Related to: 'When parents separate'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Emmy Laybourne

Emmy Laybourne is, in her own words, ‘a writer, teacher and a recovering character actress’ who lives in upstate New York with her husband ‘and two surprisingly well-mannered children’. Here she talks to Graham Marks, on Skype, about how she became a writer, the highs and lows of starting out on a writing career, and her novel, Monument 14.

Franklin Watts

When someone dies

Dawn Hewitt, Ximena Jeria
Contributors:
Dawn Hewitt, Ximena Jeria

How do you help a young child deal with death? This hands on picture book is designed to help children with their questions and feelings about tricky topics that can be hard to talk about. Written with bereavement experts CHUMS this book offers practical help, tips and advice as well as exploring everyday situations, supported by exquisite and approachable illustrations to give a comforting story book feel. Questions and Feelings about... is a series that tackles tough topics in a sensitive way. The books are a perfect aid to help 5-7 year old children to open up and explore how they feel and steps they can take to help them cope with emotionally challenging situations.

Clare Collinson

Clare Collinson lives in Oxford and is a writer and editor of educational books for children. She loves to write about wildlife, inspired by her interest in plants, animals and the environment. The 'Nature in Your Neighbourhood' series introduces young naturalists to the huge variety of wildlife we can find close to our homes. When she's not working, Clare is kept busy by her family and garden, and she relaxes by walking in the countryside.

Clare Hibbert

Clare specializes in non-fiction books for children of pre- and primary school age. Her favourite subjects are animals, history, art and culture. She has been shortlisted for the prestigious Aventis Junior Science Prize, and won a dozen Practical Pre-School Gold Awards. When she's not writing, Clare likes spending time with her family, taking long walks, going to the theatre and watching contemporary dance - her favourite dancer is Akram Khan.

Claudia Martin

Claudia Martin has worked in book publishing for 17 years. She is the author of several books and websites for children and young people. Her favourite subjects are history, current affairs and technology.

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

The Rainbow Magic and Magic Animal Friends books are written by a small collective of authors under the name Daisy Meadows. Rainbow Magic is the no.1 bestselling series for girls aged 5 and up with over 30 million copies sold worldwide!Learn more about the books at www.rainbowmagicbooks.co.uk (where you can download the Rainbow Magic Reading Challenge poster) and www.magicanimalfriends.com (where you'll find fun animal activity sheets)

David Melling

David Melling has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Smarties Book Award and the Independent Booksellers Award. His Hugless Douglas books have sold over 1.4 million copies worldwide, and the loveable brown bear has starred in a World Book Day book as well as his own theatre show. Before becoming an internationally acclaimed author-illustrator, David worked as an animation artist for films including the much-loved Father Christmas by Raymond Briggs. One of his most popular picture books The Tale of Jack Frost was animated and shown on BBC1 on Christmas Day.

Elizabeth Dale

Elizabeth Dale always dreamed of being a writer but somehow got side-tracked into studying for a physics degree, followed by health service management. When her children were born she finally returned to her dream, writing thousands of short stories for magazines all over the world. Re-discovering a love of children's books while reading to her daughters, she decided to turn her hand to writing them - and has now published over twenty books for children, including picture books and junior fiction. Writing is her full-time job, but also her favourite activity. She also enjoys reading, gardening, walking, and being in the country. Her favourite children's books include Walk Two Moons, The Selfish Giant, Cosmic, and Someone Else's Life. She loves watching cosy sentimental films, such as You've Got Mail, Return to Me, and While You Were Sleeping, as well as classic old films starring Cary Grant, Fred Astaire and Doris Day. Elizabeth is married, with three daughters, and lives in a village in West Sussex. Her daughters, Katie and Jenny, are also children's authors with Hachette.

Emma Chichester Clark

Emma Chichester Clark trained at the Chelsea College of Art and The Royal College of Art before becoming a full-time illustrator. She was awarded the Mother Goose Award in 1988 as the most promising newcomer to children's book illustration. She has since illustrated a number of picture books and collections for Orchard Books, Andersen Press, Pavilion and Methuen.For Orchard Emma illustrated The Orchard Book of Greek Myths in 1992 and in 1997 The Orchard Book of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Both books have been retold by award-winning writer Geraldine McCaughrean, who has retold a number of the Orchard Collections. Emma's lively illustrations perfectly match the magic of the stories which bring characters of Ancient Greece strikingly to life. Emma was also chosen to be one of eight artists to illustrate The Orchard Book of Opera Stories retold by Adèle Geras which was published last Autumn to much acclaim.In 1998 Emma has joined forces with major poet and playwright, Adrian Mitchell, to illustrate his retelling of Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marian published in June.Emma has also written and illustrated a number of her own books, including Tea with Aunt Augusta, Miss Bilberry's New House and Little Miss Muppet Counts to Ten. She also illustrated some collections written by Laura Cecil including A Thousand Yards of Sea (Methuen), and has recently illustrated Thumbelina (Pavilion) and Little Red Riding Hood (Macdonald Young Books). Emma lives in Fulham in South West London, and has featured in the Illustrators Hall of Fame in The Mail on Sunday with other illustrators including Quentin Blake, Michael Foreman, Shirley Hughes, Anthony Browne and Raymond Briggs.

