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Chris Haughton

AS A CHILD

I grew up in Dublin and was crazy about dinosaurs My uncle gave me a trowel which I used to carry around so i could look for dinosaur bones. I also liked The Muppets and I went through a phase of making airplanes. Ever since I remember I was good at drawing. I loved factual books with pictures and diagrams I could understand and I hope to do some of my own non-fiction soon.

AS AN ADULT

I love to travel and I have ended up working in lots of different jobs all over the world. In San Francisco I was a waiter, in London I was a 'handyman' in Paddington train station (that's where they found Paddington bear). In Hong Kong I taught English to very small children and in India I taught at an art school. I am from Ireland originally. In Hong Kong the small children I was teaching didn't understand me very well, so to keep them looking at me I had to make funny faces and draw pictures on the blackboard. I also read them lots of books but only ones with pictures so we could both understand. If the book was in Chinese I just made up the story as I went. While I was there in Hong Kong I started illustrating for newspapers and that is why I called my website vegetablefriedrice.com. I spent a lot of time in India and Nepal and I got interested in doing work with Fair Trade. When I came back to London I started working with a great company called People Tree. They make clothes and bags and things so I helped them with some designs, with their profits they help build schools and hospitals.

AS AN ILLUSTRATOR/WRITER

I always wanted to do a children's book. I adapted a cute little bird that I had drawn for people tree, and I wanted to try to make a simple story about the bird meeting all the other animals in the forest. At first I had him as a clever bird who had to pass all the animals of the forest to go from the top of the trees to the bottom to feed. He cleverly passed a snake, a tiger and an elephant etc, but my editor and I wanted it to be more friendly so I thought of him being lost and meeting them that way. The bird eventually turned into an owl because I wanted his eyes to be at the front so he can make better facial expressions. So the book turned out to be totally different! But even though the story was very different some things I wanted to keep. I wanted it to be a little bit like a pantomime so that you can ask questions 'Will it be Mommy Owl?', ‘Is that Mommy Owl?’ They are the fun parts about reading books with children. I also wanted to hide the Mommy Owl in all the pages so you try and spot her if you look carefully. The most important thing was I wanted was for it to be able to be read without words so that children can understand everything just by looking at it.

TEN THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ME

  1. I travel a lot have lived and worked in lots of different cities.
  2. When I first moved to London I was the handy-man in Paddington station.
  3. In San Francisco I worked in an American diner. My name badge said 'Jesus: Guatamala city'.
  4. I stayed on the bottom bunk in a hostel in Hong Kong for 6 months.
  5. In Hong Kong I was a teacher of very small children for a year. I taught art and drama.
  6. I started to illustrate while I was in Hong Kong and that’s why I called my website vegetablefriedrice.com
  7. I lived in Kathmandu for 6 months to work on fair trade projects and helped set up Pecha Kucha Kathmandu.
  8. I think Nepal is the most beautiful country in the world.
  9. My book A BIT LOST was first published in Korean and I made it in Seoul.
  10. I also make rugs!

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