Day 2 Maurice Saxby Mentorship


Visit to Books Illustrated

Ann Haddon and Ann James made us feel very welcome in their beautiful home, gallery and bookstore. Books Illustrated is the iconic heartbeat of children’s literature in Australia, specialising in sales of original artwork, limited edition prints and signed books. We had the most wonderful two hours with the two Ann’s. They have a wealth of experience and expertise and were only too happy to share it with us.

We discussed the publishing market and what opportunities there are out there. They wanted to know what we all wrote and who illustrated their own work and from this information they brought out a fascinating collection of published books to fuel our imaginations.

We talked about publishers that take risks, like Allen Unwin’s ‘The Memory Book’ by Neil Curtis. I didn’t know about this book and borrowed it from the library later in the day and it’s just wonderful.


So is Scholastic’s Hugo Cabret. A novel in equally depicted with pictures and text.


We also looked Alison Lester’s ‘Sophie Scott goes South’ and ‘One Small Island’ published by Penguin, enjoying hearing about the care and collaborative process that was taken to produce these books.



We talked about Nadine’s work, a hybrid Graphic Novel and looked several graphic novels including Nathan Jurevicius’s ‘Scarygirl’. I’d never seen anything like this before, it was amazing! And the amount of work that must have gone into it. Wow!


We discussed what publishers want: Young Adult fiction, Young Adult Romance – Penguin have just started a series, historical based fiction is still popular as are  environmental books.

We then looked at three books that Ann James has recently illustrated, one of these she wrote & illustrated. It’s called Bird and Bear. This is a delightful picture book about a discovery (his reflection!) published by The Five Mile Press.


Then we looked at ‘I’m a Dirty Dinosaur’ written by Janeen Brian and illustrated by Ann James. This picture book has been printed in a fascinating format. It has thick gl pages (but it’s not a board book) and it has beautiful (and very safe) rounded edges. This is such a cheeky, catchy little story, it’s loads of fun. The illustrations are delightfully simple and gorgeous using mud, yes, MUD from a dam. Ann just couldn’t get the effect she wanted too with watercolours. It’s just so cool.


I’m a dirty dinosaur,

With a dirty snout.

I never wipe it clean,

I just sniff and snuff about.

Sniff, sniff, snuff, snuff,

Sniff and snuff about.


Ann very kindly signing a book for me.

Visiting Books Illustrated was a wonderful way to spend a wintery afternoon, we all had such a ball. Thank you so much to both Ann and Ann for sharing their passion for Australian picture books. I have since made a follow up appointment with Ann to sort out my art portfolio (be brave!)

The Books Illustrated showroom is opened by appointment

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Neridah McMullin

Photo By: Prue Sheed



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