Monday, 21 July 2014

Jean Francois Dumont joins The Children's Bookshow

We are so glad to be able to share the work of Jean François Dumont with children and teachers in the UK this autumn. 

This talented French author and illustrator is the creator of a wealth of wonderful picture books, many of which feature a brilliant cast of animal characters in a familiar farmyard setting. While kids can instantly relate to these creatures and their environment, Jean Francois also tackles some challenging ideas including discrimination, racism, ecology and strikes.

Enriched with his vibrant illustrations, Jean-Francois handles these tricky subjects with humour and a light touch.

Jean Francois has kindly answered some questions about his work and insprations and has sent us some photos of his studio and work in progress to give us an insight to his creative environment. To begin with, here is the entrance to his studio.

The stairs to Jean
Francois' studio
Q: What books or authors did you enjoy as a child?
A: When I was a child, children's literature had not developed so much as it has today, there were many fewer books. I still have memories of two outstanding books: "Mishka" by Marie Colmont, a history of Père Castor that made me cry, and a book translated from the U.S - "The journey of Lily and Lulu" written and illustrated by Robert J. Lee. I loved the drawings. Later I loved R.L Stevenson and Jack London (and I still do.)

Q:  How did you become an artist?
Jean-Francois' studio.
A: Simply, by loving drawing, I therefore had a desire to draw and do this as a job. But on the advice of my father's art teacher, I initially studied architecture before I started in illustration.

Q: What materials do you paint with?
A: I usually paint on paper but right now I'm trying canvas. I paint with an acrylic resin or oil pigments. 

Q:  How do you find your ideas and inspiration?
A: I do not have a recipe, but I'd love to have one! I rewrite a large amount of my stories, I do a lot of sketches. "So much sweat and tears," as Winston Churchill said.

Q:  If there was one book you wish you had written, what would it be?
A: Treasure Island Stevenson, THE Adventure Book!

Q: You feature many brilliant animal characters in your stories  What is your favourite animal and why?
A: Edgar the rat is my favourite character, I do not know exactly why. He is the first character in the series of the farm that I created, and he has a bad temper but he is nice to draw.

One of Jean-Francois' picture books, 'A Blue So Blue' published by Sterling, won the 2004 Prix Saint-Exupéry, an award given annually to the best illustrated picture book in France. The American Library Association said: “In language that is rhythmic and lyrical, the book introduces a boy who loves to paint the colour blue, but can’t seem to recover the hue he sees in his dreams.”

In April 2013, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers published Jean François’ picture book The Chickens Build a Wall. A starred review subsequently appeared in Publishers’ Weekly which wrote: “A clever barnyard commentary on protectionism, xenophobia and over-reaction”. For adult readers it’s not hard to spot parallels with today’s discussions around immigration, but children will only see a funny story about how to welcome strangers and how not to be afraid of people who are different or experiences that are unfamiliar. The book has been selected for the 2014 Notable Books for a Global Society Award List .

Eerdmans has just brought out The Geese March in Step, this April, which will be followed by The Sheep Go On Strike in October 2014 in time for Jean François’ performance in the Children’s Bookshow tour.

We can't wait to share Jean-Francois' amazing stories and pictures with you in the autumn. 

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Special FREE Poster Offer

The Children's Bookshow has some remaining tickets available for a couple of events, and for schools that book tickets between now and the end of term, every attending child will receive a beautiful A2 poster to take home as a souvenir. 

 You can still book tickets to see Satoshi Kitamura at the Oxford Playhouse on Friday 14th November and Valerie Bloom Theatre Royal, Plymouth on 15th October.

These are brilliantly talented individuals with the power to inspire and entertain, and to connect children with a love of literature and illustration.  

Follow the links above for details of how to book.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Satoshi Kitamura Joins the 2014 Tour.

The Children's Bookshow is delighted to announce another new addition for 2014. We have just confirmed that Satoshi Kitamura will be flying over from Japan especially to join our tour in the Autumn. 

Satoshi will be performing to a large audience, with live drawing, at the Oxford Playhouse on Friday 14th November, as well as running four workshops in Oxford schools.  

We're thrilled to welcome  such a fantastic creator of picture books, many of which he has both written and illustrated.

Millie's Marvellous Hat, which was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway award in 2010 ... 

... and Me and My Cat, which has won the Smarties Prize.

Satoshi has also illustrated stories by other well-known authors, including Colin McNaughton's Once Upon an Ordinary School Day and Angry Arthur, written by Hiawyn Oram, which was published in 1982 to great acclaim. It won the Mother Goose Award in 1983 and the Japanese Picture Book Award.

Satoshi's book, A Boy Wants a Dinosaur was shown as a children’s play at the Unicorn Theatre and his picture book Sheep in Wolves' Clothing was adapted into the ITV television series Sheep!

Born in 1956 in Tokyo, Satoshi says that comics have had a great influence on his style.  He absorbed anything visual around him, even the label on a tin of Sardines. He works in bold, bright watercolours with a very recognisable, uneven line style. His cats are full of characterand expression, as are his children, sheep and other animals. The Times Educational Supplement said about his artowrk: "The bold, bright, beautiful style of Satoshi Kitamura stands out like a beacon."

You can read more about Satoshi Kitamura in this article, A life in Pictures from The Guardian and this biography and gallery on Booktrust's website.

More details about Satoshi's brilliant event can be found on his page of our website:

We look forward to hearing all the interesting details behind Satoshi's stories and pictures, and seeing him inspire young people to get creative and get reading. 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Upcoming Tour

The Children's Bookshow is moving steadily towards confirming all the theatre dates on the upcoming tour and we are delighted that Benji Davies has agreed to take part this year.

Benji will be performing at the Arnolfini in Bristol on Tuesday 14th October at 1.30pm and running two free workshops in Bristol Primary schools on Wednesday 15th October. Every child who takes part in a workshop will receive a free copy of The Storm Whale, Benji's recent picture book about a small boy and a stranded whale. 

Benji has just been nominated for the Booktrust Best Book Award which is also great news.

More info about Benji and The Storm Whale can be found at his website and on the Simon and Schuster website.

You can also follow him on Twitter under @Benji_Davies and find him on facebook under Benji Davies - Illustrator.
The bookshow website with all the updated tour details for this year will go live at the beginning of May. We are really excited to be introducing such brilliant authors and illustrators to a whole new wave of young people, and look forward to sharing more news soon. 

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

The Libraries Project 2014.

Bringing brilliant authors and illustrators to libraries in the North East of England. 

The Children's Bookshow is delighted by the success of its second Libraries Project, which took place earlier this month.

The celebrations of World Book Day on 6th March were a uniting focus for our series of free events for school children, hosted by libaries in Middlesborough, Hartlepool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Stockton-on-Tees from 3-7th March. 

Catherine Rayner, Alexis Deacon, Jessica Souhami and Daniel Morden enthralled children in a range of styles of libaries; traditional and modern, large and small. The library staff gave the schools a wonderful welcome and teachers and pupils alike were entertained and inspired by the talented writers and artists as they shared their stories and pictures, inviting children's responses, suggestions and questions. 

Each child was presented with a free copy of a book by the author they were meeting, giving a lasting souvenir of their special experience. One teacher told us: "My class had a brilliant time, and were totally transfixed by the talk and illustrations. Thank you also for the copies of 'Beegu', my children couldn't believe it. Our thanks to Alexis, and all the staff at the library for making us so welcome, we had a fabulous time". 

Jan Dumbell of Newcastle Libraries described Alexis Deacon's visit to Newcastle City Library: "It was a big success with over 130 attending. The children were enthralled and had entered into the spirit of World Book Day with some of them arriving in book character costumes. One school had been reading Beegu in class and a great cheer of recognition went up when she appeared on Alexis’s presentation. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon and were all delighted to go away with a free copy of Beegu."

