Friday 5 April 2013

Hoo Kid's Book Fest AND guest post by Jane Simmons

Just in time for the emergence of Spring tickets have gone on sale to one of the most exciting Children's book festivals on the block! You'll be agog and aghast at the interstellar line up - there are more fabulous authors and illustrators than you could shake a book at. It appears to me that it is quite frankly the must have ticket of the season! See what's on here... 

The Hoo’s Kids Book Fest was started last year by five friends working in publishing, education and the arts and who all share a passion for children’s books.

It's location in Luton Hoo Walled Garden (designed by Capability Brown) has a wonderful rambling, magical atmosphere reminiscent of The Secret Garden

The festival features local artists and writers alongside well-known published writers and illustrators, with the aim of getting kids of all ages (as well as parents and grandparents) immersed in books and book- related activities. At a time when only 1 in 3 children own a book it has never been more important to promote reading and literacy.

Local schools are invited to get involved by creating themed artwork and installations that are displayed on the day – this year’s theme is Discover the World inspired by Lord Bute who founded the garden.

This year there is an amazing line-up including Sally Gardner, Lauren Child, Jackie Morris and James Mayhew and Philip Ardagh to mention just a few  - check out who’s coming at  and get your tickets booked – they are selling like hot cakes. 

There’s so much going on including the first ever Famous Five appearance at a Festival. We are asking everyone to bring along books ( as fat as possible!) they have finished with and help build a book sculpture that will be donated to Oxfam.
It will be a day not to be missed with so many authors and illustrators in a very special place -  a brilliant day out for everyone!

In conjunction with the Hoo's Kids Book Fest we are lucky enough to welcome author and Illustrator Jane Simmons to Book Sniffer Towers - Jane has tried her hand at landscape gardening, futon making, teaching basket weaving and soft toy making but claims the only thing that has held her interest was the idea of writing and illustrating children's books. 
As a mature student, Jane studied illustration at Anglia University, Cambridge. During her course, her talent was recognised with several awards including the Association of Illustrators Images 20 Student Prize in 1995. 
The success of Jane's Daisy titles has been phenomenal. Her artwork is irresistible and Daisy, the little duck with big feet, is loved the world over. 
Here is Jane's guest post on some of the inspirations behind her creations. 

Jane Simmons's life in books.

I have often used the animals and people around me for my inspiration and when I look at some of my books it's like following a passage through my life.

COME ON DAISY was from the time I lived on my small boat in the Cambridgeshire Fens and lots of ducklings swam around it every morning. I sketched and painted them every day, just because they were there and from this Daisy was born.
The EBB AND FLO series came when we lived on a fishing boat in Cornwall with our dog and we went out in a dinghy up the rivers and creeks all the time. The backgrounds are taken from all around the Fal estuary and the boat Ebb and Flo lived on, is our boat.
BERYL GOES WILD came from when I looked after my parent's pigs. Until then, I had no idea how full of character pigs could be. I spent many hours sketching those lovely pigs and watching them snort and snuffle about. A friend borrowed a car that hardly worked so I could go to a wild boar farm a hundred miles away and I spent the day knee-deep in mud sketching wild boars. Then we kangaroo'd all the way home.


is about our cat  and how he came to live with us all. We were converting the fishing boat that features in the book, in a boatyard in Cornwall, before setting sail across the channel and down to the Mediterranean.


 I now live in Normandy and my latest book, LILY GETS LOST is very much from here. The sheep and lambs are my neighbours, they wake me every morning bleating and bleating and bleating…..BAAAAAA!

Jane's most recent picture book Lily Gets Lost - Published by Orchard books is available to buy here

THANK YOU for popping by Jane! I wonder if a Pug might feature in your next book? ....
You can follow Jane on Twitter @TheJaneSimmons and find out more about her work on her website 

WIN a family ticket to the Hoo Kids Book Fest 
Competition terms and conditions
We have 1 family ticket (4 tickets minimum one adult) to give away and the lucky winner will be chosen at random.  If you would like to win a family ticket to the Hoos Kids Book Festival just send an email to with the heading "Hoo's Kids Book Fest" indicating that you would like to be entered into the giveaway.  This giveaway closes on the 12th April and the winner will be notified by email.
- 7 days of notification the winner(s) is required to email confirmation of acceptance of the prize to X, along with a postal address in the United Kingdom to which the prize can be sent.  If the winner doesn't provide such confirmation their entry will be disqualified and an alternative winner will be chosen.
-The winner(s) consents to their name being displayed on x
-The prize cannot be transferred and no cash alternative is available.
-The decision of X will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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