Children’s picture book “Look Up!” wins Waterstones’ coveted £5,000 book prize

Waterstones children’s buyer Florentyna Martin said that Look Up! had recast the “mould of traditional picture-book storytelling for a new era”

A CHILDREN’S book about an ambitious young girl with dreams of being the greatest astronaut, star-catcher, space-traveller that has ever lived, has won the coveted Waterstones children’s book prize.

“Look Up”, a book written by author Nathan Bryon and illustrated by Dapo Adeola, was announced as the winner of the £5,000 prize, chosen by Waterstones booksellers, today (July 30).

Waterstones children’s buyer Florentyna Martin said that Look Up! had recast the “mould of traditional picture-book storytelling for a new era”, and that Rocket was “a little person with big dreams, who has captured our hearts”, praising her “boundless enthusiasm, curious nature and kind spirit as a hero for us all”.

Bryon, a writer and actor, came up with the story after visiting Hyde Park in London with his girlfriend to see the Peter Pan statue.

He then approached his friend Dapo Adeola, an illustrator and character designer, and asked him to draw the character of Rocket. “I just told him she was a black girl, with big hair, and glasses – it was like he had a cable to my brain,” said Bryon.

WINNERS: Writer Nathan Bryon and illustrator Dapo Adeola

Adeola told The Guardian that his depiction of Rocket was inspired by one of his nieces. “I tried to capture her curiosity and zest for knowledge in Rocket’s mannerisms as well as her innocently self-assured attitude to problem solving, traits that should be celebrated in both boys and girls. At the time I looked around and space in picture books was dominated by young boys, young white boys, to be precise. I wanted to see what I could do that was original, and stands out.”

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