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Nicola Killen - Author

About the Author

Nicola has always loved drawing and still likes nothing better than taking her sketchbook to the zoo to draw her favourite animals – rhinos and penguins of course! Nicola was designing Christmas cards before she started an MA in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge School of Art. Her final show won Egmont's Best New Talent Award and since then she has been working on her own picture books. In her spare time Nicola enjoys cooking for friends, visiting museums and singing (but only in private!). She lives and works in Cambridge, England.

A Q&A with Nicola

Where & when were you born?

I was born in Cambridgeshire in the 1970s.   My Mum and Dad still live in the house I was born in! 

Where do you live & who with?

I live in Cambridge in a shared house.  Sadly we're not allowed to have pets, otherwise I would have a dog!

How did you first start writing/illustrating?

I've always loved drawing. I did a degree in Graphic Design but specialized in illustration. I spent 18 months training to be an accountant after university but following a holiday to Cornwall decided to try and make a living from illustration. I started making handmade cards, then designing cards for publishers. After working in-house at a couple of design companies for 7 years I decided to apply for the MA in Children's Book Illustration at Cambridge. When doing the course we were encouraged to come up with our own ideas to illustrate and that's how I started writing.

What inspires you?

I tend to be inspired by little things that people say or do. If I hear something funny, I'll jot it down in my notebook.  Sometimes it will stay there for several years before it develops into an idea. I love visiting galleries, watching films and drawing for visual inspiration.

Have you won any awards for your work? A Blue Peter badge and expandable sponge! - When I was about 12 I was a runner up in a competition designing a computer graphics sequence for Children's BBC.  My idea of a sardine can opening was made and used for several months!

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Creative, hardworking and a bit silly!

What do you do to relax?

Drawing, visiting museums and galleries, watching films, and singing along to the radio (badly)!

Where do you write?

I write anywhere - I make notes in a notebook or sketchbook if I get an idea so I don't forget it!  When I have an idea, I'll start to develop a sequence of pictures to go with it and this usually happens in my studio which is a small office I share with two friends.  Sometimes it's so hard to find any space on my desk I have to tidy up first!

Featured books by Nicola Killen

Fluff and Billy

Fluff and Billy

3+ readers

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/10/2011

A stunning new picture book from a hot new talent in children’s illustration, recently shortlisted for the Nottingham Children’s Book award with her stunning Not Me!.  It's a beautifully observed story of friendship and forgiveness, which toddlers and young children will instantly connect with through the engaging and simple text and striking illustration.  

Other books by Nicola Killen

My Name is Bear

My Name is Bear

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 30/05/2019

Bear can't wait to introduce himself to his new neighbours because he thinks he has the best name in the world! But when he learns his neighbours' names he can't stop laughing and his comments become more and more rude! Will Bear ever learn some manners? This hilarious new story from Nicola Killen about a bad-mannered little bear is perfect for sharing with children aged 3 years and up. Ideal for little ones who are going to preschool for the first time or learning to play with others, this funny story introduces children to key themes such as sharing, manners and learning to accept others as they are.

Ollie's Magic Bunny

Ollie's Magic Bunny

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2019

Ollie and her toy Bunny have been waiting for the day that the rain would stop and they can play in the puddles... Finally that day has arrived! But when a magical breeze of blossom turns Bunny into a real rabbit, Ollie's day takes an unexpected turn. After Bunny runs off with the other rabbits, Ollie has to find and save her beloved pet toy! Just like Bunny, Nicola Killen's charming illustrations bring this delightful adventure to life.

Ollie's Magic Bunny

Ollie's Magic Bunny

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/03/2019

Ollie and her toy Bunny have been waiting for the day that the rain would stop and they can play in the puddles... Finally that day has arrived! But when a magical breeze of blossom turns Bunny into a real rabbit, Ollie's day takes an unexpected turn. After Bunny runs off with the other rabbits, Ollie has to find and save her beloved pet toy! Just like Bunny, Nicola Killen's charming illustrations bring this delightful adventure to life.

