Meet Marcel, he’s a New Yorker through and through. He’s jetting in to London this weekend to celebrate the launch of his new book. Come and join him for a morning of storytelling and crafts with his creator, acclaimed New York illustrator Eda Akaltun.
Listen to Eda read Marcel’s story and then create your very own cityscape collage for Marcel to make his home. Marcel is sure to steal your heart and ignite your imagination!
Each child attending this workshop will not only go home with their very own cityscape collage but guests will also be presented with a fabulous goody bag filled to the brim with Marcel treats. Books will be available to purchase on the day which Eda will happily sign and dedicate for you.
Time: 11am-12:30 Date: Saturday 25th June Address: MOLLY MEG 111 Essex Rd, London N1 2SL Phone: 020 7359 5655
This is a FREE event suitable for 3-8 years (all materials will be provided)
Last month, we were thrilled to release the second book from Kate Greenaway Medal winning William Grill, The Wolves of Currumpaw. Where Shackleton’s Journey took us on an epic expedition to the icy antarctic, this time we’re following Ernest Thompson Seton’s true life tale of hunters and the wolves they were hired to trap, set across the vast plains of New Mexico in the dying days of the old west.
After a busy month of launch events, we finally managed to sit down with Will to ask him a few questions for you!
1. Why did you decide to write (and draw) about Lobo and Seton’s story?
As well as being an emotive story, I was struck by how Seton’s tale says something relevant about our relationship to nature today. For me, his experience with Lobo is a good allegory for how regrettable our selfish treatment of nature may be. The tale unfortunately ends with Lobo’s death, but what Seton goes on to do afterwards can be seen to redeem his actions in some way.
2. How do you feel attitudes have changed since Seton’s time?
I think now there is more of an appreciation for nature and we have a deeper understanding of ecology, a concept which didn’t really exist in the late 1800s. In Seton’s time, animals were treated more like a resource and anything that was a nuisance was removed. Thankfully this attitude has changed a great deal, as we understand that many animals like wolves play a vital role in the food chain and deserve to live freely.
The main focus of my story was to show how one man’s attitude towards nature changed, influencing the early conservation movement and the way we treat animals. In a wider sense, I also wanted to show that these destructive early attitudes affected not only wolves but caused extreme suffering to Native Americans, however I am aware that my book in no way represents the full oppression and devastation inflicted upon Native Americans by the European settlers. That would be a whole other book, one that deserves a full story to itself.
3. How did your own research inform your adaptation of Seton’s original story?
I think the story has a lot more impact when you know the context to it and what attitudes were like at the time. In a visual sense, travelling to Corrumpa Valley in New Mexico allowed me to take lots of first hand sketches and photos which influenced much of the artwork. Since wolves are no longer present there, I spent a week at a wolf sanctuary where I was able to draw wolves all morning. Simply drawing wolves at the sanctuary gave me lots of good reference for different postures and expressions which I tried to incorporate into the book.
7. It’s almost a year since you won the Kate Greenaway prize for Shackleton’s Journey! How did it feel to win? Do you have any plans to go into fiction, and can you tell us anything about what might be coming next?
It completely took me by surprise and still feels unreal to think I was chosen. It’s hugely encouraging to have the support from all the judges, although it now adds a little pressure to live up to the previous book!
I would like to venture into fiction at some point, although I’m enjoying non-fiction a lot at the moment. I think it would be interesting to try my hand at a darker subject matter in the future too. What really interests me though is blending genres and producing a book that is unusual. It’s hard to say what’s next at the minute as there are a few ideas floating about. I’m thinking it could be set somewhere green though, in a jungle or a forest perhaps.
8. What’s in your sketchbook at the moment? Can we take a look?
My sketchbook is in a display case at Waterstones Piccadilly right now for another three weeks so you can see them for real! I don’t have much else current but I visited Kew Gardens a while back and did a few chalk drawings there.
Having spent quite some time building (and writing about) my treasured collection of Nobrow and Flying Eye Books titles, choosing my favourite is a very hard decision indeed. However, if there was a gun to my head (an unlikely scenario, I know, but it is always good to be prepared) then Simona Ciraolo’s debut Flying Eye Book Hug Me would have to be my top choice.
Hug Me brings together an unbeatable combination of quirk, humour and heart to tell a story of Felipe, a cactus in search of friendship and, of course, hugs. This adorable starting point alone makes Hug Me a strong contender for the top spot and add in the book’s warm, rustic aesthetic, surprising and hilarious plot twists and heartwarming happy ending and you have, in my opinion, the perfect picture book.
