What made you say yes to being involved in the Illustration Challenge?
It sounded like a really fun project to get involved in and one where I could work closely with young artists, possibly helping to set them on the path of an illustration career. I'm all for engaging kids in writing and the arts and getting them to explore their imaginations and creativity. As we're discovering, there are SO many talented child artists out there, which is just lovely to see.
What do you like about the Illustration Challenge?
I like the fact that it engages children and their families and gets them excited about creating a book where they can be the stars of the show. When we conducted the launches for Zoo Ball, the result of the first Illustration Challenge, the winning artists were so proud of themselves and rightly so. We had a lot of fun with it, presenting the children their books and showcasing their achievement to classmates, parents and the local media. Getting your work chosen and subsequently published in a hardcover picture book is a huge achievement and it was great to see everyone celebrating that.
What are a few of your special memories out of the Zoo Ball challenge?
Getting that first glimpse at the entries as they rolled in, seeing the book come together with all the beautiful winning illustrations - which allows you to discover something new on every page as you move from one illustration style to the next - and then seeing the looks on the kids' faces at the book launches where the focus was on them. There were lots of smiles, lots of laughs, lots of happy kids.
What hopes do you have for Yay! It's Library Day?
I really hope children, families, schools and libraries get behind the initiative. The story I've created this time allows for children to use their imaginations and create wild and vivid scenes throughout the book. Having the story related to a visit to the library also allows us to focus on two things: the beauty of books and stories and how they can engage children on so many levels, and also those amazing school and community spaces, those much-needed, much-loved but sometimes undervalued libraries and the people who work there.