Franklin Watts is well-known for its high-quality and attractive books. We aim to give children of all abilities a life-long love of learning and reading.
Andrew Weale is every mother's nightmare. As well as being a writer of children's books, he is an actor and singer. He lectures on picture books at Winchester University and coaches corporate clients in presentation skills, so his mother does manage to catch some sleep at night.Born in Brighton and educated at Eastbourne College, he won a Classics Scholarship to Trinity College, Oxford. Having rubbed shoulders with the likes of Boris Johnson and Niall Ferguson, he decided to change direction completely and learn how to act at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.After far too many years of education he set up a theatre company that went on to win a Fringe First Award at the 1991 Edinburgh Festival. At the Award Ceremony he got to make a speech and kiss Emma Thompson.Andrew's company was the first to tour Romania after the revolution, having been invited personally by Ion Caramitru, head of Bucharest's Bulandra Theatre. The company also toured in New York and Hong Kong.Andrew has worked as a freelance actor and singer since 1997, when he played Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Other highlights include working with Sir Alec Guinness and Janet Suzman. He has had roles in Kevin Spacey's film Beyond the Sea and Peter Sellars' production of The Rake's Progress at Paris' Chatelet Theatre. Recently he played the lead in the Theatre Royal Bath's Dangerous Obsession opposite Liza Goddard.Andrew has always been involved with books. He worked with Kathleen Tynan and Allegra Huston on The Kenneth Tynan Ketters and Nick Hern on The Honourable Beast (the posthumous autobiography of English theatre director John Dexter). In 2010 Hodder published Andrew's first children's picture book One Newt in a Suit. Since then he has written four more for Andersen Press, Random House and Hodder. He has spoken at many festivals, including the Imagine Festival on London's South Bank, and the Oxford and Hay festivals.Andrew's mum is sleeping much better these days!
James Weston Lewis
Born in Bath, James moved to Oxfordshire when he was 5 where he grew up in a small village. He did an Art Foundation degree at Oxford Brookes University and then moved to Bristol to study Illustration at the University of the West of England, where he specialised in Print. James now lives in Lewisham in South London, and works as an Illustrator and Printmaker.
Rhona Whiteford has many years' experience of teaching at preschool and primary level, and is the author of many educational books for teachers, parents and children.
As a child Sophy travelled widely with her family and lived in Singapore, the Middle East and Hong Kong. She came back to the UK to take her O' Levels and A' Levels and went on to Kingston Polytechnic and studied for a BA in Graphic Design and Illustration.Sophy has illustrated a number of books, including When Grandma Came (Penguin) which was a runner up in the Mother Goose Award 1992. For Orchard Books Sophy has illustrated The Orchard Book of Starry Tales, retold by Geraldine McCaughrean, The Night You Were Born, by Wendy McCormick, a touching picture book with rich and warm illustrations and The Orchard Book of Ghostly Stories. Sophy's latest Orchard Book's title is Princess Pearl, an exquisitely told and stunningly illustrated contemporary fairy tale about staying true to your heart despite desperate odds. Sophy lives in Bradford-on-Avon with her partner Mark and their two children, Oscar and Leo.
Holly and Kelly are sisters and they are writing the School for Stars series together. Holly Willoughby lives in London with her husband and children. She is best known for presenting prime-time television shows: SURPRISE, SURPRISE (average 4.6 million viewers) and THIS MORNING (average 1.5 - 2 million viewers daily).Kelly Willoughby lives in West Sussex with her husband and daughter.You can follow Holly and Kelly on Twitter @hollywills and @LadyWilloughby. Holly's website is www.officialhollywilloughby.com
Jane Winstanley is an author with a wealth of experience in children's non-fiction and is the author of the bestselling Oxford Merry Christmas Book.
Alix Wood has written books for children on many different subjects, and has written several titles on art and on artists. She is an artist and illustrator herself and loves painting and drawing. She also enjoys playing with her pet chickens, travelling and walking in the countryside.
Peter Wood is a primary school teacher in Canada with a speciality in community arts education. He is a professional painter and artist of more than twenty years experience. He has exhibited in Abu Dhabi, Montreal and more. His paintings are in private collections in the United States, England and Germany. He has created many large-scale works and also enjoys whimsical explorations in snow and building magnificent tree houses. Peter studied Philosophy and Visual arts at universities in Canada. He has also taught in international IB schools abroad.
Katie Woolley is a creative and versatile editor and writer who has worked on children's books for all age levels, from board books, novelty books and picture books to non-fiction, licensed publishing and educational books and apps. With more than 10 years' publishing experience working for companies such as Ladybird Books and Hachette Children's Books, she has written, commissioned, edited and project-managed a wide variety of titles for some of the biggest children's publishers.