Tuesday, 31 March 2015

The Independent on Sunday

The Independent on Sunday
On a journey from Sunderland to Liverpool last Sunday, I was extremely happy to receive messages on social media telling me that I was in The Independent, with 15 Things Not to do with a Baby being listed as one of the '12 Best Children's Books of 2015'.

I've been totally overwhelmed with people's responses to my first picture book and this news has absolutely topped it off... with a full spread in the paper and a HUGE image from the book. It is such an honour to be amongst talent such as David Walliams, Tony Ross, Jacqueline Wilson, Nick Sharratt and Sally Gardner.

Here is the review of the book in the article...

Review by Rebecca Davis, Saturday 28 March 2015
Older brothers and sisters will appreciate Margaret McAllister and Holly Sterling’s 15 Things Not to Do with a Baby (Frances Lincoln, £11.99), a humorous take on the conflicting emotions that younger siblings can inspire.

The 15 illustrated tips range from not letting the baby play with an elephant to more worryingly-plausible suggestions, such as not wrapping the baby in brown paper with a view to popping him or her in the post. It also offers a few handy hints about what you should do with a baby and will prove a useful tool in teaching toddlers the benefits of caring and sharing.

15 Things Not to do with a Baby's list of achievements to-date: 

  • Books for Keeps - Book of the week in January
  • Books for Keeps - New Talent
  • Book Trust - Books we like: February 2015
  • The Reading Challenge - Listed book for the Summer Reading Challenge
  • The Independent - Listed as one of the 12 Best Children's Books of 2015

Thursday, 19 March 2015

School Visit - Acklam Grange School

I recently visited Acklam Grange School in Middlesbrough to be interviewed by three ambitious pupils (Eeman, Kajol and Amran) for BBC News Day. We spoke about life as a children's book illustrator and how I balance it with a passion for teaching and competing in karate! It was definitely the most interesting interview that I've had to date.

Check out their coverage here... Acklam Grange: Students catch up with Holly Sterling

Friday, 27 February 2015

Included in the Summer Reading Challenge 2015

I am happy to announce that my first picture book, 15 Things Not to do with a Baby (written by Margaret McAllister and published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books) has been selected for this year's book collection for the Summer Reading Challenge 2015, Record Breakers.

There are two lists - one for younger children and one for older readers. You will find 15 Things in the collection for younger readers (ages 4-7).

The Summer Reading Challenge is the UK's largest reading event for children and is organised by the charity The Reading Agency. If you would like your children to be involved in this year's challenge, pop into your local library, sign up, select your six book titles and collect stickers and other rewards along the way. You can do all of this for FREE... so go and get signed up!!!

Happy reading!

Friday, 30 January 2015

15 Things Not to do with a Baby - Launch at Seven Stories

Celebrating with my 7 year old niece, May.
May checking out the entrance display at Seven Stories.
Had the most amazing evening of my life last night at Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books for the launch celebration of my first picture book, '15 Things NOT to do with a Baby', written by award winning author, Margi McAllister. It was a overwhelming turn out by many of our family, friends and supporters.

I would like to thank Margi McAllister for writing a dream of a text, full of fun and silliness! Thank you to Janetta Otter-Barry and Frances Lincoln Children's Books for believing in the book, trusting in me as a new illustrator and making it a reality. Thank you to Andrew Watson from Frances Lincoln, for being a fabulously talented designer to work with.

Thank you to Elizabeth Hammill and Seven Stories for their ongoing support of me as an illustrator and friend. 

A combined thank you to Nicky Potter and the Seven Stories team for organising such an amazing launch celebration. It was completely magical night.

A very special thank you to my agent Kathryn Ross and partner in crime Lindsey Fraser for simply being the best!!

Lastly, I would like to thank those family, friends and supporters who couldn't join us on this special evening!

As an added note, I am happy to share that I have been announced as Books For Keeps 'New Talent' this month. You can read their fabulous review of the book here... http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/issue/210/childrens-books/reviews/15-things-not-to-do-with-a-baby

We have also been announced as one of the Book Trust's 'Books we like: February 2015'.

