It’s December and Christmas is coming so I feel like I can talk about my book, When it Snows again!
As some of you may know, the hardback was released last year to much critical acclaim (thanks for that :)).
– The book was shortlisted for the V&A best illustrated book award and has been nominated for the Kate Greenaway award.
This year sees the release of the US Edition, a French Edition and an Estonian edition (which I don’t know much about).
But I thought I’d talk about the UK paperback edition. …
So what have you learnt this week that you didn’t know before? Well, as it happens quite a lot!Last week was Week ONE of the Northern Childrens Book Festival. This year the festival is celebrating its 30th anniversary, which is quite an achievement considering the political backdrop of major spending cuts throughout the North East.
Celebrated author and illustrator John Burningham was interviewed on BBC Front Row on Friday evening about the 50th anniversary edition of Borka. Presenter Kirsty Lang went to meet John at his home, which she called “a treasure trove of curiosities”, including a gramophone and a huge tapestry of Borka! …
We’re thrilled to be launching DIXIE O’DAY IN THE FAST LANE by much loved illustrator Shirley Hughes and her daughter Clara Vulliamy this month. Waterstones Piccadilly in London is hosting a special window display featuring artwork from the book during August. …
The Royal Nappy is inspired by this year’s most anticipated event. It’s funny, it’s affectionate and maybe just a little bit irreverent. My 5 year old loves it! But most importantly it has royal pedigree as it comes from the creator of last year’s Jubilee triumph, The Queens Knickers. . . …
Over the hills in a land of sweetness, little fairies bake and play. Would you like to peep at their secret, scrumptious world? Make a wish, then step into the magic of Fairycake Kingdom.
We are very excited over in the RHCP Towers about the release of our new series of super magical, baking fairies!
We have two books from this series being released today!
Fairies of Blossom Bakery: Cupcake and the Princess Party
When an important messenger arrives at the Blossom Bakery on opening day asking Cupcake and her fairy friends to make a cake for Princess Crystal, they can’t wait to get started. But things start to go wrong and as the pressure mounts, the fairy friends realise they need to work together to make the magic happen.
Fairies of Blossom Bakery: Cookie and the Secret Sleepover
Cookie loved baking with her best friend Cupcake so much that she organises a secret sleepover just for them. But what will she do when she’s invited over to Button’s house on the day of the sleepover? Will she tell them about her secret?
The lovely illustrator behind bringing Mandy Archer’s magical stories alive, Kirsteen Harris-Jones, has put down her paints and magic wand to talk to us about her life, this series and her love of baking!
What drew you to becoming a children’s illustrator?
The moment I knew I was destined to draw for a living happened when I was about 10 years old during a very rainy holiday in Britain. As the good old British weather helped me to find my talent.
I had decided to pass the time drawing the guests including the landlord, who was rather taken with the way I had captured his character.
Being encouraged by this, I carried on and got totally carried away making up my own characters as well as continuing to draw people from life.
And of course who wouldn’t want to colour in for a living!
The Fairies of Blossom Bakery are so cute… did you base any of the characters on anyone?
Creating the characters for the Blossom Bakery was lovely.
My inspiration for Cupcake came from a little girl called Scarlet who attends the local primary school who is simply adorable.
Cookie is based on the lovely lady at the local post office who takes charge of all my artwork when I need to post it off. She has amazingly shiny dark hair.
Plum, Butterfly, Sparkle and Button are all based on children I have met over the years and they each have a kind of energy when I draw them, reflecting the personality of the child I remember.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by my pets when I am working at home and can often be caught verbally narrating certain parts of their day. I have lots of animals: three dogs, one small, one medium and one large a cat, a rabbit, a guinea pig… the list goes on… they can be very entertaining.
There is a lot of baking mixed in the all the fairy magic… do you enjoy baking yourself?
Just like the fairies I love baking, I am often found at the weekend rustling up something fabulous in the kitchen!
What’s your favourite recipe?
My favourite recipe is for a rich chocolate cake with lots of frosting… I also like to make a huge pan of hot curry!
If you could be any children’s book character who would you be?
If I could be a character from a book I would have to be Beatrix Potter’s Mrs Tittle mouse, as I am not too tall and love to be busy cleaning and making things spick and span.
It is an excellent way to keep fit and such a lovely feeling when you stand back totally exhausted with everything gleaming. And of course I always wanted a little box bed to curl up in!
If you could do magic like our little fairies what spell would you use the most?
I think if I had a magic wand the spell I would use the most would be to make all my ironing disappear!
If you had to do another job what would it be (could be anything)
If I could have any other job I think I would like to be a mechanic or watch mender as I quite like the inside of things and would like to find out how they work.
What’s your favourite medium to use? (e.g. paints, watercolour, photoshop)
I use gouache and coloured pencils mainly in my work, sometimes I use watercolour, also pen and ink and a little photoshop here and there. But my favorite is Gouache as the colours are so bright.
Would you ever collaborate with another illustrator?
It would be nice to collaborate with another illustrator as it’s always nice to see someone else’s take on an idea
Do you prefer digital or the physical book?
I have been asked this a lot recently and although I think digital books have their place. I still prefer an actual physical book as they are so tactile and if you dropped a book in the sea on holiday it wouldn’t be as much of a disaster as a digital one!
Lastly can we have a random fact about you..?
I have hand reared various baby animals who have been abandoned or found, including a squirrel called ‘Jack Jack ‘ who keeps coming back to visit our garden on the same spot every year.
Thank you, Kirsteen
Kirsteen’s inspiration for Cupcake the fairy, Scarlet, has sent in a photo of the magical cupcakes she made with her sister Eden…!
We think the fairies would be very pleased with these! Yum!
Do you enjoy magic and baking?
Tweet a photo of your Fairies of Blossom Bakery goodies to @GetReading_RHCP with the hash tag #FairiesofBlossomBakery or email in to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Magical Baking