IBA Spotlight: Jane Wilsher and Maggie Li :: NEWS
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IBA Spotlight: Jane Wilsher and Maggie Li

21 October 2021 Share

Meet the creators of 'What Do Scientists Do All Day?'

The SLA's Information Book Award (IBA) shortlist was announced earlier this year. On that list of incredible information books in the 0-7 age category we're thrilled to have What Do Scientists Do All Day?, written by Jane Wilsher and illustrated by Maggi Li (published by QED Publishing).

An entertaining introduction to the multitude of various jobs and roles within science, the appropriate and accessible language that accompanies unfussy and inclusive illustrations creates a lovely text to share together and spark discussions with children from a very young age about where science could take you!

We're delighted that both Jane and Maggie took part in a Q&A to tell us more about creating this brilliant read.




What’s your favourite fact that you learnt from creating the book?

Jane: This is tricky. It’s difficult to choose just one, so I’ll swerve the question and say the more research I did on each topic, the more I realised that science is about teamwork, whether it’s working in a health centre, on the Arctic research station or up at the International Space Station. Scientists work together and spend their days asking questions, testing things out and planning what to do next. 

Maggie:  I learnt so much from doing this book but my favourite was about oceanographers. I learnt that oceanographers study oceans from the freezing Arctic to warm tropical seas. Sounds like an exciting job!


What’s your favourite page of the book and why?

Jane: Another difficult question. I like the end-result of so many sections of the book, especially the nature reserve, the space station and the computer lab. The illustrations and design are just fantastic. But I particularly like the spreads about the museum, which I think will really connect with the child who’s reading the book. Museums are such interesting and surprising places to visit. It’s fascinating to look behind the scenes to discover all the technical skills involved in putting on an exhibition. 

Maggie: My favourite page to illustrate was the Arctic research station. I had so much fun designing all the different rooms, where the scientists work and eat and sleep. I even got to draw a polar bear!


What is it about writing information books that you enjoy?

Jane: It’s teamwork, which is fun. Also, I love the way that the pictures say as much, and often more, than the words. And, to make a non-fiction book work in this way, it takes a team. There’s lots of enjoyable to-ing fro-ing between the editor, author, designer and illustrator. Then for me, it’s the heads-down work of writing. I aim to express sometimes complicated ideas simply, in a few words, in a way that fires up children to find out more. This is a challenge but one I really enjoy.

Maggie:  I love illustrating factual books as I learn so much along the way. Science and the natural world are huge influences on my illustration work so it was a real joy to illustrate this text. I also wanted to inspire young children to see themselves in these roles. I tried to include people from all different backgrounds, ethnicity and gender and show them that they can all be scientists.


What Do Scientists Do All Day is available here.


To download our FREE IBA resources, click here.

Don't forget, students can get involved in the award by voting to crown their favourite! The Children's Choice Award is now open, vote here before 12th November.