Related to: 'The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Jane Simmons

Jane Simmons is a uniquely talented award-winning illustrator and author, and the creator of some of our best-loved children’s books. Here she talks to Graham Marks about boats, motorbikes and making a mess, as well as her words, her art and her latest picture book, Lily Gets Lost.

Orchard Books

Never Take a Bear to School

Mark Sperring, Britta Teckentrup
Contributors:
Mark Sperring, Britta Teckentrup

Bears are clumsy. They don't sit still. They're much, much bigger than teachers - and they eat SUCH a lot of lunch! Yes, taking a bear to school is a BAD idea. But will this little boy find the courage to face the first day of school alone?With so much to do, like painting, dressing up, storytime, and making new friends, he just might! And Bear? He'll always be waiting at the end of the day, with a great big hug!A delightfully funny story that will reassure every child anxious about starting a new school or nursery.

Orchard Books

Your Hand in My Hand

Mark Sperring, Britta Teckentrup
Contributors:
Mark Sperring, Britta Teckentrup

A beautiful and lyrical celebration of love, step by step, through the seasons.The heartwarming words are matched by stylish and contemporary art making this a book to treasure and read time and time again. A perfect picture book to share at bedtime or as a gift to welcome a new baby, and for Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.

Alex T. Smith

Alex graduated from Coventry University with a degree in Illustration and won second place in the Macmillan Prize for Children's Illustration. Claude won the 5-9 young fiction Sainsbury's Children's Book Award, was selected for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize, the Richard and Judy Book Club and is soon to be a TV star on Disney Junior with 52 episodes airing in June 2018. Alex T. Smith was a World Book Day Illustrator.

Andy Stanton

Andy Stanton has written eight books about Mr Gum, along with further successful fiction and picture book titles. He was overall winner of the Red House Children's Book Award for You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! and won the inaugural Roald Dahl Funny Prize for Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear. He has twice won the Blue Peter Book Award for Best Book With Pictures, and been shortlisted for a host of other awards.

Caryl Hart

Caryl Hart is the author of many bestselling books for children, including the hugely successful How to Grow A Dinosaur and The Princess and the Peas. She is the winner of the Stockport Children's Book Award, the Sheffield Children's Book Award and the Lancashire Share a Story Award. Caryl lives on the top of a windy hill in the Peak District with her guitar-playing husband, two cheeky daughters, one extremely fluffy black cat, a goldfish, four hens and an invisible dog called Paddy.Follow Caryl at carylhart.com and @carylhart1

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is the author and the illustrator of the bestselling How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once book series, and the author of the Emily Brown picture books, illustrated by Neal Layton. How to Train Your Dragon has sold over 8 million books worldwide in 38 languages. It is also an award-winning DreamWorks film series, and a TV series shown on Netflix and CBBC. The first book in Cressida's new series, The Wizards of Once (also signed by DreamWorks), is a number one bestseller.Cressida is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency, a Trustee of World Book Day and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation. She has won numerous prizes, including the Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize,the 2017 Ruth Rendell Award for Championing Literacy, the Hay Festival Medal for Fiction, and Philosophy Now' magazine's 2015 Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity. She grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland and she now lives in Hammersmith with her husband, three children and a dog called Pigeon.

David Barrow

David has been a shelf-stacker, a library assistant, a call-centre worker, a civil servant and a printer, so obviously it was only a matter of time before he tried his hand at writing and illustrating children's books. He joined the world-renowned Children's Book Illustration MA at Anglia Ruskin CSA. It turns out he actually found it a lot harder than all of the above, but ultimately a lot more rewarding.Whilst on the course, David created his first picture book, Have you seen Elephant? which was published in 2015. He won the Sebastian Walker award for new talent in children's book illustration at his degree show and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize.David's next book Fergus Barnaby Goes On Holiday was released in June 2017 and he is now in the process of developing more picture books. He lives in Kettering with his toughest critics: partner Jo, son Teddy and cat Sofia.

David Litchfield

David Litchfield first started to draw when he was very young, creating comics for his older brother and sister. Since then his work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, books and on T-shirts. David's first picture book The Bear and the Piano won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. He lives in Bedfordshire.

Jim Field

Jim Field is a lead-driven, pencil-pushing, 25-frames-per-second Led Zeppelin fan. He is also a hugely talented illustrator and animation director. His first picture book Cats Ahoy! won the Booktrust Roald Dahl Funny Prize and was nominated for the Kate Greenaway award. He has since illustrated a string of bestselling, multi-award-winning children's books, including Oi Frog! and The Lion Inside, as well as young fiction series Rabbit and Bear.

