On Friday 24 April at 10am Seven Stories Digital Storytimes with Andersen Press will feature an exclusive reading of a new free ebook created by author Sally Nicholls and llustrator Viviane Schwarz. In Staying Home a family of energetic raccoons are going through a day in lockdown, no school, nursery or work - and explaining to the youngest members of the family how they're doing their part to save lives just by staying at home!

Andersen Press is making the ebook available to everyone now as a free download from the Andersen Press website as part of their continued effort to entertain and occupy children and their parents during lockdown.

It is a book that very much speaks to our current situation, the free eBook has been developed, written and illustrated by the fantastic creative duo at break-neck speed, to be released to the public whilst we’re in the middle of?lockdown. The aim is to help?parents going into the second month of quarantine, explain a little more about the Coronavirus pandemic, and how important it is we all isolate at home. 

Andersen Press are offering the book free of charge online, with a first-look agreement on future printed editions, should lockdown become a regular part of family life! 

Charlie Sheppard, Publishing Director and Sally’s editor at Andersen Press said of the collaboration, ”We love Sally’s books, and are proud to work with her on her fiction and picture book titles – when she suggested this we leapt at the chance to do something that might help stave off boredom for families out there in the middle of lockdown. The chance to also work with Viviane made the book irresistible. We hope through our channels?we can share the experience of Staying Home with young families everywhere.”

This will be the latest in Sally Nicholls’ picture book offerings with the publisher who continues to support her incredible output; The Button Book (illustrated by Bethan Woollvin) was published to great acclaim in Autumn 2019, and Who Makes a Forrest (illustrated by Carolina Rabei) will be released this Autumn, as well her latest YA fiction title The Silent Stars Go By, her highly anticipated novel following the smash-hit Things a Bright Girl Can Do.

Author Sally Nicholls has said of the project, “Like many authors, I've been finding it hard to concentrate on writing projects. My husband and I are at home at the moment with two children aged four and two, and I wanted to write something which reflected their new lives. The day-in-the-life format is a very familiar one in picture books. Like most stories for young children, this one is somewhat idealised - there's no sense that the family are worried about money and the parents are remarkably patient. But it does contain more screen time and fighting than you'll find in most examples of the genre. I love Viviane's warm, energetic raccoon family. They're making the absolute best of a difficult situation, and they're doing it with affection and good humour. I can only hope I'm managing half as well!

Illustrator Viviane Schwarz added, I was busy working on a book that I am writing myself - a book about feelings and worries, and I was feeling rather worried and stuck myself, seeing the trouble to come. So when Sally mentioned that she felt the need to write a book about what family life might be like right now, I said I would illustrate it, and as fast as I could. 

We considered making it a cosy bear family, but then decided that the family would be raccoons instead ?because we both like them. Also, it’s quite easy for bears to hibernate, they’re used to it. raccoons are a lot more lively! - After a day of scribbling I suddenly realised that in German a raccoon is called?“Waschbär”,?a wash-bear, because they wash their food. I watched a lot of videos of them splashing around in the water, and it helped with the bathroom scenes. Wash your hands like raccoons, stay in and be kind to one another.

Staying Home is available to download, free, from Andersen Press’ website: 

Watch a reading by Sally Nicholls on Seven Stories’ Facebook page, as part of the Seven Stories Digital Storytime with Andersen press partnership; Friday 24th April, 10am www.facebook.com/7Stories