Emily Gravett

Emily Gravett, born in 1972 in Brighton, spent a lot of time as a young person searching for her future prospects. At 16 she left home and spent the next 8 years living in a bus called Toby and travelling around the UK before completing a degree in Illustration at Brighton University. Her debut picturebook »Wolves« (2005) laid the ground for a successful international career. Since then she has created many children’s books whose design is closely geared toward children’s joy in discovering details and imagining stories. Gravett states that »Picture books teach children visual literacy, the relationship between word and image, about emotion, the physical world, and the world of imagination. […] There’s no other medium like them. They enrich children’s lives.« In her picture books Gravett represents not only basic emotional situations, but also discusses the age-specific perceptions and experiences of children between reality and imagination, as in »Monkey and Me« (2008), that tells of the common playful journey to the animal kingdom by a little girl and her favorite stuffed animal monkey. Imagination in Gravett’s storybooks is used at the deciding moment in order to overcome one’s own fear, discover new perspectives and to substantially change one’s life situation. In »Wolves« it’s the imagination of a rabbit that can, after reading a book of stories about a world, make them real. And in »Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears« (2007) a little mouse realizes when listing and facing different types of fright that everyone experiences the feeling of fear, regardless of size or strength. On it’s own the handling of this is crucial. Time and again there are animal characters that have to take part in a great adventure, and often the end has an unexpected twist or an open ending that asks the child reader to make his/her own interpretation. »Merkat Mail« (2006), »Dogs« (2009), and her latest storybook »Cave Baby« (2010) follow this idea.

Emily Gravett has received numerous national and international awards for her storybooks, including the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2005 for »Wolves« as well as in 2008 for »Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears«. She lives with her family in Brighton.