BY NIGHT, I AM KATIE BLACKBURN … author of  Where the Wild Mums Areand various children’s books, including Dozy Bear and the Secret of Sleep.

But Katie Blackburn is a pen name. By day – I am better known as Leah Thaxton, Children’s Publisher at Faber & Faber.


Where the Wild Mums Are is the first book I had published, illustrated by the brilliant Sholto Walker and has sold over 100k copies. Whoop! It is a homage to Maurice Sendak and a celebration of the wonder of mums – especially those who are up to their ears. Here’s a window display in New Zealand…





I thought the writing might stop there,  but was then tempted to put out a companion volume for the dads! Where the Wild Dads Went also illustrated by Sholtofeatures a sports bar and swinging from the rafters. Here it is, in a juicy Father’s Day round up…




Then came ‘Twas the Nightcap Before Christmas inspired by the mayhem of a typical family Christmas – and Bea and Nige from down the road. Happily in this version of the story, the mess is all cleared up by Santa and his elves and Christmas comes together a treat.




IN MY DAY JOB I’ve edited some incredible books over the years, including Andy Stanton’s Mr Gum stories, Michael Grant’s Gone series and Kieran Larwood’s Podkin adventures. I’ve worked with a number of fabulous Estates – Ted Hughes, de la Mere, Enid Blyton, Flat Stanley, and championed prize winners: Kate Saunders, Francesca Simon, David Long, Emma Carroll, Julia Copus, Jason Reynolds.

I’ve commissioned Costa-winner Christopher Reid to write a companion collection to sit alongside TS Eliot’s Cats, seen The Iron Man colour illustrated by the legendary Chris Mould, and developed I Like Bees, I Don’t Like Honey with the NSPCC…

It was nonetheless an absolute thrill to go through the publishing process myself. Seeing my own words type-set, the characters hand drawn, my book in a shop window, that first royalty statement … There’s nothing like it.

So once I had the writing bug, it wasn’t long before I started writing for children …




Dozy Bear and the Secret of Sleep  came into life while lying on my son’s bedroom floor. It is a sleep aid (written in desperation!) and disguised as a story. It has been praised by Channel 4’s Three Day Nanny, ‘The first book I’ve read that teaches children how to fall asleep’.  Dozy Bear and the Secret of Food is a toolkit to make toddler mealtimes less stressful. Both Dozys are illustrated by the supremely talented collage artist Richard Smythe.

Last but not least, a toot toot for Scoot, the eye-popping tribute to scooter power, illustrated by the genius that is Jim Smith (author/ illustrator of the fabulous Barry Loser stories).




You can find me on twitter (Leah Thaxton)  and instagram (Leahthaxton1)  – do get in touch and say hi (or ask your agent to send in your manuscript to Faber & Faber!)