So we have established I am a fan of Simona’s debut title (I think that is pretty clear, right?) and so it will come as no surprise that when her second Flying Eye Book was released, I was excited to say the least. At this time, knowing there were people like me eagerly awaiting her next title, Simona herself was feeling the pressure.
“You can’t help but fear that there’s perhaps a higher expectation towards your second book: someone who liked the first might draw comparisons between the two and, well, find it disappointing! But really what made working on the first one a lot less daunting was that things moved so quickly I hardly had a chance to dwell over it.”
– Simona Ciraolo
Whatever Happened to My Sister?, Simona’s second title, looks at a girl’s bemusement at seeing her older sister growing up and is not Hug Me 2 in any way, shape or form. The biggest changes between the two books is aesthetic. Simona’s second book relies more heavily on smoother, watery textures as well as a moodier colour palette to capture the feelings of change and confusion in the air. This noticeable change could be seen as an obvious way of avoiding comparison but it was in fact purely down to the change in subject matter as Whatever Happened to my Sister? was actually in development before Hug Me was created.
Although, I don’t believe in the “a bad sequel can ruin the original” train of thought, I was a little apprehensive as to how Simona could ever top Hug Me. However, thanks to Simona retaining her clever wit and illustrative charm, I was just as impressed with Simona’s second offering. And after much examination, I found the two titles not to be so different after all. Simona may have jumped from succulents to sisters with her main characters but her core themes moving from making friends to drifting apart from family is a much less dramatic leap. In this way, Whatever Happened to my Sister? is Hug Me’s spiritual successor.
And Simona’s next Flying Eye Book takes another natural step to look at ageing and its effect on relationships. The Lines on Nana’s Face sees signs of old age turn into wrinkles of wonder as a little girl learns about the important moments in her grandma’s life. As ever the concept in this new title is prominent. Simona’s illustrative talent is immense – her spontaneous, energetic use of line and texture is almost reminiscent of Quentin Blake and her use of calm colour is warm and uplifting – she believes having a story you need to tell, or a powerful idea, is most important of all.
“Being a competent artist is a great help to the extent that it makes it easier to create a readable narrative and an object that’s pleasant to look at, but should not in itself be the most important aspect of creating a book. That being said, I do believe there’s an intrinsic value in the beauty of pictures and their striking ability to reach places that are difficult to get to with words alone.”
– Simona Ciraolo
As for what could be next for Simona, the possibilities seem endless. A cacti-led take catching up with a fully grown Felipe (a part of me will always secretly be hoping for this) or something entirely new and different? With each title added to the Ciraolo library, I am more and more confident the next will be a success. Each title seems just as witty, intelligent, emotive and beautiful as the last and I can’t wait to watch as Simona’s glittering career unfolds – a picture book legend in the making I am sure.
This is a guest post from Greg McIndoe who blogs at Headless Greg.
The fifth annual East London Comics & Arts Festival is our favorite comics event, and this one’s going to be the best yet! In addition to hosting genuine superstars like Adrian Tomine and Richard McGuire, this year’s ELCAF features a slew of events led by some of our favorite Nobrow artists.
Here are the events we’ll be checking out this Saturday:
Robert Hunter is a London-based illustrator who works with traditional drawing and printing techniques to produce his otherworldly picture narratives. Rob has published a number of books including The New Ghost, and a collaboration with Maccabees singer Orlando Weeks called Young Colossus. Join him as he talks about his most recent foray into animation accompanying his illustrated picture book retelling Rudyard Kipling’s classic Jungle Book.
German illustrator Dieter Braun will join ELCAF to talk about the creation of his recently published english edition of Wild Animals of the North. An illustrated study of the Northern Hemisphere’s wild animals, this biologically accurate encyclopaedia is the first of a series of books for children.
June 11 / 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
FREE with ELCAF ticket
Join illustrator Vincent Mahe in a game of exquisite corpse using a template based around a level in a building. Draw, paint, add characters and help to populate this building, which will grow over the course of the workshop, creating a giant vertical Leporello.
Visual storytelling can be simple and a lot of fun. Join illustrator Paul Paetzel from Edition Biografiktion in this exciting drawing workshop – using a character based on yourself, put your alter ego into a variety of backgrounds and see what kind of story evolves. The results will be sights seen through the eyes of our comic heroes.
