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Yasmeen Ismail

Irish-born, Bristol-based Yasmeen Ismail is an award-winning author, illustrator and animator.

After co-founding a successful animation production company, Yasmeen changed her focus to writing and illustrating picture books.

Her first picture book ‘Time for Bed, Fred’ with Bloomsbury Publishing, won the V&A Best Illustrated Book Award and The New York Times Best Illustrated Book award. It was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, and nominated for the National Cartoonists Society “Silver Reuben”Award.

Following the success of her debut picture book she has been nominated for her other works many times since and has been selected by the Society of Illustrators to have her work shown in the Original Art Exhibition in New York four years in a row. She continues to work on picture books for Bloomsbury, and Nosy Crow, and hopes to create more Kiki and Bobo novelty books with Walker Books.

Yasmeen loves to work with watercolours, pens, crayons, pastels, pencils and paints and likes to experiment with all sorts of other mediums. She loves to experiment and expand in all areas of her work and is constantly trying to improve her writing and drawing.

Yasmeen Ismail is represented by Arabella Stein — to work with Yasmeen please email Arabella


“Two Problems’innovations pay off: “Fun, clever, and empowering, this is the rare case of a sequel that outshines its predecessor,” Kirkus writes in a starred review. And Averbeck and Ismail are currently at work on a third installment, in which Sophia will undoubtedly continue to grow, change, strive, and thrive.” - Kirkus Reviews

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‘In this third title in the series, 6-year-old Sophia, who has brown skin and wears her hair in three puffballs, has a conundrum: Her art falls short of her expectations, so she crumples it up in frustration after showing it to Noodle, her pet giraffe. Aided by her attentive teacher, Ms. Paradigm, who agrees with Sophia that “Art is hard,” she comes to understand some things about perspective that improve her painting she calls Love. At home, she lobbies for permission to display her art on the family’s new stainless steel CoolKitch (TM) fridge. (Readers will recall she used this skill effectively to get Noodle in One Word From Sophia, 2015.) She must convince Mother, the judge (who is also pregnant); Father, the businessman; Uncle Conrad, the politician; and Grand-mamá, the “head curator.” Ultimately it’s Noodle who helps Grand-mamá, the toughest critic, see the art and their family from a better vantage point. Readers might never have encountered the words “ossicones,” “curator,” or “censorship” before, but they will have a good idea of what each word means after reading this story, especially with the help of the robust glossary. Ismail’s whimsical watercolor-and–colored-pencil illustrations of this interracial family will entertain and delight while they inform. She captures Sophia’s shifting attitudes particularly well as the determined protagonist pleads her case for abstract art.

An art-positive story rich in love, determination, and delightfully big words for brains of all sizes. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)’

Starred review from Kirkus.

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“An energetic celebration of girls and boys being who they are, not who they feel they should be. Gender stereotyping is rightly a hot topic for children’s books and toys, so this is perfectly timed” — The Bookseller

“Set to be a roaring success showcasing pure artistic brilliance on each and every spread. Yasmeen is a super talent to keep a keen eye on. Simply magnificent” — The Booksniffer for ‘Specs for Rex’ by Yasmeen Ismail

“A hilarious, not-ready-for-bed book starring Fred—an irrepressible and irresistible dog—and his diversionary tactics, in whose spirit parents and children will lovingly find the familiar.

Fred is a bedtime-avoidance pro. When the clock chimes 8 o’clock, he’s off and up to his old antics. The owner’s affectionate yet exasperated remonstrations aptly capture a parent’s bedtime struggle, as Fred continues to hide and make mischief. He pretends a chair, laundry basket—and, yes, the parent’s bed!—is his own. At last, Fred’s asleep, tucked in to the appropriate bed. Playful illustrations in an autumnal palette will endear the pup to readers, as he gleefully climbs, digs and splashes through mud. Ismail applies her watercolors skillfully, capturing the precision of Leo Lionni’s collage work and the exuberance of Mary Blair’s palette. Each mark has an energy, purpose and thought to it. The sophisticated and loose artwork is the ideal match for the simple, emotive text.

A perfectly designed read-aloud for the bedtime staller. A sheer delight!” — Kirkus for ‘Time for Bed, Fred’ by Yasmeen Ismail


Yasmeen Ismail was longlisted for the World Illustration Awards 2022 for ‘Take Off Your Brave’, with poetry from Nadim (aged 4), published by Walker Books.

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Shortlisted for the Oscar’s Book Prize 2021 for ‘Would you like a banana?’. Published by Walker Books.

We are thrilled that Bright’s Yasmeen Ismail has won the 2020 World Illustration Award Professional Children’s Book Category with her picture book ‘Would You Like a Banana?’, published by Walker Books.

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Selected for the BookTrust’s Great Books Guide 2020 with ‘Nuts!’, written by Lou Peacock (Nosy Crow), and ‘Would You Like a Banana?’ (Walker Books).

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‘Would You Like a Banana’ picked for the Pathways Book of the Week, Jan 2020.

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The NCS ‘Silver Reubens’ are given for outstanding work in various fields of cartooning, including illustrated books, and Yasmeen is in excellent company among the other globally renowned nominees including Marla Frazee and Shaun Tan. Nomination for ‘Time for Ben, Fred’ by Yasmeen Ismail

Longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 for ‘Time for Bed Fred’, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

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Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2014 with ‘Time for Bed Fred’, published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books.

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