As a child
Born in Portsmouth, 1965, Anita worked in a variety of jobs after leaving school (in a factory and a kennel) before becoming a children’s book illustrator.
As an adult
Anita is married to a palaeontologist and has three children and a menagerie of animals, including cats, dogs, rabbits, toads, a lizard, a snake and a tortoise. She lives in Northern Ireland, and hopes, eventually, to set up a wildlife sanctuary there.
As an artist
Anita did a foundation course in visual studies at Manchester Polytechnic, followed by a degree course in illustration. Her first book, Bill’s Belly Button, was published a year after she graduated. Anita is best known for her illustrations for the picture book Guess How Much I Love You, which was shortlisted for the 1994 Kurt Maschler Award, and is now one of the world’s best-selling picture books. Illustrating was a labour of love, she says. “Every time I read this book, I want to cry. The story reminds me so much of my own son, who often plays this kind of game with me when it’s time for bed.” In 2004, Anita reunited with Guess How Much I Love You author Sam McBratney to produce the follow-up, You’re All My Favourites, and the two of them collaborated again to produce a series of brand-new storybooks featuring the Nutbrown Hares: Guess How Much How I Love You in the Spring and its three companion titles, Summer, Autumn and Winter.