Illustrator Emma Dodd tells us about sharing books with her two children, about working with Bookstart and the inspiration for the Amazing Baby illustrations.
Emma has written and illustrated many books for young children, including the award-winning Amazing Baby series, which we've featured in the Bookstart packs.
The Amazing Baby series is 10 years old this year. Tell us how you came to create these books.
I don't write the 'Amazing Baby' series, though I have sometimes been involved in developing the concept of a particular book. I remember I was pregnant with my son Conrad and sketching illustrations for these books. When my baby was born of course he looked just like the amazing baby in all the books - he is now ten years old and he still looks like the pictures!
I am not at all surprised by the series' popularity [over 50 titles have been published, selling 3.5 million copies around the world!]. The books look as fresh today as they did when they first came out.
Why do you think sharing books is important?
An early love of books and reading and the sharing of books gives any child a fantastic start in life and will lead to a lifetime of enjoyment and enormous educational benefits as well.
Tell us about sharing stories with your own children.
Both my children received Bookstart packs as babies from our health visitor and again when they started school, from their teachers.
My son is now 10 and my daughter is seven. I still read to both of them every night at bedtime. Imogen now reads picture books to me as well, which I really enjoy. There is nothing like being read aloud to. At the moment we are reading 'The Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. My children share my love of stories and I will continue to read aloud to them for as long as they allow me!
We are also all members of our local library and visit every week.
Tell us how you have worked with Bookstart
I love Bookstart!
Over the years I have been privileged to have several of my books included in the Bookstart packs.
I am a passionate believer in developing a love of books early in a child's life. As I child, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful books. Some children are not so fortunate, and the gift of books is priceless. Even for children who are bought books or have them borrowed from a library, the Bookstart packs are still a wonderful gift.
It's such a thrill to know that your book is being given to thousands of children as a gift. There are books from my childhood that I still own and treasure. To think that even one child might feel like that about one of my books one day is just wonderful.