What an extraordinary day it was yesterday, March 17th 2016, the date of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize - now in its twelfth year and selecting the very, very best in new and emerging talent for children’s writing and illustration. Uniquely, it’s a prize argued over and voted for by the most books-passionate of people; Waterstones’ own experienced booksellers.
Two of our artists were in the shortlist for the Illustrated book category. Amongst Naomi Howarth’s The Crow’s Tale, and David Barrows, Have You Seen Elephant? were our very own Migy Blanco, who illustrated Cinderella’s Sister and the Big Bad Wolf, By Lorraine Carey (Nosy Crow) and David Litchfield, who wrote and illustrated his picture book The Bear and the Piano (Frances Lincoln)
So you can imagine with such a great pool of talent in the mix, we were stunned, proud, thrilled and delighted for our very own David Litchfield, who won the category for best illustrated book 2016.
The UK edition (pictured left) and US edition (out in April 2016) of the winning title.
“I’m incredibly thrilled, chuffed, humbled and generally over the moon. It’s been such a massive honour being nominated with such a fine selection of shortlisted books. I genuinely wasn’t expecting to win, but I’m obviously incredibly happy.” - David Litchfield
The Bear and the Piano has delighted children since its publication last year. The sentiment and journey of the story are so warm and heartfelt – matching the depthy images and incredible use of light, which are so recognisable in David’s artwork.
One day, a young bear stumbles upon something he has never seen before in the forest. As time passes, he teaches himself how to play the strange instrument, and eventually the beautiful sounds are heard by a father and son who are picnicking in the woods. The bear goes with them on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star. He has fame, fortune and all the music in the world, but he misses the friends and family he has left behind. A moving tale of exploration and belonging from an exciting debut author-illustrator.
You can watch the animated book trailer here: The Bear and the Piano
David has been an illustrator for many years, but things really began to take off when he embarked upon a self-made challenge; to create a drawing a day for a year. He didn’t imagine to gain as much interest as he did, and things really gained momentum. He ended the year with an exhibition in his home town of Bedford and he has gone on to create some of the most beautiful artwork, and continues to do so. David spoke forTedX - an organisation set up off the back of the famous Ted talks – “ideas worth spreading” and has inspired many more people to challenge themselves in this way, I am certain of it. It’s absolutely worth watching if you are creative, and looking for inspiration!
Watch David’s TedX talk here.
With a list of fantastic publicity activity and reviews here.
David wins his award, with pre-publication sketches, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell announcing the overall winner, and Bright’s MD Vicki Willden-Lebrecht with David after he won the award for illustration category!
It’s been quite some journey! With special thanks to David Litchfield for always being a delight to work with; Bright Creative Agent, Anne Moore Armstrong; FLCB Editor, Katie Cotton; FLCB Senior Designer, Andrew Watson, FLCB Publisher, Rachel Williams.