What books did you read when you were a child?
I loved all stories about adventures, discovery and nature’s wonders. Treasure Island, The Wind in the Willows and The Little Prince were some of my childhood favourites.
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Probably The Little Prince, as a child I didn’t have the blond curls but loved the idea of visiting planets and talking to a fox.
What is the best thing about reading?
Reading increases our understanding of our own identity, improves empathy and gives us an insight into the worlds of others. But above all, it inspires us!
What is your all time favourite book?
I eventually graduated to reading my older sister’s books and discovered she had impeccable taste. To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye were two such finds. I guess the books we read in our formative years are the ones to make a lasting impression.
Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
All children have a natural curiosity about the world so anything that taps onto that will help with engagement and communication. I had a subscription to a weekly kids’ newspaper, which I always used to look forward to. Museum and gallery visits are also immensely valuable.
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
I never thought my parents actively encouraged my writing but I guess they did; I remember being handed a notebook, described as a ‘travel diary’, whenever we went on our family summer holidays and I was encouraged to write all about the places we visited, sights we’d seen.
How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
For the first stages of reading and a joyful ‘reading togetherness’ I recommend animal stories. The characters are easy to identify with for all ages and there’s usually a lot of humour in the stories!
Yuval Zommer graduated from the Royal College of Art with an M.A. in illustration and pursued a successful career in advertising before returning to his true love of children's literature. Following the release of his debut picture book, The Big Blue Thing on the Hill, Yuval hasn't looked back. Yuval’s latest title for young inquisitive minds is The Skies Above My Eyes, the follow up to the popular The Street Beneath My Feet. Both books are an expansive concertina format, opening to 2.5 metres of one continuous journey, full of amazing sights along the way. They are both illustrated by Yuval, written by Charlotte Gullian and published by words & pictures.
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