Interviews

Photograph portrait of Jacqueline Wilson inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a purple backgroud.

Interview with Jacqueline Wilson

‘I loved books even before I could read.’ Read on for insights on the Tracy Beaker books and Jacqueline Wilson’s own childhood memories of books and pictures.

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Photograph portrait of Zanib Mian inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a white background

Interview with Zanib Mian

‘Tell the stories that you have lived. People want to read them!’ Discover more insights and writing advice from Zanib Mian, author of Planet Omar.

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Photograph portrait of Quentin Blake inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a purple backgroud.

Interview with Quentin Blake

‘Introduce yourself to your characters by drawing them.’ Read on for more illustration advice and insights from Quentin Blake.

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Photograph portrait of Julia Donaldson inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a white background

Interview with Julia Donaldson

Hear from Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo and The Smartest Giant in Town, as she talks about her creative process and childhood memories of reading and writing.

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Photograph portrait of Joseph Coelho inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a white background

Interview with Joseph Coelho

‘We know that nothing else can quite get across how we are feeling like a poem can.’ Discover poetry memories and insights from Joseph Coelho, plus five brilliant tips for budding poets.

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Photograph portrait of Michael Rosen inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a purple backgroud.

Interview with Michael Rosen

How do you dream up new ideas? ‘I try to think back to when I was a child’. Read on for more writing secrets from poet and author Michael Rosen.

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Photograph portrait of S F Said inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a white background

Interview with SF Said

Can children’s books change the world? Read on to hear from SF Said, author of Varjak Paw.

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Photograph portrait of Axel Scheffler inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a purple backgroud.

Interview with Axel Scheffler

Learn more about Axel Scheffler’s childhood memories of reading and drawing, and discover how to draw your very own Gruffalo.

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Photograph portrait of Andy Stanton inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a white background

Interview with Andy Stanton

‘Rules are there to be broken.’ Andy Stanton, author of the Mr Gum books, let us in on his writing advice and creative secrets.

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Photograph portrait of Vivian Schwarz inside an illustrated picture frame. To the right of the picture frame are illustrations of pencils, painbrushes, a pencil sharpener with shavings, paint palettes and an eraser. These are on a purple backgroud.

Interview with Viviane Schwarz

Hear from Viviane Schwarz, author-illustrator of How to be on the Moon, about how she dreams up new ideas and develops characters.

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Axel Scheffler: The evolution of the Gruffalo

How do you go from a bright idea in your head, to a picture book in your hands? In this video, Axel Scheffler reveals how he transformed a few descriptors – purple prickles, poisonous wart and knobbly knees – into the Gruffalo we know and love.

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With pens and art equipment scattered across a desk, in the middle of the frame is an illustration of the Gruffalo.

Axel Scheffler: How to draw a Gruffalo

Follow Axel Scheffler’s process from pencil to paint, as he shows you how to draw your very own Gruffalo. We’ll give you a hint… start with the horns! You’ll be perfecting your own characters in no time.

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A painting of a fox in progress

Axel Scheffler: Top 3 tips for budding illustrators

In a picture book, illustrations are just as important as words to bring a story to life. In this video Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the well-loved Gruffalo books, gives his top tips for budding artists.

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a lady in a artists studio working on a picture

Viviane Schwarz: How to develop a character

What do you think an angry shape would look like? How would your angry shape turn into a character in a story? In this video, writer and illustrator Viviane Schwarz shows us some unusual techniques for coming up with your characters.

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doodles on cut out pieces of paper on a workbench

Viviane Schwarz: How to find out more about your character

You know what your characters look like, but to write a story you need to find out who they are. Do they have a favourite food? What are they afraid of? Viviane Schwarz talks us through her simple steps for getting to know your characters.

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Pastels arranged in a circle

Viviane Schwarz: Making a story

Once you’ve got your characters, you can get started on your story. In this clip Viviane Schwarz shows us how she creates an illustration, with lots of colour and collage. Why not grab some scraps of paper and a paintbrush, and see where your imagination takes you?

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Further themes

All activities

Get creative with activities for children of all ages. Invent your own superhero, make a pop-up book and much more.

Animals that talk

From fantastical medieval beasts to Winnie the Pooh and Varjak Paw, meet the wonderful creatures that bring children’s books to life.

Behaving and misbehaving

From strict behaviour manuals to rebellious rule-breakers, explore the morals and mischief at the heart of children’s books.

Big and small

From books that fit in the palm of your hand to Roald Dahl’s Big Friendly Giant, find out how children’s writing plays with ideas of size and scale.

Changing the world

From campaigns against slavery to climate change resistance, discover the power of children’s books to fight for a better world.

Fairy tales and folktales

From Red Riding Hood to Hua Mulan, from Anancy to Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, read ancient stories and playful new tales from around the world.

Fear

Face your fears by exploring the most spine-tingling stories, from dark and enchanting fairy tales to Coraline and Haunted House.

Food

From Alice in Wonderland’s bottles to baby bear’s perfect porridge, discover the temptations of food in children’s books.

Home and belonging

How do children’s books explore questions of home, family and belonging? Delve into books by Jacqueline Wilson, Errol Lloyd and many more.

Interviews

Learn the secrets of writers and artists from Jacqueline Wilson to Zanib Mian, with these exclusive interviews and tips for budding authors.

Journeys

Set off on magical journeys or real voyages of migration, from Gulliver’s Travels and Treasure Island to Sarah Garland’s Azzi in Between.

Go deeper

Explore our themes in more detail and find more fascinating facts in these illustrated articles by scholars and children’s authors.

Magic and fantasy

Free your imagination with tales of mystery and magic, from medieval phoenixes to Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights.

Non-fiction

Find out how children’s books use funny jokes, strange secrets and pictures to give you information about people, places, science and history.

Poetry, nursery rhymes and wordplay

From rude and ridiculous rhymes to inspiring verses and poems, explore centuries of nonsense, poetry and wordplay for children.

Pop-up and moveable books

From the earliest noisy books to brilliant modern pop-ups, find out how pages spring to life at the pull of a flap or tab.

School stories and reading tools

From 2,000-year-old homework to the latest classroom antics, discover books full of brainboxes, weird teachers and troublemakers.