Related to: 'When I Was a Child'

Giles Andreae speaks to Graham Marks

Author Spotlight

Giles Andreae is not only the bestselling author of such award-winning picture books as Giraffes Can’t Dance, Rumble in the Jungle and The Lion Who Wanted to Love, he’s also the man behind the entertaining world of Purple Ronnie, as well as The Interesting Thoughts of Edward Monkton. Here he talks to Graham Marks about all the many and varied bits of his very creative life, including toilet brush poetry.

Hodder Children's Books

Going to the Volcano

Andy Stanton, Miguel Ordonez
Andy Stanton, Miguel Ordonez
Hodder Children's Books

Danny McGee Drinks the Sea

Andy Stanton, Neal Layton
Andy Stanton, Neal Layton

A hilariously anarchic tale from the inimitable Andy Stanton, author of Mr Gum, and much loved illustrator Neal Layton.Can a boy drink the sea? Surely it's impossible! But Danny McGee does just that - and now he has his sights on other things. Soon he's swallowing trees, flies, fleas, peas, mountains ... where will it end?!Andy Stanton has won a string of awards for his Mr Gum books, including the Red House Children's Book Award, the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and the Blue Peter Book Award for Best Book With Pictures.Neal Layton is the multi-award-winning illustrator of the Emily Brown books.

Alex T. Smith

Author-illustrator Alex T. Smith is the award-winning creator of the bestselling Claude series, which is published in 16 languages worldwide, and begins airing as a TV show on Disney Junior in 2018. Alex's newest series, Mr Penguin, launched in 2017, to widespread praise. Alex's quirky, witty writing and illustrations are instantly recognisable, critically-acclaimed and as popular with adults as children. Alex is also widely-praised for his work illustrating children's classics: he won Children's Book of the World Illustration Award 2016 for his illustrations in a new edition of Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians; he has created new art for books by Enid Blyton, Eva Ibbotson and Richmal Crompton. Alex has collaborated with Watership Down author Richard Adams on his last book, Egg Box Dragon, as well as David Almond, and Juno Dawson. Alex has won the UKLA Picture Book Award and the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award. He was the official World Book Day illustrator in 2014.

Andrew Fusek Peters

Andrew Fusek Peters is an Anglo-Czech poet, storyteller, didgeridoo player, broadcaster, anthologist and author with an international reputation. He is the UK's tallest poet (6'8''!!) and has worked in thousands of schools, libraries, arts centres and literary festivals, giving lively performances and running workshops with all ages and abilities. 'An experienced and accomplished anthologist', according to the TES, Andrew has published more than 70 books and his poems appear in the Poetry Archive, set up by the Poet Laureate to record the best poets. Polly Peters is a former English and Drama teacher. She was previously Head of Drama at a sixth form college and currently works as a youth/community theatre leader, director and playwright.

Clive Gifford

Clive Gifford is the author of more than 150 children's books including Eye Benders, winner of the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, Royal Society-nominated Out of This World and Cool Technology which won the School Library Association Information Book Award. He has travelled through 70 countries, run a computer games company and taken part in all manner of sports from parachuting and gliding to Ultimate Frisbee. Clive's official website can be found at

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.

Daisy Meadows

Daisy Meadows is the author of the bestselling series Rainbow Magic and Magic Animal Friends. Her books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide.You can find out all about her magical stories and much more at the series websites: and

Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton's books have sold over 500 million copies and have been translated into other languages more often than any other children's author.She wrote over 600 books and hundreds of short stories, including favourites such as The Famous Five,The Secret Seven, The Magic Faraway Tree, Malory Towers and Noddy. Born in London in 1897, Enid lived much of her life in Buckinghamshire and adored dogs, gardening and the countryside. She died in 1968 but remains one of the world's best-loved storytellers.

Francesca Simon

Francesca Simon worked for 12 years as a freelance arts journalist, writing for the Sunday times, and The Guardian amongst others. Francesca wrote her first children's book in 1989 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. She lives in London with her husband and son.Francesca Simon spent her childhood on the beach in California, and then went to Yale and Oxford Universities to study medieval history and literature. She now lives in London with her family. She has written over 50 books and won THE CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR at the Galaxy British Book Awards for HORRID HENRY AND THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN. Visit Francesca's website at and keep up-to-date with Horrid Henry at You can also follow her on Twitter @simon_francesca

Jean Reagan

Jean Reagan was born in Alabama but spent most of her childhood in Japan. She now lives in Salt Lake City in America with her husband. In the summers, they serve as backcountry volunteers in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. To learn more about Jean and her work, please visit

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 in 2014 won the Prize for Illustration with the AOI and the London Transport Museum.

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.

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.Oi Frog!, Oi Dog! and Oi Cat! are a top ten bestselling series. Oi Dog! was shortlisted for the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award and the British Book Awards in 2016, amongst others. It also won the Teach Primary New Children's Fiction Award, MadeForMums Award, Bishop's Stortford Picture Book Award and Portsmouth Picture Book Award. Oi Cat! was the Independent Booksellers Children's Book of the Season and Oi Goat! is a World Book Day book in 2018.

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.

Mairi Hedderwick

Mairie Hedderwick was born in Gourrock. She left the mainland for the Isle of Coll where she and her crofting husband brought up their young family. She has never quite left the island - and still returns to paint, and to ponder the island life which has enriched her craft for so long.

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Maxine's short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and The Big Issue. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015 and the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. She was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists for 2015. Maxine has published three poetry collections including Carrying the World, which won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry 2017 and was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award. The Hate Race, a memoir about growing up black in Australia won the NSW Premier's Literary Award Multicultural NSW Award 2017 and was shortlisted for an ABIA, an Indie Award, the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and Stella Prize. The Patchwork Bike, Maxine's first picture book with Van T. Rudd was a CBCA Honour Book for 2017.

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.

Miranda Richardson

Miranda Richardson has appeared in films such as THE HOURS, SLEEPY HOLLOW, THE CRYING GAME, EMPIRE OF THE SUN and HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. TV work includes A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME, JACKANORY, Queen Elizabeth in BLACKADDER and Queen Mary in THE LOST PRINCE. She has won two Spoken Word awards for her inspired readings of HORRID HENRY AND THE SECRET CLUB and HORRID HENRY'S STINKBOMB audiobooks for Orion.

Polly Peters

Polly Peters is a former English and drama teacher and community theatre writer and director. With Andrew Fusek Peters she has produced over 40 books. POEMS WITH ATTITUDE and POEMS WITH ATTITUDE UNCENSORED were both Education Guardian book of the week. She and Andrew live with their two children in rural Shropshire.