Related to: 'The New Friend'

Author Spotlight with Graham Marks

Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell’s Hiccup books, which she also illustrates, are now published in over 30 countries around the world and the first book in the series, How to Train Your Dragon, has been made into an animated movie by DreamWorks; Cressida also writes and illustrates picture books. The eleventh title in the Hiccup Saga, How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel, is published in September, and here she talks to Graham Marks about pretty much everything to do with writing a hit series…

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Happy Christmas

Jenny Colgan, Thomas Docherty
Jenny Colgan, Thomas Docherty
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

The Stormy Day

Jenny Colgan, Thomas Docherty
Jenny Colgan, Thomas Docherty

Polly and Neil are back in the second gorgeous children's book from Sunday Times bestselling novelist Jenny Colgan. Perfect for reading aloud and including fun activities based on the story.The boat masts jangled louder and louder. Above their heads, black clouds gathered. Polly shivered, and then the rain started to fall: plop, plop, plop.Polly is waiting for something important to happen. But waiting is hard. It's even harder when it's raining and you can't go outside...Can Polly find enough to do to keep busy ALL day? And what will happen when her puffin friend, Neil, decides to fly off into the storm?Perfect for bedtime stories and early readers. From the author of The Little Beach Street Bakery.Contains recipes, activities and rhymes in addition to the story.

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Polly and the Puffin

Jenny Colgan, Thomas Docherty
Jenny Colgan, Thomas Docherty

Ben Hubbard

Ben Hubbard began his writing career at a what's-on newspaper in the 1990s, interviewing bands, actors and artists in his native Wellington, New Zealand. He later joined the fast-paced world of daily newspaper journalism before packing up shop and moving to England. Here, Ben tied a number of new strings to his bow: magazine editor, book editor, and finally, author. Today, Ben writes a mix of non-fiction for all ages - preschoolers through to adults. He has penned titles on an eclectic subject range: from space exploration, samurai warriors and medieval castles; to pop music, pets, tornadoes and rugby skills.

Cath Senker

Cath Senker is a children's non-fiction writer who specialises in writing about modern history, global issues and world religions. Her latest history titles include Living Through the Vietnam War (Raintree, 2011), Our World Divided: Israel and the Middle East (Wayland, 2011) and A Cultural History of Women in America: Women Claim the Vote (Bailey Publishing, 2011). She has a particular interest in the topics of migration, refugees and racism and recently wrote Mapping Global Issues: Immigrants and Refugees (Arcturus, 2011). In her work, Cath aims to highlight individuals' experiences and to present different viewpoints in a non-judgemental way as a basis for discussion.Cath also works as a project manager and editor on non-fiction titles for both children and adults. Before embarking on a freelance career, she worked as a commissioning editor for a children's educational publishing company for eight years. She is also an experienced ESOL teacher. Cath volunteers with City Reads, a project that aims to widen the enjoyment of books and reading among people of all ages, especially people from disadvantaged communities. She is a also a keen amateur cyclist, cook and gardener.

Chris d'Lacey

Chris d'Lacey is the author of the The Last Dragon Chronicles and the Dragons of Wayward Crescent series. He likes dragons. He was born in Malta, but now lives in Devon with his wife, Jay, and about three hundred teddy bears. He likes teddy bears, too. After graduating from York University with a Biology degree, he went to Leicester University where he worked for twenty-eight years as a research scientist, mainly looking down microscopes. He now writes full time.In his spare moments, he likes to watch TV and walk by the sea - though not necessarily at the same time. His passion is writing and recording songs. His ultimate ambition is to write a song that will feature on the soundtrack of a movie of the dragon books, always assuming a movie is made.Presently, he is working on two new projects, both of which feature dragons to some extent.

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.

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

David Dean

David Dean studied illustration at Manchester Metropolitan University and has been working as an illustrator since 1999. He has to date created covers for nearly 40 books including Lauren St. John's THE WHITE GIRAFFE and DOLPHIN SONG (both Orion), as well as many other illustrations for books, magazines, CDs, posters and advertisements. He lives (with his cat) in Cheshire.

Dermot O’Leary

Toto the Ninja Cat and the Great Snake Escape is the first book Dermot O'Leary has written for children, and was inspired by his real-life cats.Dermot started his career on T4 for Channel 4, and went on to present and produce Big Brother's Little Brother. In 2007 Dermot landed the coveted role hosting ITV 1's The X Factor and presented eight consecutive series, deftly holding the judges to account on a weekly basis. Dermot made a much anticipated and triumphant return to the X Factor in 2016.Dermot has also chaired the debate, and interviewed party leaders, for First Time Voters Question Time on BBC3. He regularly presents Unicef's SoccerAid, and is also the host of the National Television Awards. In 2014 Dermot hosted the groundbreaking and RTS-Award-winning 'Live from Space' season on Channel 4, and in 2017 he was proud to host the Brit Awards.This is all alongside hosting his own multi-award-winning BBC Radio 2 show every Saturday (winner of three Sony Radio Awards), known for its solid support of new and emerging bands.

Diana Hendry

Diana Hendry lives in Edinburgh, and is well-connected on the literary scene. Her picture book, The Very Noisy Night, was adapted into a show by Blunderbus Theatre Company. She has given readings, poetry readings, workshops and talks to children and adults at numerous festivals throughout the UK including Cheltenham, Edinburgh, Dead Good Poets, Liverpool and Wigtown Book Festival and she has visited schools all around the country from Devon to the Shetlands. She relates to children and teenagers (and adults) with just the right mix of seriousness and fun and they appreciate her dry, mischievous sense of humour.

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.

Fiona Roberton

Fiona Roberton was born in Oxford and studied art and design in London and New York.She has kept the wolf from the door for a number of years by working as a designer, but has since befriended the wolf, and has it to tea on Tuesdays. Sometimes, they go out.

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

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!

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.

Jason Chapman

Jason Chapman's great passion is writing and illustrating picture books - several of which have been published worldwide. He has also illustrated for museums and charities including the Natural History Museum, the NSPCC, the National Trust and the National Portrait Gallery and has worked with leading children's TV company Ragdoll Productions developing new characters. A promotional postcard posted to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home in 1990 featuring dogs and cats relaxing in a pub, sparked a working relationship between Jason and the Home that is still strong today. Jason's charming and humorous dogs and cats have appeared on murals, magazines, books, factsheets, education packs, websites, animations, advertising and much more.

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

Jennifer Mathieu

Jennifer Mathieu was born on the East Coast of America, to a mom from Cuba and a dad from Chile. Jennifer teaches English to middle and high schoolers in Texas, where she now lives with her husband, son and rescue dog. She used to make her own zine, and is writing about all her favourite things in Moxie - punk rock, lady rights, the 90s, zines, Texas, and an interesting female protagonists. She writes contemporary YA fiction that treats teens like real people. www.jennifermathieu.comtwitter: @jenmathieu Instagram: @authorjenmathieu Facebook: writerjennifermathieu

Jess Butterworth

Jess spent her childhood between the UK and India, and grew up hearing stories about the Himalayas from her grandmother. She's lived in India and even met with the Dalai Lama. She studied creative writing at Bath Spa and now lives between Seattle and Somerset.