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Schoolchildren in Orkney and Shetland are preparing to welcome illustrator Martin Brown this month as part of the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour. Martin will share his top tips for drawing with over 600 pupils when he visits four schools in Orkney on 11 and 12 May, with schools from Eday and Shapsay flying in especially to participate in these events. He then visits six schools on Shetland between 13 and 15 May.
Martin grew up in Melbourne, Australia. An avid illustrator of cartoons from an early age, he enrolled on a training course to become an art teacher after leaving school, before travelling the world and settling in London. It was while working at London Graphic Centre that Martin decided to pursue his lifelong ambition to become a cartoonist. Having access to the contact details of every publisher helped. One of the first publishers he contacted was Scholastic who immediately commissioned him for a series of Coping with… books before uniting him with Terry Deary to create the world’s bestselling children’s history series, Horrible Histories.
Martin and Terry have created more than 60 Horrible Histories titles over the last 22 years and the phenomenal success of the series has inspired an award winning BBC television show (season 6 begins on May 25th), global stage shows including the West End smash Barmy Britain and exhibitions at museums across the country.
Martin’s latest book is Horrible Histories: Top 50 Kings and Queens which promises to deliver a grisly countdown of fifty British rulers, from Boudica to Elizabeth II. In his school events Martin will introduce children to some of his favourite historical characters, discuss the process he goes through when illustrating Horrible Histories and encourage children to let their imaginations run wild and do some drawing of their own.
Commenting on his upcoming tour, Martin said:
"Some decisions are tough - some are easy. At the back end of last year I was asked if I’d consider doing a Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour in the spring, visiting schools on Orkney and Shetland. I love going into schools and having the chance to talk about drawing and Horrible Histories. I love Scotland - my wife’s a Scot. I love exploring and going to places I’ve never been before. I love the spring. Some decisions are tough - this one wasn’t. Visit Orkney and Shetland, schools in May? No brainer. I can’t wait"
The tour is sponsored by Scottish Friendly Assurance and organised by Scottish Book Trust. Every year schools in four local authorities in Scotland and two in England receive author visits to inspire a love of reading, writing and illustration. Destinations for 2015 include Birmingham, Fife and Clackmannanshire, and the Lake District. The tour visits both primary and secondary schools and has enthralled over 70,000 children since it began in 1998.
Commenting on Martin’s tour, Calum Bennie, Communications Manager at Scottish Friendly said:
"Bringing such a highly praised illustrator like Martin to such northerly destinations as Orkney and Shetland perfectly encapsulates what the book tour is all about. Martin’s illustrations really bring history alive for schoolchildren and it’s great that pupils in the Orkney and Shetland Isles will see him in action."
Beth Bottery, Schools Events Manager at Scottish Book Trust, which is organising the tour, added:
"We are really looking forward to visiting schools in Orkney and Shetland with Martin. His fantastic illustrations bring the Horrible Histories series to life and make history accessible, engaging and fun for young readers."
Scottish Friendly has sponsored the programme for the past 17 years, touring some of the finest children’s authors and illustrators including Malorie Blackman, Michael Rosen, Jacqueline Wilson, Melvin Burgess, Steve Cole, Michael Morpurgo, Chris Riddell and Sophie Mackenzie.
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