Mark Sperring is a children’s author of many acclaimed picture books. With Father’s Day approaching on Sunday 18th June, we asked Mark to write a special poem. Alongside illustrations by the brilliant Alice from our in-house creative team, Some Dads celebrates the colourful characteristics of padres everywhere. Enjoy the poem with your little ones and find out more about Mark in our q+a below.
© Mark Sperring 2017
Hi Mark, when and how did you start writing children’s books?
Because children's books had made such a strong impression on me as a child I naturally gravitated towards writing children's stories. I was writing for about 10 years before I got my first book deal, but it was in a very unstructured way, without much regard to lengths or formats. Then, I started reading 'how to get published' type books and learnt more about the industry in general. At the time I was working in a lovely bookshop, which was great for discovering what kind of books were being published and by whom. Gradually, I started to build relationships with various editors and after quite a few near misses and a stack of encouraging rejection letters, in 2003 I finally went to print for the first time.
What’s your process when you’re writing a book? How long does it usually take?
Ideas for stories can come at anytime but I tend to write in the early hours of the morning. Some stories can come overnight, others take a few months, one picture book idea took almost a year to write, but (rightly or wrongly) I like to think it was worth waiting for!
What are your favourite children’s books?
Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry
Gobbolino, the Witch's Cat by Ursula Moray Williams
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Any picture book by Ezra Jack Keats
Do you have any tips for any budding children’s authors?
Read lots and keep writing — perseverance really is key.
What would you describe your dad as being great at?
Enjoying life's little pleasures. (Biscuits especially!)