John Kelly

Children's Author/Illustrator

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Assistant: Emily Talbot
Assistant: Molly Jamieson


I'm an Illustrator, writer and designer who has worked for Scholastic, Macmillan, Hodder, Kingfisher, Simon & Schuster, Aardman animation, Lucasfilm, Radar pictures and many others. I have written and illustrated my own and others picture books, young fiction, graphic novels, non-fiction of every subject area imaginable, storyboards, concept art and treatments for film.

I've been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway prize twice (GUESS WHO'S COMING FOR DINNER? and SCOOP!). I've also been shortlisted for the Royal Society/Rhone Poulenc science book prize twice, (THE ROBOT ZOO, EVERYDAY MACHINES). My DON'T FLUSH: LIFTING THE LID ON THE SCIENCE OF POO AND WEE was shortlisted for the School Library Association'S 2013 Information Book Award.

I've also extensive experience as a designer in both non-fiction and Licensed publishing with Dorling Kindersley (among others) where I helped create books for Lucasfilm and Pixar. 

All my work has been digital since 1995.

Recent Publications:

CAN I JOIN YOUR CLUB (2nd March 2017, Little tiger Press)

Duck wants to join a club. But he needs to be able to ROAR to join Lion Club, or TRUMPET to join Elephant Club. And all he can do is QUACK! What's a Duck to do? Why, set up his own club of course...where everyone is welcome to join! With a laugh-out-loud text from John Kelly and brilliantly quirky illustrations by Steph Laberis, Can I Join Your Club? is a heart-warming story which celebrates the importance of diversity and friendship. Perfect for little ones who are learning to make friends at a new school or nursery.

BRING ME THE HEAD OF IVY POCKET (1st June 2017, Bloomsbury Children's Books)

Our magnificently infuriating heroine is on the very brink of her greatest adventure: bound for London and Prospa House to save Anastasia Radcliff and young Rebecca Butterfield from fates worse than death. But there are difficulties at every turn. The devious Miss Always and her devilish Locks are in hot pursuit. Anastasia is gone, taken by her evil sister-in-law Estelle and hidden in a place no one will ever find her. And worst of all, the Clock Diamond is no longer working, blocking Ivy's route to Prospa. There's a mystery to be unpicked and if anyone can do it, it's Ivy Pocket. After all, she has all the natural instincts of a Russian chess master. 
Ivy Pocket's tumultuous finale is certain to involve breathtaking adventure, bone-shattering courage and frightful danger. But what price will she have to pay?

HIBERNATION HOTEL (7th September 2017, Little Tiger Press)

Can’t doze off? Cave too cramped? Friends too loud and whiffy? Then check into a hotel. The Hibernation Hotel!

A hilarious book about getting what you want – then discovering what you need. Laura Brenlla brings Bear and his friends to life with gorgeous illustrations in this laugh-out-loud story about friendship from John Kelly (Can I Join Your Club?). Perfect for a bedtime chuckle with little ones who can’t get to sleep!