Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Alison shares her story!

What a wonderfully intimate interview with our super artist Alison Jay! The Book Activist blog is designed to empower and encourage children and young people to discover the joy of reading for themselves and said of our fabulous artist:
"How I’ve missed her all this time, I have no idea. I absolutely love Alison’s artwork; her illustrations are beautiful as is her storytelling – whether through pictures, words or both."
From Alison's view of creepy crawlies to her advice for those just starting out, read this gorgeous little piece for all you need to know about this remarkable lady!










Gareth Lucas at Frankfurt Book Fair 2017!

Although not in attendance in person, the wonderfully talented Gareth Lucas' work was to be seen all over the fabulous rain-forest themed Usborne Books display at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair! This stand, festooned with work from Gareth's most recent books in collaboration with Usborne UK, was at the big Autumn five day trade event for the worldwide publishing industry with loads of massive deals being done! How thrilling! To see more of Gareth's gorgeous animals and lots, lots more click here!

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Alison Jay Being Brave!

Here is the fabulous Alison Jay at Guildford Book Festival showing an enraptured crowd the process of creating her stunningly evocative art! Well done Alison for overcoming your fears and doing your first public drawing!






Tuesday, 3 October 2017

David Dean's Morpurgo Finale!

This month sees us showcasing the last, but by no means least, thrilling batch of Michael Morpurgo covers stunningly illustrated by David Dean! This supurb final selection includes perhaps Morpurgo’s most famous novel, War Horse, told from the unusual point of view of Joey, a young farm horse sold to the army and thrust into the midst of war on the Western Front. This concept of unconventional perspectives runs pleasingly throughout this final collection of stories and is subtly reflected through David’s dynamic use of angle to create an exciting and unexpected view of each intriguing cover scene. From the boggy trenches of the Western Front to the crisp snow-capped Himalayas, David’s skill lies in depicting a world the reader is compelled to enter! So why not give in to temptation, pick a cosy spot and immerse yourself in a new landscape! All 7 titles are out now from Egmont Publishing!


Livia Coloji's Down on the Farm!

Livia Coloji’s vibrant new reading book ‘Morning on the Farm’ is released this month by Heinemann and is simply bursting at the seams with adorable animals of every shape and size, with their day brought to life at each turn of the page through her adorable artwork! Children will learn the workings of a small holding as well as lots of farm and animal vocabulary, so why not indulge yourself with a morning on the farm? You’d have to be quackers to miss it!


Victoria Assanelli's Haunting new work!

Get in the mood for Halloween with this beautiful, bittersweet story of love, loss and acceptance powerfully illustrated by the wonderfully versatile Victoria Assanelli! When Stanley Stanwright finds a bone poking out of the earth in his back garden, he is determined to take a picture of it and send it to the Young Discoverer's Competition, but soon the bone begins to grow into a skeleton with an unusual interest in his unwell younger sister Miren.

Victoria’s haunting illustrations are exquisitely on point for this unique contemporary folk tale, with her skeleton, Princy, striking the perfect balance between appealing and sinister. Her bold monochrome interior illustrations similarly echo the stark reality of a family in crisis whilst also skilfully managing to convey a quiet optimism, as she helps children navigate this story of humour and tragedy with a subtle and gentle hand.

Victoria says of the commission:


'Working on the Skeleton Tree book was such a wonderful experience. I enjoyed the story and the characters immensely, and I loved having the chance to do something different from my normal type of work. I love princesses and fairytales, but I also really love creepy things and I was very pleased to have the chance to work on something a bit darker than usually do!'


Ultimately a story of love, and realising when love sometimes means saying goodbye, we make no bones about saying that Skeleton Tree is an Autumn ‘must read’!

Get your copy here!


Alison Jay is Looking for Yesterday!

We are hugely excited this month to bring you news of Alison Jay’s latest sensational picture book! Hot off the press and full of all the intricate details and wonder we have come to expect from Alison’s unforgettable, dream-like work, ‘Looking for Yesterday’ tells the delightful story of a boy whose grandad helps him to embrace happy memories of the past whilst learning to look forward to new adventures. Alison says of her second book for Old Barn Books Limited that she has conceived as an original story-
'The book Looking for Yesterday was inspired by a radio program I was listening to about space travel. I was thinking how wonderful it would be to go back and re live our best days, and all the different way we could possibly go back in time. The story concludes however that if you spend all you time "looking for yesterday" you will miss any new experiences and ultimately today is the best day.'
Alison will be at this year’s Guildford Book Festival where she will help you illustrate your own best days on a postcard to the future! Out now from Old Barn Books!
Get your copy here!