Manchester Literature Festival

Here are some photos and tweets from the day.


US Tour: Headlining the 18th Annual ScholarShare Children's Book Festival at FairyTale Town

23 hour commute, 9,136 visitors, 6 thirty minute performances, 8 hours of signing, 5 mins on Good Day Sacramento, 4 large cups of Coke, 2 signing pens. One amazing opportunity to meet my readers at the 18th annual ScholarShare Children’s Book Festival at Fairytale Town. We sold out of Mr Pandas during my 2nd signing (sorry ‘bout that!). But it was AMAZING to sign (and totally deface) so many worn out, much-loved copies of Mr Panda*, and the brilliant Time Tested Books were very quick to produce ‘rain check’ vouchers and sticky bookplates for me to sign. Other highlights included meeting the other guest authors, eating a mighty tasty vegan Earth Burger and being shown Old Sacramento. Plus, I made two new friends (or 3, if you include my Humpty plush). Thank you Kathleen and Kathy and the rest of the FairyTale Town team for an unforgettable weekend. You took great care of this author. If only I could shake off this jet lag! x

*My Mr Panda books are published by Scholastic in the States andHachette Children's UK in the UK. 

National Literacy Trust launches Swindon Stories and Blip helps spread the word!

The National Literacy Trust in my hometown of Swindon is known as #SwindonStories. With Swindon Borough Council and WHSmith, Swindon Stories encompasses activities to equip children with literacy skills. Blip (from my book, Unplugged) helped spread the word with some fun downloadable posters and flyers. You too can help by downloading and printing our flyers and posters, which can be found here: 

#3000Chairs Campaign to Aid Child Refugees

Author Nicola Davies will this autumn sell off artwork donated by illustrators, including me and many, many amazing illustrators, to raise money to help child refugees.

The artwork, which you can find on Instagram under the hashtag #3000chairs, will be given away at an a special event at Foyles Charing Cross on 3rd September. The chairs will be distributed anonymously in exchange for a standard donation on the night.

The money raised will then be donated to Help Refugees, which provides humanitarian aid to and advocacy for refugees around the world.


PROUD to take part in this YA anthology of LGBTQ+ authors and illustrators

Staying true to yourself & being in a minority is not easy. It can be emotionally crippling which is why I had to contribute to this powerful book of LGBTQ+ authors & illustrators curated by Juno Dawson. This book is trailblazing. I know people are weary of showing their true colours for one reason or another, even people in this industry. I understand that. But life is short. Live it.

The short story I've illustrated* is by NY Times bestselling author and YA master, David Levithan. Its title: 'As the Philadelphia Queer Youth Choir Sings Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’…' It's beautiful. You can pre-order this powerful book from Waterstones. Proud will publish by Stripes in March 2019.

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This Summer's Swindon Libraries Summer Art Comp

Last year I held two art competitions for Swindon Libraries: Design a Doughnut and the When I Grow Up art comp. We received hundreds of amazing entries from across the borough. This summer I'm launching a brand new creative competition with Swindon Libraries - Design Mr Panda's Hat! 15 winners will receive a signed book (and possibly some extra bonus goodies!) and the overall winner will receive a class visit from yours truly.

How will you design Mr Panda's hat? Patterned? Full of doughnuts? Stickers? Pick up an entry form at your local library from this Saturday the 21st of July! This art comp is for Swindon Borough only. You can pick up a competition sheet from any one of Swindon Borough's 15 Libraries. Deadline: Sept 9th. I can't wait to see all the entries!

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Pandas, Monsters and Growing Up at Whitchurch Primary with Booklover Jo

Today I had the pleasure of visiting Whitchurch Primary School in Hertfordshire. Super school librarian and award-winning book blogger, Jo Clarke (AKA Book Lover Jo) had invited along to read some of my books to their pupils alongside pupils from Long Parrish Primary (who bussed their way to Whitchurch). It was a full house and the pupils were so prepped and engaged that they practically read along with me. I read Please Mr Panda (I can't not read this book); we journeyed through the detailed visuals of When I Grow Up; we met the Monster in the Hood; and I taught everyone how to draw Mr Panda by only using shapes and letters. They especially enjoyed listening to Monster in the Hood. Bookstore, P&G Wells, kindly attended with a piles of books. Here are some photos from the day courtesy of Jo and Dave from P&G Wells. Oh and if you're not already familiar with Jo's Clarke's book blog, I recommend you go check it out:

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When I Grow Up art creatively reused at Waterstones Flagship

You may remember the big cover reveal of Tim Minchin's When I Grow Up at Waterstones Piccadilly last Oct. Well, I'm so pleased to see that Waterstones are still displaying my artwork from the book, as you can see from these photos. This time they've added speech bubbles. I can't help but wonder where window designer, Annie, stores my giant illustrations! I absolutely love what she's done here. 


Mr Panda Board Books are here!

There's just no stopping Mr Panda. As if four picture books wasn't enough, Mr Panda is now applying his dry wit to board books (board books are like picture books but smaller, thicker and biteable). Mr Panda's Colours and Mr Panda's Feelings were both released last month in the UK. I know many Americans are wondering when they'll publish Stateside (gotta love Twitter). The honest answer is: I don't know. Watch this space, I guess. For now though, you can order them from pretty much any UK bookstore. 

I had such fun drawing these board books. I hope you like them!

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The Guardian

The Guardian