Bobo & Co. Opposites

Bobo & Co. Opposites

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Board book Release Date: 01/03/2018

Hello! Meet Bobo the panda and his friends Snap the crocodile, Riff the giraffe and the rest of the gang in this enjoyable and engaging new lift-the-flap first concept series - perfect for inquisitive little minds everywhere! Bobo the Panda and his friends are playing! First, all the toys are IN the toy box and soon all the toys are OUT of the box. Open the large flaps to see all the differences in this funny and simple story about opposites. Gorgeous illustrations with very cute characters mean preschoolers will fall in love with Bobo and Co. Publishing alongside a board book about shapes. Fans of Tilly and Friends and Poppy Cat will enjoy lifting the flaps to see more of the story.

Bobo & Co. Shapes

Bobo & Co. Shapes

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Board book Release Date: 01/03/2018

Hello! Meet Bobo the panda and his friends Snap the crocodile, Riff the giraffe and the rest of the gang in this enjoyable and engaging new lift-the-flap first concept series - perfect for inquisitive little minds everywhere! It's Bobo's birthday! His play tent is a triangle and his presents are all squares! Lift the large flaps to find the triangles, squares, circles and more in this funny and simple story about shapes. Gorgeous illustrations with very cute characters mean preschoolers will fall in love with Bobo and Co. Publishing alongside a board book about opposites. Fans of Tilly and Friends and Poppy Cat will enjoy lifting the flaps to see more of the story.

Carw Nadolig Olwen

Carw Nadolig Olwen

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 08/09/2017

Bobo & Co. Numbers

Bobo & Co. Numbers

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Board book Release Date: 10/08/2017

Hello! Meet Bobo the panda and his friends, Snap the crocodile, Riff the giraffe and the rest of the gang, in this enjoyable and engaging new lift-the-flap first concept series - perfect for inquisitive little minds everywhere! Bobo the panda is playing hide and seek with his friends. How many friends can he find? Open the large flaps to see where they're hiding in this funny and simple story about counting. Gorgeous illustrations with very cute characters mean pre-schoolers will fall in love with Bobo and Co. Also launching with a board book all about colours. Fans of Tilly and Friends and Poppy Cat will enjoy lifting the flaps to see more of the story.

Bobo & Co. Colours

Bobo & Co. Colours

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Board book Release Date: 10/08/2017

Hello! Meet Bobo the panda and his friends, Snap the crocodile, Riff the giraffe and the rest of the gang, in this enjoyable and engaging new lift-the-flap first concepts series - perfect for inquisitive little minds everywhere! Bobo the panda and his friends want to paint a picture for their friend Snap, but oh-oh! Things get a bit messy! Open the large flaps to see what has happened in this funny and simple story about colours. Gorgeous illustrations with very cute characters mean pre-schoolers will fall in love with Bobo and Co. Also launching with a board book all about numbers. Fans of Tilly and Friends and Poppy Cat will enjoy lifting the flaps to see more of the story.

Ollie's Christmas Reindeer

Ollie's Christmas Reindeer

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/11/2016

When a jingling sound wakes her from her sleep, a little girl's dreams come true when she meets a lost reindeer in the forest. Setting off on a magical adventure together it soon becomes a Christmas never to forget. Nicola Killen's evocative illustrations are sure to enchant in this beautiful book with die cut pages, foil and flashes of festive red colour.

Ollie's Christmas Reindeer

Ollie's Christmas Reindeer

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/11/2016

A beautiful tale of a magical, snowy adventure on Christmas Eve... When a jingling sound wakes her from her sleep, a little girl's dreams come true when she meets a lost reindeer in the forest. Setting off on a magical adventure together it soon becomes a Christmas never to forget. Nicola Killen's evocative illustrations are sure to enchant in this beautiful book with die cut pages, foil and flashes of festive red colour. 'One of those rare birds: an original and entertaining Christmas story with its own understated charm' Kirkus Reviews

I Got a Crocodile

I Got a Crocodile

Author: Nicola Killen Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 28/02/2013

A little child longs for a brother or sister, but instead, gets a crocodile! It follows them around all day long, causing terrible trouble at teatime and big bother at bedtime. But without the crocodile the child is sad. Only the crocodile knows how to be a royal dragon, or a big, green slide, or a pirate island! The child always wanted a brother or sister but getting a crocodile is much better! This heart-warming tale is full of beautiful illustrations that will appeal to all children.

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