Related to: 'The Wonder of Trees'

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…

Hodder Children's Books

The Variety of Life

Nicola Davies, Lorna Scobie
Contributors:
Nicola Davies, Lorna Scobie

Our planet is full of life! Did you know there are 400,000 species of beetle - but only eight species of bear? This stunning book explores the extraordinary diversity of the natural world and profiles some of its most surprising creatures.A glorious celebration of diversity within the Animal Kingdom by non-fiction specialist Nicola Davies, illustrated by rising star Lorna Scobie. There is something to delight on every page with fascinating facts about mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and insects. This exquisite book will encourage children to treasure the world's biodiversity and help to stop it slipping away.

Lauren St John

Lauren St John is the author of several books on sports and music, as well as the award-winning children's series THE WHITE GIRAFFE, the BLUE PETER BOOK AWARD-winning LAURA MARLIN series and THE ONE DOLLAR HORSE trilogy. Her first adult novel, THE OBITUARY WRITER, was published in 2013. Visit Lauren's website at www.laurenstjohn.com, like her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Lauren-St-John/120957211278399 and follow her on Twitter @laurenstjohn

Lucy Daniels

Lucy Daniels is the creator of the bestselling Animal Ark series, which has sold more than 2 1/2 million copies in the UK alone. Animal Ark is being relaunched for a new generation of animal lovers, with exciting brand-new adventures!

Mandy Sutcliffe

Mandy Sutcliffe was born in Stockport and loved drawing from an early age. She studied illustration at Leeds University, spending part of her degree course based in Paris. During this time, Mandy spent hours drawing and painting in Parisian parks, inspired by the world around her. It was while she was in Paris that Mandy first heard the name 'Belle' and began to develop the little girl character who would go on to star in her stories.Mandy has drawn on her own childhood memories to create the world of Belle and Boo, basing many of their adventures on her own experiences. She wants to create a world that captures all the freedom of childhood; a timeless world of fun, exploration and adventure. Today, Belle and Boo is a successful international lifestyle brand with many different product ranges and over 500 stockists worldwide. Mandy lives in Bristol with her partner and their young twin sons, Ellis and Sam.

Margaret Mayo

Margaret Mayo is an acclaimed storyteller and author who has been creating stories for children for over 35 years. She has written more than 50 books, including the bestselling Dig Dig Digging, Choo Choo Clickety-Clack! and Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp! A former teacher, Margaret uses her wide-ranging experience with children in her writing. She lives in Brighton.

Mark Nicholas

Mark Nicholas was born and brought up near York. He was artistic from an early age and studied modelmaking at the University of Bournemouth. He began working as a modelmaker after graduating, but always had a love of children's picture books, inspired by Mick Inkpen's Kipper and a short stint as a playground designer. After a successful career which included working on the CBBC stop-motion animation 'Rubbadubbers', in 2012 he decided to seek a career in illustration and gained a place on the MA Children's Book Illustration Course at Cambridge School of Art. Whilst studying on the course, Mark won the Hachette Children's Group's Carmelite Prize for Illustration to illustrate Tantrum O'Furrily, by Cressida Cowell, as well as the Macmillan Lara Jones Award. When not illustrating children's books, you'll find Mark wandering the fields of Wales with his wife and daughter, picking up inspirational textures for his illustrations.

Matthew Syed

Matthew Syed is a columnist for The Times, an acclaimed author and a former international table tennis champion. He is also a trustee of Greenhouse Sports, a charity that empowers young people from disadvanted communities through sport. Matthew is married, and has two young 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.

Nigel Quinlan

Nigel Quinlan is an Irish writer born in Limerick in 1970. He has worked in libraries and bookshops all over Ireland before washing up in the midlands village of Cloughjordan with his wife and his two children. He writes stories for local festivals and acts with the local drama group. His first novel, THE MALONEYS' MAGICAL WEATHERBOX is a middle grade fantasy based on a short story he wrote as a teenager while minding his parents' petrol pumps.Find Nigel's website at http://uglychicken.livejournal.com/

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 . . .

Paul Christelis

Paul Christelis has worked as a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, writer, group facilitator and teacher for over twenty years. He is director of School of Moments (www.schoolofmoments.com), an organisation dedicated to teaching mindfulness to individuals, groups and communities.

Phil Wilkinson

Phil Wilkinson is a freelance writer and the author of 50 books, as well as being a dad of two. He is a contributor to a number of parenting sites, including the Huffington Post, writing about education, bullying, sex education and teenagers.

