What books did you read when you were a child?
I grew up in Czechoslovakia, so I was surrounded by books illustrated by Jiří Trnka, Květa Pacovská, beautiful pop-up books by Vojtech Kubasta and of course Krteček (Little Mole) by Zdenek Miler. For those who are interested in the world of illustration and animation, these names are not unknown.
If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
Pippi Longstocking. Being free, funny, kind and excited about almost everything.
What is the best thing about reading?
The fact that a book can take you anywhere. A good story can take you beyond your own imagination.
What is your all time favourite book?
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.
Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Talking to them. The best talks happen when you go for a walk together. Ask children questions, let them talk, listen and treat them with respect.
How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
I was dyslexic at a time when nobody was interested. My parents always supported me in everything I wanted to do and I always wanted to do art. My ambition to write came a bit later in my life, when I started to illustrate books.
How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I used to read picture books to my girls but my wife read the chapter books. I would choose books with good illustrations. The girls and I used to draw together and we used to make up stories together as well.
Petr Horacek was born in Prague and studied at the Academy of Fine Art. After graduating in 1994, he moved to England. His first two picture books were published in 2001, winning the 'Books for Children' Newcomer award. Since then he has won a string of other international prizes and distinctions. His latest book is called The Last Tiger. It is a picture book for young children with a serious message for adults, published by Otter-Barry Books.