I Love Christmas by Fiona Barker

Hello everybody! I can’t believe this is already day 4 of blogmas, it’s absolutely flying by. Today’s post is from picture book author Fiona Barker, and it’s about why she loves Christmas and the inspirations behind her wintry books. Onto the post!

One Christmas, Two Books!

I love Christmas. I should get that out there right at the start. I love the cosiness of winter, the smell of cinnamon, lights twinkling in the darkness, singing carols and all the traditions and foods that go along with it, especially the homemade ones. So, when a picture book idea came to me that combined my love of baking with a Christmas tradition that has slightly fallen out of favour, at least in the UK, I had to go with it. I was watching Bake Off when the idea for The BIG Christmas Bake was born. It was the pipers piping that did it. What if they weren’t playing pipes but piping icing on a cake? What if that cake was a twelfth cake, traditionally baked to celebrate the end of Christmas either on the eve of 5th January or for epiphany on 6th January? What if the other characters in the song brought along the other cake ingredients? Twelve days of Christmas, twelve spreads in a picture book! Bingo! Suddenly I was on a picture book mission to reclaim the sixpence that Queen Victoria stole for the pudding on Christmas Day and put it back as a bean or china favour in the much older medieval tradition of the Twelfth Cake. Whoever finds the bean in their slice gets to be king or queen for the day! What a lovely way to round off the Christmas season! I was very lucky that the team at Quarto thought it was a good idea too and when they paired me up with Pippa Curnick, it was all like my Christmasses had come at once! She’s brought an extra layer of fun with the introduction of the all the animals characters to add to the feathered friends that already feature in the song. I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out!

At the same time as I love winter and Christmas and everything that goes with it, I’m aware not everyone feels the same. My Dad dreads the dark nights, lack of sunshine and the cold. He doesn’t look forward to the mad round of sometimes enforced socialising that goes on. But he’s not The Grinch or Scrooge. He’s a kind generous person who just wants winter to be over. After reading some psychological research showing that people who dread winter tend to have a worse time when it actually arrives, the idea for I Definitely Don’t Like Winter pretty much wrote itself. The story features two squirrels, Hank and Hoog. Hank hates winter, Hoog loves it. Can they stay friends and help each other through? Scholastic also liked these two little characters and tasked illustrator Christine Pym with bringing them to life. She’s done such an amazing job. I love both of them so much. I Definitely Don’t Like Winter is a Christmas story for my Dad and others like him. He is Hank to my Hoog and the world is richer with both Hanks and Hoogs in it. I feel incredibly fortunate to have not one but two books out celebrating the magical season of winter. I am making hay while the sun shines, or perhaps snowballs while the snow falls, and trying to enjoy it to the max while it lasts. I always love winter and Christmas but I’m so lucky to have an additional reason to share that with other people this year.

Thank you so much for reading! What do you love best about Christmas? Have you read Fiona’s books, or are you planning to? I’d love to have a chat in the comments!

Speak very soon, Amy xxx


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: goldenbooksgirl@gmail.com | she/her

One thought on “I Love Christmas by Fiona Barker”

  1. Two brilliant and opposite books by the sounds of things. But you just have to love the artwork on the covers. Love or hate the festive season, these will make great stocking (XXXL size) fillers!


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