Meeting the Queen

Me at the 500 Words event, telling the queen how I grew up reading comics ‘cause we had no books in the house. Hopefully this will inspire every kid to know they have a chance of doing all right, if they can get hold of a public library card and access reading that way – they can go far. Camilla pushed for the competition to run this year which is great as the rules are, there are no rules apart from stretching the imagination – v. cool.

And I can’t tell you how excited I was to illustrate Spencer’s winning story in the 8-11 silver category, ‘The Scottish Gangsta’ – it was right up my street! Straight away I knew his madcap heist had to be comic strip style, and to make it special I drew it with ink on paper so he could have an original to take home. Spencer was chuffed with it, so that made my day. (Also, he is my new hero).

Well done to the finalists and every 44,000 kids who entered! You can read all the winning stories in full on the BBC Teach website.

A nice day out at Buckingham Palace

Scrubbed up for the brilliant BBC 500 Words awards at Buckingham Palace, which was magnificent in every way. The winning stories, the mad talent that dreamed them up and the team of illustrators I was proud to be a part of (here we are behind the arch!). I was invited because I illustrated one of winning stories and what fun that was!

I’m a big fan of this competition as the emphasis is on storytelling, imagination and creativity and not spelling, grammar and all that bumf, which take second place. The age categories are 5-7 & 8-11 and every time I’m blown away by the talent out there. I had a great time chatting with the winners and having a nosey inside the palace.

A special The One Show will be aired Thursday 7th March for World Book Day to mark this event.