Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Quentin Blake to publish 'inclusive' children’s book

Sir Quentin Blake has written and illustrated a children’s book for 5-7 year olds, The Five of Us (Tate Publishing, September), about five friends, each with an unusual ability.

Disaster strikes on a day out in the countryside but the friends - Angie, Ollie, Simona, Mario and Eric - work together to save the day.
One character uses a wheelchair, one has a stutter and another's eyesight is impaired but Blake said he never mentions disabilities because "it's all about abilities".

“My friends are just five ordinary children who happen to be amazing,” he told The Bookseller.

He said: “The book makes use of the old folk-tale idea of five servants or five brothers each of whom has special powers.  Of course, as it says on the first page, my story takes place 'not long ago' (actually it might have been last week) and 'not very far from here'."

Blake said the book was initially rejected by another publisher but that Tate Publishing, who last year published Three Little Owls, an Italian rhyming story illustrated by Blake, responded with “immediate enthusiasm”.

Roger Thorpe, publishing director at Tate, said he “jumped at the opportunity” to take on the project. “Quentin mentioned he had some plans for a book that he’d been thinking about for years and asked whether the idea of a book about children going on an adventure who happen to have a different kinds of ability might be of interest… My sister was a wheelchair user all her life and it struck me as odd how few children’s books are truly inclusive,” he said.

The Five of Us will be released in hardback (£11.99) on 4th September.

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