Gillian McClure

Gillian McClure

Author of books, Children's author, Illustrator
01223 575406
Booking enquiry
Gillian McClure - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview, Commission a book


Age 3 to 5, Age 5 to 7, Age 7 to 11, Age 11 to 14, Age 14 to 16, Age 16 to 18+, Further Education, University, Adult


Adventure, Art, Fable, Fairy tale, Fiction, Folklore, Legend, Narrative, Picture book

Book types

Anthologies, Picture book


  • My books have been shortlisted and Commended in the Smarties Award - one was Highly Commended in the Kate Greenaway Medal and one won the US Parent's Guide to Media Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Books



Based on my teaching experience and working with children in Primary schools over many years, I am now also offering workshops to teachers and student teachers on how to use my books creatively to develop literacy skills and have fun with language. In schools, I bring along puppets characters for the children to use and  I show my original artwork, roughs and sketches. I love to inspire children to draw and to write their own stories.

EYFS  Foundation Stage

  • -I give a workshop with puppet characters based on The Little White Sprite, a story about a little creature that lives inside a tree. The children  draw their own magical trees which can then be used as the setting and idea for a story.

EYFS Nursery 

  • -The senses: sight, sound, smell, touch can be explored in Mouse in the House with its large appealing pictures of animals.

KS 1 

  • -I use Dog on Wheels which is fast paced and fun and will grab the interest of all young children with its skateboarding theme. Told in rhyme and with a lot to read in the pictures, it offers an entertaining way of developing literacy skills. Using prepositions of movement, we create a new journey for Dubbin, Dog on Wheels. (year 1)
  • -Topics – fantasy. Creating a mysterious character and giving that character a name. (year 1)  In The Little White Sprite a boy goes through a hole, into the hollow inside a strange tree. In the workshop based on this book, children can create a mysterious place of their own where they can imagine entering another world, in the tradition of Alice in Wonderland or the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. What happens next? Story openers. (year 2)
  • -Mythical beasts. In my book Selkie a boy makes friends with a seal that can change into a girl and back again into a seal. In this workshop, I ask children, 'If you met a creature like that what would you want to know about it?'  Big questions, open questions, philosophy. (year 2)
  • -Water and weather – for these topics I offer workshops based on  We’re Going to Build a Dam and Flood. (years1&2)
  • We’re Going to Build a Dam is a seaside story about two little boys building a dam out of things they find on a beach and a little dog that upsets their plans. The workshop based on this story will explain what happens when a flow of water is blocked. Ideal for a science week.


  • -Topics -water/ seaside. The sea setting of Selkie and the magic of a seal that can transform into a human can be used to inspire pupils to write about a beach they know and an encounter with a selkie seal. Place as a starting point for individual stories, creating a character and structuring a narrative. (years 5 & 6) or story openers. (years 3&4)
  • -Fairy Tales. I offer a fairy tale workshop about a mysterious cat based on my book Tom Finger. Pupils are encouraged to create their own mysterious character. (years 3 &4)
  • -Poetry for those who 'can’t do poetry’: sea words and a sea song based on selkie’s secret language of the sea. (years 4,5,6)
  • -Story boards and sea adventures. An illustration-led story inspired by Zoe’s Boat. The pictures in this book are in graphic format and ideal for inspiring pupils to create their own story board narratives, ship's log and nautical adventures. (years 4,5,6)


I'm prepared to travel by car to schools within a 60 mile radius of Cambridge. For Faculties of Education, I can travel by train anywhere. 

In a day in school, I can give four sessions lasting one hour plus either an Assembly Q&A or a half hour Nursery/Reception session. If the numbers are large, I'm happy for classes to double up for a Power Point presentation in the hall before splitting off into their respective classrooms for the writing or drawing task.

Here is some feedback:

"Gillian McClure gave a fascinating talk on picturebooks to graduates on masters courses on book illustration and children's literature from both Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Faculty of Education. She used delightful examples from her own work to illustrate points she was making about the art of picturebooks. Gillian had an excellent rapport with her audience and took time and trouble to answer their questions. Highly recommended."

Morag Styles, Cambridge Faculty of Education 

“The children of Mayfield from year 1 to 6 were inspired by the beautiful story of the Selkie to write their own stories and poems.  It was wonderful for them to meet Gillian at the end of Book Week and hear first-hand how the story was written and illustrated.  The experience has encouraged our children to write and draw and we have seen some wonderful independent storytelling as a result.”

“The children and teachers were very inspired by your illustrations and the workshop overall. The work the children produced during your visit was in turn so inspiring.” 

