Gillian McClure

Children's author, Author/Illustrator

Available for:
After dinner speaking


Contact: Contact me on
Tel. 01223 575406

My books have been shortlisted and Commended in the Smarties Award, one was Highly Commended in the Kate Greenaway Medal and one won the US Parent's Guide to Media Award for Outstanding Achievement in Children's Books

Adults, 5-7 (Key stage 1), 8-11 (Key stage 2), 5-11 (Key stages 1 and 2), 11-13 (Key stage 3), 14-16 (Key stage 4), 11-16 (Key stages 3 and 4), 6th Form and college


Based on my experience of working with children in Primary schools over many years, I am now offering workshops to student teachers on how to use my books creatively to promote literacy.

EYFS  Foundation Stage

  • I use Dog on Wheels which is fast paced and fun and will grab the interest of boys as well as girls with its skateboarding theme. Told in rhyme and with a lot to spot in the pictures, it offers an entertaining way of teaching literacy skills: rhyming words and prepositions of movement

EYFS Nursery 

  • The senses: sight, sound, smell, touch can be explored in Mouse in the House with its large appealing pictures of animals
  •  We’re Going to Build a Dam will inspire water play; what happens when a flow of water is blocked?

KS 1

  • Topics – fantasy. Creating a mysterious character and giving that character a name (year 1)  In The Little White Sprite a  boy is pulled through a hole, into the hollow inside a strange tree. Creating a mysterious place where you enter another world, in the tradition of Alice in Wonderland or the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. What happens next? Story openers (year 2)
  • Mythical beasts/ fairy tales. In Selkie a boy makes friends with a seal that can change into a girl and back again into a seal. If you met a creature like that what would you want to know about it?  Big questions, open questions, philosophy (year 2)
  • Water and weather – We’re Going to Build a Dam and Flood (year 1)


  • Topics -water/ seaside. The sea setting of Selkie can be used to inspire pupils to write about a beach they know. Place as a starting point for individual stories, (years 5 & 6) or story openers (years 3/4)
  • The magic of transformation inspiring pupils’ own selkie stories. Creating a character and structuring a narrative (years 5 & 6)
  • Poetry for those who ‘can’t do poetry’: sea words and a sea song based on selkie’s secret language of the sea (years 4,5,6)
  • Story boards and sea adventures. An illustration-led story inspired by Zoe’s Boat. The pictures in this book are in graphic format and ideal for inspiring pupils to create their own story board narratives


I'm prepared to travel by car to schools within a 60 mile radius of Cambridge. For Faculties of Education, I can travel by train anywhere. 

In a day in school, I can give four sessions lasting one hour plus either an Assembly Q&A or a half hour Nursery/Reception session. For teacher training sessions I give one talk/workshop a day plus a book signing. 

Here is some feedback:

"Gillian McClure gave a fascinating talk on picturebooks to graduates on masters courses on book illustration and children's literature from both Anglia Ruskin University and Cambridge Faculty of Education. She used delightful examples from her own work to illustrate points she was making about the art of picturebooks. Gillian had an excellent rapport with her audience and took time and trouble to answer their questions. Highly recommended."

Morag Styles, Cambridge Faculty of Education 

“The children of Mayfield from year 1 to 6 were inspired by the beautiful story of the Selkie to write their own stories and poems.  It was wonderful for them to meet Gillian at the end of Book Week and hear first-hand how the story was written and illustrated.  The experience has encouraged our children to write and draw and we have seen some wonderful independent storytelling as a result.”

“The children and teachers were very inspired by your illustrations and the workshop overall. The work the children produced during your visit was in turn so inspiring.” 

Sarah Quigley - Bonneville Primary School Librarian

 Our World Book Day 2017 came to life through Gillian McClure’s visit to Pirton School. The children were mesmerised by her extraordinary illustrations in the Assembly. She took the children through active, imaginative, adventure sessions, which highly developed their imaginations. All children were extremely engaged and continued their story telling and writing skills further, after their class workshop. Gillian had a charming way of enchanting all of our pupils and raised the profile of reading and writing throughout our school.

