Joe Berger Visit and Interview

World Book Day Visit

On a very snowy World Book Day BGS Juniors were treated to an exciting assembly and visit by the author and illustrator Joe Berger. He is the author of the Lyttle Lies series and his art work appears in the Guardian. During the assembly he spoke about his book series and how drawings can tell stories words cannot.

During the assembly Joe showed the Juniors a video introducing Lyttle Lies the he had animated himself. After this he gave a reading from his first book The Pudding Problem which the students really enjoyed.  He spoke about how many of the incidents that feature in the book are based on things that actually happened during his childhood. He then went on to talk about why he likes drawing as a way of telling stories. He showed the Juniors several of his favourite examples of this. He used examples to show how you don’t have to be great at drawing to convey emotion. With the help of the students he drew pictures of Sam and Pudding the Cat to show how small changes to the face can show how characters are feeling. He ended his assembly by giving a another reading and talking to students about what to expect in his next book.

The visit from Joe Berger was a great addition to our World Book Day. The students were thoroughly entertained by the talk (which is no small feat when they are all in fancy dress and it was snowing heavily). Many of the students have been inspired to draw stories of their own.

Interview with Year Six Book Club

Once assembly had finished Joe sat down with the Year 6 Book Club for an interview:

  1. Have you always wanted to be an illustrator?
    Yes, I’ve always wanted to be an illustrator. I’ve always loved drawing. I’m left handed and always used to accidentally smudge my drawings which put me off drawing for a while. It took me a long time to realise that I should just carry on. I now draw for a living and my comics are in the Guardian.
  2. What is your favourite thing to draw with? Do you use pencils, ink or a computer?
    I like to use pencils and ink pens. Although I do use colour I prefer working in black and white.
  3. What is your favourite animal?
    My favourite animal is a cat. I have a cat and a dog, but I’m not much of a dog person. It’s a bit of strained relationship with my dog.
  4. What did you want to be when you were in year six?
    When I was in year six I wanted to be a soldier. So much so that I made my mum ring the recruitment people. Turns out they don’t recruit children … [pauses for a bit]… I’m not actually sure that six actually called them.
  5. Are there things that you wanted to include in your new book but couldn’t fit them in?
    Yes there were. I grew up in Bristol and used to go to the Kingsdown Fair. I wanted to include something like that in my new book.
  6. What is your advice to anyone who wants to be an illustrator/author?
    That’s a good question. My advice for aspiring authors and illustrators would be to carry a note book all the time and write down the interesting things that happen. Also use it to write down any ideas you have. It’s a good practice to get into and that way you don’t forget any of your ideas.
  7. Is there anything that you’d like to write in the future?
    I really like writing funny stories. I would love to write something more fantastical. That would be exciting.  [Student asks whether he’d like to write for the Beano]. Yes, I would like to do that. Have you all heard about The Phoenix? I’d like to draw for them too.
  8. What do you like to read in your free time?
    This might sound strange, but I like reading the rules for board games. I have about 230 board games. Lots of them are in my house, but most of them are in my studio. [students erupt into a conversation about board games- consensus is reached that Qwixx is a great game]
  9. What book do you wish you had written?
    Oh, that’s a great question. Hmm. Have you read Holes by Louis Sachar? It is an amazing book and really funny too. I wish I had written that. Also the Tin Tin books. I loved reading them when I was growing up.
  10. Who are your idols?
    Charles Addams. He was the creator of the Addams Family. Do you know the films? It used to be a comic strip and I still find them really funny.
  11. What is your favourite thing to draw?
    I like to draw people. [Gets his notebook out and shows us drawings of people that he has done recently].
  12. In your book Sam is accused of microwaving a tennis ball with cheese in. Have you ever microwaved a tennis ball?

    [Laughs]. No, I haven’t.

We’d like to thank Joe Berger for visiting us on such a snowy day and we can’t wait to read Lyttle Lies: The Stinky Truth when it comes out in April!

If you’d like to purchase any of Joe Berger’s books please visit: http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/Lyttle-Lies-The-Stinky-Truth/Joe-Berger/9781471146268