Related to: 'The Blue Feather'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell’s Hiccup books, which she also illustrates, are now published in over 30 countries around the world and the first book in the series, How to Train Your Dragon, has been made into an animated movie by DreamWorks; Cressida also writes and illustrates picture books. The eleventh title in the Hiccup Saga, How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel, is published in September, and here she talks to Graham Marks about pretty much everything to do with writing a hit series…

Hodder Children's Books

Memorial

Gary Crew, Shaun Tan
Contributors:
Gary Crew, Shaun Tan

In 2014 the world will mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. Internationally acclaimed author, Gary Crew, and multi-award-winning illustrator Shaun Tan have created a powerful picture book to help us all remember.When the soldiers return in 1918, a memorial tree is planted... 'Lest we forget'. But generations later, what do those who pause in the shadows of the tree's immense branches remember? A message we should never forget.Memorial serves as a reminder of the lessons to be gained from the past and examine the significance of conservation, respect and remembrance.

Hodder Children's Books

The Viewer

Gary Crew, Shaun Tan
Contributors:
Gary Crew, Shaun Tan

Annabel Savery

Annabel Savery is an experienced writer and editor of children's books. She enjoys researching new topic areas and finding out fascinating facts. In her spare time, she loves to bake and walk along the river.

Ben Hubbard

Ben Hubbard began his writing career at a what's-on newspaper in the 1990s, interviewing bands, actors and artists in his native Wellington, New Zealand. He later joined the fast-paced world of daily newspaper journalism before packing up shop and moving to England. Here, Ben tied a number of new strings to his bow: magazine editor, book editor, and finally, author. Today, Ben writes a mix of non-fiction for all ages - preschoolers through to adults. He has penned titles on an eclectic subject range: from space exploration, samurai warriors and medieval castles; to pop music, pets, tornadoes and rugby skills.

Georgia Amson-Bradshaw

Georgia Amson-Bradshaw is a children's writer and editor who lives in Brighton, East Sussex. She has worked on a number of high-profile and award-winning science books for kids, including the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize winner Eye Benders, and the London Science Museum activity book This Book Thinks You're a Scientist. She remembers the eye-opening and inspiring effect her favourite books had on her as a child, and so takes her responsibility to pass that interest and excitement on very seriously!

Izzi Howell

Izzi Howell is the author and editor of over fifty children's books. She lives in East Sussex and enjoys learning languages, cooking and travelling around Europe.

James Mayhew

James Mayhew studied at Maidstone College of Art and his first children's book, Katie's Picture Show was published in 1989. It's been firmly in print ever since, recognised universally as the original and best introduction to art for children. Many more titles have followed, and the series sells in museums and galleries all over the world, from the Met in New York, to the Uffizi in Florence, the Louvre in Paris and beyond. He is also the creator of the much-loved Ella Bella Ballerina series, and many other titles. Alongside his work in publishing, James has devised and performed in a hugely successful series of concerts for children, combining live classical music, storytelling and live art. From Peter and the Wolf, to Scheherazade, James has worked internationally with many different orchestras and musicians, creating illustrations in time to music. James grew up in Suffolk but now lives in Hertfordshire.

Jessica Courtney Tickle

Jessica Courtney-Tickle graduated from Kingston University in July 2014 where she studied illustration and animation and found a specialism in children's picture books. She loves working with colour, texture and lots and lots of characters. Jessica lives in Cambridgeshire. She was longlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017 (The Story Orchestra, Four Seasons in One Day), and shortlisted for the 2014 Prize for Illustration with the AOI and the London Transport Museum.

Joy Lin

Joy Lin was a high school science teacher in Austin, Texas until recently. She has a BA in Biology, a BS in Chemistry and another BS in Biochemistry from UT Austin. In 2013, TED and Kohl's Cares teamed up to look for 18 most inspiring lessons to animate, and her Hollywood vs. Science lessons were selected. She wrote a series of 6 videos: If Superpowers Were Real. She is now in the process of becoming an entertainer. She is a stand-up comedian who's been featured in 4 comedy festivals and competitions, most recently in NYC. And she is also acting in a TV show that will premiere in the US in 2017.

Kay Barnham

Kay Barnham was born in Barrow-in-Furness, grew up in Carlisle, went to college in Brighton, and lived in Hove for a while, before sailing for Kinsale, Co Cork, popping back to Hove and then moving to the New Forest with her husband and daughter. And never at any point has she lived more than ten miles from the sea. She began working in children's publishing in 1992. She was an editor first of all, working on illustrated non-fiction and learning fun facts like how long it would take to walk to the moon - nine years - and how to spell palaeontology. Next, she commissioned fiction titles, editing picture books, storybooks and novels. And then she got the chance to write her own books, which she thinks is quite the best job ever. Except possibly being a chocolatier. She writes non-fiction as Kay Barnham. Her specialist subjects include ice-skating, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, lightning, fairies, Roald Dahl, Sir Isaac Newton, Christmas, dolphins, Florence Nightingale and very bad cracker jokes. And chocolate.She also writes fiction as Kay Woodward, including the Skate School series for Usborne and the novels Jane Airhead and Wuthering Hearts for Andersen Press. Altogether, she's written about a hundred books. Her favourite colour is navy blue. Her favourite chocolate is 85% cocoa solids.

Louise Spilsbury

Louise Spilsbury is a prolific children's book author. She has written titles on almost every subject, from science and geography through to world affairs, social issues, art, history, and literacy. Louise is married to the author Richard Spilsbury and has two children. She lives and works in Devon.

