Nurture a child’s love of reading says children’s illustrator Lisa Stickley

With four projects on the go, life is busy for children’s author and illustrator Lisa Stickley, writes Rebecca Magill.

From a grumpy bee called Bartholomew, to a weather-obsessed reporter called George, she spends her time creating a host of wonderful characters.

But her newest project covers a subject matter you wouldn’t expect to find in a children’s book.

“I’ve actually written a book about losing someone,” said Lisa, 44. “My mum died from pancreatic cancer in 2020 and I started painting that day.

“I was going on long walks and started painting clouds. I found that really connected me to mum.

“I’d already written a book about the weather, so I started using these paintings to illustrate it. It feels like she’s there helping me a little bit.”

Lisa, who lives with her husband Richard, 43, and their two children aged 5 and 7 in Forest Hill, trained as a textile designer and used to have her own company.

Lisa Stickley

Her two most recent children’s books include Bernard Makes A Splash, about a swimming pool manager who only practices his diving at night and The Wobbly Waitress, where Mabel the giraffe waitress has the hiccups.

But she only started writing for children after a sudden discovery made her put words down on paper.

“I’d always written quirky things and I could paint and draw. But the night we found out we were pregnant with our second child I sat up till 2.30am and wrote my first children’s book.”

“We fell pregnant so quickly that we were both so shocked. My husband went and did the weeding in the garden with his headtorch on,” she said.

The result was Handstand, a charming book in which a child attempts to do a handstand and readers count down the seconds while learning days of the week.

“I love writing rhymes. It takes ages and is like a virtual jigsaw puzzle. I think if people are going to pay money for something it needs to work. I like to add layers,” said Lisa.

Signed copies of Lisa’s books are available from her website

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