Thursday, 1 November 2012

A Summer of Colour and Music

I've been looking through some photos from the Summer and found these lovely pictures of children's unrabbity creations. The first group are taken from two school visits in Hackney, it was a lovely hot Summer's day (one of the rare ones), I remember feeling quite nervous, but I needn't had as the children made me feel very welcome! They sat quietly listening whilst I read Rabbityness, then we had a discussion and the children eagerly asked the most fantastic questions. I thought at the time when I saw the sea of hands up, desperately trying to stretch themselves higher to make 'their' hand wonderfully inquisitive young children are and how different the response is sometimes when asking a room full of adults 'any questions?'! I asked the children to think of some other unrabbity things that 'Rabbit' might like to do, here are their wonderful pictures of Rabbit swimming, making a garden, eating ice-cream, dancing and sliding down a rainbow...

 The second group of photo's are taken from another Rabbity event in the Summer, at one of the most wonderful independent Children's Bookshops called 'Octavias' in Cirencester. For me, it is like being a child in a sweet shop, sooooo many delicious books, carefully chosen and where staff know each and every one of them along with their individual qualities. We made a giant didgeridoo which children coloured with stickers and paint dabbers and then attempted to play in a very similar vain to all the other rabbits in the story!!  The day was made even more special by family coming along to support the event, which always makes for a perfect day!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

And to Frankfurt we go...

'Rabbit' has company this year at the Frankfurt Book Fair...a flying pig, purple gorilla and a few other friends, excitedly bursting out to introduce themselves in 'Never, Ever'! Along with all the other lovely books from Child's Play such as 'No', 'Harold finds a voice' and 'The Red Boat' to name a few.

A very kind and thoughtful friend sent me this pic from the Book Fair today, which was much appreciated and made my day! Hopefully I'll get to see the pair at the Bologna book Fair in March.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A doubly lovely day...

Yesterday was a doubly lovely day as I spent the day with my lovely classmates from Cambridge at our graduation ceremony. We were joined by Grayson Perry who received an Honorary Doctor of Arts award for his achievements with his "thought-provoking and uncompromising" art...this was the cherry on the cake for us all! He gave a wonderful speech about following your dreams and how success should be measured by how happy you are, and in what you do...not by riches or fame.

The doubly loveliness was seeing the announcement that Rabbityness is longlisted for UKLA Book Award 2013. I'm so thrilled that Rabbityness is sat amongst such a fantastic and awesome list! 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Quick...FREE School Library Book Packs

'RABBITYNESS' has been chosen as part of a wonderful new Booktrust programme called School Library Pack – books and resources free to every secondary school in England. Register via the @Booktrust link below by Friday 5 October to get a pack for the autumn term! Or email

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Nothing exciting ever happens to me...or does it?!

Well today something exciting did happen...I saw the proofs for my new picture book 'Never Ever'! Despite the usual self doubts of 'us creative types', I think they're looking pretty good and I'm pleased with them.

The story is about a girl character who thinks nothing exciting EVER happens to her, whilst she has her nose in the air and eyes firmly closed she misses all that happens around her. The idea for the book came from me being a child who loved exciting stories, I was forever disappointed that real life in a small town in Hampshire, didn't quite match my imaginary expectations of what might be around the next corner...apart from chalk-pits. This feeling has been 'on the odd occasion' revisited more recently as an adult, at which point I give myself a good shake and open my eyes!

Hopefully 'Never Ever' will be out on December 15th, just in time for Christmas!

Here's a sneaky peak...

...and another little peak...

..and without giving too much more...

Some initial sketches...

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Use your LOAF...only 8 days to go!

8 days and counting...How many times have you heard of the latest entrepreneurial creation and thought ...'that's such a good idea, why didn't I think of that'?! Well here's another one...but the difference is YOU have the chance to be part of it, to help launch LOAF magazine onto the shelves and ultimately in the hands of young creative readers.

LOAF is a new comic magazine for 9-12 year olds beautifully illustrated and designed, crammed full of relevant and entertaining content, busting with creativity and born through story-making/comic workshops in Bristol and Cambridge.

Take a look at this little film which gives more detail about LOAF and how you can become part of it, but hurry there's only 8 days left before this opportunity closes.

Millinery - Becky Palmer

A little honey oatmeal loaf - Zoe Poster

Bagels - Elena Arevalo

Friday, 10 August 2012

Not just any bunny's tale...

Lovely piece in the local rag this week. My brother David (who Rabbityness is dedicated to and inspired by) would be soooo very chuffed. It would be his birthday next week so 'Happy Birthday David' we love and miss you loads! X

There's still time to vote for 'Rabbityness' for The People's Book Prize, voting finishes 31st

Friday, 29 June 2012

Take up the Waterstones challenge...

Would you like to read and review Rabbityness with your child?
To be in with the chance of a copy just email with the title of the book as the subject line, and include your name and full postal address too.

Terms and conditions apply:

Rabbit enjoys doing rabbity things, but he also loves un-rabbity things! When Rabbit suddenly disappears, no one knows where he has gone. His friends are desolate. But, as it turns out, Rabbit has left behind some very special gifts for them, to help them discover their own unrabbity talents! This is a stunning debut picture book by author/illustrator Jo Empson. Rabbityness celebrates individuality, encourages the creativity in everyone and positively introduces children to dealing with loss of any kind.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Rabbityness shortlisted for 'The People's Book Prize'

 "The People's Book Prize. Showcasing new titles every month in libraries and selected book stores across Britain, with only the public voting for the winners"

I'm very excited to say that Rabbityness has been lucky enough to be shortlisted for the 'The Peoples Book Prize'. It's an award which is voted totally by the public so Rabbity needs your vote:)

So If you feel the overwhelming urge please use the link here to vote
It would make Rabbity and I SO happy!

link to vote

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Better than lunch...or cheese!

