Bonkers Six-Month Update: Sainsbury’s Award, Tom Hardy and Publication Day #2…


I haven’t posted for a while which is rather naughty, so I thought I’d do a long update of everything that’s happened in the last six months or so…

Back in June, You Must Bring A Hat hit the shelves. I’ve written a bit on its journey from start to finish, which you can read here if you like.

The Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards 2016

In early September the shortlist was announced for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards, and I was delighted to discover that HAT was included in the Picture Book category, alongside some very stiff competition in Kes and Clare Gray and Jim Field’s brilliant Oi Dog! and Nadia Shireen’s wonderful The Bumblebear

The event itself – held on October 4th at Sainsbury’s HQ – was great fun, made all the better by the fact that HAT was crowned Best Picture Book AND Overall Children’s Book of the Year! This came as a huge shock and surprise given the calibre of the competition, but it was an absolute pleasure to be on such a brilliant shortlist and to meet some of the very talented and ever-so-lovely authors, illustrators and publishing folk who were there.

Kate and I even received a rather nice but very heavy glass trophy, complete with inscribed plaque. It really was quite cumbersome though, and fairly quickly ended up on the floor due to fatigue and trophy-holder’s elbow. Here, it was promptly kicked over by a fellow competitor (accidently, I must add, or so we’ve been led to believe…) and it sadly failed to survive the fatal train journey home. Oops.

 But here’s a picture of it in its peak, photobombed by four very chuffed people.


My sorrow and grief over the death of the trophy was fairly short-lived, as my attention was quickly diverted to the actual, real suitcase full of delicious cheese sent to me by my lovely and very thoughtful publishers.




I’d barely unwrapped the Brie before being informed of more exciting news: that You Must Bring A Hat is one of the nominated titles for the 2017 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. My responsibility for this is entirely zero, as the Kate Greenaway Medal is one of the most prestigious prizes in illustration for children, so the nomination is absolutely Kate Hindley’s achievement alone – so well done, Kate! The official longlist and shortlist are announced in the next couple of months, with the winner announced in June. I’ll have my fingers crossed.

Then, just before Christmas, I discovered that HAT had been selected as the CBeebies Bedtime Story for New Year’s Eve and was going to be read by the one and only Tom Hardy! Thousands of women (some of them mothers) up and down the country greeted this announcement with rather a lot of excitement, and the story gained A LOT of coverage in the press – which was all rather amusing!

Understandably, nobody was too fussed about what was being read, only that Tom would be in his pyjamas, accompanied by his dog, around about (a very early) bedtime. For me, it was a slightly surreal but fun way to cap off an exciting year and welcome in a new one. If you missed it, it’s still available at this moment in time on BBC iPlayer here.

And then, to kick off 2017, last week saw the publication of my second picture book with the lovely team at Simon & Schuster. It’s called I Don’t Know What To Call My Cat and is gorgeously illustrated by the very talented Ella Bailey. If you’d like to know a bit more about it/Ella/me, there’s a blog tour this week:


Today was the first day of the tour. Head here, to the brilliant Picture Books Blogger website, to read about my top five children’s books that feature animals.  

Happy 2017!