Felicity Brooks is an Editorial Director and writer at Usborne Publishing. She studied English and Drama at Exeter University and worked as an actor, teacher and lexicographer (someone who compiles dictionaries) before starting work in children’s publishing in the late 1980s.
She has written and edited hundreds of children’s books, including stories and novelty books for pre-schoolers and books about history, geography, languages, science, maths, nature and the arts.
Her books have won the TES Senior Information Book Award, the Aventis Science Books Prize, the SLA Information Book Award, the Sheffield Baby Books Award and Practical Pre-school Gold and Silver Awards.
We asked Felicity about the inspiration for her book The Wild Garden, the first in a beautiful series of rub-down transfer books:
"A visit to the Wychwood Wild Garden near Oxford was the main inspiration for the Wild Garden book. I loved not only the garden itself, with its hidden entrances, secret pools and majestic trees, but also the whole story of how this once formal 19th century manor house garden had gone wild and was partially restored 150 year later by volunteers.
To plan the book, I worked very closely with the Art Director Mary Cartwright and the amazing illustrator Bethan Janine to recreate that magical sense of discovery as you move through the pages, through the year, and around the world.
Mary came up with the idea of doing something with transfers, and we loved the idea of providing beautiful pictures that readers could embellish and decorate to finish the gardens in the way they wanted."
As the mother of a young teenage girl, Felicity had the perfect source of research and inspiration for Growing Up for Girls – a book about dealing with the roller coaster ride of emotions, lumps, bumps and thoughts that crop up along the way of adolescence.
When writing the book, Felicity was advised by a variety of experts, from a psychotherapist and a research doctor, to young teenage friends of her daughter, and university work experience students who compiled anonymous lists of 10 things they’d most like to know about.
"This is tough but I’d say: Being yourself is OK – whoever you are; don’t suffer in silence as there is always someone out there you can talk to and who can provide help and advice; and being a teenager can be a great time."