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Q & A with Katie Cottle

Our October Read With Me book box is now on sale and I am thrilled to be launching with The Blue Giant by author-illustrator, Katie Cottle.

The Blue Giant features the tale of Meera and her mother who, on a day out to the beach, are called on by a splashy water form requesting their help in cleaning up the ocean. Clad in scuba gear, they dive beneath the waves to discover fish, crabs and whales surrounded by plastic bags, bottles and rubbish. Meera and her mum set to work, helping the creatures both above and below the waves, and draw upon the help of their friends too. Along the way, they learn about other ways that they can be more thoughtful in their daily lives in order to have a positive influence in caring for the environment.

Katie's blue planet examination is filled with engaging illustrations with plenty to talk about. Children will enjoy spotting and counting the sea creatures; plus pointing out the rubbish can lead to great discussions over what we can and can't recycle and how to protect the oceans too. I love the style of Katie's clever blue giant illustration. The mixed-media design packs so many layers into the image. It creates a beautiful contrast to the vast and clean background spaces, making the 'rubbish' seem suffocating and the joyful riot of colourful fish even more exciting.

Katie herself is passionate about our response to the world we live in. This year's publication of The Blue Giant follows on from her first picture book, The Green Giant, also published by Pavilion Children's Books in 2017. She was kind enough to squeeze in some time this week to answer some questions for us. Here's what she said:

How would you describe yourself in five words?

Illustrator, author, eater of pizza!

What makes you excited to get out of bed each day?

Coffee! And whatever I've got written on the calendar for the day. I'm not really a morning person so I do take a little encouragement (and having a to-do list totally helps!)

What is your favourite item in your artists' toolbox?

This changes all the time, but I think it's currently my rainbow pencil!

Do you have a favourite children's book - either now or from your childhood?

Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came To Tea was always one of my favourites as a child. I have so many now that it's hard to choose just one! I also love 'Home by Carson Ellis which is a bit more recent.

Who inspires you?

I like to draw inspiration from loads of different artists, but also take inspiration from other places too. I always value the help and support I get from the people around me, but I also find myself drawing a lot of inspiration from activists and stories of everyday people going above and beyond to fight for real change.

Have you been scuba diving like Meera and her mum?

Sort of! I was on holiday when I was little and we did a mini scuba diving session in the pool. I would love to go properly one day!

Can you tell us about any future books or projects in the pipeline?

At the moment, I'm in the early stages of a couple of different book projects, but I'm also spending some time on personal work, including a daily drawing challenge, which has been a lot of fun!

Thanks, Katie! We can't wait to hear about your next book release.

Did you know that you can create your own Blue Giant by following Katie' YouTube channel?

And for more crafty ideas, inspired by The Blue Giant, you can order this month's Read With Me box from the website. Inside are a host of treats for your little ones, including all the resources needed to decorate a reusable bag, a bamboo toothbrush, stickers, pompoms a treat from Katie and, of course, your own copy of The Blue Giant.

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