Illustrated by Harry Woodgate
For ages 4+
When this book came out in the States earlier this year I was sooooo gutted it didn't seem to have a UK publisher or publication date at all! So I did the unthinkable... I ordered a US copy from A****n (GASP!!!!!). I know! Then, the drama continued, as my order then got cancelled with no explanation whatsoever! I kept the faith though, and much to my MEGALICIOUS delight, children's publisher Little Tiger here in the UK signed up Harry's 'Timid'. YAY and here we are today... me with my copy in my hand and heading straight to my KS1 children for book club this week feeling very full of sunshine and smiles in spite of the torrential rain.
Why am I so amped about this book? Well, let me tell you, I have had the pleasure of hanging out with Harry on two occasions when they very kindly travelled down to Moon Lane children's bookshop in Ramsgate, Kent when I was manager, to create our storefront window displays. The first was for Harry's debut author-illustrator picture book, 'Grandad's Camper' (Andersen Press, 2021) as part of our PRIDE celebrations. The second time was for the publication 'Little Glow' (Owlet Press, 2021), which was illustrated by Harry, encompassing our Diwali, Chanukah and Christmas festive fun!! Here are a couple of photos of the window displays - aren't they just awesome?!
Harry Woodgate identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they/them. As you will read from their short biography below, they are very passionate about creating heart-warming children's books with inclusive characters. In 'Timid', main character Timmy, a non-binary child, feels overwhelmed by their shyness and lack of confidence... unless they are in their bedroom singing, dancing, dressing up and having so much fun!! Timmy dreams of becoming a performer one day and sharing their stories with others. As you will see from Harry's illustration below from the book... there's something getting in Timmy's way... a big cross and overbearing lion!!
Timmy's teacher, Mr Stevens, announces to the class that there's going to be a school play. So exciting, except... what about the lion? While Timmy is sitting in the playground feeling very withdrawn, their classmate, Nia comes to sit with them and a friendship blossoms.
With Nia's encouragement and support, both Timmy and Nia manage to work through their worries and together they become bold and brave. The new-found friends create costumes together, rehearse, meditate, work on positive affirmations, and bit by bit the lion's relationship with Timmy starts to calm and let Timmy feel more confident and free. Perhaps lion isn't a big bad bundle of intimidating ROARRRRR after all; perhaps lion is really Timmy's imaginary cuddly friend.
The children were captivated and invested in the story from start to finish, many identifying with shyness and anxiety about performing in front of others. We all enjoyed ROARRRRRing in unison throughout the story, which felt very liberating. Beautifully written, incredible illustrations and a story that all children can resonate with.
Expecting the children to be quite hyped up this morning, as this was the last book club before half term, I thought it would be a lovely idea to do a creative drawing activity. I asked the children to draw themselves in an AMAZING costume to join in with Timmy and Nia's show. The children created toucan costumes, monkey costumes, sunflower costumes, rainbow-winged fairy costumes and more!! It was wonderful to see their personalities come alive on paper, and some imaginary friends making guest appearances too.
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About the creator
Harry Woodgate (author + illustrator)
Harry Woodgate (pronouns: they/them) is an award-winning author and illustrator. 'Grandad's Camper', their debut author-illustrator title, won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize Best Illustrated Book 2022, as well as receiving a nomination for the CILIP Yoto Kate Greenaway Award and a Stonewall Book Award Honor from the American Library Association. Harry is passionate about writing and illustrating diverse, inclusive stories that inspire children to be inquisitive, creative, kind and proud of what makes them unique.
finding your voice
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Publication date: 13 October 2022
Other kids picture books written and illustrated by Harry Woodgate:
Also - kids picture books illustrated by Harry Woodgate:
*My review copy was kindly sent to me by the publisher.
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