A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Oh those lazy Sundays when it was raining outside and I’d curl up on the sofa under a warm orange blanket with a book. Those bus commutes to the office, those 4-hour train trips to Edinburgh, the endless browsing of bookshops and resulting stagger home with plenty of new reads in yet another tote bag. Of course that’s how I used to read…
… but fast forward three years and I’ve written four books (two published, one finished, one mid-edit), had a baby (now a toddler), and my reading habits have changed a bit.
It’s certainly true that I have less time to read these days. That’s just a fact. But it’s a good thing because it means I worry less about persevering with an ‘important’ book or one that everyone else seems to love, but I just can’t seem to get into. If it doesn’t grab me after a long day toddler wrangling followed by a couple of hours of writing then I move on. That whole ‘not finishing a book is the worst’ angst has gone. Yay.
I also read more non-fiction than ever. Granted there are a lot of parenting books (Sara Ockwell-Smith, Forest School Way etc.) and books containing a myriad of messy play, baking and craft ideas, but I tend to have at least one research book on the go too. Currently I’m reading Memoirs of An Arabian Princess from Zanzibar by Emily Ruete and Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi for my mg novel, The Reluctant Princess (think snow, wolves, pirates, treasure and sword fights).
When it comes to fiction I read a lot of children’s books. I started reading to my son when he was in utero and he’s built up quite the library since he arrived. He has very strong ideas about what he likes and doesn’t like (quite right too) and I’m continually delighted by this new world of brilliant and often exquisitely illustrated stories.
Of course he’s not the only one who reads more children’s books these days. Since becoming a children’s author I read more children’s books than ever. Some I read for pure joy again and again (Susan Cooper, Philip Pullman etc.) Others are written by friends I love to support and am so very proud of (Rowena House, Sue Wallman, Tracey Mathias etc.) Then there are recommendations from booksellers, librarians and bloggers (thank you so, so much, you’re all brilliant) and some from writer friends who know exactly what I’d like (that Sheila Averbuch gets it right every time).
As to when exactly I read, it’s late at night. The house is quiet, I’ve written some of my own words, edited more, the washing up’s done (maybe), the toys are tidied up (er…) and I can curl up on the sofa, tuck my feet beneath that same orange blanket, and for half an hour or so find myself in Narnia, Neverland or Nevermoor. Wouldn’t change it for the world.
ABOUT SARAH BAKER
Sarah Baker has worked extensively in film, with roles at Aardman Features and the Bermuda Film Festival, and as Story Editor at Celador Films. She has also been a writer and blogger for vintage fashion magazines. Sarah currently lives in London with her son. Her first book was THROUGH THE MIRROR DOOR, a time-slip novel for 9+ that’s perfect for fans of Emma Carroll, Katherine Rundell and Robin Stevens. Her second novel, ELOISE UNDERCOVER, is a thrilling middle-grade adventure set during WW2.