All About Eileen Browne
Eileen is the author and illustrator of Handa’s Surprise, a picture book classic translated into more than forty languages. Handa’s Surprise and Handa’s Hen have been animated by television and film companies and made into puppet-theatre productions by London’s Little Angel Theatre. Since 2004 these productions have been performing in theatres, schools, festivals and other venues. The books have sold over a million copies.
Eileen has scored another couple of “firsts” in the children’s books world:
In 2009 Handa’s Hen became the first ever book to be published in the Shilluk language of Sudan.
In 1986 Through My Window, written with Tony Bradman, was the first picture-book published in the UK and USA featuring an interracial family, where the family’s ethnicity was not part of the story.
In 1991 Where’s That Bus? was the first picture book published in the UK and USA featuring an all-female cast of animals (not counting books with inherently female animals – eg cows, sheep etc).
All Eileen’s protagonists are female, since she discovered (early on in her career) that two thirds of children’s picture-book characters were male. (In 2012, further studies show that sadly, this is still the case)
Born and brought up in the UK, Eileen has a degree in Graphic Design and is a qualified art teacher. She lived in London for many years where she taught, wrote, illustrated, ran a junior youth club and had a baby. She now lives and works in a big, busy village in Wiltshire.
In 2010 Eileen launched an on-line list of 200+ recommended multicultural picture books. It is a free resource for teachers, librarians parents, carers, publishers and bookstores.
Her aims are to inspire, enthuse and give confidence to the children.
Eileen’s School Visits
Eileen has four different options for schools, detailed outlines of these four sessions are available from on request.
Eileen will do between two and four sessions per day – depending on distance travelled.
1. Class Visits: 30-40 minutes, 3-7 year olds: maximum 30 children. How a Picture Book is Made – from first ideas to finished item: all the different stages – showing rough sketches, dummy books, colour separations, printing errors: rewriting and reworking the text and illustrations.
Eileen will read stories and show the children how a picture book is made from the first ideas to the finished item. The children will get the most of these sessions if they look at her books beforehand. There should be lots of things that they want to ask about them. Eileen will need a chair and a table either side. If you would like her to draw for the children, a flip chart and some chunky (working!) coloured felt-tips will be needed.
2. Boo Boo Baby and the Girafffe – drawing event: 40 mins, 2-5 year olds: any number of children, as long as there’s room for them to draw at the end of the session.
Eileen reads stories and draws for the children. They join in lolloping, running and galloping (on the spot) and she shows them how to draw a very simple Boo Boo Baby.
Flip-chart and chunky (working) felt-tips needed for Eileen, plus a chair and surface for her (own) books. A4 paper, coloured crayons, felt-tips, pencils etc and a hard surface to rest on for the children.
3. Handa Event: 45-50 mins, 3-7 year olds, up to 100 children can take part. Eileen reads stories, including Handa’s Surprise and Handa’s Hen. Everyone joins in ‘music and movement’ using the Handa’s Surprise CD – which she’ll bring. Eileen will show various (paper) visuals and she’ll draw for the children. Eileen will need a flip-chart, chunky (working) felt-tips and a CD player plus a chair and surface for her books.
4. Handa Fruit Event: allow 1 hour, 3-7 year olds, up to 100 children can take part.
This involves listening to stories, looking at (paper) visuals, joining in ‘music and movement’ and tasting the fruits from Handa’s Surprise. Eileen will need a CD player – and someone to operate it, flip chart and chunky (working) coloured felt-tips, chair with a table on either side – and the flip chart next to the chair.
Eileen always does a sale and signing of books, which the school advertises and promotes, preferably pre-selling in the weeks leading up to the visit.
Reviews and Recommendations
‘Eileen came to our school as part of a joint learning experience with our children and some students from a local college. The day was fantastic- really tailored to meet our requests. All learners; children, students and teachers really enjoyed listening to Eileen share stories and facts about her work. It was fantastic to meet an author and to help inspire the children that they too could become authors.’ Susie Weaver – Head, Ashley Down Infant School
‘On her recent visit to Hereford Cathedral Junior School, Eileen Browne captivated and enthralled the children with her lively, humorous and interactive workshops that brought her storytelling and books to life. The children’s experience of the day enhanced their learning and understanding of how to construct and illustrate creative stories. Eileen tailored her workshops to suit the scheme of work in Key Stage 1, spending time with each class as well as concluding her day with a captivating assembly for both adults and children. The children remember their day with fond memories!’ Barbara Bachelor – Reception teacher
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Eileen Browne, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org