"I am attaching a few comments written by children:" 

"I really enjoyed the visit. I hope she will write another book. She has really inspired me to become an author and illustrator".  YYYYY

Amara Rah – (Form 1)


"I love your stories. I love “Zoe’s Boat” and the cover of “Selkie”. I also have the book “Tom Finger”. Thank you very much for coming to our school."

Tioluwani Adedayo (Form 1) 


"Children inspired to see the process of writing a story."

Phil Reid

Cliff Park Infant School, March 2015  


"This visit greatly supported the work Y1 &2 are doing in literacy. It helped to develop the children’s knowledge of setting, character and problem."


Judith Lowes,

Harpley Primary School, March 2015 


"Gillian McClure visited my school during our Book Week in March 2014. She spent the day with us and gave inspiring workshops to our very young Nursery children to form 6 pupils. I was able to sit in on a session with my Form 4's. It was exciting as Gillian brought her current book, 'Selkie', alive by showing her amazing illustrations and using puppets to lead the children through the story. Gillian's calm and thoughtful manner engaged the children as to what might happen next in the story. During the question and answer part to the session Gillian was both open and sensitive as she responded to the children's curiosities...All in all a great visit from a memorable children's author."


Arabella Cutler

St. Edmund's Prep  


“Gillian McClure was an inspiration to pupils and staff. Having fabulous illustrations, as well as writing to share, enabled all pupils to fully engage in the experience. Zoe’s Boat was a particular favourite! A super day for all our pupils.”

Claire Richardson, Reading for Pleasure Co-ordinator, Park Junior School



“Gillian McClure was an inspiration to pupils and staff. Having fabulous illustrations, as well as writing to share, enabled all pupils to fully engage in the experience. Zoe’s Boat was a particular favourite! A super day for all our pupils.”

Claire Richardson, Reading for Pleasure Co-ordinator, Park Junior School, Wellingborough.  (March 2014)

Gillian McClure has written and illustrated over 25 picture books including
Dog on Wheels (isbn:9781909991361)
Dubbin, Dog on Wheels, goes for a walk with a smaller dog who wants to take a large bone. This attracts some interest from a not-so-nice dog.
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Selkie: story and pictures by Gillian McClure (isbn:9781909991262)
A boy rescues a seal and discovers she is a selkie - she can change from seal to girl. They become friends.
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Flood (isbn:9780956510853)
When an ox, a fox and a hen find themselves thrown together in a flood, they realise they must start working as a team if they are going to reach land safely.
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We're Going to Build a Dam (isbn:9780956510846)
Two boys build a dam out of natural materials found on a beach while a dog isn't very helpful. Practical and funny.
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Zoe's Boat (isbn:9780956510822)
Friendship doesn't always run smoothly. With illustrations in a frame format, this picture book gives young children the graphic novel experience and, at the same time, a satisfying read-aloud text.
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The Little White Sprite: story and pictures by Gillian McClure (isbn:9780956510815)
˜This beautiful book captures perfectly a child's sense of a haunted world all around him."
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Mouse in the House (isbn:9780956510860)
Nursery and Reception pupils will enjoy this simple mystery story that explores the senses
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The Land of the Dragon King and Other Korean Stories: story and pictures by Gillian McClure (isbn:9781845078058)
An illustrated collection of unusual and funny Korean stories
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Tom Finger: story and pictures by Gillian McClure (isbn:0747555966)
A mysterious cat arrives at Ben and Queenie's door. Is he a witch's cat?
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Bruna: story by Anne Cottringer pictures by Gillian McClure (isbn:0747564957)
Bruna always feels the cold until an exciting friendship helps her warm up.
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Mario's Angels: story by Mary Arrigan pictures by Gillian McClure (isbn:1845074041)
A little boy helps the artist Giotto liven up his fresco
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I have served on the CWIG committee of the Society of Authors and the PLR Advisory Committee. I have been a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at the Universities of Kent and Essex and an Escalator judge and mentor for New Writing Partnership.

Other search criteria:

Art, Craft and Design

Book Type:
Picture books, Fiction 5-9

World Book Day, Book Week, Art Week,insets, teacher training, Faculties of Education, powerpoint talks, illustration, artwork, sketching, watercolours, puppets, national curriculum, literacy, fairy tales, myths and legends, fantasy, selkies, sprites, dog