Jo Weaver

Jo Weaver had a career as a support worker in the non-profit sector before retraining as an illustrator. She completed an MA degree in Children's Book Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art in 2014, where she discovered a love of working in charcoal. Shortly afterwards she was shortlisted for the Association of Illustrator's newcomer's Awards. Jo lives with her young family in north London, and when she's not drawing she can be found escaping the city to walk and explore in the wild outdoors.

Joyce Dunbar

Joyce Dunbar has published more than 80 books. Translated into 20 languages, she is best known for her lively and quirky picture books stories, with their wide emotional range. She has, as Philippa Pearce once said in a review, 'a passionate authenticity of imagination.' She revels in the joy of language, the playfulness of words, and in seeing her work fabulously brought to life by world class illustrators. She has written many stories for radio and television and contributed to several anthologies.

Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson, the 2011-2013 Children's Laureate, is the outrageously talented, prize-winning author of the world's most-loved picture books including The Gruffalo and What the Ladybird Heard.The Gruffalo, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, is now a children's classic and publishing phenomenon; celebrating 15 years in 2014, selling over 3 million copies worldwide, was voted Great Britain's favourite bedtime story on BBC Radio 2 and was adapted and broadcast as an animation on BBC 1 on Christmas Day 2009. The Gruffalo's Child and Room on the Broom are now also films, with Room on the Broom shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2014. Julia Donaldson's most recent books with Axel Scheffler include Superworm (2012), Highway Rat (2011), Tabby McTat (2010), Stick Man (2009) and Tiddler (2008).Julia Donaldson has also published work with David Roberts, Nick Sharratt, Emily Gravett, Rebecca Cobb, and Lydia Monks. Her collaboration with Lydia Monks began in 2003, with the first collection of Princess Mirror-Belle stories. The fabulously glittery Sugarlump and the Unicorn is their sixth, and most recent, picture book collaboration. She also writes poems, plays, songs and fiction for older children and, together with her husband Malcolm, has performed her wonderful stage shows all over the world.

Katherine Lodge

Katherine Lodge grew up in Surrey. She remembers as a child always watching her mother, Maureen Roffey, illustrating children's books. She studied printmaking in New York and later completed a MA at the Royal College of Art in illustration. While living in New York Katherine became excited about illustrating for children. She collects vintage fabrics and loves all folk art. Her books include Shoe Shoe Baby, The Clever Cowboy, The Sasha and Olly series, Kitty Kool's Beauty School and recently Let's Find Mimi. She now lives in Denmark Hill and has two children.

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.

Kes Gray

Kes is a bestselling, multi award-winning author of more than 70 books for children. He eats Ideaflakes for breakfast, spreads silliness on his toast and lives in a place called Different.

Lauren Child

Lauren Child MBE is a multi-award-winning author and current Children's Laureate, whose books are known and loved the world over. She is the creator of many much-loved characters, including Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort. Since her first book was published in 1999, Lauren has sold over six million books in 19 languages worldwide. Her many awards include the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato, the Nestle Gold Book Award for That Pesky Rat and the Nestle Bronze Book Award for Beware of the Storybook Wolves. Lauren loves designing and making things and finds it exciting to see her drawings turned into objects. Other favourite things include the cinema, TV matinees, small Italian cars, handbags, cardigans, travelling and being picked up from the airport.

Lee Wildish

Lee Wildish is an acclaimed illustrator. His Spooky, Spooky House won the Overall Red House Children's Book Award, his Spaghetti with the Yeti was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize, and he has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award and the Sheffield Children's Book Award.

Lily Williams

Lily Williams grew up in Northern California. She received her B.F.A. with high distinction from California College of the Arts. Lily seeks to inspire change, engage audiences, and educate people of all ages with her artwork. Her work can be seen in film, books, and on the web.

Mary Mcquillan

Mary McQuillan has been shortlisted for the Sheffield Children's Book Award twice - the first time for her very first picture book 'Who's Poorly, Too' written by FCBG winner Kes Gray and the second for Cluck O'Clock, again with Kes. This year she was shortlised for the Portsmouth Book Awards for Bare Bear with Miriam Moss. Mary is a highly successful illustrator with a knack for character and humour and her drawing are much beloved by children.She has also illustrates children's wallpaper and textile designs which have been reproduced and sold around the world.

Mick Inkpen

Mick Inkpen has been a bestselling children's author for over 25 years. He is one of today's most popular picture book author/illustrators and the famous creator of both Kipper and Wibbly Pig. Mick has won the Children's Book Award for Threadbear and the British Book Award twice, for Penguin Small and Lullabyhullaballoo. Kipper won a BAFTA for Best Animated Film.