Receiving proofs in the post is always exciting. This particular soon-to-be-published book, Amazing, was inspired by my time working part time as a Special Needs Support Worker at Swindon College and it's one of very few trade picture books that feature a wheelchair user, the main character, on its cover. But in this, the wheelchair is merely incidental, which is not something you often come across in picture books.
I often stick to limited colour palettes, with the exception of Tim Minchin's When I Grow Up, but I wanted this book to be really colourful and commercial-looking, because when was the last time you saw a disabled character on the front cover of a picture book in your local supermarket? Only a very small percentage of (usually highly commercial) picture books make it into the supermarkets. Most are licensed character books, like Peppa Pig or Frozen.
I'm fortunate in that all of my books are (or have been) stocked in the high street (Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, Smiths) and I'm forever grateful to all the indie bookstores who stock my books, not to mention libraries! The Mr Panda books have even made it into Sainsburys (UK) and Target (USA) and other supermarkets around the world. That said, I'm really hoping this book receives the same level of support.
Below is a peek at the proofs. Amazing is set to publish first in the UK in Jan '19.