Jez's Blog

The Strange Story of How I Found a New Band

A Salute to My Influences

Celebrating Our Differences

Daring to Use the Four-Letter Word

What Is The Real Olympian Spirit?

Watching The Olympics Opening Ceremony

How Good Service Turned into a Speed Trip

Blurring the Line Between Fact and Fiction

How Creativity Keeps Moving On

How an Artist in the Kitchen Revealed my Inner 'Foody'

Synchronicity - an Everyday Sort of Magic

Does This Make You Laugh?

The Magic of Storytelling

How Good Design Serves the User

Learning to Love Creative Blocks

Creating The CLUB

How a Kiss Missed Its Target at a Posh Do

How Bob Dylan refused the Box labelled ‘Protest Singer’

The ‘Get Back in Your Box’ Syndrome

What’s all the fuss about?

The Third in my Triptych of Entries about Thought

Reflections on Learning and Teaching

Happily disconnected in Cornwall

The Best Way to Sell is to Do Something Well

Life is Good

Zen & the Art of Birdwatching

The Magic of Storytelling

What are the best parts of my job? Firstly I’d have to say the moment of inspiration when an idea for a book comes to me. Where does it come from? Who knows - that’s part of the magic that every artist experiences at the moment of inspiration.  There’s also a real high when an editor sees the same potential in that idea as I do and invests their belief in it; it’s like a vote of support which helps me get on with the job of turning the ephemeral idea into a physical reality. And then there is the final stage in which the book is shared with children. This is really special because at last I get to see the book working with the audience for whom it was written.


I’ve just come back from a series of author visits in libraries and bookstores around the Seattle area so I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading to many children. To see their open faces looking up at me, totally engrossed by the story I’m telling (the same story that came to me in that moment of inspiration) is a wonderful resolution to the whole process. It’s hard to say where children go to at those moments but it is a magical place which any parent who reads to their child will recognise. (The photo above, taken at one of my readings, captures it quite well). It’s a mixture of wonder, openness and total concentration.


Picture books and the stories they tell are a way for children to process this big confusing world in which they find themselves. But as well as finding out about what’s ‘out there’, they also discover what’s inside themselves in the form of feelings. They find out about what makes them scared, what makes them feel safe, happy, excited and also what makes them laugh. If real life is big meal to digest then picture books help to chop the food into bite-sized, more digestible pieces. This is why picture books are so important: they are the first rungs on the ladder of a child’s education. To be a part of that process is a real privilege and something I never take for granted.


October 12th 2011

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