Save the Children | Wonderbooks
last updated 11 December 2019
Wonderbooks is the amazing new children’s books subscription service from Save the Children. They aim to make children’s world a little bigger and a little better with real-life bedtime stories inspired by children around the world. We are very proud that three Bright artists were picked to illustrate the launch titles.
Each artist worked on the stories of different children; Asif and the Songbird illustrated by Andrés Landazabal, Seima and the Storm illustrated by Lucy Semple and Munni’s Rooftop School illustrated by Katie Rewse.
Here, we go behind the books with the artists and find out what goes into illustrating these incredible tales…
“It was a joy to collaborate with Bright on this project. The artists were so enthusiastic and professional and agent Robyn’s expertise was invaluable.”
Francesca Fauvet, Save the Children UK
‘Asif and the Songbird’ illustrated by Andrés Landazabal
I felt an enormous amount of responsibility to do justice to this story. Although I personally haven’t had the same experiences as the characters in the book, it was very important to me to be as genuine and honest as I could with the illustrations, so that I could honour their story.
The fact that it’s a children’s book but also at the same time a story about real hardship was a balancing act to keep the book accessible to kids while never undermining the story. My hope is that I was visually honest with the illustrations and that they helped to reinforce the story we were trying to tell.
I think it’s so important, especially now, for young kids to see themselves and other kids like them in real, honest stories. There’s so much stuff out there in mainstream media and social media that is showing idealized or false versions of people. Wonderbooks publishes real, important and relevant stories for young children around the world today.
Working with Wonderbooks was both creatively fulfilling and extremely inspirational. I’m very proud of the work we were able to make together and I hope to work with the amazing team at Wonderbooks again soon.
You can see more of Andrés’ work here.
‘Munni’s Rooftop School’ illustrated by Katie Rewse
I was so inspired when I heard about Munni and her Rooftop School, and so I was super happy to be able to play a part in telling her story. The Wonderbooks team were great to work with, they sent me videos and photos of the real-life Munni and her rooftop school. They explained about the work that Save the Children had been doing in Patna, and how the team there had met Munni.
Working on this project was a bit of a dream, not only because it felt like such a worthwhile cause, but also because I am so fascinated by India! I love the vibrancy and I am so inspired by Indian patterns and fabrics. It was a challenge for me to work with such bold colours, as in the past my work has been a lot softer. Although it was really exciting to be telling a story based on real-life, I also found this a slight pressure, as I was anxious about getting the details right, and I wanted Munni to like the illustrations!
The Wonderbooks stories are a fantastic way of introducing how children around the world are living differently, whilst subscribing to the scheme will support the work of the charity. I think that children will really gain a lot from reading these books.
You can see more of Katie’s work here.
‘Seima and the Storm’ illustrated by Lucy Semple
I first heard about Wonderbooks when Robyn at the Bright Agency got in touch with me about it. We scheduled a Skype chat so I could get to know the work they were doing, to learn everything I could about Wonderbooks, and most importantly to hear about the real children living in Cambodia’s floating villages.
Going into this project knowing I was reflecting the life of a real child called Seima from Cambodia made it feel a lot more important than my usual work. I wanted to not only show the difficulties she and her community faces but also the joy and vibrancy of the world she lives in. I wanted to be as accurate as I could in reflecting Cambodian people and their culture. I spent a lot longer than usual researching for this book in order to make her world as realistic as I could.
I think Wonderbooks is an amazing service; not only do you get to enjoy lots of wonderful books but in doing so your supporting a fantastic charity to enrich the lives of the very children who grace those book’s pages!
You can see more of Lucy’s work here.
For more information and to subscribe to Wonderbooks, visit their site.
To work with Andrés, Katie or Lucy, or if you’re looking for an illustrator on a similar project, please get in touch with Robyn.