"What a fantastic time everyone had, thank you so much for organising it." - Judy at Newcastle Library 

Daniel Morden
We were also thrilled to hear such lovely feedback from Lucy of Stockton-on-Tees Library, about their visit from Daniel Morden:  "By working with The Children’s Bookshow for World Book Day 2014 it enabled Stockton Libraries to be able to offer a free author session and free book to 200 children from 5 different local primary schools. We would not have been able to do this without the support of the organisation - for the library service to be able to afford a high profile author and storyteller like Daniel Morden and to purchase a free book for every child who attended is something we don’t have the funds to be able to deliver. The Children’s Bookshow is about inspiring and creating a love of books, reading and libraries in children and young people. By giving them the opportunity to meet an author it brings alive the story for them in a real way that creates a lasting impact for them. By offering children the opportunity to then read a
Daniel Morden
free book by that author it creates an excitement which is fantastic to see and as this is all taking place within the local library for the children and teachers attending it showcases all that libraries are and what we can offer. My favourite comment from a teacher which I think says it all ‘They were reading their free book as they walked the whole way back to school and actually wanted to stay in and read rather than go out for their lunch!’ I just wanted to say thank you so much for giving Stockton Libraries the opportunity to be part of The Children’s Bookshow North East Tour, the sessions this morning with Daniel went really well and the children and teachers had a fantastic time and seemed to get so much out of it and really where hanging on his every word."

Children contributing ideas
for Alexis Deacon's illustrations. 
"Just a quick message to say thanks for the book show this week. Our children and staff really enjoyed their visit and were over the moon with their free gift." - Teacher.
Artwork created by Catherine
Rayner during her visit to
Middlesborough Central Library.
The Children's Bookshow had a very encouraging take-up from the schools local to each library, and the venues were well filled. As each author and illustrator talked, the children's attention was held in perfect rapture. Live drawing is a brilliant part of meeting with a professional illustrator, and Catherine Rayner amazed her audience by creating her well-loved character of Augustus, the Tiger who lost his smile, before their eyes.

Gifted storyteller, Daniel Morden, gave a gripping performance, introducing the many Greek Gods and Goddesses, explaining how the Trojan War began and acquainting the children with his latest book.

Alexis Deacon with drawings
created with suggestions from chidren.
Alexis Deacon welcomed suggestions from his audience to create unique creatures, inspired by his very famous and cute little alien character, Beegu, and entertained them with a selection of his beautifully illustrated picture books.

Jessica Souhami performed with her gorgeous, bright and bold picture books, telling the traditional tales that she captures so perfectly in her illustrations and text, explaining her techniques to create suspense and excitement.

These talented individuals each bring something special and different to inspire the next generation of readers, writers and artists, making these creative processes come to life for young audiences. 

Children listening avidly to a story with Jessica Souhami.

Jessica Souhami sharing
one of her picture books.

Children enjoying their free
books by Jessica Souhami.

A huge thank you to all the Libraries who hosted our events, to all the lovely library staff for helping to facilitate the sessions and for welcoming authors and schools, to the teachers for bringing their pupils along and, as ever, to the talented authors and illustrators for sharing your gifts with these young people. 

It's been a wonderful time and we now look forward to our annual Children's Bookshow at fantastic theatres throughout England this coming Autumn.

Keep in touch to hear details of our upcoming tour,
and on twitter  

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Children's Bookshow presents The Library Project!

In celebration of World Book Day, The Children’s Bookshow, in collaboration with libraries in the North East, brings you a tour showcasing the very best of children’s writers and illustrators.

From the 3rd - 7th March, a series of free events for schools in libraries in Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Newcastle, will give young readers the opportunity to meet four fantastic authors and illustrators.

Featuring Catherine Rayner, Alexis Deacon, Jessica Souhami and Daniel Morden, this tour is bound to delight and inspire children and their teachers.

Each child attending an event will receive a free book by the author they are meeting.

Do visit our authors pages to find out more about each writer and their books and find out where they are performing.

Join us and enjoy great literature.

Follow the progress of these wonderful events on our twitter feed during the tour: