Kathy Henderson

Kathy Henderson

Children's author, Illustrator, Poet

Booking enquiry
Kathy Henderson - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview


Age 1 to 3, Age 3 to 5, Age 5 to 7, Age 7 to 11, Adult


Fiction, Picture book, Poetry


  • Shortlisted for the Dundee Children's Picture Book Prize 2016
  • Illustrations shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway medal
  • The Aesop Prize of the American Folklore Association
  • Washington Post Best Children's Book of the Year
  • Shortlisted for the Sheffield Baby Book Award 2016
  • The Primary English Award for Best Picture Book
  • Twice shortlisted for the Smarties Prize
  • CLPE Children's Poetry Prize 2014
  • Booktrust Early Years Award
  • Parents' Choice gold award
  • The Kurt Maschler Prize


Kathy Henderson is a writer, poet and illustrator whose many published titles for children from 6 months to 10 years old include stories, picture-books, poetry, non-fiction, educational texts, plays and young fiction.

She writes for children in a world of many cultures and has a keen interest in the oral tradition, a background in publishing and extensive experience of visiting schools, libraries and festivals. She is also an artist and printmaker and as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow has been teaching writing to unversity students.


I like talking to children and listening to their experiences, telling them about what I do as a writer and illustrator and how books get made and making stuff up together.

I tell some of the stories behind the stories, read from my books, perform poems, get out rough illustrations and draft writing and show the different stages as ideas develop from scrappy beginnings through all the changes to the finished work. And wherever possible I like to make a shared illustration or a story/poem with the children.
“The whole experience was fantastic. Thanks again  . . .It was great to have a visitor in school who was confident at speaking to groups of children from Nursery through to Year 6!  The quality of the writing and amount of preparation in the presentations meant the children were naturally  interested and involved.  ”
 J Cole, St James C. of E. Primary, London 

Sessions can be general or focus on a particular theme – among them babies, bodies, families, night-time, pets, growing things, the ocean, monsters and more. Or they can be made-to-measure for your school or project.

 “Thankyou for such a wonderful day . . . The children talk about you like an old friend, and have gained such an insight into both writing and illustrating books”                                                                                             
  Headteacher, Aldborough Primary School, Norfolk

From 30 minutes with a nursery group to an hour with KS2 children to a half-day workshop or a whole term’s work with a single class, my work in schools ranges from talks to workshops, writing poems, doing shared illustrations, making books or creating a giant zig-zag monster. "
 “The feedback from both staff and children was that they had a really lovely time and the Reception monster is fantastic!  I know the children are all very keen to complete their Winter books, so thank you for your wonderful inspiration yesterday”                                                              Deputy Head, Hampstead Parochial School


Some examples


Books, Books!                                                                       Under-fives

Half-hour session for under fives with stories and rhymes and lots of joining in and movement. Why books are brilliant.


The Dragon with a big nose - poems from the city (and other animals),                                                                                        KS1 - 3

Poems are in us, on us, and all around us -  let's go and find them. Performance and workshop.


Workshops - Make a story, make a picture, make a poem, make a book                                                                                               All ages.

Discussion, writing, illustrating, experiments, creating a big illustrated book – can vary in length from 1 + hours to a whole day or a whole term - involves advance planning and follow-up


It has altered my perception of how we can encourage children to write and stimulate their creativity and I hope to continue the fantastic work which Kathy has just begun to unlock in my classroom

St Michael’s School, Lewisham (whole day with one class)



The oldest story ever written                               KS1 , KS2 to adult

Lugalbanda –the boy who was caught up in a war       

The remarkable tale of  a remarkable tale. The story of the little prince who got caught up in a war, was left for dead and discovered a magical monster bird.  5000 years old,  this is thought to be the earliest written story in the world.  From ancient Sumer, now Iraq, it was written on clay in Cuneiform writing and then lost in the sand for thousands of years until . . . Can include a 'write your own cuneiform clay tablet' workshop.  



Hush, Baby, Hush! Lullabies from around the world                      
Talk for parents, grandparents, carers, teachers and other adults (and children) based on her book of the same name.

How the fretting of babies has created the world’s most universal poetry. Lullabies from oral traditions around the world. Different languages: one language. Sound illustrations.  Your own lullabies.  And the children’s reply. 

  • I charge Society of Authors' rates
  • have a current CRB check
  • and am happy to travel both here and abroad. 

Books by Kathy Henderson


Babies don't walk, they ride

a gently rhyming picture book about babies in the city illustrated by Lauren Tobia 

The Dragon with a Big Nose

Have a big adventure in the city with these funny, magical and brilliant poems and pictures! 

The Little Boat

A story of the ocean, illustrated by Patrick Benson. 

Look at You! Wow what a body can do.

Body rhymes and games, illustrated by Paul Howard 

Little Prince, an epic tale from ancient Iraq

From ancient Sumer, the oldest written story in the world. Illustrated by Jane Ray.