I think it's key to bring children to libraries from an early age to show the wide range of books that exist and that there is a book for every kid!
One of the many rewarding aspects of sponsoring the UKLA (UK Literacy Association) Book Awards every year is the chance to meet some amazing authors and illustrators.
We caught up with Mariajo Ilustrajo winner of this year’s 3-6 book prize as voted for by teacher judges to ask her about her ideas and inspirations behind her thought provoking picture book, Flooded.
What inspired you to write and illustrate this special story?
I created Flooded during my Masters in Children's Book Illustration. My main aim during that project was to come up with a new, fresher artistic voice. The whole story developed from a single image I created in the printing room (a few animals walking on the Oxford Circus platform).
From there I started sketching different animals around the city and questioning what the story was about. On a rainy day I came up with the idea that perhaps the city got flooded and everything went from there. It was a very iterative process and changed a lot during development.
How do you hope that it will inspire young children?
In an organic way the book became an allegory for climate change. I hope reading about this helps adults to have a discussion with children about climate change from an early age.
Do you have any memories about going to the library as a child?
Sadly, I don't have too many memories of the library from when I was a child as I came to books much later through illustration. Which is strange because my dad loves reading and there were always books around. As a kid, I wasn't too keen on reading (perhaps because I wasn't offered appealing books to me at school. Which is one reason libraries and librarians are so important!) But it was the effort of my sisters to hand me books that they enjoyed when they were my age that got me interested in reading. This inspired my third book coming next February!
Do you think a school library have an important part to play in inspiring literacy engagement?
I think it's key to bring children to libraries from an early age to show the wide range of books that exist and that there is a book for every kid! I think my problem was that all the books that I had to read at school were mostly classics, which I found pretty boring. So having the possibility to explore the other books out there and be able to choose what they want to read and enjoy is really important.
Find out more about all the UKLA Book Award winners