An interview with Roger Priddy

Roger Priddy and Gabriel

Roger Priddy and GabrielWe put some questions to Roger Priddy, founder and publisher of Priddy Books…

Why did you decide to set up Priddy Books?
Having spent twenty years creating children’s books for Usborne and Dorling Kindersley, I felt it was time to create my own style of early learning books.

Where do you get your ideas from?
A lot comes from watching my own children – how they learn, what they like. Television, advertising, toys, magazines anything that sparks an idea or style.

Ideas also come from our creative meetings at the office. These are not really structured (I’m not good at meetings) but just happen throughout the week. We talk about suggestions made by our customers or ideas that people in the office have had.

What’s your favourite thing about working in children’s books?
I suppose it appeals to the child in me. I love working with colours, illustrations, photographs and everything else that comes with the challenge of how to explain things to kids. Ultimately it’s a great job – the thought of a child learning their alphabet from one of our books is pretty cool. I also enjoy the fact that I get to travel and work with interesting people from all over the world.

Favourite children’s book:
Swallows and Amazons and the Jennings books were my favourites when I was a child. We never had books at home so we always went to the library to get our next book. It seems odd now, with my kids being surrounded by books at home, but I loved going to the library – it made the books seem even more special.

Reading the first Harry Potter book to my first two children was a really nice experience. Finding something that you could read to a girl and a boy of different ages was great. I’m reading the Curious George books to my five-year-old at the moment and they are good fun for parent and child (just the right length!).

Favourite film:
‘Something’s Gotta Give’ with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton and Disney’s ‘Cars’.
I have lost count of the number of times I’ve seen that with my son and I still enjoy it.

Favourite food:
Lemon meringue pie

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A shopkeeper or a pilot

I love baking, I always wanted to be a patisserie chef and kneading dough is a great way to unwind. I also paint, but not as much as I’d like.

What’s on your iPod?
At the moment I’m listening to Alicia Keys’ album ‘The Element of Freedom’. The music from ‘Something’s Gotta Give’ is played a lot too.

This year Priddy Books is ten years old, where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully continuing to make a contribution to the education of the next generation of children. Which possibly will include the children of my children – that would be very nice! Although if I’m baking bread for a cafe that’s in my own gallery, while the very talented people that I work with at Priddy Books carry on making great books, then that would be very nice too!

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