2 Oct 2012

'How to Hide a Lion' Launch Party

My new book, 'How To Hide A Lion' is set in a town that is based on my new home town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. So when I thought about having a launch party, Berwick Town Hall seemed like the perfect place.

In the run up to the launch, I visited 3 local schools, Spittal First School, Tweedmouth West First School, and Scremerston First School. I worked with over 350 children, each one making something to contribute towards making a model town of Berwick. The work they did was wonderful, what amazed me most was the variety of the work. When I asked them to make fishing boats, each one was completely different. There are some genuinely beautiful things, I think we have some very talented children and inspiring teachers in Berwick.

But at this stage I still had no idea how all of the models would work together, would they be too small in such a large hall? Would anybody even come to see it?

But my fears were unfounded. The night before the launch we had access to the town hall, and as we set up the model Berwick, we began to see how wonderful it was going to be.

I went to sleep that night feeling quietly confident that model Berwick looked great, and that we'd have lots of happy visitors.

The next day was a sunny day. We put up the banner and the big lion sign, and opened the doors. Within minutes the hall was full of people, which was wonderful to see. I recognised lots of faces from the schools I'd visited, and they were so excited to their work.

This is one of the activity tables. The children drew some fantastic lions and Berwick houses.

By the end of the day we had sold out of everything! Alison ran around to a few local shops scooping up their stock. It is always hard to judge how many books you will need.

Thank you so much to all the teachers and children I met when I visited the schools, and thanks to everyone who came along to support us. Thanks to my friend and fellow illustrator Vanessa Cabban for taking lots of these photos for me.


  1. A lovely project for the school children. It's things like this that will stay in their memories forever. Well done with the new book, it looks fantastic.:)
    Jess xx

  2. I love the scale of the town you and the children put together...congratulations on a new book, it looks so lovely!! -Julia

  3. This is lovely. Did I ever show you my granny's model houses? I've got them all in a box. She built a whole imaginary town out of old PG Tips boxes and bits of cellophane window. She used to set them up on the lid of her grand piano, and at Christmas she'd cover it all in cotton wool, for snow. I'll send you some pictures! xxxx

  4. What a fantastic day Helen,
    it's so good to see that huge space so jam packed with people, and the kids having a wonderful time. Well done on pulling off an amazing event. Vanessa xxx

  5. What an amazing event - I love the model Berwick! Congratulations on such a good day. I bought the book when I was in Birmingham visiting friends recently and read it many times over to their two little girls - they especially liked the part where the lion says his favourite book is about a tiger who comes to tea (as they know and love that book too)! And I love the illustrations! xxx

  6. Amazing! That model town is so beautiful. Congratulations on the book.