WILD BOOK DAY: An interview with Karl Newson

WILD BOOK DAY: An interview with Karl Newson

Today Karl Newson joins Ian Eagleton in The Reading Realm to talk about his brand new book, Wild Book Day, which is illustrated by James Brown. Wild Book Day is a fun, wacky, magical celebration of all things reading!

Before we sit down to talk about your new book, what’s your drink and snack of choice?

Coffee and Pop Tarts! Coffee is the rocket fuel that gets my cogs turning. (Without it I’d be a slug, squidging my way through each day!). And I’ve recently rediscovered Pop Tarts! I had them as a kid but not for about 30 years… till I spotted them in a supermarket a few weeks ago and my sweet tooth brain said, “Ooh yummy!”. Now I’m hooked! (If not Pop Tarts my answer would biscuits, of course. Biscuits make the world go round!)

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about your new book Wild Book Day?

Wild Book Day is about the power of books: the fun you can have with them and the times we can spend together sharing them… it’s my nod to World Book Day. I wrote it originally as poem, years ago, but luckily Sam at Owlet Press saw potential as a picture book and here we are! James Brown brought it to life wonderfully in his illustrations. 

What inspired the book?

World Book Day! Books are brilliant things. They’re little worlds of adventures, knowledge, escape, friends, love, fun – insert everything – inside a front and back cover, that we can open up and enter at any time, anywhere, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if the book could open up on its own and do all those things in our world instead?’ That’s how it began. It’s imagination, wrapped up in a love of books and a belief that everyone deserves access to books, in all forms. It’s World Book Day, gone wild!

The illustrations by James Brown are magical! Do you have a favourite?

It’s got to be the ‘THEY MUST NEVER BE SEEN!’ page, where the books and characters are hiding behind the children reading from a book. I love the power of imagination James has packed into this image. There’s loads to spot and it sums up the essence of the book perfectly. 

What’s editing process been like for this book?

There were lots of edits to trim the text to make room for James’s illustrations!! I’d guess we trimmed almost half of my original text, but Sam (at Owlet Press) did a great job of fitting it all together and making it look dynamic on the page. We tweaked a few lines to make up for the verses that were cut, too, of course. Edits are a massive part of making picture books work, both in response to the illustrations and to fit the publisher’s brand, and here Sam did an excellent job of suggesting edits and directing the story. 

Finally, can you describe Wild Book Day in three words?

Wild. Books. Fun.

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