Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr

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Judith Kerr was born in Berlin in 1923 into a Jewish family. Her father was a drama critic and a distinguished writer whose books were burned by the Nazis. They fled Germany just before Hitler came to power, and went to Switzerland, France, and eventually Britain. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, her 1971 children’s novel, recreates this experience, and won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1974. During the war Judith worked for the Red Cross helping wounded soldiers before winning a scholarship to study at the Central School for Arts and Crafts.

Although she always dreamed of becoming a famous author, it wasn’t until her own children were learning to read that she started to write and illustrate books for children. The Tiger Who Came to Tea, was the book that launched her career in 1968. It started as a favourite bedtime story that she was asked to tell again and again to her three year old daughter Tacy, and it has gone on to sell over 5 million copies and has never been out of print.

Her wonderful series of Mog stories came from observing the strange things that their own family cats did. Judith says,

‘Our first family cat was called Mog and I was so amazed by the weird things she did –licking my daughter’s hair as she slept –that I made a picture book. My current cat, Katinka, makes me open the back door for her, like a person; I don’t know how she’s done it.’

Judith says that she cannot remember a time when she didn’t want to draw. She says,

‘I need to work. I don’t know what I’d do if I wasn’t working. Even if one’s made a total mess of the work all day, you go to bed and you think: well, tomorrow I’m going to redraw those legs, or whatever it is.’

In 2012 she was appointed OBE for services to children’s literature and Holocaust education. She lives in a house in Barnes where she has lived for the past 51 years. She has a daughter called Tacy who is a designer and a son called Matthew who is a novelist.

Books by Judith Kerr

The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
The Mog series (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Bombs on Aunt Dainty (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
A Small Person Far Away (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
When Willy Went to the Wedding (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
How Mrs Monkey Missed the Ark (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Birdie Halleluyah! (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
The Other Goose (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Goose in a Hole (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Twinkles, Arthur and Puss (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
One Night in the Zoo (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
My Henry (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
The Great Granny Gang (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Judith Kerr's Creatures (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
The Crocodile Under the Bed (Harper Collins Children’s Books)
Mr Cleghorn's Seal (Harper Collins Children’s Books)

For more information about Judith Kerr please visit:

John Burningham

John Burningham

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John Burningham was born in 1936. He went to an alternative school called Summerhill where children were free to pursue their own interests and he was allowed to focus on what he really loved doing: art. He left school with one certificate in English and failed all his other subjects but he went on to study illustration and graphic design at the Central School of Art, graduating with distinction in 1959. Many illustration commissions followed including iconic posters for London Transport, before the publication of Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers, John’s first book for children which won the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration and heralded the beginning of an extraordinary career.

John Burningham has since written and illustrated over thirty picture books, that have been translated and distributed all over the world. His best known works include Mr Gumpys Outing, published in 1970, and Granpa, published in 1984 and adapted into an animated film. Granpa was based on the relationship of his youngest daughter Emily with her Granpa who used to live next door.

John says, People say Granpa is about death. I think the point of it is the relationship between the very young and the very old. There is a bonding, especially between grandfathers and young children.

John often draws on his own family for ideas. Avocado Baby was prompted by his youngest daughter’s love of avocados and desire to eat them all of the time when she was a baby!
John does lots and lots of sketches of his characters and his text and illustration are worked out together.

He says. ‘I don’t write a story and then do the illustrations. I have to know what’s going to be on every page. I do endless little sketches which represent pictures and text.’

Tug of War was republished in 2012, and a special edition of Borka, celebrating 50 years in print, was published in June 2013. Picnic appeared in the autumn of 2013 and The Way to the Zoo was published in the UK in 2014. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang celebrated its 50th year in print with a limited hardback edition published in 2015. Motor Miles was published in 2016.

John is married to the illustrator, Helen Oxenbury. They have three children, four grandchildren and a dog named Miles. They live in London.

Some books by John Burningham

Motor Miles (Jonathan Cape)
The Way to the Zoo (Walker Books)
There's Going to be a Baby (Walker Books)
It's a Secret! (Walker Books)
Edwardo: the Horriblest Boy in the Whole Wide World (Red Fox)
The Magic Bed (Red Fox)
Granpa (Red Fox)
Avocado Baby (Red Fox)
Mr Gumpy’s Outing (Red Fox)
Would you Rather? (Red Fox)
Hushabye (Red Fox)
Borka: the Adventures of a Goose with No Feathers (Red Fox)

For more information about John Burningham please visit: