Back in the early 1980’s a young couple recently graduated from Art School began to search for ways in which they could raise a family and make a living from their creativity. Thirty years later, Catherine and Laurence Anholt have created more than 200 books for children of all ages.
As an Art teacher, Laurence discovered that the best way to engage his pupils was to tell them true stories about the extraordinary artists he loved – people such as Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet and Picasso. It seemed like a natural step to turn these tales into picture books. The first title in the series, CAMILLE AND THE SUNFLOWERS featured a boy named Camille Roulin, son of the famously bearded postman in the French town of Arles. Camille’s family befriended a lonely painter named Vincent van Gogh – Laurence’s hero and fellow Dutchman. The self-illustrated book was an immediate success and has since sold millions of copies in numerous languages around the world. This was the first of Laurence’s self-illustrated ANHOLT’S ARTISTS.
Soon books like CHIMP AND ZEE and the SERIOUSLY SILLY STORIES were winning awards and the Anholts found themselves amongst the Most Borrowed Authors from UK libraries. They spent much of their time visiting schools in the UK and all over the world.
Long-time proponents of diversity and inclusivity in children’s books, the Anholts worked with numerous charities and literacy projects such as BookStart, for whom they created the BABIES LOVE BOOKS leaflet, which was given free of charge, along with various picture books to every new parent in the UK and many other countries, encouraging mums and dads to share books with their little ones from the earliest possible age.
In the 1990’s the Anholts opened the UK’s first author owned bookshop, the magical CHIMP AND ZEE, BOOKSHOP BY THE SEA in Lyme Regis, Dorset, stocked exclusively with signed books by the Anholts.
As their family grew and eventually had children of their own, Catherine returned to her first love and is now a successful artist in her own right. In the meantime Laurence turned his hand to writing for an older readership and his first Young Adult novel, THE HYPNOTIST was published in 2016 to rave reviews and numerous awards. The novel is a story about race, love and tolerance, set in the Deep South of America in the early 1960’s, with profound messages for our world today.
In recent years, Laurence has launched into an exciting new project for adults – The MINDFUL DETECTIVE series is published by Constable / Little, Brown in July 2019.
Amazing window display at Chimp and Zee Bookshop by the Sea.