Lorena Alvarez Gómez is a Colombian illustrator based in Bogotá, Colombia. She alternates her work as a freelance illustrator with writing and drawing her own stories, and her interest in colour language and its formal qualities result in bold and unusual palettes. Lorena will talk about personal projects and the process of her first comic book with Nobrow titled Nightlights – a story about how our fears can hold us back and distort the way we see our reality.
Join Berlin-based Danish illustrator Mikkel Sommer as he makes a colourful, 3D diorama (otherwise known as a miniature theatre) based around the theme of a ‘London Jungle’. He will be needing your help to draw, cut, paint, fold and glue, because in reality, he has no idea what he is doing. People of all ages are welcome. Kids even more so.
London-based children’s book writer and illustrator Alexis Deacon will be discussing his work at ELCAF this year. He has twice been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, and is a two time recipient of The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award. His well-loved picture books include Beegu, I am Henry Finch and Slow Loris, and he was one of Booktrust’s ten Best New Illustrators in 2008.
This ELCAF is really going to be something special, and there are so many more fun events and guests for you to see! Make sure to check out the ELCAF website for all the sweet details. We’ll see you there!
As of Monday 16th May we will be moving our London office to 27 Westgate Street, London, E8 3RL. We are making the short trip east and a little north of Shoreditch to the London Fields area in Hackney, very close to Broadway Market. After almost 8 years in Shoreditch we are sad to be leaving but excited to be starting a new chapter somewhere new. Please note we will not be having a shop space in our new location, but our shop is still very much online as well as your local book store! This move does not affect our New York office or any of our distributors, which will all remain the same.
(Illustration by the brilliant Ben Newman, thanks Ben!)
It’s time once again for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival! Your friends at Nobrow and Flying Eye Books will be posting up at TCAF with some special surprises in tow!
Make sure to roll through and meet us at table 275 on the second floor to see us and to check out all of your favorite Nobrow and Flying Eye titles. Not only will we be serving up the latest releases and some old favorites, but we will also be hanging out with some very special guests on Saturday, and you’re invited!
First up is our buddy Jeremy Sorese, author of the amazing queer romance sci-fi epic Curveball. Jeremy will be at our table on Saturday from 1pm to 2pm, signing copies of his books and sketching up a storm! Then Jeremy will tag-in the incomparable Marguerite Abouet, one of TCAF’s featured guests, and the creator of Akissi and the wonderful Aya books. Marguerite will be at our table on Saturday from 2pm to 2:45pm. Make sure to come by for your chance to meet these two talented and important voices of comic art!
We hope we get to see you all this weekend!
Nobrow and Flying Eye Books
at TABLE 275
Toronto Comic Arts Festival
Saturday, May 14th and Sunday, May 15th
at the Toronto Reference Library
One of the best events of the year is coming soon! That’s right, this weekend is Free Comic Book Day and Nobrow and Flying Eye Books will be joining in on the fun for the very first time!
We’ve got a special free comic book for you this weekend that features previews of Luke Pearson’s Hilda and the Stone Forest and Sam Bosma’s Fantasy Sports 2. Both of those stories won’t be out until later this year, so this comic book will be your very first look at what’s sure to be a couple of 2016’s biggest hits! And don’t worry– there’s a little bonus comic featuring Marguerite Abouet’s Akissi, and an all-new cover by Luke Pearson (check out his take on Wiz and Mug!) to sweeten the deal.
One comic book. Three great stories. AND IT’S ALL FOR FREE! Just make sure to stop into your favorite comics retailer on Free Comic Book Day, this Saturday, May 7th and ask for your copy! And make sure to take a look around those great comics shops for the rest of our line of Nobrow and Flying Eye Books!
Our good friends at Minilab Studios have been nominated for a prestigious Webby Award! Whilst it’s already a huge honour to be counted amongst the top 5 apps within the Family & Kids category, they need your help to win the People’s Choice award!
Voting takes less than 30 secs and you can VOTE HERE and help spread the word by sharing with friends, family & social media followers!
Oh yeah! Winter’s over, the sun’s out and we’re getting PUMPED for our annual run of shows!
First up is MoCCA Fest 2016 on Saturday April 2nd and Sunday 3rd! We’ve got a great one lined up for all of you with a Saturday jam-packed with four (FOUR!) signings from Nobrow artists.
Saturday at 12:00: Meet Sam Bosma, author of Fantasy Sports and Fantasy Sports 2. An EXTREMELY limited number of Fantasy Sports 2 will be available during this signing in advance of the book’s July release. Make sure to get in early to be among the very first to lay your eyes on what’s definitely going to be the book of the summer!
