Bookbug Author Spotlight: Jess Stockham

Chipmunk and baby on cover of Feeling Great
Category: Bookbug

Bookbug's Author Spotlight gives you the chance to learn more about the work of authors, publishers and illustrators connected to the Bookbug programme. This month, author and illustrator Jess Stockham answers some questions about her work. Jess is the author and illustrator of Feeling Great, which is currently included in our Bookbug Toddler Bag


What's your top tip for sharing 'Feeling Great' with little ones?

Try and make this book a real sharing event - a chance to engage, relax, play, imagine, and cuddle up! The phrase 'Just like me' under the flap makes a great catch-phrase!


I wanted to be an outlaw, like Robin Hood...or a princess....or a cowboy...or any hero or heroine I'd been reading about!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to do anything that involved drawing or painting or making - anything creative, in fact. And I also wanted to be an outlaw, like Robin Hood....or a princess....or a cowboy...or any hero or heroine I'd been reading about!


How do you get over a creative block?

I most often go for a walk, but I find most of my good ideas come to me when I take a shower - I can be a long time in the shower!


What books did you love as a child?

Anything that had bright, colourful, easy-to-understand pictures. I think the pictures helped me learn to read by association. My first book I remember reading was The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss - I've been told I learnt the words by heart and pretended to read, prompted by the pictures! I also loved Tin TinRupertThe Moomins (see image below), and a book I was given about American Indian tales and legends.


Where do you get your inspiration from?

I don't consciously think about getting inspiration. It nearly always comes when I'm doing something else. I seem to take in a lot of stuff, some of it seemingly insignificant, which stays in my head until the time is right to come out again. When it does come out it's often very different and it feels like I've had a breakthrough!


Moomins go fishing

What are you reading just now?

I've just finished reading The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, (author of The Day of the Triffids). I read it years ago and had forgotten how it ended. It was great, better than I remembered, so well worth reading again! It's made finding the next book to read a bit tricky - I've started a few but none have gripped me in the same way.


What's your top tip for budding authors or illustrators?

To try and do stuff that you find exciting or connect with and to enjoy what you're doing as much as possible. I think somehow that connection/excitement/enjoyment will always come across in the work.


It's never too early to start exploring feelings with your little ones - here are 9 more Books about Feelings for you to share with your toddler.

Read more Bookbug Spotlight Q&As with authors, illustrators and more here.