Bookbug Author Spotlight: Samantha Meredith

Building site and digger
Category: Bookbug

Bookbug's Author Spotlight gives you the chance to learn more about the work of authors, illustrators, and publishers connected to the Bookbug programme. This month we shine the spotlight on Samantha Meredith, author of the wonderful Flip and Find: Builders, which is currently included in our Bookbug Toddler Bag


What inspired you to start writing and illustrating for children?

I always loved drawing, and I drew a lot. Kind of all the time! When I had to write conversations in French class, I'd spend more time and effort illustrating the characters having the conversation. In English, I'd spend far too much time illustrating stories, and not enough time writing them. My school careers advisor told me there were no careers in drawing, so I should drop Art and concentrate on Maths. Fortunately I completely ignored her advice, and eventually ended up going to Loughborough University to study a degree in Illustration, where I rediscovered my love for children's illustration.


What is your favourite memory from childhood?

One of my favourite memories ever is getting our teeny tiny Westie puppy, Nessie. We were in a room with 7 or 8 little white puppies running around our feet, which was obviously amazing! And then the one I was holding in my arms fell asleep. We ended up bringing her home, and that was the most exciting day, ever.

Don't get too disheartened when you see someone else's amazing work - use it as inspiration and incentive to keep drawing, and keep improving.


What’s your top tip for sharing Flip and Find: Builders with little ones?

This book is excellent to share with little ones! There is obviously the main subject of the house build to look at, but I worked with Lorna Scobie and Sally Symes, the designer and editor, and we tried to add lots of extra background details and other stories and funny characters you can follow throughout the book. Look for some of these with your little ones!


What do you hope children will take away from Flip and Find: Builders?

I just hope children will love this book, and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed working on it.


Which books did you love as a child?

My favourite book when I was little - and probably still now - is my tattered old copy of A Necklace of Raindrops written by Joan Aiken and illustrated by Jan Pienkowski. It's a collection of absolutely lovely, dream-like short stories, each one completely magical, and the illustrations are wonderful. I also adore anything by Richard Scarry, his illustrations are brilliant and hilarious.


Is there a picture book you wish you’d written or illustrated?

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. I've read it many times and it still makes me laugh out loud.


Tell us about the view from the office/studio where you work?

The view from my desk is fairly uninspiring - I face a row of houses! But I'm fortunate enough to have a roof terrace where I take my breaks, and from there, I can watch the cats and birds and squirrels mischief around in the gardens below, and above that, I see across some of the London skyline.


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

Keep drawing: You can never do too much! Keep an eye on what's around you, on new books coming out into the world. Use social media to connect with other illustrators - there is a great network of illustrators on Twitter who really support and encourage each other! Or if you're less social, it's a good way of keeping up to date with what other people are working on. But don't get too disheartened when you see someone else's amazing work - use it as inspiration and incentive to keep drawing, and keep improving.

What do you enjoy doing other than writing/illustrating children’s books?

I love cooking... And eating! Sadly though, I'm a horrible baker. I've tried many times, but my cakes are always a disaster, and usually taste of hard, wet, spongy egg.

What’s your favourite thing about your local library?

There is an amazing children's section in my local library - it's absolutely huge! It's not tucked away in a tiny corner, like children's sections sometimes are. Also, adults are not allowed in without a small person to accompany them, which is very cute!


Flip and Find: Builders is published by Campbell Books. If your little one loves Flip and Find: Builders, why not try these other great Lift The Flap Books for babies and toddlers?

You can also see how one family shares Flip and Find:Builders in their native language on our Bookbug Bag Videos page.