Friday, 11 December 2015

'Refuge', a book for Now. Guest blog by Anne Booth

We're delighted to welcome Anne Booth as our guest blogger at a moment when her new picture book, 'Refuge', couldn't be more apt.  Written in response to the current refugee crisis, this simple re-telling of the Nativity story has clear resonance for us now.  Very beautifully illustrated by Sam Usher and published by Nosy Crow, £5 from every copy sold is going to the War Child charity to help today's child refugees.  Over to Anne ...


This is a very special year for me, as I turned 50 and had my first two picture books published, and now have been invited to write a post for the Picture Book Den!

My very first book contract was with Nosy Crow Books for two picture books : ‘The Fairiest Fairy’ and ‘The Christmas Fairy’, both illustrated by the wonderful Rosalind Beardshaw. As a new writer I was amazed at how long it normally takes to produce a picture book - the contract was in 2013 and ‘The Fairiest Fairy’ was only published in 2015, with ‘The Christmas Fairy in 2016! I learnt how it is definitely worth the wait and am bursting with pride at the result - to see Betty illustrated so beautifully by Rosalind has been one of the highlights of my life.



You can read inside here: http://nosycrow.com/product/the-fairiest-fairy/  I particularly love the spread where Betty puts on her vest - it was everything I imagined and more!

So, having got my head around how long the process is to publish a picture book, you can imagine how amazed I am at how fast my latest book ‘Refuge’ has been produced. You can read about the process here and read inside to see the actual illustrations: http://nosycrow.com/blog/the-story-behind-refuge/


For those of you who know from first hand about the process - Samuel Usher’s illustrations - his palette and his tender lines - and the sheer achievement of producing such stunning work so quickly - will seem particularly miraculous. Added to that the wonderful design of the book, and the high quality of the finished product, and the generous way all those involved in the production and distribution did it for free or at vastly reduced costs, the publishing story of this picture book seems unique.



Just as the muddled Betty has more than a little of me in her, ‘Refuge’ means a lot to me personally. One of my earliest memories is toddling into the life size crib at church and throwing my arms around the donkey. Every Christmas when I was small I would run inside the crib to hug him - so it is fitting that I have written a book from the Christmas donkey’s point of view, to be enjoyed by little children and adults sharing it with them, and which hopefully will raise empathy and money for child refugees. I may have been having a wonderful year being 50, but for so many refugees it has been hell. Childhood should be full of lovely memories, like reading picture books and hugging donkeys - real or in church cribs - not of war and dangerous journeys.


I did not expect, in the year I turned 50, to have two picture books published, and illustrated by such great artists as Rosalind Beardshaw and Samuel Usher. In this, as in so many aspects of my life, I feel very, very lucky - and I feel so happy and grateful that, thanks to Nosy Crow and Samuel Usher and all involved in the process,  ‘Refuge’ - a beautiful picture book - one of the things which gives me the most joy in life - has become the means to help refugees this Christmas.



7 comments:

  1. A strong message and a lovely-looking book. Well done everybody involved. Send this book to Donald Trump please.

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    1. Thank you - and perhaps that is a good idea!

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  2. Congratulations on publishing your first two books! Best wishes for many more! :)

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    1. Thank you. I LOVE being a picture book writer!

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  3. Congratulations Anne. A very timely book. May it sell shedloads.

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  4. Congratulations. I hope it's really successful and I can't wait for my copy to arrive.

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