Friday, 22 October 2010


I had a nightmare journey to Cambridge this week and was stuck on a train for ages due to points failure. That meant I only attended uni for the lecture before starting the crappy journey home again. To top it all I forgot my sketchbook - so no train sketches to put on this week.

Then at my studio yesterday I spent the day trying to storyboard my book which is definitely not fit to be seen here yet!

I've been thinking about picture books, as I have done a lot over the years, and in particular, the characters in them. I got to thinking about children with disabilities, and how it must feel to be so un-represented in picture books and literature; to feel different to any of the characters they read about or see in illustrations. When I worked in a children's book shop, the only picture books featuring any disabled people were books designed to "inform" children about the disabilities. Like "Emma has Cochlear Implants" or "My Mommy has a Wheelchair" (Not actual titles but you get my drift). The story, if there was one, was about the disability. Some were OK, but quite a lot were dreadful.

Anyway I looked around the good old internet on the subject and it turns out there is an organisation dedicated to this very matter. There are examples of work by lots of illustrators including Quentin Blake and Jane Ray (who is a passionate believer of inclusion in children's books and has written widely on the subject). There seem to be more books published now where disabled children feature, especially in books for the very young. The publisher Childs Play certainly seems to be the most inclusive at the moment.

I don't know yet if any of the characters in the book I am working on now will have disabilities. But it's certainly something I will always think about if I ever have a "career".

By the way the lecture was great - Fabian Negrin - absolutely stunning work and a lovely man to boot. (What a strange saying "to boot" is)!

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