Nicholas Allan’s highly original picture books have won him several awards including the Sheffield Children's Book Award for and the Federation of Children's Books Best Picture Book Award for Demon Teddy. We asked Nicholas about the books he read as a child, and for his thoughts on encouraging children to read and write.
Q: What books did you read when you were a child?
A: I read The Waterbabies, about a chimney-sweep boy who falls in love with a girl in a bed. I also liked Tintin books – ‘The Castifiore Emerald' was the first book I read where nothing happens. I was amazed. It was just like real life.
Q: If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
A: The Prince, of course!
Q: What is the best thing about reading?
A: It tells you how other people think. Books can teach you how to know what real people are thinking. This can be very useful.
Q: What is your all time favourite book?
A: A book for grown-ups called The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. Nothing happens in it. It also has the saddest ending of all books in the world.
Q: Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
A: Argue with them whenever you can but forcing them to argue intelligently by approaching the argument with unexpected, off-the cushion shots, with ridiculous examples and similes.
Q: How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
A: By living in a two-bedroomed flat with four sons, and no privacy.
Read more author interviews here.