Tuesday, 20 October 2015

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal nomination

Over the moon to find out that '15 Things Not to do with a Baby', written by Margaret McAllister and illustrated by me, has been nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016.

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people. To be a nominee alongside such talented illustrators is an absolute honour.

Thank you to Frances Lincoln Children's Books for believing in Margaret's story and me as a new illustrator!! Thank you to Kathryn Ross from Fraser Ross Associates, for being the best agent in the world... And of course a HUGE thank you to the CILIP members for putting our book forward for this award.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Seven Stories - Rhyme Around the World Exhibition

My work in the Rhyme Around the World Exhibition
Seven Stories has relaunched this summer after undergoing a huge refurbishment to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.

I'm extremely excited to have my illustration from the Over the Hills and Far Away - A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes from Around the World  (Seven Stories and Frances Lincoln, 2014) in the brand new exhibition, Rhyme Around the World. This fabulous exhibit invites families to step into their favourite and nursery rhymes and discover new ones that are shared across the world.

In this multi-sensory show, there is the opportunity to explore the original artwork commissioned by Seven Stories for the Over the Hills book, collected by Seven Stories co-founder, Elizabeth Hammill.

Story-time in the Attic space
My sister Robyn reading her favourite children's book
Exploration in the newly designed book shop

Saturday, 22 August 2015

*** NEW BOOKS *** 'Everyone Feels' Series

Here are some sneaky peeks of some work I have recently completed for QED Publishing (Quarto Publishing UK imprint).

This is a four book series written by award-winning author Moira Butterfield. Each book focuses on a different emotion (Happy, Sad, Angry and Scared), looking at why children may feel a certain way and how they can deal with their emotions.

A little more info from Amazon:
Every title features two stories, each told from a child’s point of view, which involve common scenarios or situations. For example, the main characters interact with each other through the series, sharing experiences that readers can easily relate too.

These sensitive stories reassure young readers and provide them with a vocabulary which helps them to express and understand their feelings as they grow up and encounter different situations. 'Story words' in each book explain words simply and gently.

Beautiful, fun illustrations from an award winning illustrator, plus supporting text for parents and teachers ensure children get the most from the books.

Looking forward to all four books coming out in 2016.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Hiccups! proofs are in..!

Photo of the Hiccups! proofs
Hurrah!! They are in!

I was very happy to recently receive the colour proofs for my next picture book with Frances Lincoln. The title of this book is 'Hiccups!', and it is the very first book where I am both the author and illustrator... eek!!

This little story was inspired by two special people and two special dogs in my life... My niece May and her dog Max, and my bestie Beth and her dog Osca.

Without giving too much away, the story follows the two main characters who are working through a rather irritating/tricky issue together. As inspired be the relationship between May and Max, and Beth and Osca, it's all about the strong bond between the two of them... and you can find out a little more when it comes out in Spring 2016...

To be continued...

Summer Reading Challenge has started!!!

Both myself and author Margi McAllister are very excited and proud to have '15 Things Not to do with a Baby' included in this year's list for the Summer Reading Challenge run by The Reading Agency. This is the UK's biggest reading promotion for children. Those participating could have the opportunity to become a Guinness World Record title holder.

You can sign up for this year's challenge by popping into your local library, selecting six books of your choice, collecting stickers and other awards along the way.

If you live in Sunderland, you can check out See it do it, to stay up-to-date with events taking place at libraries across the city.

And don't forget to grab a read of '15 Things Not to do with a Baby', of course.  :)

Happy Reading!! x

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Borders Book Festival, 2015

With my wonderful agent Kathryn Ross outside Harmony House
Melrose Abbey, looking through Harmony Garden
Last weekend I travelled to Melrose to host my very first festival event at the Borders Book Festival

BBF is set in the National Trust for Scotland's glorious Harmony Garden, offers a vastly diverse programme of events for all ages and is organised by a friendly and passionate group of people.

I was honoured to be amongst such talented authors and illustrators in this year's programme, such as Vivian French, David Almond, Nick Sharratt and David Melling.

The wonderful families who took part in my storytelling and drawing event discovered how I created my characters for 15 Things Not to do with a Baby, had the opportunity to create some of their very own and had a sneak preview of my next book to launch with Frances Lincoln Children's Books in Spring 2016. 

The event was followed by a book signing in the Harmony Garden Bookshop where we had the opportunity for a little more chatting...!!

Enthusiastic families getting down to some illustration 
Little faces!
Harmony Garden Festival Bookshop

Thank you very much to Borders Book Festival for the invitation and the brilliant organisation! Look forward to being back in Melrose again soon!

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!