All About Karin Littlewood
Karin Littlewood is an award winning, internationally acclaimed illustrator and author who lives and works in London. Originally from Yorkshire, she studied graphic design at Northumbria University, followed by an MA at Manchester Metropolitan University where she specialised in illustration. Although when asked how she became an Illustrator, the lines really do blur as she feels as if she has always been one from the day she could hold a crayon … and has never stopped drawing since!
She has illustrated over 40 children’s books, as well as writing and illustrating her own books and is published in the UK and over 20 countries worldwide. Many of her books have been nominated, shortlisted and have won awards including three Kate Greenaway Medal nominations
Karin lives in Stoke Newington in North London. A quick cycle ride from her home takes her to her studio in central London, very close to The British Museum. It’s in a wonderful old building, shared with designers, illustrators and artists – a really inspiring and creative place to be.
She enjoys travelling all over the country, giving inspiring and hands-on workshops and readings at schools, literary festivals, libraries, museums and bookshops… a wonderful chance to meet her audience.
Awards, Shortlistings and Nominations
Please Touch Museum Philadelphia Book Award 2013 – ‘Immi’ Winner
Virginia Readers Choice 2013 – ‘Immi’ Shortlisted
Delaware Diamond State Book Award 2013 – ‘Immi’ Nominated
Washington Children’s Choice Award 2012 – ‘Immi’ Shortlisted
CambridgeshireChildren’s Book Award 2011 – ‘Immi’ Shortlisted
Brazil FNLIT Altamente Recomendave – ‘Immi’ Winner
Kate Greenaway Medal-‘Swallow Journey’ 2001 Nominated
Kate Greenaway Medal- ‘Chanda and the Mirror of Moonlight’ 2002 Nominated
Kate Greenaway Medal- ‘The Most Important Gift of All’ 2007 Nominated
English Association Book Award-‘Chanda and the Mirror of Moonlight’ 2001 Shortlisted
Children’s Book Award- ‘Ellie and the Butterfly Kitten’ 2001 Shortlisted
National Literacy Association WOW Award – ‘The Colour of Home’ 2003 Winner
Stockport Children’s Book Award – The Colour of Home’ 2003 Shortlisted
World Book Day – ‘The Colour of Home’ 2005 Selected Read
Boys into Books – ‘The Colour of Home’ Selected Read
Book Ahead- ‘The Colour Of Home’ Selected Read
Diverse Voices – ‘The Colour of Home’ 2014 50 Best Culturally Diverse Children’s Books
Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library 2015 ‘Baba’s Gift’ Gold Medal
‘The Colour of Home’ chosen as one of the top 6 books for very young children by UNHCR ( The United Nations Refugee Agency) 2015.
Karin’s School Visits
Every day is perfect for an author and illustrator visit, but here are some highlights of the year:-
World Book Day, Chinese New Year, The Big Draw, National Storytelling Week, National Libraries Day, The Big Read, World Storytelling Day, International World Book Day, Adult Learners Week, National Share a Story Month, Refugee Week, Black History Month, Children’s Book Week, Christmas, International Literacy Day, International School Library Month, National Family Week, Mental Health Awareness Week, Universal Children’s Day, Inset days.
Many of the books Karin has illustrated, as well as being easily accessible picture books in their own right, can also be used as an ideal opportunity to discuss wider social issues through PSHE education in the national curriculum. She can deliver workshops which deal with topics such as bereavement and loss, depression, children with parents in prison, AIDS, Refugees, Racism and disability. Karin is happy to discuss these books and workshops which open doors to a wider understanding and respecting difference of every kind through the power of illustration and storytelling.
‘The Colour of Home’ Affecting yet optimistic, this powerful story is essential reading when discussing war and migration
‘When Dad was Away’ Sensitive picture book echoing the experience of children with a relative in prison
‘Catherine’s Story’ A warm and sensitive story about a child with disabilities
‘Baba’s Gift’ Set in South Africa, can be used to discuss Apartheid
‘Moonshadow’ Deals sensitively with the subject of bereavement and loss
‘The Colour Thief’ A family’s story of depression, a vibrant, fresh story,full of hope and love
‘Home Now’ The story of a little girl and a baby elephant, can be used to discuss bereavement
Karin travels all over the country as a professional author and illustrator, mainly visiting primary schools but regularly works with all ages and abilities- from 3 to 93 year olds! She is passionate about the power of illustration and storytelling and believes that everyone can draw, especially those that say they can’t!
From schools, libraries, bookshops and theatres to festivals and museums, including the Imagine Children’s Festival at The Royal Festival Hall, The Imperial War Museum London and North, Kensington Palace, Cheltenham Literature Festival, StarLit, Pop Up Festival of Stories and the Please Touch Museum, the Children’s Museum of Philadelphia. She has also curated events and collaborated with dancers, actors, storytellers, musicians…all bringing her books to life!
