Related to: 'The Variety of Life'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

David Melling

David Melling is the international bestselling author and illustrator who first came to our attention with the critically acclaimed The Kiss That Missed, and whose The Tale of Jack Frost went from page to animated TV feature, voiced by Hugh Laurie. Here he talks to Graham Marks about how he became a children’s book illustrator, his influences, his passions and why he loves Twitter…

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 www.clivegifford.co.uk

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is the author and the illustrator of the bestselling How to Train Your Dragon 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), publishes in September 2017. Cressida is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust and the Reading Agency and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation. She has won numerous prizes for her books, including the Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize , 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: www.rainbowmagicbooks.co.uk and www.magicanimalfriends.co.uk

Jamie Littler

Jamie is a St. Albans-based illustrator who graduated from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in 2008, and won a High Commendation in the Macmillan Children's Book Award in the same year. Since then Jamie has worked with many varied clients, and his debut children's book, 'MUM'S THE WORD', written by Timothy Knapman, is to be published by Hodder Children's Books in 2013.He is the creator, writer and illustrator of the on-going comic series 'COGG & SPROKIT' which is serialised in the Phoenix Comic, and his debut fiction series 'ATOMIC!', published by Scholastic Children's Books, written and created by Guy Bass, was released in 2012. When not trying to tame his un-naturally fast growing hair, he likes drawing, colouring in, cutting things out and sticking things in. Whatever medium he uses, Jamie tries to create a 'hand-made', organic and energetic feeling in his work. His interests are pretty wide and varied; although he does have a soft spot for wild animals and things that go bump in the night.Jamie is represented by Jodie Marsh at United Agents.Jamie Littler graduated from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth in 2008. He has won a High Commendation Award at the Macmillan Children's Book Awards and is the creator of 'Cogg and Sprokit', which is serialised in the PHOENIX. He has worked on high-profile projects including The Famous Five. Follow him on Twitter @jamieillustrate or visit his website at http://jamielittler.co.uk/

Jason Cockroft

A Pilgrim's progress, Room for a Little One, The Horse Girl and more

Jen Green

Jen Green received a doctorate from the University of Sussex (Dept of English and American Studies) in 1982. She worked in publishing for 15 years and is now a full-time writer, who has written over 150 books for children. Her book 'Your Feelings: I'm Special' was short-listed for the NASEN Special Needs Award.

Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels for adults, including Meet Me at the Cupcake Café and Little Beach Street Bakery. When Neil the puffin from Little Beach Street Bakery caught her readers' attention, Jenny knew she needed a story of his own - and so the idea for Polly and the Puffin was born.Jenny is married with three children and lives in Scotland. For more about Jenny, visit her website and her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter: @jennycolgan.

Jim Field

A lead-driven, pencil-pushing, 25-frames-per-second, Led Zeppelin fan, Jim Field is also a hugely talented illustrator and animation director. His first picture book Cats Ahoy! won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. The bestselling Oi Frog! books, written by Kes Gray, have been shortlisted for numerous prizes, as has The Lion Inside with Rachel Bright. His vibrant, energetic style and witty detail delight children and adults alike.

Karen Wallace

A Canadian, Karen Wallace gained a degree in English from London University. Shortly afterwards she and her husband went to Toronto and worked in the publishing business. A few years later they moved to Ireland with their two young sons, and returned to England in 1982. She now writes full-time for children and for children's television. She and illustrator Mike Bostock won the TES Information Book Award for THINK OF AN EEL (Walker Books). Her novel RASPBERRIES ON THE YANGTSE was short-listed for the Guardian Award. She is married to novelist Sam Llewellyn.

