Q&A with Katie Cottle, author of “The Green Giant”

Katie Cottle is an illustrator and print-maker living and working in Bristol, UK. Her work is often informed by the marks and colors created through traditional lithography. She also works digitally, using an iPad, and occasionally paints with gouache. The Green Giant is her first book.

What was your inspiration for writing this book? Did you have a “green” friend growing up?

My inspiration was an abandoned section of a botanical garden! The plants were unruly and overgrown and the drawings I made of them grew into the story of a mysterious, magical greenhouse. I think my ‘greenest’ friend as when I was little was my cat. We had a palm tree in the garden (a bit weird for the UK) and she would climb up it most hilariously. Following the cat as she explored the garden and the park near our house was a really fun outdoors adventure as a kid.

This was a great story with a strong message. Is it your hope to convey a love of nature to young readers?

Yes, I want them to take away an interest in nature and the green spaces around them. And to make friends with plants!

What lesson(s) can be learned from The Green Giant?

I think the main lesson would be that a small action can spark a change. Grey places can become green! I hope that it will spark a conversation with young readers about the environment and the things we can do to protect, respect and nurture it. 

Do you feel this book will help spark enthusiasm for gardening?

I hope so! Growing things that would benefit other creatures (like lavender for bees) or even growing your own veg is not only an enjoyable activity but beneficial to the planet too. Even in places where you wouldn’t find a garden -like Bea in her city- you can make a ‘seed bomb’ and do a bit of guerilla gardening, or plant some indoor plants to create a mini biome at home.

Are there other books you’ve written that also inspire an interest in nature?

I’m currently working on my second book with Pavilion, The Blue Giant, which has another eco theme throughout. This time the story is set in the ocean … so you’ll have to wait and sea (!)

Written by