Related to: 'The Witch of the Ditch'

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.

Orion Children's Books

Robbie and the RAAAH

Steven Butler, Nigel Baines
Contributors:
Steven Butler, Nigel Baines

A red Early Reader full of humour and fun, from bestselling author and actor, Steven Butler.Robbie always behaves. He always does what he's told. Until one day, when he just doesn't want to anymore. That's when the RAAAH appears...Early Readers are stepping stones from picture books to reading books. A blue Early Reader is perfect for sharing and reading together. A red Early Reader is the next step on your reading journey.

Orion Children's Books

Early Reader: Mr P's Naughty Book

Francesca Simon, Pete Williamson
Contributors:
Francesca Simon, Pete Williamson
Orion Children's Books

Early Reader: The Parent Swap Shop

Francesca Simon, Pete Williamson
Contributors:
Francesca Simon, Pete Williamson
Orion Children's Books

Spider School

Francesca Simon, Tony Ross
Contributors:
Francesca Simon, Tony Ross

Snakes and snails and spiders for dinner! Kate was having a bad day. Her first morning at her new school and already her clothes have gone missing, her best friend has disappeared, and her new teacher is a comic-reading gorilla. Something is very wrong! Francesca Simon brings every child's worst nightmare to life in this funny, original story brought to life with Tony Ross's inimitable illustrations. Read by Steven Butler.(P)2004 Orion Publishing Group.Ltd

Francesca Simon

Francesca Simon spent her childhood on the beach in California and started writing stories at the age of eight. She wrote her first Horrid Henry book in 1994. Horrid Henry has gone on to conquer the globe; his adventures are published in 27 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Francesca has won the Children's Book of the Year Award and been a judge for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. In 2009, in one of the proudest moments of her career, Francesca was awarded a Gold Blue Peter badge.Francesca is also a passionate ambassador for children's literacy and is a trustee of the World Book Day charity. She lives in North London with her family.Visit Francesca's website at www.francescasimon.com and keep up-to-date with Horrid Henry at www.horridhenry.co.uk. You can also follow her on Twitter @simon_francesca

Frank Lampard

Frank Lampard is a footballer, father and author of the 'Frankie's Magic Football' series!To date, Frank remains Chelsea Football Club's all-time leading goal scorer, where he was awarded three times Chelsea Player of the Year. In 2014 Frank was the vice captain on the England football squad at the World Cup in Brazil, and then went on to play for Manchester City in 2014 in the UK before signing with New York City FC to play as part of the Major League Soccer side, starting July 2015. Frank was awarded an OBE in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to football.Frank enjoys reading with his two daughters, and when they requested stories about football Frank decided to create his own characters and adventures to entertain them. These tales provided the inspiration for 'Frankie's Magic Football'. Frank is passionate about promoting child literacy and is an ambassador of the National Literacy Trust; he hopes to inspire both young girls and boys to read with the 'Frankie's Magic Football' series. "The idea for 'Frankie's Magic Football' came from reading bedtime stories to my daughters. Adventure stories are their favourite and I wanted to combine my love for football with something that I could read to them, and that they would love too. 'Frankie's Magic Football' reminds me of the stories that I used to like to read. Frankie's friends also remind me of the mates that I used to kick a football about with when I was young, as well as some of the players I've met during my career." - FRANK LAMPARD

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!

Giles Andreae

Giles Andreae is the author of many top-selling, award-winning picture books. These include Rumble in the Jungle, Commotion in the Ocean and I Love My Mummy. However, it is for the international bestseller Giraffes Can't Dance that he is best known. Giles is also the creator of Purple Ronnie, Britain's favourite stickman, and of the artist/philosopher, Edward Monkton. These two ranges of greetings cards, books and merchandise have made Giles the country's top-selling living poet. Giles lives with his wife, Victoria, a children's clothes designer, and their four young children by the river in Oxfordshire.

Guy Parker-Rees

Guy Parker-Rees exuberant and energetic illustrations have made him a household name and one of today's bestselling children's illustrators. Notable successes include Giraffes Can't Dance - written by Giles Andreae, a worldwide besteller, and Richard & Judy children's book choice, Spookyrumpus, winner of the Sheffield, Dundee and Portsmouth book awards, and the highly acclaimed All Afloat on Noah's Boat. Guy lives in Brighton with his wife and three sons.

Honor Head

After a few false starts with a model agency and an accountant's, Honor Head's career as a children's writer and editor began when she joined a small publisher producing comics featuring children's television characters. The light bulb clicked on - Honor discovered she loved editing and writing for children - and has been burning brightly ever since. She has now published over 100 books for children on subjects as diverse as kitten care, famous outlaws, ghastly ghosts and totally awesome trucks as well as creating pop-ups, pull-outs and sticker books, and has edited many, many more. Honor now lives beside the seaside in Devon where she has fun helping out at the local museums organising family and school activities - a great way to meet her readers! On sunny days she heads for her favourite seaside café to eat cheese toasties and watch the dogs playing on the beach

Howard Calvert

As a child, Howard was a big Richard Scarry fan, and still considers Lowly Worm a close confidante, even if he is an anthropomorphic worm. He now writes his own children's books, mainly while on the train to work, and in 2015 was runner-up in the Greenhouse Funny Prize. His full-time job is as a magazine journalist. He lives in Hampshire with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys getting covered in mud in the countryside while trail running or mountain biking, eating his own bodyweight in cinnamon buns, riding his Brompton and destroying his kitchen while baking.

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.

Jan Thornhill

JAN THORNHILL's science, nature, and animal-based books have received multiple honours, most recently the Vicky Metcalf award for her body of work. Jan lives in Ontario, Canada, where she spends her spare time looking for weird fungi in the woods with her dog, Ruby.

Jenny Jinks

Jenny Jinks comes from a family of writers - her sister, Katie Dale and her mum, Elizabeth Dale, have penned many children's books between them and now Jenny has joined them!

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.

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.

Julian Gough

Julian Gough is the author of several novels, a children's book, some BBC radio plays, and the narrative at the end of the wonderful computer game, Minecraft (TIME magazine's computer game of the year). His first children's book, Rabbit's Bad Habits, published in 2016, has been widely critically-acclaimed; Neil Gaiman called 'a laugh-out-loud story', and Eoin Colfer called 'an instant modern classic'. Julian has won the BBC National Short Story Award and has been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. He also, in his youth, wrote the words (and sang) on four albums by the cult Galway group, Toasted Heretic, and had a top-ten hit in Ireland with 'Galway and Los Angeles', a song about not kissing Sinead O'Connor. He was born in London, raised in Tipperary, educated in Galway and now lives in Berlin.

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.

Katie Dale

Katie Dale had her first poem 'The Fate of The School Hamster' published in The Cadbury's Book of Children's Poetry, aged 8 and hasn't stopped writing since. On graduating, she went travelling through South-East Asia - only to discover whilst in a Vietnam internet cafe that she was a winner of the SCBWI 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition.