Friday, 30 January 2015

15 Things Not to do with a Baby - Launch at Seven Stories

Celebrating with my 7 year old niece, May.
May checking out the entrance display at Seven Stories.
Had the most amazing evening of my life last night at Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books for the launch celebration of my first picture book, '15 Things NOT to do with a Baby', written by award winning author, Margi McAllister. It was a overwhelming turn out by many of our family, friends and supporters.

I would like to thank Margi McAllister for writing a dream of a text, full of fun and silliness! Thank you to Janetta Otter-Barry and Frances Lincoln Children's Books for believing in the book, trusting in me as a new illustrator and making it a reality. Thank you to Andrew Watson from Frances Lincoln, for being a fabulously talented designer to work with.

Thank you to Elizabeth Hammill and Seven Stories for their ongoing support of me as an illustrator and friend. 

A combined thank you to Nicky Potter and the Seven Stories team for organising such an amazing launch celebration. It was completely magical night.

A very special thank you to my agent Kathryn Ross and partner in crime Lindsey Fraser for simply being the best!!

Lastly, I would like to thank those family, friends and supporters who couldn't join us on this special evening!

As an added note, I am happy to share that I have been announced as Books For Keeps 'New Talent' this month. You can read their fabulous review of the book here...

We have also been announced as one of the Book Trust's 'Books we like: February 2015'.

Other reviews of the book:

Book Trust

Mirrors Windows Doors

Parents in Touch

Red Reading Hub

The Bookbag

Books In My House

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at Seven Stories

Meeting HRH the Duchess of Cornwall
HRH signing the Seven Stories guest book
On Wednesday 28th January I was honoured to receive an invitation to attend a visit by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books. The Duchess is a passionate supporter of initiatives and organisations that promote literacy and the enjoyment of books and reading, so Seven Stories was the perfect place to have included in a visit to Newcastle.

The Duchess enjoyed a tour of the building and we then had the opportunity to meet her over a cup of tea in the bookshop. She signed the Seven Stories guest book and was presented with a specially signed copy of 'Over the Hills and Far Away' by Elizabeth Hammill, which she said she would enjoy reading to her grandchildren.

This visit marked the start of an important year for Seven Stories, who are celebrating their 10th birthday in the summer. Keep your eyes peeled for many exciting events to follow this year, starting with a refurbishment of the building in the spring.

Photographs courtesy of © Damien Wootten Photography.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Mother Goose Odyssey

Me, Elizabeth and Rita after the event
Last week I helped the co founder of Seven Stories, Elizabeth Hammill to give a talk at Explore, the lifelong learning centre in Newcastle upon Tyne. Elizabeth told the story of the creation of Over the Hills and Far Away, which was selected as one of Seven Stories' 50 best culturally diverse children's books (see the Diverse Voices List). My part in the event focused firstly on my contribution to the book but also on my empathy for the importance of representing the diverse society that we live in today in books that we make and share with children.

Elizabeth's review of the day...
"How do you capture the excitement, discoveries, adventure (and hard work too) involved in the journey undertaken to make a collection of nursery rhymes from across the English speaking world illustrated by 77 international artists - established and new? 

We had two and a half hours to do just this with a wonderfully responsive group of students at Explore in Newcastle. 

Together we all went on a Mother Goose Odyssey - unfolding the story of the creation of Over the Hills and Far Away in words and pictures, and of our roles as researcher, collector, compiler, artist finder - rather like an exhibition curator - and as a new artist winning a competition to create a double spread for the book. It was a new team experience for both of us - invigorating and fun. Perhaps we'll be able to do it again!"

A snippet of an event attendee's review...
"Together they took us on the journey through the production, publication and launching of the book. The amount of diligent work, as well as the inspired thinking in the development of this book, was inspiring. I think my words echo the thoughts of all present. A wonderful session. Thank you."

Thank you to Explore and Rita for organising a wonderful event full of enthusiastic students.

Holly and Elizabeth x

Thursday, 8 January 2015

15 Things NOT to do with a Baby is LAUNCHED!

So here it finally is... 15 Things NOT to do with a Baby. This is my first picture book for Frances Lincoln and first time illustrating the text of award-winning author, Margaret McAllister.

As soon as I read the story, I knew I had to illustrate it! It involved a cute new baby (tick), it was hilarious (tick) and revealed an interesting relationship being siblings (tick).

We are very happy to announce that the book is currently 'Book of the week' with the UK's leading independent children's book magazine, Books for Keeps. You can also read my FIRST BOOK REVIEW, written by Ferelith Hordon, right here.

Although the book is officially released and for sale, we will be celebrating the launch at Seven Stories (National Centre for Children's Books) on Thursday 29th January. To say I'm excited, is an understatement!