Other reviews of the book:

Book Trust http://www.booktrust.org.uk/books/view/34170

Mirrors Windows Doors http://mirrorswindowsdoors.org/wp/review-15-things-not-to-do-with-a-baby/

Parents in Touch http://www.parentsintouch.co.uk/Book-reviews-fiction-age-2-to-5-page-14

Red Reading Hub https://jillrbennett.wordpress.com/2015/02/02/family-matters/

The Bookbag http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=15_Things_Not_to_Do_with_a_Baby_by_Margaret_McAllister_and_Holly_Sterling

Books In My House https://littlebooktastic.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/15-things-not-do-do-with-a-baby-written-by-margaret-mcallister-illustrated-by-holly-sterling-frances-lincoln/

HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at Seven Stories

Meeting HRH the Duchess of Cornwall
HRH signing the Seven Stories guest book
On Wednesday 28th January I was honoured to receive an invitation to attend a visit by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to Seven Stories, National Centre for Children's Books. The Duchess is a passionate supporter of initiatives and organisations that promote literacy and the enjoyment of books and reading, so Seven Stories was the perfect place to have included in a visit to Newcastle.

The Duchess enjoyed a tour of the building and we then had the opportunity to meet her over a cup of tea in the bookshop. She signed the Seven Stories guest book and was presented with a specially signed copy of 'Over the Hills and Far Away' by Elizabeth Hammill, which she said she would enjoy reading to her grandchildren.

This visit marked the start of an important year for Seven Stories, who are celebrating their 10th birthday in the summer. Keep your eyes peeled for many exciting events to follow this year, starting with a refurbishment of the building in the spring.

Photographs courtesy of © Damien Wootten Photography.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Mother Goose Odyssey

Me, Elizabeth and Rita after the event
Last week I helped the co founder of Seven Stories, Elizabeth Hammill to give a talk at Explore, the lifelong learning centre in Newcastle upon Tyne. Elizabeth told the story of the creation of Over the Hills and Far Away, which was selected as one of Seven Stories' 50 best culturally diverse children's books (see the Diverse Voices List). My part in the event focused firstly on my contribution to the book but also on my empathy for the importance of representing the diverse society that we live in today in books that we make and share with children.

Elizabeth's review of the day...
"How do you capture the excitement, discoveries, adventure (and hard work too) involved in the journey undertaken to make a collection of nursery rhymes from across the English speaking world illustrated by 77 international artists - established and new? 

We had two and a half hours to do just this with a wonderfully responsive group of students at Explore in Newcastle. 

Together we all went on a Mother Goose Odyssey - unfolding the story of the creation of Over the Hills and Far Away in words and pictures, and of our roles as researcher, collector, compiler, artist finder - rather like an exhibition curator - and as a new artist winning a competition to create a double spread for the book. It was a new team experience for both of us - invigorating and fun. Perhaps we'll be able to do it again!"

A snippet of an event attendee's review...
"Together they took us on the journey through the production, publication and launching of the book. The amount of diligent work, as well as the inspired thinking in the development of this book, was inspiring. I think my words echo the thoughts of all present. A wonderful session. Thank you."

Thank you to Explore and Rita for organising a wonderful event full of enthusiastic students.

Holly and Elizabeth x

Thursday, 8 January 2015

15 Things NOT to do with a Baby is LAUNCHED!

So here it finally is... 15 Things NOT to do with a Baby. This is my first picture book for Frances Lincoln and first time illustrating the text of award-winning author, Margaret McAllister.

As soon as I read the story, I knew I had to illustrate it! It involved a cute new baby (tick), it was hilarious (tick) and revealed an interesting relationship being siblings (tick).

We are very happy to announce that the book is currently 'Book of the week' with the UK's leading independent children's book magazine, Books for Keeps. You can also read my FIRST BOOK REVIEW, written by Ferelith Hordon, right here.

Although the book is officially released and for sale, we will be celebrating the launch at Seven Stories (National Centre for Children's Books) on Thursday 29th January. To say I'm excited, is an understatement!