The My Happy Life chapter book series is one of the most acclaimed and loved we’ve published at Gecko Press. The books have attached themselves firmly to many of us working with them over the years, so as booksellers, publishers and designers, we asked ourselves what we’ve enjoyed most about My Happy Life.
Anete Melece is a Latvian author and illustrator. On Wednesday 23rd September she took over the Gecko Press Instagram account to share her journey of becoming a freelance illustrator, how she created The Kiosk, and what she is working on now.
Wordless picture books can be magical. With no text pulling our eyes away, adults and children can explore the pictures together, and together tell the story.
A challenge for publishers is to continue to be brave in what we choose to publish. Gecko Press has always chosen books that are not mainstream, that are curiously good and that look at the world in ways that surprise us. It is tempting to start looking towards the soft books that are likely to sell in droves. But if ever there was a time to not publish safe, it is now.
I am particularly fond of books which feature kind characters, especially when those books are for children and young people. Here are some that are new and some that have been part of my life for a long time.
I’ve lived my whole life with Joy Cowley’s stories and was totally stunned when I was invited into the Gecko Press office and asked if I’d like to illustrate a collection of them. I felt pretty daunted, but also very excited and I couldn’t wait to start drawing.
Leo Timmers’ new book, Monkey on the Run, has all the characteristics of his picture books. As an illustrator, Leo asks the reader to look—then look again, and again. He uses collisions, movement, problem-solving, colour and humour in his plot. Here he talks about how Monkey on the Run developed as a story, even demanding new technique.
The Most Astonishingly Unconventional Children’s Books of 2018 by The School Library Journal. One of them is Inside the Villains by Clotilde Perrin.