Spring heralds good things. It is the harbinger of new life, new leaves, the sun, flowers, the tiny, clenched fists of buds on trees, and undoubtedly a breath of fresh air for Access2books who specialise in publishing children’s books.
Access2books will produce giant print [75 point] and Braille versions of Up and Down and Lost and Found, the latter book that created enormous sales and won critical acclaim upon its publication. In 2005, Lost and Found won the Gold Award at Nestle Children’s Book Prize.
The Access2books team are excited by the opportunity to work on these two books and continue in their tradition of making the most popular children’s books available as alternative formats for children who happen to be blind or visually impaired and cannot access mainstream books. This is great news for the publishing business.
Who is Oliver Jeffers?
Oliver Jeffers grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland but he was originally born in Port Hedland, Western Australia.
He started off as a musician, hitting the pub scene looking for musicians to collaborate with but his percussive talents were never realised.
Thankfully, the art world recognised his precocious talent. The Irish amateur art competition, in which he was runner up, made him consider painting as an outlet for his creative talents.
His decision took him across the world, exhibiting in Belfast, Glengormley, London, Melbourne, New York and Sydney,
He later focussed on illustrations and concentrated on finishing his degree in Illustration and Visual Communication. During an exhibition in the final year, he sold 16 pieces on the opening night.
His star was on the rise. His style opened numerous pathways and Jeffers has had a hand in creating poster illustrations, taking on commissioned artworks and designing album covers.
Jeffers turned to writing and illustrating children’s books but people didn’t take him seriously. However, it was when he produced his début, How to Catch A Star, which was supposedly inspired by various reports from a moment chilling on the end of jetty in Sydney while star gazing.
Jeffers’s publishing star on the rise
HarperCollins Publishers received his unsolicited work and immediately recognised the potential in this star on the ascent. The book was subsequently published in 2004. It also made the shortlist for the Booktrust’s Early Years Award for Best New Illustrator. It then went on to win the Merit Award at the CBI/ Bisto Book of the Year Awards in 2005.
Jeffers’ time had finally arrived and people had to take him seriously. His follow-up, Lost and Found, proved that HarperCollins Publishers had caught their star.
The book was so stunning and captivating, sales figures shot up and it garnered critical acclaim from across the spectrum. In 2005, it was recognised with the Gold Award at the Nestle Children’s Book Prize.
Jeffers’s reward from publishing children’s books
Since then, he has published at least ten to eleven other titles and worked on numerous other projects such as commercials. Lost and Found also became his first book to be turned into an animated film.
It went on to win more than 40 awards from across the globe including a BAFTA award for best animation in 2009.
Jeffers is here to stay. He has won numerous awards such as the Hay Festival of Literature and Arts ; Orbit Prize ; Blue Peter Book Award , Channel 4 Richard and Judy Award , Irish Book Awards , The New York Times Book Review , New York Emmy Awards  and numerous other awards. He has also made numerous shortlists and received a lot of merits.
You can check out the full list of all his awards here Oliver Jeffers’s list of awards.
Access2books is proud to be associated with an award winning director and working with HarperCollins Publishers to continue publishing children’s books and making them available as alternative formats for the print disabled community.
Access2books on publishing Jeffers’s children’s books
Eileen Finch summed up the mood of the Access2books team when they discovered HarperCollins Publishers granted them permission to publish Lost and Found and Up and Down.
“We are delighted because the decision was so quick. They were recommended by West Sussex Libraries. I am really pleased we are publishing these books”, she said.