Today the shortlists for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards have been announced and we are absolutely over the moon that Sometimes Babies, illustrated by Charlotte Trounce, has been recognised in the Baby and Toddler category.
It’s a book that has always been special to me because of the way it was conceived – it was inspired by a real-life Nosy Crow new baby!
During the summer of 2019, our Deputy Art Director, Zoe Gregory, announced the arrival of her new baby so I popped out at lunch to pick up a card to send from the office. Many of my friends had also had babies recently, so I already had a favourite card in mind – Charlotte Trounce’s New Arrival card. The simple image of a mother and baby elephant is so striking, it works well for boys and girls, and the shiny silver lettering makes it feel extra special.
Unfortunately, the card didn’t get very far as it made its way around the office. As most Crows will know from time spent working in the busy Crow’s Nest – it was tradition for cards to go missing, often turning up in the same place (naming no names!). Before long I sent an email asking if anyone had seen it:
When Kate, our Managing Director, saw the ‘missing card’ email, I remember her shouting across the desks to me that the image would make a brilliant board book cover. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before, so set to work writing a rhyming text about the characteristics of different babies. Babies could be big, small, short, tall – but they could also be grumpy, jumpy, squeaky and cheeky. We wanted all kinds of babies to feature in the book with the key word ‘sometimes’ repeated throughout because we recognised that babies are growing and changing every day. Then, together with Holly, our Senior Designer, we came up with a host of animals beyond the mother and baby elephant that fit the text and we knew Charlotte could illustrate beautifully.
Once we had a strong concept, we approached Charlotte and were delighted when she said yes to creating a book with us. She brought the rhymes to life with her trademark bold shapes and sophisticated palette and with the addition of a mirror on the final spread and some shiny foil on the cover, all of a sudden, the new baby card had become a new baby book!
It also feels like a particularly poignant book as, believe it or not, there were a couple more babies involved in its creation. Holly went off on maternity leave just before we actually sent the files to print and Charlotte had a baby before we received finished copies, so now they’re both able to share the book they created with their very own new arrivals.
This is a special book that will capture the attention of babies everywhere – and will look super-stylish on a bookshelf too. It’s the perfect gift for a newborn and we’re utterly thrilled that it has been shortlisted by the Sainsbury’s Book Awards this year.
Congratulations, Charlotte – and good luck!
Take a look inside the book:
Buy the book.