Sarah Quigley - Bonneville Primary School Librarian

 Our World Book Day came to life through Gillian McClure’s visit to Pirton School. The children were mesmerised by her extraordinary illustrations in the Assembly. She took the children through active, imaginative, adventure sessions, which highly developed their imaginations. All children were extremely engaged and continued their story telling and writing skills further, after their class workshop. Gillian had a charming way of enchanting all of our pupils and raised the profile of reading and writing throughout our school.


"I am attaching a few comments written by children:" 

"I really enjoyed the visit. I hope she will write another book. She has really inspired me to become an author and illustrator".  YYYYY

Amara Rah – (Form 1)


"I love your stories. I love “Zoe’s Boat” and the cover of “Selkie”. I also have the book “Tom Finger”. Thank you very much for coming to our school."

Tioluwani Adedayo (Form 1) 


"Children inspired to see the process of writing a story."

Phil Reid

Cliff Park Infant School.  


"This visit greatly supported the work Y1 &2 are doing in literacy. It helped to develop the children’s knowledge of setting, character and problem."


Judith Lowes,

Harpley Primary School. 


"Gillian McClure visited my school during our Book Week. She spent the day with us and gave inspiring workshops to our very young Nursery children to form 6 pupils. I was able to sit in on a session with my Form 4's. It was exciting as Gillian brought her current book, 'Selkie', alive by showing her amazing illustrations and using puppets to lead the children through the story. Gillian's calm and thoughtful manner engaged the children as to what might happen next in the story. During the question and answer part to the session Gillian was both open and sensitive as she responded to the children's curiosities...All in all a great visit from a memorable children's author."


Arabella Cutler

St. Edmund's Prep  


“Gillian McClure was an inspiration to pupils and staff. Having fabulous illustrations, as well as writing to share, enabled all pupils to fully engage in the experience. Zoe’s Boat was a particular favourite! A super day for all our pupils.”

Claire Richardson, Reading for Pleasure Co-ordinator, Park Junior School



“Gillian McClure was an inspiration to pupils and staff. Having fabulous illustrations, as well as writing to share, enabled all pupils to fully engage in the experience. Zoe’s Boat was a particular favourite! A super day for all our pupils.”

Claire Richardson, Reading for Pleasure Co-ordinator, Park Junior School, Wellingborough.

Books by Gillian McClure

Gillian McClure has written and illustrated over 25 picture books including

Dog on Wheels Goes Snowboarding

Dog on Wheels Goes Snowboarding

A snowy adventure for Dubbin and Todd! Dubbin flips off his wheels and Ta-da! – his skateboard becomes a snowboard. Todd follows behind on a tray but there are frightening things along the way – can he and Dubbin deal with them? The latest in the irresistible Dog on Wheels series.  
Dog on Wheels

Dog on Wheels

Children will love this story of a speedy skateboarding dog and his slower friend… both dogs are appealing characters. Well worth jumping on for a ride! 
 Dog on Wheels at Sunny Sea

Dog on Wheels at Sunny Sea

Dubbin and Todd are at the seaside! Dubbin has his skateboard and Todd’s got a blue ball. As they roll along to the pier – disaster! The ball flies over the wall and then Todd disappears. It’s Dubbin to the rescue! A delightful follow-up to the first Dog on Wheels. 


A boy rescues a seal and discovers she is a selkie and can change from seal to girl. They become friends. This book explores a boy’s friendship with a mythical creature. 
The Little White Sprite

The Little White Sprite

˜This beautiful book captures perfectly a child's sense of a haunted world all around him." 
We're Going to Build a Dam

We're Going to Build a Dam

Two boys build a dam out of natural materials found on a beach while a dog isn't very helpful. Practical and funny. 


When an ox, a fox and a hen find themselves thrown together in a flood, they realise they must start working as a team if they are going to reach land safely. 
Zoe's Boat

Zoe's Boat

Friendship doesn't always run smoothly. With illustrations in a frame format, this picture book gives young children the graphic novel experience and, at the same time, a satisfying read-aloud text. 
Mouse in the House

Mouse in the House

Nursery and Reception pupils will enjoy this simple mystery story that explores the senses 
The Land of the Dragon King and other Korean Stories

The Land of the Dragon King and other Korean Stories

Nine sparkling read-aloud tales of mischief and magic 
Tom Finger

Tom Finger

A mysterious cat arrives at Ben and Queenie's door. Is he a witch's cat? A fairy tale theme. 
Mario's Angels: story by Mary Arrigan pictures by Gillian McClure

Mario's Angels: story by Mary Arrigan pictures by Gillian McClure

A little boy helps the artist Giotto liven up his fresco 
Bruna: story by Anne Cottringer pictures by Gillian McClure

Bruna: story by Anne Cottringer pictures by Gillian McClure

Bruna always feels the cold until an exciting friendship helps her warm up.