Karin’s workshops are usually based on a specific book and are very hands on and interactive. A typical school visit can begin with either an introductory session with the class/classes she is working with or an assembly if you wish the whole school to be involved. They are informative and fun and really get everyone in the mood for being an illustrator.
Beginning by reading the story, she can also show the original artwork if time allows, including all the first initial scribbles and rough ideas so the children can all get to see how the book began. It breaks the ice and demystifies the process… with all this background knowledge you can guarantee that the next time a picture book is picked up it will be a totally different experience! There’s plenty of time for questions and answers too. These session lasts between 40-60 minutes.
Following this, it’s time to work with the individual class or classes. Each session is usually a minimum of 90-120 minutes, less for nursery and reception but can also be half and full days for a more in depth approach. Karin is very flexible and the visits are discussed beforehand to suit each individual school and the workshops are adapted to suit each year group.
Karin will then show some quick, easy and effective ways of drawing…. very interactive and inspirational. Her workshops are illustration led and are very visual. Her own stories always begin with a picture and her writing is inspired by her drawings, so this the creative force and inspiration behind all her workshops. Drawing is a universal language, and the art of telling a story through the pictures you draw is powerful especially if English is not the first language.
Now the children have the chance to become illustrators too, telling a story through the pictures they draw. The room feels just like an studio now, again a very interactive session.
This can lead on to them becoming storytellers and authors, either within the workshop if it is a longer session, or can be followed up in class after my visit.
There is always a strong visual legacy and their work can be magnificently displayed within the classroom or school and act as inspiration not only to write their own stories, but can also take you in different creative directions – dance, plays, music…the possibilities are endless!
Karin has never forgotten how much she loved drawing when she was little and still feels the same way about it now as she did then! Her workshops give her the chance to meet so many wonderful creative, budding illustrators and authors all over the country … which is just as inspiring for her too!
Karin’s books take you all around the world….from your home to Africa, India, China, The Middle East, Europe and as far as the Arctic!
‘The Most Important Gift of All’ David Conway,illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘The Colour of Home’ by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘The Colour Thief’ Andrew Fusek-Peters & Polly Peters, Illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘Chanda and the Mirror of Moonlight’ Margaret Bateson-Hill, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘Baba’s Gift’ Beverley & Maya Naidoo, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘Home For Christmas’ Sally Grindley, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘Leah’s Christmas Story’ Margaret Bateson -Hill, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘The Dragon Kite’ Kenneth Stevens, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘The Day the Rains Fell’ Anne Faundez, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘Ellie and the Butterfly Kitten’ Gillian Lobel, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘Swallow Journey’ Vivian French, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
‘Moonshadow’ Gillian Lobel, Illustrated by Karin Littlewood
To purchase Karin’s books, click here.
Reviews and Recommendations
‘Irresistible pictures, tenderly and skilfully illustrated in vibrant watercolours.’ – The Sunday Times
‘There should be a copy of The Colour of Home in every classroom.’ – The Arts Council / Booktrust
‘Enhanced by expressive watercolours which capture the movements with pleasing freedom and energy’ – The Times
‘The fantastic watercolours provide amazing and detailed information of places,animals and beautifully embroidered clothes’ The Arts Council
‘Star Girl’..this dreamlike story is poetic and ethereal. The text is a good lengthier young children and there are lots of shimmering, twinkling, glimmering words to enjoy. A magical story with a real lesson at it’s heart’ – Books for Keeps 4 Stars
‘Vividly illustrated by Karin Littlewood – the spare text set against rich watercolour hues…’ The Guardian
‘Illustrated in a swish and a swash of vibrant watercolour perforated with light- a seasonal book destined to appeal well beyond Twelfth Night’ The Times Educational Supplement
‘Littlewood’s gorgeous watercolours steal the spotlight.’ Publishers Weekly
‘The illustrations are an outstanding combination of warmth, love and understanding’ Books for Keeps 5 stars
‘Beautifully illustrated …a delightful positive happy story ,it belongs on every nursery and school bookshelf’ Jacqueline Wilson
‘Karin Littlewood uses watercolours with tremendous skill to convey the dramatic events of the night with their emotional intensity’ 100 best Christmas Books, Books For Keeps
‘Immi is one of the most beautiful picture books of the year’ The Bookseller
‘Karin Littlewood’s tropically intense colours fill the book with warmth’ Chicago Tribune
‘Truly heartwarming, ‘Immi’ is a story with quite magic and beauty’ Books for Keeps, 5 stars
‘The paintings, with their expressive broad brushstrokes, bring a vibrancy to the story’ TES
‘Gorgeous ,lush illustrations and descriptive text about friendship,freedom and letting go’ The Independent
