It's World Book Night and the Youth Libraries Group have a full day of celebrations planned. How will you be celebrating and what will you be reading? Dolet us know. You can join in with our celebrations by checking out the hourly broadcasts for the #NationalShelfService on YouTube, ask or answer a question using #DrBook on Twitter and enjoy the virtual storytime and talk with award-winning poet and author Joseph Coelho broadcasting via the #NationalShelfService at 7pm. As if all of that weren't enough, we've been talking with Founder of My Book Corner and picture-book author Emma Perry. If you haven't read I Don't Like Books. Never. Ever. The End. we can definitely recommend it. Thanks Emma for your time!
What are your first memories of books and reading?
Without a shadow of a doubt my first memory of books as child would have to be Where The Wild Things Are. I can still remember that being read to us at playgroup. That final line… sigh!
As a teenager I can remember cycling back and forth to our library during the long summer holidays, maxing out my library card each time! I liked nothing better than sinking into a good book, even then!
Are there any authors and illustrators that you particularly admire and who have influenced your work?
I spent five years in Australia immersed in picture books, during that time I fell head over heels in love with the illustrative styles of Anna Walker, Marc Martin, Dub Leffler and Gus Gordon in particular – go and have a look at their work, it’s heart thumpingly good.
A bit closer to home I adore the brilliantly bonkers humour of Michelle Robinson’s books (and her fab ability to rhyme), and I most definitely can NOT walk past a David Litchfield illustrated book without stopping to admire the contents. I’m on tenterhooks waiting for the next picture book from Jessica Love to emerge, she’s been putting sneak peeks on Instagram and it’s EVERYthing!
I also love having a chuckle with books that have that great tongue in cheek style humour. Jon Klassen and Morag Hood always hit the spot for me. I am full of admiration for their deliciously low word count, which in no way impedes their ability to tell a top-notch story. I have been finding that my own scripts have got shorter and shorter over the last 18 months or so, there is something deeply satisfying about creating a book with a low word count.
Do you have a favourite place to read?
My favourite place to read has got to be the sofa or my bed – squishy, cosy and space to streeeetch out my legs!
Can you tell us a bit about your debut picture book I Don't like Books. Never. Ever. The End?
I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End was the second picture book script that I ever began to write, back in 2015. I was just getting into writing, and everything I’d read said to ‘write what you know’. Well, with many years of running My Book Corner under my belt there could only be one answer to that question… books! Of course!
I wanted to write about books coming to life, I tried to imagine what they would do and say. Initial drafts of this script were… terrible!
The words did not behave, and they found themselves unceremoniously dumped in a dark and dusty drawer for a loooooong time. For over a year in the end. By the time I had the courage to take them out again I had learnt a lot more about writing picture books, had a lot more practise, and my first picture book had been sold to David Fickling Books. With newfound confidence I set about a complete overhaul – it’s barely recognisable from those first drafts. My agent liked the new draft, then David Fickling Books liked it, bought it, and found the superbly talented illustrator Sharon Davey… and here it is!
What’s next for you?
What’s next? Well remember I said about that first picture book script being sold to David Fickling Books? That very first script that I wrote, somehow had a lot of luck woven into it… it won the SCBWI Slushpile Competition and lead to an agent… and will be published on the 4th June this year! This Book Has Alpacas and Bears has had quite a journey, and it does feel like a weird time for Alfonso and Colin to be leaping onto the shelves, but, you know what? Rikin Parekh and I are hoping the pair of them will provide plenty of giggles for those who read their story. They may even inspire children to go out and create their very own book, just like Alfonso does!
Emma Perry is the founder of children’s book review website, My Book Corner. She was the winner of the SCBWI Slush Pile Challenge in April 2016 and is represented by Jodie Hodges, United Agents.
Sharon Davey is an illustrator and designer, represented by Plum Pudding Illustration.
I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End. is published by David Fickling Books | Hardback | £11.99
Twitter: @_EmmaPerry; Sharon Davey @thecreativefox