Hi! I’m Alison. I’m a graphic designer and owner of Just North, living in the coastal city of Newcastle, Australia. I love to draw, write, paint and share awesome picture books. This little corner of the web is where I share some of my reflections on the importance of story and how much we can learn from other people’s stories – be that in books or in person.
Prior to relocating to Newcastle, I worked in the design studio of a youth mental health organisation. A project highlight over the years, was designing and illustrating an innovative resource in the style of a graphic novel, on a young person’s experience living with a mental illness. It was the first time I realised that I could be part of telling important stories.
Storytime has always been an important part of my children’s day, and our family life. I love finding new books to read to them at bedtime, and sharing stories I’ve written myself. I like to write encouraging stories with positive messages that challenge stereotypes and celebrate difference. And when I say ‘books with positive messages’ I don’t mean the heavy-handed, lecturing kind that scream I HAVE A MORAL!
I love picture books that make you laugh out loud, books that inspire, encourage, celebrate diversity and help you see things differently. When a book can do all this, and be bursting with ‘heart’, it’s a keeper! You can follow my Little Books with Big Hearts blog on instagram and facebook, dedicated to sharing picture books that, I think, do just that.
In 2011 I partnered with my friend, talented musician Heather Price, writing song lyrics for children’s songs and producing companion activity resource books. You can learn more about Carols in the Sun and I am Loved at www.heatherprice.com.au
I’ll be sharing some of my own illustrations and writing journey on this website too. We’re all storytellers, and one day I hope to add to the collection of wonderful picture books on my blog, with a big-hearted book of my own.
About Little Books with Big Hearts
Launched in April 2017 on International Children’s Book Day (Hans Christian Andersen’s Birthday), I created Little Books with Big Hearts to share my love of children’s books, and to showcase picture books that share important messages. I love the ability of picture books to teach children (and grown ups) important lessons for life, in a way that speaks to them with humour and compassion. When I’m trying to explain a concept to my children in a way they will understand, I look for books to help me.
My blog features picture books by local Australian and international authors and illustrators, with an emphasis on books for an Australian readership. I enjoy photographing each book; choosing relevant backgrounds or props that hint at the story. I share books that resonate with me, and the thoughts and views on this blog are my own. Please note: I do not take requests for picture book reviews from publishers or authors. If this changes in the future, I will update this notice.
I have tagged each book featured on my website so that you can easily search for a particular theme. You won’t find books categorised into ‘boys books’ and ‘girls books’ here, as I don’t believe you can decide what a child will enjoy reading based on their gender. You can search for books about friendship, peace, the environment, dreaming big, being yourself etc. You can also search for picture books with a strong female lead because girls are still under-represented in these roles. I think books make the best gifts, especially for new parents, so you can also search by baby gift.
I hope the ability to search by theme makes the blog a useful resource for parents, carers and educators, and that these books can inspire children and adults alike to live big-hearted lives.
I hope to add more books soon but in the meantime, happy reading and discovering!