridge, Ben Shahn, Chaim Soutine and Dylan Thomas. The Bash Street Kids, Calvin and Hobbes, and Winnie-the-Pooh have also been major influences. I like to make stories that playfully explore the experience of childhood, particularly through character driven narratives that focus on relationships and feelings from the perspective of a child." 

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

"We were completely compelled by Al Rodin's bold and characterful artwork. His painterly style captivated us immediately because he combines highly expressive brush work with real energy to create pictures that excite and entice with their fluidity and motion. With a keen eye for movement and gesture, Al creates truly inclusive artwork that we are positive children everywhere will respond to and enjoy greatly. We look forward to seeing his first picture books and believe that he will grow into an important and original contemporary picture book maker." 

Wednesday 13 February 2019

WIN our February Picture Book of the Month - Kiss the Crocodile

Introducing Kiss the Crocodile, our February Picture Book of the Month, a story which introduces a brand-new GAME ... a game all little monkeys, tortoises and anteaters will want to play!

Down in the jungle, three best friends – Monkey, Tortoise and Anteater – are playing silly games together. After Stick Splash, Scary Monsters and Silly Dancing, they spy Little Crocodile and his big crocodile mum in the swamp. Do they want to play a new game, Little Crocodile asks ... a DARING game. KISS THE CROCODILE! Who will be brave enough to steal a peck from the 'sleeping' croc, with his big tail, pointy teeth and sharp claws? MWAH! Brimming over with the thrill of friendship and play, this hilarious new story from Sean Taylor the author of Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise demands to be re-enacted, and is the perfect match for the animated, visually-rich artwork of Ben Mantle, illustrator of Follow the Track All the Way Back.

Are you brave enough to kiss the crocodile? Watch our fun animated trailer below. 

We have FIVE copies of Kiss the Crocodile to give away! To enter this competition just enter your name and email address below.

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

Competition closes midday on Thursday 14th March 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.



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Friday 8 February 2019

For All the Stars Across the Sky - Interview with author Karl Newson

For all the stars across the sky, big and little and bright. Here’s a wish from me to you, before we say goodnight…

For All the Stars Across the Sky is written by Karl Newson and illustrated by Japanese artist Chiaki Okada. It is a beautiful, lyrical bedtime read that celebrates the bond and love between a mother and baby bear, and the fantastical imaginary adventures that unfold when they’re together. 

To celebrate its release this month, author Karl Newson talks with editor Tanya Rosie about his inspiration for the story, and gives aspiring picture book writers his nuggets of advice.

This tender mother and daughter story is all about that special time a parent and child share together right at the end of the day, before bed. Was it inspired by a routine you had with your own children, or with your own mum or dad?

I did have a routine with my boys, which unsurprisingly involved reading lots of books! But the story For All the Stars Across the Sky was actually inspired by a song I wrote for them when they were teeny. It features possibly my best grammatical bloop EVER...

For all the stars across the sky
There’s one for you, and one for I (EEEK!)
You make a wish – I’ll make it true,
I’ll wrap you up in daffodils and send you to the moon
in a red balloon, high above the deep blue sea,
humming your favourite tune,
you and me...

The idea was there, at least!

The title line was inspired by my fascination with stars, which began when I was a child, sat at a dining room table, drawing with my Popie (my grandfather), Ron. He taught me how to draw a star, and it is to him and my boys that For All the Stars Across the Sky is dedicated.

Chiaki’s art is full of the most beautiful, majestic detail – I love the moment little Luna sits atop the dandelion stalk, soft fluff floating all around. Is there anything about Chiaki’s interpretation of your story that surprised you? And do you have a favourite scene or moment? 

I absolutely LOVE Chiaki’s art. It’s a thrill to see what I didn’t see when I was writing it, if you get me. But my most favourite moment of all is where Luna and Mum are small, riding on a snail, exploring the undergrowth. Chiaki captures it beautifully. In fact, I believe we tweaked the text to reflect it, in ‘“Let’s catch a ride,” says Mum’. The snail-riding image relates to me in a different way as well: my favourite amusement park ride as a child was the ‘snails’ at Joyland, Great Yarmouth. So it really is magical.  

Chiaki’s illustrations are moments to pause and explore in the story. I thank my lucky stars that we were teamed up! 

For All the Stars Across the Sky is going to be published in Italy, Russia, the Netherlands, France, Spain and Japan, as well as in the UK and the US – which is so wonderful. What do you think it is about your words and Chiaki’s art that has resonated with readers the world over?

I always try to make my stories universal. I want a child to read it and think ‘That's me!’ or ‘That's here!’ and I think that’s part of the appeal in For All the Stars Across the Sky – it’s for everyone, it’s everywhere – we all live under the same starry sky. Of course, what makes it so attractive and inspiring are Chiaki Okada’s illustrations. They give it depth and engagement in more ways than my text ever could. They’re wondrous!

Your voice, Karl, is so lyrical and melodic, and this book is a joy to read aloud – it feels very much part of that timeless and wonderful tradition of the bedtime book. Are there any bedtime stories you still vividly remember, or that you remember from when you were a child?

Thank you very much! Sadly, I don’t remember many books at all from my childhood. Only a single picture book: Panda and the Snow, by Oda Taro, which I remember being the one I made my parents read me EVERY SINGLE NIGHT; and just the one Young Fiction book, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson and illustrated by Joanne Cole, which is SUCH a clever story. It still gets me.

This story is brimming over with incredible, imaginary adventures – becoming giants, becoming teeny-tiny, flying above the mountains, swimming with the whales. If you could go on only one of them, which one would you choose?

I’d choose to fly. To be able to go anywhere and to see the earth from above would be tremendous.

As a writer, when do you do your best thinking?

Ideas are always brewing in the back of my mind. They come in at any time of the day and from anywhere. I’m a night owl so I’d guess most of my thinking is done then! ZzzzzzzzZZZZZzzzz

For aspiring picture book writers, my advice is to read as many picture books as possible. Old classics. New favourites. Everything. Soak them all up. Then write and write and write. If you find you’re struggling to find your ‘writing voice’, imagine it as someone else’s instead – I’ve tried writing in the style of David Attenborough’s narration before! It’s great for escaping your own traits.

What is your earliest memory of writing a story?

I used to draw stories at my grandparents’ houses when I was small. There’d always be a new sketchbook waiting for me in the cupboard once an old one was filled. When I look back now at how I got here – to be the writer of a story being published by Walker Books! WOW! – it leads right back to being sat at their dining tables and just being lost for hours in a drawing or story, with supplies of biscuits, Turkish Delights and homemade jam tarts always at the ready. I was lucky to have my imagination fed by my family. It planted a seed that’s taking me on the most AMAZING adventure I could ever have imagined.

What is the best writing advice you have been given?

KNOW WHEN TO STOP. If it’s not working it’s OK to leave it be for a while. Don’t push it if it doesn’t want to be pushed. As soon as I let one idea rest I often find a bunch of others jump out of nowhere, almost as if they’ve been waiting their turn.

FUEL FOR THE FIRE. It reminds me that nothing is ever a waste. It’s all practice and learning. If something goes completely wrong then I treat it as fuel for the fire that keeps me going.


You can pick up a copy of For All the Stars Across the Sky from your local bookshop.

Thursday 7 February 2019

Julian Is a Mermaid Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2019!

The fabulous Julian is a Mermaid has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2019 and we could not be prouder!

You can see some of the fantastic praise this beautiful children's book has received below.