Friday, 16 January 2015

Mill Hill Library and me

Mill Hill Library has been threatened with closure or cuts by Barnet Council, along with Burnt Oak, East Finchley, Childs Hill, Osidge and South Friern. On Wednesday evening I went to a packed and lively meeting to discuss this threat:  Save Mill Hill Library

The first books I can remember borrowing from Mill Hill Library were the coloured Fairy Tale books by Andrew Lang when I was about 8 or 9 years old. Then when I was at Hornsey College of Art, it was fine art books that I borrowed. After I graduated and became an author/illustrator I searched Mill Hill's shelves every week for folk tales, myths, legends and picture references. I also gave talks to the children in the Junior Library Club about my artwork and books.

THE LITTLE MOHEE was my first published picture book. In Mill Hill Library I researched American folk songs for the text. Then I needed pictorial reference for the illustrations:  Native Americans, 18th century costume, English wood cuts,  canoes and sailing ships.

Libraries are the centre of any community, open to young and old, rich and poor. I could not have become an author or illustrator without Mill Hill Library. What will become of Mill Hill without its library? Not a place I would want to live in. Libraries have proved a soft option for cuts. There is no government political will to save them, so councillors feel they can do as they please. Libraries should have an increase in their budget not a decrease. They are an important part of the education system in Britain, not a means for shaving a few pence off the council tax. Here is a link to a petition to save Barnet libraries: Save Barnet Libraries

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Tortoise's Dream

Tortoise's Dream is one of my most popular picture books. The folk tale of Tortoise and the miraculous tree comes from the Bantu people of Africa. Sadly the book has been out of print for a few years. I have however, just published it as an iBook on the iTunes store. It is available here: Tortoise's Dream

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Wizard Punchkin

Another of my picture books is just available on iTunes: THE WIZARD PUNCHKIN. Download it here: The Wizard Punchkin

Friday, 28 March 2014

How Stories Came Into The World

HOW STORIES CAME INTO THE WORLD is my second picture book for iBooks. It is available on iTunes here:  How Stories Came Into The World

The folk tale of Mouse and her story children comes from the Ekoi people of Nigeria. It explains how all the stories that Mouse had woven escaped from her house and went running up and down all over the world. This picture book was first published by Blackie and son Limited in 1989. I have just self-published the iBooks version.

Thursday, 6 February 2014


This is the cover of my iBook THE FIRE FLOWER. It is available today on iTunes here:
The Fire Flower

THE FIRE FLOWER is a black and white picture book for children aged three to six years old. It is the re-telling of an old Slavonic folk tale. I found the story many years ago and made a dummy book in the hope of getting it published as a hardback picture book. But I was not successful so put the dummy away in a drawer and forgot about it for years, until I had the idea of illustrating it with silhouettes. I decided to self publish it as an iBook and the app iBooks Author has made this possible. This is the first in my series FOLK TALES OF THE WORLD. I shall be making many more iBooks now, some from my out of print back list and some completely new ones.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Christmas Card

This is an illustration from my picture book THE FIRE FLOWER
which I will be publishing as an iBook on iTunes in 2014

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

How Rabbit Stole the Fire

This is an illustration from my picture book HOW RABBIT STOLE THE FIRE.
It is based on a myth told by the Native Americans of the South East of the USA.