‘The magical story is enhanced by the magnificent artwork. This is definitely a book to treasure’ Irish Examiner
‘Vividly illustrated by Karin Littlewood, the spare text set against the rich watercolour hues’ The Guardian
‘The watercolour and pencil illustrations sing out throughout this book’ Playing by the Book
‘Karin Littlewood’s deceptively simple story is lit up with glorious illustrations’ The Independent (Best Winter Reads)
‘For the past four years Karin Littlewood has delivered high quality story and art workshops for children in Brent Libraries. She is a very hardworking, committed and conscientious author and illustrator whose skills and experience are invaluable in working with Brent children and their families, many of whom came from Black Minority Ethnic backgrounds where English is an additional language. Karin is a reliable and very responsible person who cares passionately about reader development service provision to children and families and how they can develop a lifelong love of reading. She is conscientious, enthusiastic, organised and methodical, and responds well to new challenges.’ – Brent Libraries
‘Karin takes the children on a magical journey; from initial sketches through to final artwork. She explains the whole process of illustrating a storybook using examples of he work. The children were thoroughly engaged and enjoyed an informative and enjoyable day with her.’ – Jacqueline Bruton-Simonds, Headteacher
‘Karin is able to get amazing results from children of all ages; because she inspires them to look beyond the pen and ink and consider the thought processes that informed the final product; because she delivers consistently no matter what the task, objective, age range or venue; because the children learn without realising that they are learning, in a cross-curricular way. But most of all, because I know that children love working with Karin and it is evident to all who observe her that Karin clearly loves working with them Karin’s book, Immi, was given to Y2, who produced some outstanding writing and artwork based on the book. Needless to say, the feedback from both the teacher and the children was extremely positive.’ –Clare Willis, Primary School Teacher
‘Karin Littlewood’s workshops are a wonderful learning experience.The children were excited to meet a real live illustrator.They were spellbound as she took them through the process of illustrating ‘The Colour of Home’ and they enthusiastically created their own illustrations. Karin has a way of interacting with children that encourages them to shine. All the schools she visited spoke highly of her workshops.’ – The Learning Trust, Hackney
‘Karin’s workshops have truly inspired the imagination of our year 2 children …vivid places, animals,people, landscapes,objects…a story unfolds.’ – Sila Chawda, Primary School Teacher
‘A fantastic day…I had no idea I had such a talented class! I learnt a lot and feel more confident about the delivery of art lessons.’ – Nicola Horseman, Primary School Teacher
‘The children were engrossed and, months later, are still talking about their experience of being an illustrator.’ – Christina Cawtheray, Primary School Teacher
‘Both staff and children thought you were phenomenal… everyone has been talking about how brilliant you were.’ – Park Hill Primary School
‘You won’t need me to tell you what a gifted artist and author Karin is. Her beautiful books speak for themselves, as does the critical acclaim she’s received and the awards she has won. Working with her editorially is a joy: her work comes from the heart and she cares deeply about every word, and the effect it will have on her reader. Outside of the studio, Karin works energetically on events of every kind, from the UK’s major literary festivals to workshops in schools and libraries. I can’t count the number of events that she’s been involved in during the three years that I’ve known her. As an author–illustrator, she brings the best of both worlds to her work with children. Her passion and knowledge, both about books and how to engage and stimulate her young audience, are clear to anyone who has seen her in action. The Pop Up Festival of Stories in showcased Karin’s skills both as a curator and performer. I followed the run up to the festival, seeing her devise and coordinate a two-day programme of events based around Immi. The energy she put into every aspect of the planning and executing of the project was phenomenal, and her attention to every detail was incredible – even on such a large scale. The result was a wonderfully imaginative, interactive event marrying storytelling, music, dance, drawing and more – all in a gorgeously decorated ‘igloo’ tent – culminating in the release of balloons carrying the children’s own messages…
‘The atmosphere in the (always packed!) tent was amazing throughout: as a storyteller and compare, Karin is warm, responsive and full of enthusiasm. Even as the festival drew to a close, her performances felt as fresh and energetic as the early ones. In her hands-on role leading children’s activities, Karin was just as impressive, encouraging children to think, experiment and engage imaginatively.
‘Karin has the knack of drawing her audience wholly into the world she is creating. In the case of Pop Up, that world was multi-media and interactive, but I’ve seen her absorb her audience just as powerfully while giving simple reading/discussion sessions. Karin believes passionately in the stories she tells, and in the importance of creativity and the imagination. She makes it easy for her audience to feel the same…’ – Emily Lamm, Commissioning Editor
To Make a Booking
To make an enquiry about Karin Littlewood, 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