Nick Sharratt: What's Great About Picture Books
Children's author and illustrator Nick Sharratt on the magic of picture books and sharing books with kids
My name's Nick Sharratt and I'm a children's author and illustrator. I work with a variety of writers like Jacqueline Wilson, Jeremy Strong, Michael Rosen, Julia Donaldson and I write my own books too, which are for younger children. I think what's wonderful about picture books is the power that a young child has to turn images into real things for them, to actually engage with those pictures in a really intense way and to feel the sensations of what the picture's showing, and to step into the picture. I remember I go goosebumpy when I think about the picture books I had because I got so many fantastic sensations from them. Having some time to share a book with a child is just a wonderful thing to do. It's one-to-one time, it’s special time when you’re both focused on one thing together and making that story come alive through the words, and through looking at the pictures and discussing them and sort of questioning them, too, and getting as much mileage out of the book as possible. I'm really keen on encouraging drawing, as well as reading and looking at books because drawing also gives you lots and lots of advantages. It's great to have lots of paper and pencils around if you can; just something to draw on. And often great drawing ideas can be triggered by picture books, where you can carry on the story yourself or you can extend the illustration. With a lot of picture ooks, there are no rules about how you use them and particularly novelty books. So there are flaps to lift or flaps to turn and we don't necessarily have to read the whole story. You don't even have to read pages in the right order and that's quite a nice device for building up confidence when you're using a book. Also, I like to do pictures that are very lear so that they can tell the story and you can ad-lib if you want to, you don't necessarily have to read absolutely every word precisely. Make your own dialogue up. You don't need anywhere specific to read a book, you can read a book on a bus, or in a park, outdoors, anywhere really. And it's quite nice if a book is on a certain theme, like for example, one of my books is called Shark In The Park. It's great to take it to a park and read the story in the park.