James trained at Maidstone College of Art and his first children's book, Katie's Picture Show was published in 1989. It's been firmly in print ever since, recognised universally as one of the best introductions to art for children. Many more Katie titles have followed and the series sells in museums and galleries all over the world, from the Met in New York, to the Uffizi in Florence, the Louvre in Paris and beyond. Alongside his work in publishing, James has collaborated on many ambitious and imaginative projects for children. In particular he has devised and performed in a hugely successful series of concerts for children, combining live classical music, storytelling and live art. From Peter and the Wolf, to Scheherazade, James has worked with many different orchestras and musicians, including the acclaimed Orchestra of the Music Makers from Singapore. He has given performances at many illustrious venues and festivals including The Royal Opera House, The Cheltenham Music Festival and Lichfield Cathedral. James is in demand internationally as a speaker and educator. He appears regularly at the Hay, Bath, Cheltenham, Saffron Walden and Edinburgh Festivals and has also run workshops and given storytellings at the British Museum, the National Gallery of London and the National Gallery of Scotland. He has taught writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and visits many schools, offering art or writing workshops, and his much-loved upside down illustrated storytellings. He teaches on the UK's first, and highly successful MA in Children's Book Illustration in Cambridge. James lives in Hertfordshire with his family.
My daughter was entranced. She demanded endless readings. - Katie Derham, The Times