Jessica Spanyol - Author Picture

Jessica Spanyol - Author

As a child, Jessica Spanyol really liked stories and pictures but found reading and spelling difficult at school. In order to give her confidence, when she was six and a half, her mum encouraged her to make some picture books. In a couple of afternoons, she wrote: Carlo the Giraffe Who Could Not Read, Crackers the Mad Cat and Prayers for Cats. Thirty years later when she returned to the profession, she based my first characters, Carlo and Crackers, directly on her childhood books. She remembers that lovely feeling of concentration and total belief in the drawings she had as a child and it is that feeling that she likes to try to retain as an adult.

As an adult, she has spent seven years studying fine art and illustration at three different art colleges. She has done lots of different jobs as an artist including being an artist in residence at a boys' public school, an artist in residence for the Royal Shakespeare Company, a set designer, a fine art photographer and a university lecturer. Making picture books for children is by far the best fun. She really likes waking up each day knowing she can spend time making drawings. Her four year-old son Milo is a great help with ideas and editing her books. She lives with Milo and her partner Richard, who is an artist, in the east end of London.

As an artist, she draws influence from her childhood memories and from people and things around her. Her first series of books about a giraffe called Carlo was based on a book she made at six years old. Carlo was her favourite blow-up toy and named after her brother's best friend. The names of the characters in her books often come from people she knows. In Little Neighbours on Sunnyside Street, there is a dog called Ian, a bug called Keith and a pig called Kelly.She knows lots of Keiths and her next door neighbour is called Connor Kelly. Since she was a child, she has made little books for her friends and family to try to make them laugh. Now as an author and illustrator, she makes books for the people around her, her partner, her son and her friends at Walker Books.

Things you didn't know about Jessica Spanyol
1. The first word I read was “knee”.
2. I haven’t eaten meat or fish since I was six years old.
3. I live next door to a lollipop lady.
4. The name Spanyol means Spanish in Hungarian.
5. I have two older brothers and one older sister.
6. My favourite picture book is Cannonball Simp by John Burningham.
7. My mum used to call me “Sausage Pots” when I was little.
8. As a child I wanted to write picture books.
9. My first boyfriend (at the age of five!) was called Wilfred Wilcox.
10. My favourite colour is orange.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Jessica Spanyol

My Dad is Beautiful
Jessica Spanyol
A beautiful and touching story which captures the very special relationship between a father and child. A little child tells of all the things that make her think that her father is beautiful. They range from cooking sausages to making...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback | Released 03/05/2012
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Author Info

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