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Professional fancifier of words, 30-something mother of two boys.
Author of all titles in the Picture-This Books™ series.
"Hello! I'm Holly and I'm the author and founder of Picture-This Books™ - that's me in the photo, with my youngest son - he's the real brains behind the business but more on that later. I'm so proud of what I have created in Picture-This Books™ but I'm also acutely aware that you've almost certainly never heard of me. Yet here I am, self-published and grinning in your face and trying to flog you some books. Let me explain...
I've spent most of my career to date as a retail copywriter and online journalist. For 15 years I wrote for a variety of High Street brands, as well as various media outlets. Over the years I have interviewed celebrities, written children's books for other brands, reported on major entertainment events and crafted product stories for the latest toy crazes - lots of fun.
When I was in my early 20s, I completed a distance learning course in writing for children. As with so many grand intentions, the day job and motherhood took over and I shelved my plans to write children's books. I began freelancing for Hamleys in 2010, a contract that only ended when the pandemic struck, and this allowed me to indulge my love of all things childish and brilliantly bonkers. Things were ticking over quite nicely when along came a fleeting comment that led to an unexpected change of direction and would eventually turn into Picture-This Books™.
In 2017 I took my youngest son on a half-term holiday to Northern Ireland. We had a week of fresh air, adventures, smiles and lots of chips. One evening after a busy day exploring, we were curled up in bed and I was reading him a story whilst he dozed next to me. When I got to the last few pages of the book, my son sat up to look at the pictures for the first time and remarked that something didn't look as he had imagined it. My son is autistic and often interprets information in a really original way. His creativity is out of this world but, much to my annoyance, that doesn't stop the world doing everything it can to encourage it back down to earth.
I could write pages and pages on my opinion of the education system teach-to-the-test mentality, the hollow understanding it gives our children and the side-effects of a narrowed curriculum that is increasingly lacking in creative subject choice. But you get the gist, right?
My son's comments got me thinking about representation in general, so I did some research and it led to some alarming findings.
For example, a study by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) and funded by Arts Council England, found that of the 9,115 children’s books published in the UK in 2017, only 391 – 4% - featured a character from an ethnic minority.
As for physical disabilities, neurodiversity and any other minority group, they are also grossly under-represented in children's books, especially when it comes to central characters.
Children's literature is an important tool for education but what are we teaching our children if they can't relate to the protagonists of their favourite books?
I decided to get to work on a series of fully inclusive books that give children the chance to put themselves into the stories and onto the pages in front of them.
At its core, Picture-This Books™ is a growing library of children's books, written and designed to spark the imagination, whilst celebrating creativity and individuality.
There was something else too, since I'd begun delving into the world of children's literature, I'd begun questioning the information our children receive on a daily basis. That's when I started looking into the power of affirmations, breath-work and mindfulness.
Our children don't remember a time before phones and tablets. They will only ever know their parents as plugged in and connected - always available.
Emails, social media, messaging services, the ability to order a Roman costume at 2am when you've woken in a sweat and remembered that thing at school - it's a stroke of modern genius.
It's also utterly exhausting.
Life has become one huge shouty spectacle - and it's always streaming. I decided that Picture-This Books™ would do its bit to offer an alternative. One that inspires children to steal their time back, and spend it in a universe of their own extraordinary creation."