What books did you read when you were a child?
When I was a young child I loved any picture books that were about animals. I remember reading Judith Kerr’s beloved Mog and Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories. As an older child I particularly enjoyed Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series and of course I was completely obsessed with Harry Potter.
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I’d be Lyra from His Dark Materials because she is so bold and adventurous.
What is the best thing about reading?
I think it’s being totally immersed in another world and feeling part of a great story. I also like to imagine what the scenes and the characters might look like.
What is your all time favourite book?
There are so many books that I love, but my favourite for both children and adults is The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams. At my wedding a friend read out a short extract which was very special.
Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
There are lots of ways to express oneself other than through words. You could encourage your child to try learning a new musical instrument, to join a drama or dance class and to draw and make things.
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
My parents are both creative and they encouraged me to keep a holiday diary and I remember I had a write your own poetry activity book which was great. They also made up their own stories to tell to us at bedtime which were very funny and inspiring.
How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I don’t have children, but if I did I imagine I would start by sharing books together that I loved myself when I was younger, and explaining why I like them so much. I’d also chose books that I enjoy reading as an adult, for example, I find Lizzie Stewart’s There’s a Tiger in the Garden incredibly funny and is one that I’d pick it out to share with children.
Jesse Hodgson grew up in Marlow with her parents and little brother, Sam. She loved drawing and so when she finished school she went to London to study art at Chelsea Art College. After a year of trying all different art mediums, she decided to specialise in illustration. She moved to Bristol to study illustration at the University of the West of England and has stayed in Bristol ever since. Her first picture book, Pongo, was published in 2013 and she’s since illustrated other books including Tiger Walk by Dianne Hofmeyr and Dark Sky Park by Philip Gross. Jesse’s new book is all about red pandas and is called Pip and the Bamboo Path. It’s out in February 2019 with Flying Eye Books!
When not working on her stories, Jesse loves rock climbing, riding her bike round the city and playing the piano.
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