Joel Stewart

What books did you read when you were a child?
According to my parents I memorised Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Areand would flip through it reciting the text before I could actually read. Actually reading on my own it was probably something by Roald Dahl -maybe George’s Marvellous Medicine.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I certainly think most people have behaved, or needed to behave, like Max from Wild Thingsat least at some point in their lives

What is the best thing about reading?
It’s hard to pinpoint a best thing about something so important in so many ways. These days I do really notice that reading a longer narrative leaves my brain feeling more ordered and ready to cope with the world (the internet often leaves me feeling the opposite). It gives you windows into different worlds, but it also gives you a map as to how to navigate the world closer to home.

What is your all time favourite book?
As with colours I don’t know that I actually have a favourite, but Tove Jansson’s Moomin books have always been very important to me from a very early age and I continue to re-visit them most years. Also her novel The Summer Book. There is a book of Italian Folk Tales collected by Italo Calvino which I love (and which my father read to me when I was quite young, to link back to the first question). And a collection of Nabokov short stories… see I’ve started now, so an all time favourite won’t be pinned down either.

Prize-winning illustrator Joel Stewart is known internationally for his Dexley Bexley picture books. He illustrated The Complete Peter Pan (Alma Classics), out now.

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