Seeing Satoshi

I’m not a mother. But I love children’s books. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m just a big kid.

My favourite very young children’s author/illustrator is Satoshi Kitamura. His picture books are so charming and fresh. I’m lucky enough to have called him my friend for over a decade now and he’s also a very interesting and generous person. It’s always heartening when you meet people that you admire and they’re not an arsehole. Some people think that talent trumps any other personality deficiency but I disagree.

Is it too much to hope that they’re nice people too?!?!

Below is the Japanese cover of Satoshi Kitamura’s ‘When Sheep Cannot Sleep’, a counting book for young children. It’s one of my favourites. This was originally written in English and translated back into Japanese for this imprint.


Satoshi is still far more popular in the UK, Europe and South America than his native Japan. Perhaps his decades of living in London has contributed to this.

One of Satoshi Kitamura’s strengths is the vibrant colour that results from his watercolour technique. I was told by another children’s book author that these deep, rich colours are really hard to achieve. I don’t do watercolours myself but I do get lost in his drawings and colourwork. I think the best thing to do is surround yourself with inspiring people whose work spurs you on to do better.