Christopher Corr

What books did you read when you were a child?
I read a lot of stories from around the world, travel tales and world legends. I was fascinated and curious about our world and I still am. There’s so much to learn and enjoy. It made me want to travel and see the places I’d read about.

Robert Louis Stephenson is a big favourite of mine. I have trekked through the Cevennes (but without a donkey) and I’ve visited his house in Samoa, where he lived and died, which is now a museum of his life and work. I also love the Grimms’ stories, the Narnia books, Arabian Nights, and the picture books of world cities by Miroslav Sasek.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I think I’d like to be Marco Polo on his Travels from Venice to China. It’s a huge journey along the Silk Route, through many nations, describing people and places both real and imaginary.

What is the best thing about reading?
Reading opens doors into new worlds and expands your mind and vision. It transports and excites you, explains complex ideas in a simple way and soothes you while taking you on a journey.

What is your all time favourite book?
The Way of the World, with text by Nicolas Bouvier and drawings by Thierry Vernet. It’s an account of a journey from Geneva to the Khyber Pass by two young Swiss men in the early ‘50s driving a very unreliable and tiny Fiat Tiepolo car. Their travels are delayed by mishaps and frequent visits to car repair shops, but their most important discovery is that it is the journey that makes you and not you who makes the journey.

The drawings by Vernet are wonderful, and so expressive and spirited, and the text by Bouvier is beautiful and moving.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
My background is in the visual arts: I’m an artist illustrator by trade. When I discovered the language of colour and picture-making I felt like I had arrived in a new land. It’s a code that we all understand, but it is so innate and subtle and it is a powerful way to communicate. I would encourage children to draw and paint and become familiar with colour. It’s so good for creating mood and atmosphere and then you can move forward to storytelling.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
My mum was a passionate reader - she took us to the library and got us signed up and we became passionate book borrowers. I still use my local library at the Barbican and it is a wonderful place. I love books and have a great library of my own. When I travel I spend a lot of time hunting in bookshops and book markets. My luggage often consists of books mostly and it is always very heavy!

Christopher Corr is an established author/illustrator whose many books have won him international acclaim. The Great Race, The Story of the Chinese Zodiac, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books on 4th January is a vibrant read-aloud story ideal for celebrating Chinese New Year which begins on 16th February 2018.

The book draws heavily on Christopher's extensive travels - always with a sketch book in his hand - throughout China as well as many visits to the British Museum researching Chinese painting and ceramics.

Christopher originally studied at the Royal College of Art, and now lives and works in London as an artist and tutor at Goldsmiths University. Folk art and colour are key inspirations for all his work.

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