17 Jul 2016


I don't post on this blog anymore. You can find me here now:


See you there!

25 Apr 2016

Reviews for School/ Library/ Festival Visits.

Here are some of the reviews I've had for my school/ book festival visits:

'Jane Churchill sent a total rave about you and the event. Even saying how great your family and dog were!! She’s rarely emailed me to compliment an event like that so thanks so much for doing it. Are you still there and watching some other events?'
My publisher talking about Cheltenham Book Festival

Thank you so much for your visit today. The children were buzzing with enthusiasm afterwards and the staff were full of praise. They loved the rapport you had with the children and really enjoyed your books.
Catherine Costigan, Appletree Gardens School, Whitley Bay

'It was a great pleasure for us to welcome Helen to Seven Stories, the audience were enthralled with her interactive way of telling the story. The children (and some adults) loved the opportunity to get to draw with her too. We hope to see Helen back at Seven Stories very soon!'
Paul Black, Events Officer, Seven Stories, Newcastle

'Fantastic visit to school today from the author / illustrator Helen Stephens!'
Red House School, Norton

'Helen's workshops at The Bowes Museum were fantastic! Not only did she engage the children and their parents with her storytelling, she also sketched her storybook characters in seconds, before the children created their own masterpiece. Brilliant sessions – thank you!'
Amy Bainbridge, Educatioon Co-ordinator, Bowes Museum

'To have an author come and read her book to an assembly of children and work with individual classes was an absolute treat! Helen brought her books to life by allowing the children to participate through dressing up as characters and giving the children the opportunity to create a pop up lion. She willingly answered questions by children, demonstrated how she created her characters and explained her process in writing a book - all extremely helpful for possible future authors! The children felt that they had a celebrity in school for the day! Thank you, Helen.'
M Reilly, Class Teacher, St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow

'This was a great opportunity for a real author to come to our school and talk to us at assembly. Helen also went from class to class to talk to lots of children and I was her photographer.'
Lewis K, Pupil Y9 St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow

'I really enjoyed 'Fleabag' and the illustrations because they looked like they were moving and that was because Helen said that she didn't like her drawings to be perfect.'
Lucy J, Pupil Y10 St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow

'It was really fun and creative when my class got to make pop-up lions with Helen.'
Lewis J, Pupil Y10 St Bridget's Primary School, Glasgow

'We were delighted to welcome author and illustrator Helen Stephens into school yesterday. Helen worked with all the children in school on a range of literacy skills from role play in reception to book making in y4. (We even got a sneak peak at her forthcoming children's book...lucky us!)'
Anne Rutherford, Head Teacher, Tweedmouth West School, Northumberland

'Helen's combination of gentle, interactive storytelling and engaging craft inspired the children (and their adults) to make some splendid popup lions based on
'How to Hide a Lion.' The group really enjoyed guessing what Helen was drawing on the flipchart and her ability to switch between activities meant that short attention spans were well-catered for. Thanks Helen, we all had great fun.'
 Jill Chambers, Spellbound Project Manager, Northumberland

'The children really enjoyed being involved with telling the story and were really motivated to write their own stories. From a teacher point of view I loved the way you took them through the full planning process and the bubbles worked very well.'
Mrs Summerson, Y4 Teacher, Etherley Lane Primary, Bishop Aukland

'The children really enjoyed the story and we followed it up with a big write about the snowman adventures we had made our picture books about. Some really pleasing results, children very enthusiastic.'
Mrs Jeavons, Y3 Teacher, Etherley Lane Primary, Bishop Aukland

'An inspirational illustrator.'
Hay-on-Wye Festival

'Helen has an obvious rapport with children and with her gentle encouragement, the children attending the session produced some outstanding and original contributions to the pop-up book. I think the key was getting the children to draw their own versions of the story, and develop it in their own way, thus giving their imaginations free rein. The pop-up book will have pride of place in the library. We look forward to having Helen back at a future date.'
Kim Herring, Team Librarian, Newbiggin

'Helen's workshops have been truly inspirational for children and their parents. The workshops captured the magic of creating a story and characters and then bringing it all alive imaginatively. What was wonderful is that Helen's calm, clear instruction enabled everyone to actually 'learn' how to draw and to take a work away with them they could all be very proud of. Everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the workshops booked-up early. I couldn't recommend Helen more highly. She's also a joy to meet and work with.'
Lara Goodband, Co-Director Beverley Literature Festival

'Thank you, the children and staff enjoyed your visit very much!!'
Sarah Egan, Teacher, West View Primary School, Hartlepool

'Helen was a real inspiration to the children who were all keen to show her their own drawings. Watching Helen draw really brought the books to life and we are all looking forward to her return visit. '
Carol Haughton, Cockerton Library, Darlington
'I thorougly enjoyed your session at the library, the children were mesmerised when you hand drew Fleabag!'
Suzy Youldon, Crown Street Library

12 Apr 2016

Instagram hashtag project: #myworkwall

I am nosy.