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.

Enid Richemont

Although I've lived for most of my life in north London, I was born and grew up in South Wales. My mum read to me a great deal,and I think it was from her that I developed my love of language. I also enjoyed drawing and painting, and eventually won a scholarship to study at Dublin College of Art.When I came back from Eire, I first worked as a teacher in a Rudolf Steiner school. Then I came to London and took a number of strange jobs, including reading aloud to a blind writer and typing out his manuscript. The typewriter I'd hired to do this had some paid-for time left, so I used it to write a short story which I sold to a women's magazine. It became the first of many, and the beginning of a successful career. While my children were growing up, I stopped writing, and started a small design business, making screen-printed puppet theatres, flying saucers and playhouses that looked like medieval battle tents.Work took us to Paris, where we lived for two years, and where, incidentally, I first encountered the Romanian gipsy girl who features in my novel, FOR MARITSA WITH LOVE (Simon&Schuster).My first children's book, THE TIME TREE (Walker Books) grew out of a story I told my daughter and her best friend to pass the time on a very long walk (the original idea came from a TV programme I'd watched about teaching children with hearing problems). The girls begged me to write it down so that they could read it for themselves - so I did. This book is currently being marketed as a film series by Wild Thyme Productions.TO SUMMON A SPIRIT (Walker Books), was one of the Pick of the Year titles listed in the Children's Book Award. I'm now published in the USA and Australia as well as the UK, and my work has been translated into Danish, German and Japanese.My first book for Franklin Watts was PLOP CITY, a book about bird poo which continues to be loved, especially by small boys. I have two copies of the Arabic version

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!

Geraldine McCaughrean

Geraldine McCaughrean has written over 140 books and plays for both adults and children, including Peter Pan in Scarlet, the official sequel to J M Barrie's Peter Pan, which was one of the most talked about and successful children's titles of 2006. Geraldine McCaughrean has won the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Children's Book Award (three times), the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Smarties Bronze Award (four times), the Blue Peter Book of the Year award and the Blue Peter Special Book to Keep Forever award. Geraldine is the first author to have been short listed, by librarians, for the Carnegie Medal six times, on at least one occasion in each of the past four decades, thus once again recognising the quality of her writing over the years.Geraldine McCaughrean's novels and retellings for children have won her the CARNEGIE MEDAL, GUARDIAN CHILDREN'S FICTION AWARD, WHITBREAD AWARD and THE BEEFEATER AWARD. A prolific author who writes for all ages, she lives in Berkshire with her family.Visit her website at www.geraldinemccaughrean.co.uk

Hannah Phillips

Hannah has worked in publishing since leaving university in a variety of roles. She lives in Shropshire.

Hilary Mckay

Born in Boston, Lincolnshire, Hilary McKay grew up in a household of readers and read voraciously from an early age. After studying Botany and Zoology at St Andrews University, she went on to work as a biochemist, but always wanted to write. Hilary's novels have won numerous awards including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Smarties Award and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. She lives in a small village in Derbyshire with her family.

Hilary Robinson

Hilary Robinson is the author of over 40 children's books including the top selling Mixed Up Fairy Tales and The Copper Tree. She is also a broadcaster and freelance BBC radio producer. Hilary was born in Devon and brought up in Nigeria and England. Her books have been translated into a number of languages and are sold across the world.

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.

Jackie Walter

Jackie Walter has written and edited many books for children. She never gets tired of listening to and telling a good story. Jackie lives in Cornwall with her husband and young daughters.

Jill Atkins

Escaped teacher, now writing for children with 46 books published so far, ranging from early reading material to teenage novels. I've written 4 books for Franklin Watts, 4 for Wayland and one for Hodder.I'm married with two grown up children and five grandchildren, no pets, though I used to have three beautiful cats, guinea pigs and rabbits. When I was a child, we kept chickens and I loved them, too.I always have my nose in a book. I read both adult's and children's books. My favourite children's books include The Railway Children by E Nesbit, Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson, River on the Say by Philippa Pearce. My adult reading varies from Charles Dickens to many modern authors. I enjoy listening to music, classical, jazz and some pop.

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.