David Litchfield

What books did you read when you were a child?
First of all I read picture books such as Where The Wild Things Are and The Cat In The Hat. Then when I was about five years old someone gave me a copy of Asterix & Cleopatra and I was hooked. Over the next few years I borrowed as many Asterix books as I possibly could from the library. Uderzo’s amazing artwork blew me away and still inspires me greatly.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I think Moominpappa. I like his style. And he gets to live in Moominvalley which looks like beautiful place to be.

What is the best thing about reading?
Being transported to new places and taken away from reality once in a while is a very healthy thing to do. Books let you do that.

What is your all time favourite book?
It changes regularly, but the book I have come back to the most and read over and over again is The BFG. I don’t know if there is another author quite like Roald Dahl who created so many varied and creative worlds. And when matched with Quentin Blake’s artwork his books achieved total perfection. For me The BFG is the most perfect out of all that perfection.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
I am learning this on a daily basis with my two small boys. Talking to them seems like an obvious thing. I really try and engage my five year old son in as much meaningful conversation as I can. He has lots of big questions about the world at the moment, which is handy.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
My family didn’t have a great deal of money when I was very young and having things like computers and satellite TV was never an option. However, what my mum could get hold of was stacks and stacks of plain paper which I could draw on and use to make comics for my older brother and sister. I remember it was my nan who was the first one to say to me that coming up with stories and drawing them myself could one day be my job. That blew my mind. The fact that people could do that as a job was a hugely exciting prospect for me.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
We read together every night. We also try and visit the library as much as possible and discover new books. We have also made a reading nook under our oldest son’s bunk-bed which is a great place for him to hide away and read.

A current favourite in the Litchfield household is Franklin’s Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell and Katie Harnett. We love this book for the escapism factor. It is such an imaginative concept and the artwork is fantastic.

Also, Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival is another recent discovery. The story is totally magical and offers a great message. I’m a firm believer that we learn lessons from great art and I think that my son and I learnt a lot from these two new finds.

David Litchfield is an award winning illustrator who draws picture books and book covers. He works in his attic at his home in Bedfordshire where he lives with his wife and two young sons.

As well as drawing a number of books for various authors David has also written two of his own picture books: The Bear & The Piano (winner of the 2016 Waterstones Prize for Illustrated books) and Grandad's Secret Giant. He is currently working on his third author/illustrator book to be published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books in autumn 2018.

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