I realised the importance of reading quite quickly as soon as I started my career as a teacher. I worked with children who struggled with reading and I saw first-hand how much harder they found everything in school. Reading aloud in class was a struggle for them and they often shied away from reading in small groups. I also found my passion for writing whilst teaching and decided to merge my two loves of reading and writing. I’m inspired by illustrators such as Axel Scheffler and Sir Quentin Blake so decided to try my hand at illustrating. Whilst at university I studied fine art and have always enjoyed illustrating so also utilise this skill for my own books as well as other authors around the world. I’ve written several books and use personal experiences to inspire my writing and work.

Literacy and reading is a big deal for me, which is why I tailor my books to ensure reading is a clear theme within the books. I also adore lovable characters that children can relate to, especially ones with a wild streak! I have now written another book with a new character, Alpharat. Let me tell you a bit about him. His bizarre hobby is stealing letters from anything: signs, posters, shopfronts, he’s not picky, as long as he can collect letters then he’ll take them! However, there is a reason for this strange obsession and all will be revealed in the book.

I’m delighted to partner with Beanstalk for Alpharat, they have worked with me to ensure that the 40 years’ of experience of reading with children could be utilised in my book. I am donating 20p of the profits from my book to the work that Beanstalk does. We will be officially launching the book on the 2nd February at WHSmith Bluewater in Kent so watch this space to find out more details!

- Joe -