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We had a wonderful time with the members of Picture Book Club at Waterstones Reading on Tuesday. Share in our excitement by reading a blog post by Picture Book Club founder Fiona Barker: 


What a treat to welcome Tiny Owl to Picture Book Club in October at Waterstones in Reading. This independent publishing company with a passion for beautiful picture books has been creating quite a buzz lately so we felt especially honoured!

Delaram Ghanimifard sent her apologies as she was busy blowing the Tiny Owl trumpet at the Frankfurt Book Fair. In her stead she sent her husband, Karim Arghandehpour, a director at Tiny Owl and their son, Classics PhD student Matin. Karim kicked off with an introduction to Tiny Owl, followed by a fascinating insight into their inspiring company ethos; to share the beauty, art and diversity of picture books with everyone. I know this touched a nerve with me and all the other members on the night. Some of us are aspiring writers or illustrators. Others just love reading picture books. But we are united by our passion for the genre and it was really wonderful to hear from a publisher who cares so deeply about creating something special.

Karim and Matin then shared a little bit of the story behind some of their current titles. We felt privileged to have a sneak peek at some of the new books they have coming out. My personal favourites were The Lion Tattoo for older PB lovers and the wordless trilogy, Little Eli, both out soon and both on my shopping list!

Finally, Karim spoke about the current Tiny Owl call for submissions which closes on 31st October. All the PBC members applauded their search for stories of hope to balance the all too widespread feeling of despair and fear that seems to hang over us. I know several of them went home with pen poised! As an aspiring writer with lots of submissions always on the go, it was reassuring to hear Karim is personally working his way through every single one of the hundreds of submissions they have received so far. Let us hope he finds the little flicker of hope that Tiny Owl are seeking so that they can bring it out and illuminate the darkness of the news and media coverage around us.

You can see the video of Karim’s talk on our Facebook page here. This was our second foray into social media live broadcasting and it was gratifying to see people joining us on the night for the first time. A testament to the interest that people have in this innovative publishing house.

As always at Picture Book Club there was a chance to stroke books and eat cake after the talk! Several of us PBC members have been unable to resist the pull of a Tiny Owl book in the past but there were not many who went away without a new title in their book bag. Karim was right to highlight the art and beauty of the books in his talk. There is something jewel-like about the colour and quality of a Tiny Owl book that sets them apart from the ordinary. It is a joy to own one! I couldn’t resist Bijan and Manije especially as it has been edited by another friend of Picture Book Club, Nicolette Jones.

October marked the first birthday of Picture Book Club. Of course, we celebrated with a cake (expertly made by Kate Poels). It was a pleasure and privilege to share the occasion with such a warm and forward-thinking publisher. Thank you, Tiny Owl!

Fiona Barker – Picture Book Club founder


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