Our Year 5 children have had an exciting two weeks looking at all the books which were nominated for the Hampshire Illustrated Book Award. We were lucky enough to chat to three of the nominees over Skype: Jonathan Emmett, Elys Dolan and Mini Grey.
The first person we chatted to was Jonathan Emmett author of The Clockwork Dragon and he read the story to us which was an amazing experience as you got a totally different understanding of the story from his perspective. Next the children asked him lots of questions including:
How long did it take you to write the book? Are you happy with your career choice? How many books have you written? How do you choose who illustrates your book?
We gained a real insight into how an author’s mind works when writing a book and where they draw their inspiration from.
The next day we chatted to Mini Grey who is the author and illustrator of Hermelin: The Detective Mouse we found out that the inspiration for her story was a special box of cheese called Hermelin which she found on her holidays. She also shared with us her favourite story she has written called ‘Jim’ which is about a boy who misbehaves in a zoo and it has a grisly ending when he gets eaten by a lion. When she was asked what her favourite children’s book was she said ‘Finn Family Moomintroll’ because she was capitvated by the illustrations.
On our final session we chatted to Elys Dolan who is the illustrator of The Clockwork Dragon. She showed us all her sketchbooks she used when plotting how the world in which the dragon lives looks like and told us that illustrators draw tiny sketches of the whole book before they start called thumbnails. Elys explained that it takes her up to a year to make a book and that it takes 3 months to colour in her illustrations on the computer using Photoshop. The highlight of the session was she drew The Clockwork Dragon live for us and many of the children joined in drawing along with her.
The children have really enjoyed the Skype sessions and it has helped to enrich the experience of taking part in the Hampshire Illustrated Book Awards for them. It will be soon to time for the children to cast their votes and we will let you know when a winner has been chosen.