Saturday at 1:00: Jeremy Sorese will be at our table to hang out and sign copies of his graphic novel, the boundaries-pushing, genre-defying epic Curveball, which was recently announced as a finalist for both the LAMBDA Literary Prize and the Slate Cartoonist Studio Prize! Jeremy is one of the most talented and inventive cartoonists we’ve had the privilege of publishing, so make sure to come by and say hi.
Saturday at 2:00: Signing with Wren McDonald, author of the future revenge story Cyber Realm and the upcoming graphic novel about the super cool hacker hero SP4RX. Wren’s one of the most exciting new artists we’ve ever met, so trust us: you won’t want to miss him!
Saturday at 2:30 to 3:00: A very rare appearance from the legendary Helen Borten! Helen has been at the top of the heap in art and illustration since the 60’s and we are so pleased to be reprinting her books. We’ll have copies of her beautiful children’s picture books Do You See What I See?and Do You Hear What I Hear? available in advance of their May release, so make sure to stop by and take a look at this amazing legacy in action!
Then on Sunday team Nobrow will have all of our classics and hits, some hard-to-find limited editions, and who knows, maybe you’ll catch a little peek at what’s to come!
It’s going to be a fun time so be sure to catch us at MoCCA Fest 2016 at Metropolitan West on April 2nd and 3rd! Nobrow and Flying Eye Books will be posted up at Table A122-123! See you there!
Have you been out to the Met lately? The world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is known for its collection of extraordinary and timeless art from all over the world, and now that same classic sensibility can be found in their revamped children’s book area!
The Met’s new children’s book area contains a selection of some of the most beautiful children’s books we’ve ever seen, so of course we were absolutely beaming when we saw a few of our own titles sitting among some of the all-time greats. The whole area is spacious and well lit, which really allows you to immerse yourself in the worlds of these impressive picture books.
And that’s not all! We spotted the bright colors of Beautiful Birds as well as a pair of stunning Leporellos, Swan Lake and Eventually Everything Connects, at the Met’s stationary store:
We spoke with Lauren Gallagher, Book Buyer for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, about the children’s book area’s brand new look:
What brought about the big change in the children’s picture book section?
The big change came about due to a cocktail of ingredients, the most important one being that I was given broad curatorial freedom in my buying choices. Coming from an independent bookselling background, I’ve personally sold books to children and their families for many years, and for the first phase I chose to bring in both a combination of books I have had great success with, and new books that look like they not only might be appealing, but could become future children’s classics.
A very many thanks to Lauren for taking the time to chat with us! Be sure to check out the latest at the Met, and then spend some time in their fresh new children’s book section. The world-class museum is offering up some world-class picture books, a great little event for art aficionados and picture book lovers everywhere!
Brooklyn! The unstoppable Keith Negley will be at the wonderful Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene this Saturday at 11am for his patented brand of off the wall story time! Keith will be reading from his best-selling hit Tough Guys Have Feelings Too and he’ll be following it up with one of his always entertaining interactive Ninja drawing sessions. Bring some friends, it’s a great way to spend a Saturday!
Saturday, January 9th
686 Fulton St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
In the first part of the One Day on our Blue Planet series, we explored the grassy plains of the Savannah with a little lion cub. This time, the temperature turns a lot cooler as we follow an Adélie penguin chick throughout her day in the Antarctic. Meet all kinds of penguins and other feathered friends as she waddles along the frozen coast and dive deep beneath the ice to find krill, fish and squid to eat… but watch out she doesn’t become food herself!
Ella Bailey stopped by and kindly answered a few questions about her beautiful new book for us:
1.It goes without saying that the Savannah and Antarctic landscapes are very different, but how did you go about showing this in the books?
The most striking (albeit obvious) difference that comes to mind is the climate! One is very hot, and the other extremely cold, and I ended up using very different colour palettes for each book in order to help convey these two extremes. Other than that, there was the obvious difference in the amount of foliage – that is, in Antarctica there really isn’t any. In fact, Antarctica is a far more barren landscape in general, so I had to find other ways of adding visual interest to the backgrounds.
2. And were there any surprising similarities?
Both areas seem to have a similar sense of vastness about them. In both the Savannah and Antarctica everything seems to be very large and spaced out, including the animals, so at times I had to sort of compress things a little bit so they would fit within the confines of a double-page spread!
3. How did you reference One Day on our Blue Planet- without travelling to the Antarctic, did you go to zoos or watch nature documentaries?
