Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Hurray - New Picture Books Are Coming!

What has Fabula member Emmi Smid been up to? - well, she has been drawing, painting and writing and is developing not just one, but two new picture books! The first of these is a picture book that explores issues around encouraging positive body image. 

The book is called 'Minnie and Max are OK!'and it is written by Nicky
Hutchinson and Chris Calland who are specialist advisers on children's behaviour and mental health.

Introducing Minnie and Max

Without giving too much away, the story is about a little girl who's not too sure about her appearance and her loyal dog Max suffers from similar insecurities. Luckily they have an awesome grandmother and lovely friends who show them that they are totally OK! 

Children are bombarded with "perfect" role models from a very young age and so a story like this is very much needed. It is it is a very heartwarming, recognisable and endearing story and Emmi says she is very excited to be illustrating it.

Emmi strongly believes that picture books are the perfect vehicle to introduce young children to difficult, profound topics, without them feeling like they are being lectured to. Her debut picture bookLuna's Red Hat, published by Jessica Kingley Publishing, tackles the stigma of suicide and has received excellent reviews. Sensitively written and beautifully illustrated by Emmi it is designed to be read with children aged 6+ to help them cope with difficult feelings arising from bereavement by suicide. It also includes a guide for parents and professionals by grief expert, Dr Riet Fiddelaers-Jaspers.

Introducing Luna

Another one to watch out for from Emmi is a picture book that she is currently developing with the working title of Cardboard Box Village. This is a story about gender roles and diversity. Emmi says she was inspired to write it by a friend who is currently questioning their gender and potentially transitioning. In this forthcoming book Emmi aims to show how the fear of anyone who is 'different' can restrict us from working and living together and seeking strength in our differences. She has started noticing all the small ways in which we box ourselves and each other into our established gender roles. What we would achieve, Emmi wonders,  if we could let go of not only gender, but also skin colour, religion and background? 

Emmi has an illustration style that would bring many different kinds of stories to life but currently she is focusing on designing picture books that address social taboos and highlight current global topics. But can we discuss anything and everything in picture books? - this is a central concern of Emmi's work and one that she has taken part in debate about. In asking herself this she questions her own practice and ensures that her work will remain useful for it's intended young audience. 

Cardboard Box Village, follows on from Luna's Red Hat as another big and important topic that Emmi is taking on. We're confident that her new book will have the same lightness and sensitivity apparent in Luna's Red Hat and we look forward to seeing it when it's finished. Unfortunately there are no sketches to show you yet as all the illustrations are still in Emmi's head! Watch this space!

Both Minnie and Max are OK! and Cardboard Box Village will be published in 2017 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers and both books will have a guide for parents at the back.

Luna's Red Hat is out on the shelves in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, and can be ordered online through the publishers or at www.waterstones.comYou will also be able to see it exhibited at Hove Museum from December 3rd until April 2017 as part of Fabula Collectives show - "Many Ways To Tell A Story". 

For more information about Emmi Smid's work please go to the Fabula Collective website and follow links.

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