Yesterday at work we had the option of replacing lunch with a 'Wallace and Gromit' workshop...need I say more, there's no competition! What a treat it was...even though I love my food I could quite happily fforfeit lunch everyday to play with plasticine. The very patient Jim Parkyn from Aardman taught us in only a hour to make a Gromit lookalikey, the fascinating thing was that even though as a group our individual Gromits were all different shapes and sizes; fat, thin, tall and small, they 'all' still looked liked Gromit! Here's my attempt, he's a bit wrinkly and more of a 'Grandpa Gromit' but still he's 'my Gromit'. I was going to attempt to do a quick little iStopMotion sketch but his head has just fallen off, so he'll have to have a little repair first! Many thanks to our excellent teacher Jim and I hope you've fully recovered!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Winston's Wish...

If you are a lovely person thinking of buying a copy of Rabbityness or any other book for that matter, please consider buying it from the link below. As a donation will automatically go to 'Winston's Wish' a very worthy charity which helps bereaved children.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

My Best Ever Easter Present...

Although I 'love' big chocolate Easter eggs, my best ever Easter present was for 'Rabbityness' to be chosen by Julia Eccleshare's for her article 'Pick of Easter Reading' in Saturday's Guardian Review. Sooo chuffed!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

A night to remember...

Wednesday 4th April was a very memorable night. We celebrated the launch of my first picture book 'Rabbityness' in Heffers lovely book shop in Cambridge. I was very touched by so many friends and family coming to support this little book and welcome him on his journey into the big world of children's books. Amy Ellis filled the book shop with the wonderful sound of the didgeridoo and children created and decorated their own instruments. What a fantastic launch for 'Rabbityness'...bon-voyage!

A very happy night with...

...and friends
...the sweetest new addition

...whilst music played

...and children created

...with special guests who read and listened!
To order or reserve a book please visit

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

HURRAH!!!...'Rabbityness' is out...

...a 'real book' with proper turny-over pages and everything!:)))

Latest News - 26th Mar 2012

Brand new picture book- 'Rabbityness' now available

We are delighted to announce that our brand new picture book, 'Rabbityness' by Jo Empson, is now available to buy!
The design of this book is stunning with unique, eye-catching artwork showing bold splashes of bright colour set against jet black silhouettes.
The somewhat difficult theme of 'loss' is also tackled with heartfelt sensitivity, making it a fanastic edition to any bookshelf or library.
We are sure you'll love it just as much as we do, so don't miss out, order your copy today! 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Lovely Review from a lovely and very inspiring lady


News from CILIP Youth Libraries Group - March 2012


March always feels like a month of promise – the clocks go forward, heralding the start of lighter nights and spring and the possibilities of the good summer we are always promised ( I know it usually doesn’t materialise but we have to be hopeful that this year it will!! ) This month you can look forward to another bumper packed issue full of information and some great give-away offers from our publisher friends. Hope you enjoy browsing through it and don’t forget – if there are any features or new categories that you think would be helpful to you and that you would like to suggest for inclusion in future newsletters please let us know.

Children’s Books Consultant and YLG Honorary Life Member, Wendy Cooling is so excited about ‘Rabbityness’ by Jo Empson being published this month by Child’s Play that she can’t wait to tell you about it!
“An exciting new talent has entered the world of children’s books; Jo Empson’s first picture book is fresh, quirky and wonderfully designed, a complete book to go back to again and again. ‘Rabbityness’, as the title and cover suggest, is set in the world of rabbits and in this world, a little removed from our own, the author/illustrator tackles the difficult subject of loss. The book is very child-friendly and will enable readers to think about loss and come to understand that there is joy in memories and in the future, as well as times of sadness. Many children simply see the fun of the book and want to do some Rabbity painting, but the real magic of it is that it quietly speaks to the child who needs its message.

The text is a treat to read aloud and the words leap through the pages just like Rabbit, the most extrovert of rabbits, does. He does lots of rabbity things but he also loves to paint and make music, in fact do unrabbity things. His disappearance is a blow to his friends but he has not left without thinking about them and enabling them to experience the joy of doing unrabbity things too.
The illustrations and the words work perfectly together to give the story both colour and wonder. Jo Empson uses colour with great confidence and so in fact it’s words, pictures, colour and design working together to make a complete book - don’t miss the end -papers as they’re part of the story too. This book will stay with me always, I love it and I love the look in children’s eyes as they notice the difference between front and back end-papers. Look carefully, enjoy - and yes get your paint brushes out - and join me in the queue of people looking forward to this illustrator’s next book.”
Rabbityness by Jo Empson will be available to buy in April.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

A feast for your eyes!

Our MA exhibition has now moved from Foyles to Cambridge and will be at the Ruskin Galley, Cambridge School of Art from 29th Feb - 15th March. Please have a look at the website for details and also to see a snap shot of the huge amount of talent on show

Here are just a few pics to feast your eyes on, as a fellow student I feel incredibly proud and immensely inspired to be exhibiting amongst such talent! I will miss the course and fellow student friends hugely!