Last weekend I returned from nearly a month in the USA.
It was the kind of adventure that shifts things. It shifted the way I think about America, the way I think about diverse books and our urgent need for them (the shortage is chronic), and the way I think about story.
While I was there I did three events to celebrate the release of the US edition of ‘Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean’, visited twenty-one bookshops, and attended the fabulous Bindercon.
I also sailed around San Francisco Bay, ate a crazy number of tacos and met a stellar array of Californians who inspired me with their energy and optimism. When you realise that San Francisco sits along one of the great fault-lines in the crust of the planet, you can’t help but be impressed by the millions of people who live there and embrace each day as it comes yet still plot and scheme for their futures.
Before I left for the US, a number of people asked me if I was afraid to travel there. When I mentioned this to friends in California, they were amazed and alarmed to realise how much Donald Trump’s election had frightened the rest of the world.
Fear is at the core of most of the stories that dominate world news. And of course there’s plenty to inspire fear in the current state of the world. I love that the US publisher made that the shout line on the cover ‘Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean’ – tales of imagination and daring. In an age where fear is crippling so many people, more than ever we all need stories of imagination and daring.
Astrid Lindgren was one of my childhood heroes. Yesterday, at the Frankfurt Book Fair, nominees for the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award were announced. I’m very honoured to be on the list, alongside some of my favourite children’s authors and illustrators. http://www.alma.se/Documents/2016/Nominated_Candidates_2017.pdf
The very talented Karen Blair has agreed to illustrate my first picture book for small children, Puddle Hunters. Inspired by puddle hunting adventures with my granddaughter, Alexandra, the book will be published by Allen & Unwin and released in early 2018.