Thursday, 15 May 2014

reading stories and drawing pictures...

Monkey & Robot seem to come in and out of our lives...there was obviously a buzz a couple of years ago when the books first came out, and then things went a bit quiet. I have done various book festivals and school visits- introducing monkey and robot to lots and lots of excited nippers.  Monkey & Robot have even got pie in the sky ideas about being made into an animation - but we'll let that one float in the sky for a bit longer before we can get genuinely giddy...

But on a more domestic level, M&R have been making quite a big feature in our lives as our little girl, Ursula is falling for them.  Whenever the car doors steam up, she asks me to draw monkey & robot, when we have been planting seeds in the garden over the last few weeks, she quotes from 'in the garden'  "bigger and bigger and BIGGER!"when we talk about 'friends' she says "like monkey & Robot"...its really nice. I makes me feel really proud.

After a kick up the bum back in march for World Book day, I went into a brilliant school and talked about illustration (having to give a whole school 30 minute assembly...aggghhh!!) and then ran a couple of workshops, I was reminded that although I get pretty nervous beforehand, I absolute LOVE going into schools and feel like I get lots out of it and see little brilliant brains being a little bit interested in stuff I say too- which is blummin ace.

So on a domestic level, I asked Ursula's nursery if they'd like me to come in and do a session..they said yes please! I suddenly realised I hadn't read to such a young audience before, but they were brilliant, a couple of cry breaks- and not from me! One of the 'practitioners' afterwards said she couldn't believe I'd managed to get 18 x 2 years all listening and interacting so beautifully. I have to say it did feel pretty amazing!

So today and on tuesday, I went and visited my neices' school. The eldest is a bit too old for M&R now, but I did stop in for an end of day story with Rosa's class, who were gorgeous; thoughtful, funny, clever, responsive, delighted- you know just what you want a reception class to be like! And I also did  a couple of sessions with the nursery group. Just like Ursula is falling for M&R - I'm sort of falling for them again- seeing the delight these silly wee stories brought. Its not high art or anything, but books are pretty special. Today we actually got to do some drawing too. It was really really brill. Small people drawing - totally awesome (in the real meaning of the world, not the american teenager-Bill n Ted kinda way!!)


Friday, 6 September 2013

The Next Big Thing! - A global blog tour.

So I'm part of the global blog tour- exciting stuff huh?
Have a read of my wee interview and enjoy this leg of the journey!

I've been tagged by Paula Bowles (thank you very much) to take part in 'The Next big Thing' blog tour of children's books, which began in Australia. You can see Paula's post here and track back through the whole tour by clicking on all of the links (if that makes sense!!)

I'm going to write about the monkey & Robot books as a collective, rather than just focusing on one.
So it's Monkey & Robot written by Felix Hayes, illustrated by me Hannah Broadway, published by Bloomsbury.
Where did the idea for this book come from?
A few years ago I did an alphabet series of prints, called the 'A - Z of the little things in life'; where it was things like D is for 'Dancing in the kitchen', C is for 'Cup of tea someone else makes for you' - you know all the important stuff! Well, anyway Y was 'You & me' represented by a toy knitted monkey & a tin robot. 

My brilliant Mother-in-law Sarah Hayes (herself a writer & illustrator - This is the bear, nine ducks nine, grumpalump, Fimbles to name but a few) saw the image and said- "oh they make good characters" which got me and my husband, actor, writer Felix Hayes thinking and after lots of long walks and coffee the Monkey & Robot you see before you were born!

What genre does your book fall under?
Picture book

Which actors would star in a move rendition of your book?
Well Felix of course! In fact we are actually in the process of optioning them as an animation. The marvellous Dot to Dot are busy working on a test animation at this very moment. So fingers crossed! I guess its more of a question of who should do the voices, hmmm well how about Miranda Hart as Robot and Alan Carr as Monkey please.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
The entertaining everyday adventures of best friends Monkey & Robot

Who published your book?
The very lovely people at Bloomsbury

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I'm really not sure! It was quite a slow process, something that went in lots of different directions really. Once we were properly commissioned and the texts were complete I guess I did the artwork for 4 books over the course of 6 months or so.