I love seeing other people's workspace walls: the things they have pinned around their desk for inspiration, the notes or roughs drawings taped up for future projects... It's all so interesting! So I'm starting an Instagram hashtag: #myworkwall.

Join in and tag your wall pics! I'll be posting my wall (good or bad, picturebook artwork or old shopping lists) every Wednesday.

Do we follow each other on instagram? Find me here:

2 Mar 2016

The Laugh Out Loud Awards

Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger is up for a Lollie Award! Schools can get involved, watch this little youtube video to see how.

8 Feb 2016


I am celebrating for 2 reasons. I found out today that Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger is shortlisted for the LOLLIES (The LOL stands for Laugh Out Loud).

AND I hit 4000 followers on Instagram!

2 Feb 2016

Owl At Home

The first book I ever read by myself was a beautiful and sad book about an owl who cried until he filled his kettle. This book has become mythical in my mind, I always remembered it, but had no title or author name, (being about 6 at the time I guess) so couldn't look it up. But last week I was browsing Instagram when suddenly, there it was! And now I own a copy! It's every bit as good as I remember it, it's called 'Owl at Home' by Arbold Lobel. My daughter (7) read it to me and now loves it too! I now need everything by Arnold Lobel, I've ordered Frog and Toad, can't wait to read it!

5 Jan 2016

Ranging and Taching

Pie is always making stuff while watching telly. She scavenges the house looking for bits and bobs to use: tin foil, sweet wrappers, tape, lolly sticks... This is a Christmas decoration she made from Quality Street wrappers.

Our friend's little girl was once playing at making stuff with acres and acres of masking tape, and when her dad asked what she was doing, she said 'Ranging and taching!' (Child speak for arranging and attaching). Isn't that great? Ranging and taching.

via Instagram http://ift.tt/1OJ5xqP

11 Nov 2015

My Christmas Window appears in House and Garden

How exciting! My christmas window for Mainstreet Trading appears in House and Garden magazine this month!

It's at the bottom of this page, very small to see here, but looking great! Here is a link to some other photos of the wndow.

7 Nov 2015

Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger at Tate Britain

Tomorrow I'll be appearing at the Tate to read Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger. I am tickled pink! (Tate Britain, 1pm Sunday 8th November).

1 Nov 2015

Northumberland Coast Skies

We get some amazingly beautiful skies here on the Northumberland coast. When I lived in London I never noticed the sky, (I loved London for other reasons) but here, wow! The sky goes right up, and over, and round the back and right round the sides and stuff... massive!

I thought I'd share some pictures here.

Peggy's ears are a constant sourse of entertainmant for me! (OK, there's not the entertainment there was when we lived in London, you have to find it where you can...)

Under all her curls, Peggy is just like a miniature whippet.

23 Oct 2015


Over on Instagram I am giving away a signed copy of Gracie Grabbit and the Tiger, and the new How to Hide a Lion toy and gift set. Cloosing date 24th Oct.

20 Oct 2015

Secret Linen Store and my new club: Dirty Beds Anonymous

It was only through this interview with the Secret Linen Store that I found out I am expected to change my bed every week! Is that the rule? And on a specific day?


16 Oct 2015

Autumn Sketch

So, autumn seems to be here. There's a chill in the air, I've got my winter coat out (not that it ever really goes away on the windy Northumberland coast!) and my umbrella blew inside out. Umbrellas were not invented for the windy coast.

14 Oct 2015

Cheltenham Festival 2015

I thought I'd share a few pics of the fun we had at the Cheltenham festival this year. I did 2 shows, one for 500 over excited 5 year olds, and another for a group of 30 toddlers with their parents. (I am not sure about the rules when it comes to posting pics of children here, so I haven't posted any, except for one of Pie. But I promise there were lots of smiling children there!)

My mum, my dad, my daughter (who I call Pie) and our dog, Peggy, all decided to go, and what an exciting time we had.

The highlight for dad was when he saw Nigel Mansell, and got his signature. For Pie the highlight was a toss between giving Nigel Mansell some conkers, and coming on stage with me to show everyone that she is Iris from How to Hide a Lion. Mum enjoyed going to see Marian Keyes, Peggy enjoyed the pirate show where a lady gave her a doggy treat, and I enjoyed the lot... other than the bit where I got a coughing fit on stage, that was just embarrassing. Any tips to avoid coughing tips on stage?

7 Oct 2015

Now for a bit of Pen Porn

I use dip pens when I draw, I like how unpredictable they are, lots of nice splashes and variation in thickness of the line.

I need an ink well. I always spill my ink if I don't stick it to a bit of card (like this), but an old heavy glass ink well would be just the ticket. If I start dropping hints now, Santa might bring me one...