Kate Milner

What books did you read when you were a child?

I loved Dr Seuss. It was the illustrations that grabbed me, thrilling and scary in equal measures. Green Eggs and Ham, with its repetitive, lilting rhyme and extravagant imagery was probably my favourite as a young child.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?

I would be Winnie-the-Pooh. He is cheerful, loyal and has the time to dream up all sorts of interesting schemes, while apparently able to eat huge amount of honey without damaging his health. I’d like to be Winnie-the-Pooh but I think I’m really Eeyore.

What is the best thing about reading?

Getting lost in another world, learning new things about people, the sense of justice done and everything set to right at the end of a story.

What is your all time favourite book?
At the moment I am obsessed with The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker. It seems to me to express the unvarnished truth about the relationships between men and women.  

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?

Involve them, ask them what they think and listen to their answers.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?

My mother was a great reader and she read to my sister and I every night for years. Her favourites were The Hobbit, Stig of the Dump and the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Mum was born on the Canadian prairies in the depression and I felt, when she read me The Little House on the Prairie that she was telling me what her own childhood had been like.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
We carried on reading to our son at bedtime until he was around fourteen. We went from picture books to Animal Farm via How to Train your Dragon, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. His dad had his own list of books to read that he enjoyed and so did I. It felt important that we, the grown ups were also interested in the stories we were reading.

Kate used to teach and work in the local library where I felt most at home in the children’s section. She remembers thinking that this was where she belonged, among pictures and stories meant for children. When staff were cut she decided to go and study on the MA in children’s book illustration at Anglia Ruskin University and it was this course that opened the world of publishing to her. She won the V&A Student Illustrator of the Year award in 2016 and her Masters project was published as My Name is Not A Refugee, which also win the the Klaus Flugge Prize in 2018. It’s A No-Money Day is about the difficult realities of children’s lives and will be published on 15th October.

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