Last week was Independent Booksellers Week. Independent Bookshop Week is part of the Books Are My Bag campaign, and seeks to celebrate independent bookshops in the UK and Ireland. Many authors and illustrators took part by visiting independent booksellers. 

On Saturday, I visited Nutshell Studios, an independent children's bookshop, which is situated in Barleylands Craft Village in Billericay, Essex. But I wasn't the only visitor. Mr Panda made an appearance too, doughnuts and all! Well, Mr Panda was actually the lovely booksellers at Nutshell Studios, Michelle and Hazel, who took turns wearing the costume. The store itself is full of charm. It doubles up as an art studio, which houses the brilliant artwork of Michelle Williams and Hazel Williams, two sisters who share a passion for children's book illustration and literature.

Below are some photos from my event. If you would like to learn more about Independent Booksellers Week, please visit independentbooksellersweek.org.uk If you'd like to learn more about Nutshell Studios, please visit thebooknut.co.uk. You can view the amazing artwork of Michelle and Hazel here: www.thebooknut.co.uk/illustration-gallery Thank you to Nutshell Studios and Jo Byatt for taking some of these photos. 

As I walked in, this is what I saw. Wow! Check out the deflated Mr Panda in the reading corner.

As I walked in, this is what I saw. Wow! Check out the deflated Mr Panda in the reading corner.

I never tire of doughnuts. But maybe I should write a book about lettuce.

I never tire of doughnuts. But maybe I should write a book about lettuce.

Signage featuring the Independent Booksellers Week hashtags.

Signage featuring the Independent Booksellers Week hashtags.

Sienna's doughnut is better than mine.

Sienna's doughnut is better than mine.

Drawing with crayons.

Drawing with crayons.

Mr Panda's on the loose! I wonder what that man is thinking, over there.

Mr Panda's on the loose! I wonder what that man is thinking, over there.

Mr Panda's beat.

Mr Panda's beat.

Monet's snazzy doughnut.

Monet's snazzy doughnut.

From left to right: me, Jo Byatt, Mr Panda (Michelle) and Hazel. Fellow illustrator and friend, Jo Byatt, dropped by with her husband Peter and daughters, Monet and Sienna. 

From left to right: me, Jo Byatt, Mr Panda (Michelle) and Hazel. Fellow illustrator and friend, Jo Byatt, dropped by with her husband Peter and daughters, Monet and Sienna. 

Jo Byatt's daughter, Monet, cheekily pops into the frame with her mum's illustrator debut, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!, written by David Styring and published by Igloo Books.

Jo Byatt's daughter, Monet, cheekily pops into the frame with her mum's illustrator debut, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN!, written by David Styring and published by Igloo Books.

Books and doughnuts!

Books and doughnuts!

Michelle, who is also a teacher, read Mr Panda to me along with one of her pupils. 

Michelle, who is also a teacher, read Mr Panda to me along with one of her pupils. 

Me, Mr Panda (Michelle) and Hazel, proudly wearing her Independent Bookshop top.

Me, Mr Panda (Michelle) and Hazel, proudly wearing her Independent Bookshop top.

Drawing Mr Panda.

Drawing Mr Panda.

Showing some people some roughs from the development stages of Please Mr Panda.

Showing some people some roughs from the development stages of Please Mr Panda.

Drawing Mr Panda on doughnuts. 

Drawing Mr Panda on doughnuts. 

More drawing.

More drawing.

Sienna is telling me all about her fantastic picture book characters. 

Sienna is telling me all about her fantastic picture book characters. 

Posted
AuthorSteve Antony