North London authors and illustrators create £1 stories for World Book Day

Author and illustrator Fiona Lumbers lives in Stoke Newington and is decorating the window of Crouch End's Pickled Pepper...

Author and illustrator Fiona Lumbers lives in Stoke Newington and is decorating the window of Crouch End's Pickled Pepper Books ahead of World Book Day. - Credit: Supplied

Walk past Crouch End's Pickled Pepper Books this weekend and you may spot a new window painting featuring an eager heroine with magical items flying out of a book.

It's the work of Stoke Newington author and illustrator Fiona Lumbers to mark World Book Day - when pupils traditionally dress up as their favourite characters and celebrate reading.

Fiona and fellow children's author Sita Brahmachari from Muswell Hill are among those commissioned to produce a £1 book for the annual event.

"Every child gets a £1 book voucher and can choose from 12 books," said Lumbers. "It's such an important moment in the calendar to celebrate the importance of reading - for a lot of children it's the first book they choose themselves. It's a privilege to take part."

Lumbers has illustrated Joseph Coelho's Luna Loves World Book Day. Aimed at early years pupils it's part of their series exploring the hobbies of a lively young girl.


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"Luna loves life, she loves exploring and has plans to dress up as a unicorn for World Book Day. Things don't go to plan when she rips her costume, but she meets an author and illustrator and goes to the book shop to choose a book."

The mum-of-two concedes that this March 4 will be strange with most children home schooling.

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"Even though it's a different World Book Day it will be as brilliant accessible and exciting as possible in lockdown, with lots of interactive events, workshops and authors reading."

Before the latest pandemic restrictions, Lumbers was scheduled to do a tour of independent bookshops which she says have been "a lifeline during lockdown".

"Our local Stokey Books has been great but Pickled Pepper is also brilliant and I hope the window display will be uplifting with lots of magical things to spot."

Lumbers studied Fine Art and made a living as an artist before teaching for 12 years in Holloway Prison.

"It was a tough but interesting job that felt like important work, helping people to find a new avenue of expressing themselves that they hadn't had before. It gave me a great perspective on life, not to judge a book by its cover."

Then five years ago she started illustrating children's books and loved it. Her dream of writing and illustrating her own book was realised with publication of Clem and Crab last year. Her second, Grandpa's Gift, is out in April

Luna Loves World Book Day is one of twelve £1 books available to buy with a free book token issued to pupils on March 4

Luna Loves World Book Day is one of twelve £1 books available to buy with a free book token issued to pupils on March 4 - Credit: Fiona Lumbers

"As an artist I visualise stories and writing my own has been a learning process, but I feel very lucky to have this second career getting to make stories in an exciting visual world."

Sita Brahmachari's The River Whale is also among the £1 World Book Day books.

Find out about free online events at https://www.worldbookday.com/


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