Mike Gordon

Mike Gordon is an ever-popular and award-winning cartoonist. He has produced over 500 cards for Hallmark and over 300 picture books for various publishers. His talent has been rewarded with numerous awards inlcuding Berol cartoonist of the year (1988) and runner up for the Trento Fra realto e Follia (1990). He was also nominated for the Silver Quill Award (Germany, 1991) and for the Book and Magazine Illustrator of the Year by the National Cartoonists Society (1995).

Mo Farah

Sir Mo Farah was born in Mogadishu, Somalia in 1983. As a young child he spent time in Djibouti before moving to England at the age of eight. Mo initially struggled with the language barrier, but his PE teacher at Feltham Community College, Alan Watkinson, quickly spotted his potential as a runner and encouraged him to join Borough of Hounslow Athletics Club. After attending St Mary's Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre in Twickenham, Mo became a professional athlete. At the 2012 London Olympic Games he won gold in the 10,000m - Britain's first gold in this event. He followed this up with a stunning victory in the 5000m to become, in the words of Dave Moorcroft, 'the greatest male distance runner that Britain has ever seen.' Mo was appointed CBE in the Honours List in 2013 and in December 2016 he was awarded a knighthood in the Queen's New Year's Honours list. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife Tania, and their three daughters Rhianna, Aisha and Amani.

Nadiya Hussain

Never again will she say she can't. Nadiya can and she will. Nadiya Hussain's delicious bakes and desserts, captivating smile and sparkling personality made her a hugely popular winner of 2015's Great British Bake Off. Her first children's book, Nadiya's Bake Me a Story, hit the bestseller charts in 2016, and was shortlisted for a British Book Award. The follow-up, Bake Me a Festive Story, is out now. She has also published cookbooks for adults and novels, and has three television series to her name, The Chronicles of Nadiya, Nadiya's British Food Adventure and The Big Family Cooking Showdown.Nadiya's family is originally from Bangladesh, where desserts aren't a feature of mealtimes. But, encouraged by a school home economics teacher, Nadiya honed her skills as a baker over ten years and produces fabulous bakes and desserts every day. She also loves to write, having won a National Poetry competition as a child.Nadiya lives with her husband, Abdal and is mum to three gorgeous children.

Neal Layton

Neal is an award-winning illustrator and author of children's books. He has worked on more than 80 titles to date, working with authors such Cressida Cowell and Michael Rosen, and won several prizes including a Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize for 'That Rabbit belongs to Emily Brown'. His books have also been shortlisted for the Red House Book Awards, the Blue Peter Book Awards, the Booktrust Early Years Award, Funfzig Jahre Deutcher Jugendliteraturpreis and New York Public Library's annual list of best Children's Books.He also writes his own books, 'The Invincible Tony Spears' and the bestselling 'Mammoth Academy' Series. His books are currently in print in more than 16 languages worldwide. He lives in Portsmouth with his wife and two daughters.

Nick East

Nick East is the illustrator of the bestselling Toto the Ninja Cat as well as the Goodnight Digger and Knock Knock series. He has been working as a museum designer for the past 16 years but has always been a storyteller, whether as a child, filling sketchbooks with quirky characters, or as a designer displaying a collection of ancient artefacts. Nick lives near York with his wife and two children and, when he isn't drawing, he is out riding bikes and spending time with his family.Find Nick at nickeastillustration.com

Nick Lake

Nick Lake was born in Britain but grew up in Luxembourg, where his father worked for the European Parliament. Nick works in publishing by day and writes in every spare moment he can find. He has won the prestigious Printz Award for his novel In Darkness, and has been twice-shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.Nick lives in a picture-postcard village in Oxfordshire with his wife and family. His long commute to work gives his imagination time to explore places he's never visited.

Nicola Morgan

Nicola Morgan is an international speaker and award-winning author for and about teenagers. She has written nearly 100 books, including novels such as Fleshmarket (currently being adapted for the London stage) and Mondays are Red, but in the last twelve years she has become increasingly well known for her passionate factual work on adolescence, with Blame My Brain - The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed and The Teenage Guide to Stress being seminal titles for teenagers and the adults who work with and care about them. A former teacher and dyslexia specialist, Nicola now writes and speaks around the world on a range of subjects relating to adolescence and wellbeing, as well as the reading brain, reading for pleasure and the effects of life online. Her positive, respectful and empathetic attitude towards young people naturally led her to write Positively Teenage.

Olivia Chase

Olivia Chase is the pseudonym for Rosie Best. A writer, editor, nerd and procrastinator, Rosie has three cats called Midnight, Misty and Imp, and loves singing, video games and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She's written lots of fiction for younger readers, as well as the YA novels, Skulk, Demon Hunters: Trinity and Demon Hunters: Ascension. You can find her on Twitter: @rosiejbest

Patricia Elliott

Patricia Elliott has written nine novels for children and young adults. Her first novel with Hodder, The Ice Boy, won the Fidler Award for a First Novel and was shortlisted for the Branford-Boase among other awards. Her second, Murkmere, was long-listed for the Guardian Fiction Award and she has since been short-listed for many others, including the Calderdale and the Wirral Paperback of the Year. Her most recent YA is a Victorian Gothic, The Devil in the Corner. Her new MG series, the Connie Carew Mysteries, is set in the Edwardian period: The House of Eyes and The Ship of Spectres.Patricia was (and is!) a voracious reader and always scribbled stories during a childhood spent overseas. She worked in publishing in London and in bookselling in New York before taking an M.A. in Writing for Children. She has been a tutor at Morley College, London, and in between writing now leads workshops for both adults and children, including Chelsea Young Writers. She is an active member of CWISL (Children's Writers and Illustrators in South London). She is married, with two sons. www.patriciaelliott.co.uk