I did visit a zoo – unfortunately they didn’t have any whales, although I did see a few penguins! They weren’t the right species, but they were still very cute. I mostly watched some nature documentaries and clips, and used google images alongside certain websites. Some of the more obscure animals (I’m looking at you, Arnoux’s beaked whale!) were particularly difficult to find references of, although I suppose that is understandable considering where they like to live!
4. The books are non-fiction but you wouldn’t necessarily know it! What were the challenges in storytelling factual information to a young audience?
The main challenge for me was integrating the facts into the storytelling in a natural way, that didn’t feel too overwhelming, dry, or heavy-handed. I think we actually managed to do this by keeping the text itself to a minimum, and following the classic mantra of ‘show, don’t tell’! I also enjoy using the endpapers of the books as an extra, fun way of delivering information outside of the main story itself.
5. Which creators are you most influenced by? Both legendary illustrators and fresh new talent.
There are so many! Mary Blair is one of my all-time favourites, alongside Miroslav Sasek, Alain Gree and Charley Harper. For more contemporary illustrators, I am a big fan of Meg Hunt and Isabelle Arsenault, Marc Boutavant, Icinori, Kenard Pak… Those are just a few, I could go on for a very long time!
Take this little penguin home and grab your copy here!
The critics have been talking about Keith Negley’s Tough Guys Have Feelings Too and they love it! We’ve been so pleased to see so many positive reactions to this book, and we wanted to share a few of them with you.
Here’s what they’ve been saying (illustrations by our pal Louis Miller, a lil’ Tough Guy himself, age 5):
“A simple, stylishly illustrated picture book […] This appealing book makes the timely decision to hold the conversation about male emotions while everyone involved is in costume, performing some iconically macho role.”
–New York Times
“It teaches little boys that they don’t have to feel like Superman all the time. This book may actually go a long way towards dismantling rigid gender roles. For both men and women, crying can be considered a sign of weakness or hysteria — forcing them to repress this very natural emotional response. But Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) wants to put an end to that right now. This is the crying revolution, and it looks like the next generation might actually grow up knowing it’s OK to have a good cry when you need.” –Bustle
“The title says it all. These tough guys are rendered in simple lines and shapes and colored in black and white, red, blue, and yellow, but they represent a broad range of virility. […] Negley’s debut is nonetheless sincere.”
“The concept alone was enough to see me part with the cover price, the fact that it’s as stunningly illustrated and printed as it is, well that’s just a bonus. The illustrations are big, bold and full of colour and portray the story so clearly that there’s almost no need for the text. The sign of a great picture book.” –Dads And Design
“The theme: yes. The design: yes. The snappy, bold, in-your-face look at tough guys plus the snappy, bold, in-your-face look at feelings: yes.” –Design of the Picture Book
“Make sure that your kids know it’s ok to express themselves with this subtle and funny book.” –Mr Fox Magazine
“With tongue firmly in cheek, artist Negley presents a roll-call of traditionally male role models performing various manly pursuits, all with one thing in common. They are heavy of heart and have a wistful look in their eye. Some even dare to shed a tear or two – or three” –My Little Style File
“A great book for helping children to recognise and understand their emotions, Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) is an engaging conversation starter for all children, but especially for boys who will undoubtedly at some point be faced with this misleading gender stereotype.” –Junior Magazine
“I found that this book is a really nice way to bring up the topic of feelings and that everyone has them, it could easily be used as a starting point to discuss the subject of different emotions with your child, to reassure them, and to talk about appropriate ways of dealing with emotions, something many children find difficult.” –They Grow So Quick
“Our Book of the Week puts even the most lantern-jawed book reviewer in touch with his emotional side. Here’s the awesome “Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too)” by Keith Negley. It’s been a true delight to find a book that reassuringly pats us big strong super-tough macho guys (hah!) on the shoulder and says ‘Hey big fellah, it’s OK. You can cry, go on!'” –Read It Daddy
“It’s great to see something that positively explores the idea of sensitive males.” –Bambino Goodies
“Lovely, retro vibe to this simple line-to-a-page picture book that says it’s OK to care.” –Angels and Urchins Magazine (print edition)
“This is without doubt, the perfect book to get children to open up about their feelings and emotions.” –The Picture Books Blogger
We’re always happy to see people enjoying our books, and we want to thank the reviewers for all their kind words. We’d also like to give special thanks to Keith, of course, for putting together something really special with Tough Guys Have Feelings Too. Make sure to pick up a copy from our webshop and share it with the tough guys in your life!