Harry Heape

What books did you read when you were a child?
As a smaller child, I loved Captain Slaughterboard Drops Anchor by Mervyn Peake and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble - so sad! As I got older and into reading myself I read all of Roald Dahl. Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny the Champion of the World were my faves.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I would be Will in Phillip Pullman’s The Subtle Knife. I love the idea of being able to skillfully slice open a doorway into another world and stepping through it.

What is the best thing about reading?
Reading takes you to another place, it can provide adventure and escape. A love of books means that you always have an option to step into a different world, just like Will in The Subtle Knife.

What is your all time favourite book?
Really hard. Adult book, I would say The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien. Hilarious and mad in equal measure. For children it would be one of the Harry Potter books. Probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I am in awe that the whole wizarding world came out of JK Rowling’s head. How is THAT possible?!

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Listen. I think that if you listen well, you understand, and if you understand all that your child is saying, they will feel valued and will be more likely to keep communicating.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
I remember being read to from an early age and I still have many of these books at home. Richard Scarry, Dr Seuss, Harry the Dirty Dog. All sorts. As I got older, humour was a big part of growing up, we watched lots of comedy on TV which fed into my writing.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
We have read with all our children, Harry Potter has been a big part of their childhoods, SKulduggery Pleasant, Lemony Snicket, Mr Gum. These have all been great sharing experiences. I think read to your children and model reading to them - and then keep your fingers crossed!

Harry Heape is an artist, a visionary and a very successful none of your businessman. A shy and quiet man, Harry lives and writes in deepest, darkest Hahahahalifax where he spends any spare time that he has playing sweet bassoon music, collecting Crocs, and volunteering at his local monkey prison. He hopes that you like his book.

Harry’s books Shiny Pippin and the Broken Forest, Shiny Pippin and the Monkey Burglars and Shiny Pippin and the Impossible Door are available now.

Plus, look out for a brand new and exciting series due to be published with Faber and Faber in early 2020.

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