Katharine Holabird

Born: Cambridge, MA USA, Jan 23, 1948Childhood spent in Chicago, IL with 3 sisters (and actress mother, architect father)Jobs: magazine editor, nursery school teacher, freelance journalist, writerLives: North London, England and Water Mill, NY USAFirst Book: Angelina Ballerina published 1983Katharine grew up in an artistic household in Chicago, the 2nd of 4 daughters. As a child she lived in an imaginary world of fairy tales, princesses and ballerinas, and loved to put on plays and dances with her sisters. Katharine received a BA in Literature from Bennington College in Vermont in 1969, and after graduation worked as a literary editor, then moved to Italy where she was a freelance journalist for 2 years.In 1973 Katharine married and moved with her husband to London, where she became a nursery school teacher until the birth of their first daughter in 1976. Another daughter was born in 1979 and a son in 1983.Katharine was already the mother of young children when she created Angelina Ballerina in 1982. "I wanted to write for all the children who love dance and drama, and my daughters were a great inspiration."There are now over 20 books in print about the adventures of ballet mad Angelina, translated into over 15 languages. Angelina has danced in an animated TV series for several years, and has pirouetted into the limelight with the English National Ballet in two children's ballets based on the series. A new musical, "Angelina the Mousical", is touring the UK in 2012 and will head to the Peacock Theatre in London in 2013. The Angelina books have won a collection of awards, including: the Kentucky Bluegrass Award for Angelina Ballerina in 1985; ALA Notable Book Awards in 1986 and 1987, a British Book Design and Production award in 1990. Angelina's Christmas was selected as the Child Study Association's Children's Book of the Year in 1987. "Angelina Ballerina's Invitation to the Ballet" won the Oppenheim Platinum Award in 2005.

Kes Gray

Voted by the Independent as one of the TOP TEN children's authors only a year after publishing his first book, Kes Gray is a major talent and the author of the bestselling and award-winning Eat Your Peas and many more. He lives in Witham, Essex, with his wife, family and assortment of animals.

Laura North

Laura North is a children's book author who lives and works in London. Her first children's book was a retelling of 'Theseus and the Minotaur', one of her favourite myths. She has since written a series of fairy tales with a twist, including 'Cinderella: The Terrible Truth', 'The Princess and the Frozen Peas' and 'Hansel and Gretel and the Green Witch', with pictures by some extremely talented illustrators.

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 Prize 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.

Lou Kuenzler

Lou grew up on a remote sheep farm in Devon with chickens, ponies and her own pet ferret. She now writes funny stories for children, and also teaches other people to write their own stories. Lou has written children's rhymes, plays and novels, as well as stories for CBeebies television. She lives in London with two children, a Swiss husband (a reliable supplier of chocolate!) two cats and a dog.

Lynne Benton

Lynne Benton was born in Bournemouth, but moved to Bath at 18 to train as a teacher, and has lived there ever since. She has taught in several primary schools in the area, as well as working as pianist and receptionist in a Dancing school and bringing up four children. In 1982 she and her husband, Robin, a fellow-teacher and composer, co-wrote a musical play for primary schools based on the story of Jason and the Golden Fleece (still, happily, in print) but it was only when their children began leaving home for university that she began writing seriously. In 1996 she was a prizewinner in the Independent's Children's Story of the Year competition, and since then has had several fiction books published. As well as writing longer novels for older children she enjoys writing humorous "bite-size" stories for younger ones. She welcomes invitations to go into schools and talk to children about her books, since it keeps her in touch with her readers, who she finds a continual source of inspiration.

Mark Chambers

Mark has been working as an illustrator since 2003.

Mark Marshall

Mark was born in London into a creative family including a pianist, actress and dancer. He was encouraged to draw from an early age going on to study Illustration and Painting at the University of Wolverhampton. He lives with his wife, Geraldine, and their two sons. Follow him on Twitter @markjmarshall4

Marta Kissi

Marta Kissi is a London based illustrator originally from Warsaw. She studied BA Illustration & Animation at Kingston University and MA Communication Art & Design at the Royal College of Art. Her favourite part of being an illustrator is bringing stories to life by designing charming characters and the wonderful worlds they live in. She shares a studio in London with her boyfriend and their pet plant Trevor.

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.

Pat-a-Cake

Pat-a-Cake takes you and your child on a magical journey. From sharing the very first baby book to watching your little one read all by themselves. The adventure begins here . . .