Rachel Ignotofsky

Rachel Ignotofsky is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator who is proud to share stories of amazing women with the world. She grew up in New Jersey, USA on a healthy diet of cartoons and dessert before graduating with honours from the Tyler School of Art's graphic design programme in 2011. Now Rachel lives in beautiful Missouri, USA, where she spends all day drawing and learning as much as she can. She has a passion for taking dense information and making it fun and accessible, and is dedicated to creating educational works of art.

Rosie Banks

Rosie Banks is the author of brilliant series Secret Princesses and Secret Kingdom. You can find out all about Secret Princesses and much more at the series website: http://www.secretprincessesbooks.co.uk

Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner is an award-winning novelist from London. Her books have been translated into 22 languages and have sold more than one million copies in the UK. Her historical novel for older readers, I, Coriander, won the Smarties Children's Book Prize in 2005. Two thrillers both set at the time of the French Revolution, The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade, which was shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 2009, followed. Actor Dominic West (The Wire) has bought the film rights to both titles. Her YA novel, The Double Shadow, was published in 2011 to critical acclaim. Sally Gardner's stories for middle readers include Lucy Willow and the popular Magical Children series of six titles: The Strongest Girl in the World, The Invisible Boy, The Boy with Magic Numbers, The Smallest Girl in the World, The Boy with the Lightning Feet, and The Boy who could Fly, which are also available as audio books. She has also written and illustrated picture books including The Fairy Catalogue, The Glass Heart, The Book of Princesses and Playtime Rhymes. Sally Gardner continues to be an avid spokesperson for dyslexia, working to change the way it is perceived by society. She is dyslexic and argues that it is not a disability, but a gift.Her website is www.sallygardner.net and you can follow her on Twitter @TheSallyGardner

Sarah Horne

Sarah grew up in Derbyshire, mainly under a snow drift. She spent much of her childhood scampering in the nearby fields with a few goats. Then she decided to be sensible and studied Illustration at Falmouth College of Arts, graduating in 2001. She has illustrated for many different projects including an ad campaign for Kew Gardens entitled 'Plantastic Play'. She has also undertaken commission from The Guardian and The Independent newspapers. Sarah now specialises in funny, inky illustration and words for children's fiction and picture books. Sarah likes to paint on very big canvas. She loves funny detail, colour, music, dreams and big open spaces. Sarah now works from a studio on a hill in Forest Hill, London.

Steve Antony

Steve Antony - a graduate from the prestigious MA in Children's Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin - is the author-illustrator of The Queen's Hat and Please Mr Panda. Only debuting in 2014, Steve has had enormous success: The Queen's Hat won the Evening Standard's Oscar's First Book Prize, and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. Please Mr Panda was chosen as Picture Book of the Month by US retailer Barnes & Noble, who held over 650 Panda events over one weekend. Steve aims to create picture books that are slightly 'off the wall', books that children will laugh at and adults will tweet about, but most of all, books that he enjoys.

Steve Barlow

As 50% of the Two Steves, Steve Barlow has written over 160 books with Steve Skidmore since their first published work appeared in 1988. Born in Crewe, he was educated at Crewe Grammar School, Warwick University and Nottingham University before a varied career in teaching, acting, stage management and puppetry. He worked in a village school in Botswana for four years before returning to the UK and working with Steve Skidmore. The Two Steves tour extensively in the UK and overseas, and are frequent visitors to book festivals including Edinburgh and Hay. Their work for Hachette includes the highly popular I Hero and Crime Team choose-your-adventure books, and their I Horror series is raising the short hairs at the back of readers' necks with Orchard Books.

Steve Skidmore

Steve Skidmore writes with Steve Barlow. Together they are Britain's most popular comedy writing and performing double act for young people. Not surprisingly, they are known as The 2 Steves!The 2 Steves met over twenty years ago when they were both teaching in Nottingham. Since then they have written over 160 books together. They have also acted as series editors on numerous reading programmes for several major publishing houses.The 2 Steves are in great demand for author visits to schools, colleges and libraries across the world. They also undertake INSET events and make regular appearances at Literary Festivals.Steve Skidmore is shorter than Steve Barlow and less hairy. He was born in Birstall near Leicester in England. After managing to pass some exams at school, he went on to Nottingham University to supposedly read English, but spent most of his time playing sport and doing a variety of summer jobs including counting pastry pie lids (yes, really). He trained as a teacher of Drama, English and Film studies, before teaming up with Steve Barlow to become a full time author.He lives in Leicester and is a great rugby fan (he supports Leicester Tigers - "Come on you Tiiiiigeeeers!").

Tom Easton

Tom Easton is an experienced writer of fiction for children of all ages.