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We have been asking children’s writers, illustrators, lecturers and journalists:

‘Are picture books for children, or adults can enjoy them just as much?’

Below you will find a different but very interesting answer from an independent bookshop:





Kenilworth Books:


Yes certainly! If you look at our shelves then, yes the vast majority of picture books published are for children. However, we know very well from long experience that when beautifully illustrated books for adults come in to stock, they are extremely popular and of great interest. You can tell that adults buying books for children are swayed enormously in their choice by their love of the illustrations. We hear ‘oh that’s beautiful’ and ‘what gorgeous pictures’ all the time – parents and grandparents don’t often buy purely functional books for children. And you do notice what a difference it makes to a books popularity to have a good and interesting cover illustration (whatever the popular saying would have you believe!). There are many glorious illustrators working today – and many older children’s, young adult and adult books for which the right illustrator would be a really wonderful addition; it seems a shame not to match them up. If you think of recently published adult novels like The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton or The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern for example, oh what an opportunity they would be for an illustrator! You could say the same with our best selling Young Adult novels like Deep Water, by Lu Hersey and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. When we do get novels in stock for which illustration is part of the book – notably Phoenix and the Varjak Paw books by SF Said, they have a sales record and an interest – and from our point of view a saleability – that places them well above many of their peers. This is a recent thing to exclude illustration in all but very young children’s books, and it’s such a shame. Even just in terms of reissued books – we’d love to see Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination republished will all those stunning illustrations by Harry Clarke; or Sherlock Holmes with all those beautiful little engravings, MR James’ ghost stories with all of James McBryde’s etchings still in place. It’s a shame that we only hear adults cooing and squeaking with delight at the colour and image that tumbles about in our children’s section. It would be nice to extend that noise to the rest of the shop.



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Others’ responses:


  • Read Jackie Morris’s answer here.
  • Read Pam Dix’s answer here
  • Read Vivian French’s answer here.
  • Read SF Said’s answer here
  • Read Emily Drabble’s answer here.
  • Read Pippa Goodhart’s answer here.
  • Read Nicolette Jones’s answer here
  • Read Nicola Davies’s answer here
  • Read John Shelley’s answer here
  • Read Bridget Marzo’s answer: here
  • Read Zoe Toft’s answer: here
  • Read Ehsan Abdollahi’s answer: here
  • Read Celestine and the Hare’s answer here.
  • Read Frank Cattrell-Boyce’s answer here.
  • Read Emmi Smid’s answer here.
  • Read Tamsin Rosewell’s answer here
  • Read Anahita Teymorian’s answer here
  • Read Azita Rassi’s answer here
  • Read Jessica Shepherd’s answer here
  • Read Jill Bennett’s answer here
  • Read Suzanne Carpenter’s answer here
  • Read Mathew Tobin’s answer here
  • Read Chris Meade’s answer here
  • Read Miriam Halahmy’s answer here
  • Read Anna Perera’s answer here
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