What other books would you compare this story to within your own genre?
Well its a best friends story, so Frog & Toad (by Arnold Lobel) was definitely something we talked about pretty early on, but its a big ask to be compared to them!!

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I've already mentioned Sarah, who helped sow the seed. But to be honest I think it was actually Felix and I chatting in the kitchen (while dancing probably!) that really got the books going as we feel in love with Monkey & Robot and thought they'd make fun bedtime companions for all small people being read to. Who doesn't love robots and monkeys?
What else about this book might pique the reader’s interest?
Maybe I just answered that! We think that the combo of a robot & a monkey as the lead roles are good un, kind of very silly archetypes that bring out the best in each other.

And what is next after The Next Big Thing?
Lots! I don't just make picture books, so there is lots of illustration stuff to be getting on with (BIG murals for a new hospital, posters, a book about Bikes, exhibitions, christmas markets - see more details on my blog)
 but we keep our fingers crossed for the Monkey & Robot Show, and I am working on some ideas for younger children, since having our little girl we are looking for ways to turn the games we play in to books! So watch this space...

Thank you very much Global Blog tour.
I'd like to tag/ introduce a very old and talented chum of mine (I mean, I have known him a long time, he isn't that old!) Tom Banks, the amazingly talented writer of The Great Galloon.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Bath Literature Festival & World book day

I was lucky enough to spend world book day in 2 different schools!
In the morning I was with Ubley Primary School, where I worked with a a KS1 class. We read In the Garden & then did a big shared drawing...some people did colouring in (I had drawn a big Monkey & Robot) and some designed bits of M&R's garden.
It was gorgeous to see the whole class all lying across a giant piece of paper all busy scribbling away!
It was here that someone asked me how old Robot was, I said I wasn't sure and why didn't they ask him, I said that sometimes Robot talks quite quietly so they would have to listen very carefully. This little girl, bounded off, picked up Robot and asked him & then held him to her ear, noded and came back to me smiling and informed me he was five!

Then after lunch en route, we arrived at St Martin's Garden School for  2 more sessions, this time with 60 KS2 and then 100 KS3, more of an assembly-story-presentation than a hands-on workshop. It was really nice reading the same story, but this time to older kids and seeing the different things they noticed or the different questions they had. This time I was asked if I got paid to draw pictures - ha! I know i can't believe it either, its the best job in the world!

Although we didn't do any drawing together. I have just been emailed by the school, saying that they have had a 'design your own robot' competition and here are the 4 winners! Brilliant!

Monday, 25 February 2013

masterclass anyone?

Yes I can't quite believe it either, but please if you are 13 or over and wanna to explore the wonders of picture books I will be running a masterclass as part of Bath Literature Festival.

Details on the website...just bring a good pen!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

An incredible edible Monkey & Robot garden...

I could hardly believe my eyes when I received an email from the very amazing Natasha Worswick (a marketing consultant for children's publishing) with her incredible photo of an edible garden...Monkey & Robot's garden, no less! It is her entry for an edible book festival. WOW WIZZAL!!...check it out!
I shall let her photo do the work, I am pretty much lost for words!... There is a link to her blog, with her step by step instructions...Children's books for grown-ups if you are feeling inspired!
Thank you soooooo much Natasha, you are a very very brilliant indeed.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

M&R at Bath Literary Festival 2012

Join me, monkey, robot (& Ursa) at the amazing 'my small world' toyshop for some springtime fun!
We'll be reading 'in the garden' & making flowers, veg & butterflies!
Be part of the Bath Literary & info here

Monday, 23 January 2012

cardboard robot ate the chocolate!

I was emailed this youtube clip this morning by an amused parent, whose son blamed 'cardboard robot' for eating the chocolates! Very Funny...take a look.
What would you blame Monkey or Robot for?
Thank you Phil & Jules.