Author Q&A with Gillian Hibbs of Child’s Play

Gillian Hibbs - Errol's Garden

Gillian Hibbs is encouraging community through her new children’s book.

Meet Gillian Hibbs, who is both a writer and an illustrator. She spends much of her time making beautiful things in her basement studio, under her dad’s bicycle store.  Despite her underground workspace, she loves being outside in the garden—although she would probably be a more successful gardener if she was a bit less scared of wriggly things.  Errol’s Garden is her second picture book for Child’s Play.  The first, Tilly’s Staycation, won an Ottenheimer Toy Portfolio Best Book Award.

Tell us about yourself and how you started as a children’s book author and illustrator?

I studied Illustration at University College Falmouth before going on to be a freelance author/illustrator. I had all kinds of strange and wonderful other jobs along the way. Alongside writing and drawing, I have been a children’s party entertainer, a bicycle shop assistant, a piano teacher, a creative arts session leader, a barista, a blackboard painter, and a school disco DJ. I am currently lucky enough to be working as a presenter at a zoo, talking about animals by day and creating books by night!

Why should parents and educators check out this new title?

This book is just as much about community growing as it is about garden growing! It hopes to encourage little (and big) children to pursue things they love, to not be afraid to step out and ask for help, and to encourage them to be the catalyst for wonderful things.

What is the biggest lesson you hope kids will take away from this new title?

Firstly, that their ideas are important, and deserve to be heard and supported. But also, that unless you take the first step, you may never know you share a dream with your next door neighbor (and their next-door neighbor, and their next-door…you get the point.) Together, you can do big things!

What was your inspiration for this book?

One afternoon I was traveling home on the top deck of a double-decker bus and was being nosy looking into the windows of the apartments above shops. One window sill had a plastic cup on it, filled with soil and a single shoot growing out of it. I started thinking about who might live there and Errol was born out of that!


Thank you, Gillian, and Child’s Play, for the opportunity to learn more about you, what inspires you, and what you hope children will learn from your book, Errol’s Garden.


About this book: Errol lives in an apartment building. He loves the idea of gardening, but doesn’t have a proper garden.  Although his home is full of beautiful plants, he longs for an outdoor space where he can grow things. A chance discovery leads to a solution, but Errol can’t do it all himself.  Luckily, help is at hand.  This is a positive and enriching story about having a goal, volunteering time and effort, and building a community in order to make that goal a reality. Be sure to check it out on our website here and request a quote for 25+ copies for your classroom or group today!

Child’s Play, an independent children’s book publisher, offers a diverse range of formats and experiences through reading that both enrich and empower their young audiences. Their books are respected and loved by parents and educators alike. For more information, be sure to check out their site.


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This post was written by Karlyn Hixson, Marketing Director at BookPal.  She is currently reading Becoming by Michelle Obama.

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