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Arts University Plymouth alumna shortlisted for Waterstones Children’s Book Prize

Kate Rolfe, who studied Animation Arts, has had her picture book ‘Wolf and Bear’ recognised for the award
<p dir="ltr">Artist and illustrator <a href="https://katerolfe.com/" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Kate Rolfe</a> has been shortlisted for the prestigious <a href="https://www.waterstones.com/the-waterstones-childrens-book-prize" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2024</a>. Having previously completed a Foundation Degree in Animation at Arts University Plymouth, her picture book <a href="https://www.waterstones.com/book/wolf-and-bear/kate-rolfe/9781035019595" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">‘Wolf and Bear’</a>, which is the heartfelt story of kindness and hope which gently introduces children to the topic of difficult emotions, has been nominated in the Illustrated Books category. </p> <p dir="ltr">First awarded in 2005 and held annually, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize has evolved into one of the most prestigious accolades for children’s books in the UK. It has launched the careers of many authors and illustrators, including Katherine Rundell, Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Rob Biddulph. <br /></p>
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Kate Rolfe with Wolf And Bear at Ottie and the Bea bookshop in Framlingham, Suffolk

<p dir="ltr">The shortlists consist of eighteen books across three categories; Illustrated Books, Younger Readers and Older Readers. Expert booksellers vote for the books they believe are the very best in new children’s writing and illustration. Six books will compete within each category to be crowned Category Winner, with the three category winners then vying for the overall title of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Winner 2024. The winners will be announced at an evening ceremony on Thursday 21 March. The winner of each category will receive £2000 with the overall winner receiving an extra £3000 prize money.<br /></p>
Waterstones Childrens Book Prize Shortlist 16x9 Wolf Bear
<p dir="ltr">Kate Rolfe studied Animation Arts at Arts University Plymouth, before achieving a degree in Film Production at Northern Film School, following which she worked in theatre, graphic design and marketing. In recent years, she returned to study, graduating with an MA in Children’s Book Illustration from Cambridge School of Art in 2022. Aside from writing and illustrating, Kate also works in textile design, teaches and lectures in illustration and runs regular online drawing and writing workshops. Born in Yorkshire, she now lives in Suffolk countryside with her wobbly cat, Pip. Kate has already won several awards including New Talent in Children’s Publishing at the World Illustration Award and Student Illustrator of the Year at the V&amp;A Illustration awards and was a runner-up in the Macmillan Prize for Illustration.<br /></p>
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<p dir="ltr">‘Wolf and Bear’ is a heartwarming story about a playful young wolf and her best friend, Bear. The two best friends always play together, whether it’s paddling in the stream, skidding in the snow or tumbling in the falling leaves. But sometimes Bear feels sad and wants to be alone. Authentic and sensitively illustrated, this picture book captivates young readers, offering them a beautiful narrative infused with meaningful lessons.</p> <p dir="ltr">Kate is one of many award-winning illustrators to have come from Arts University Plymouth. Most recently, BA (Hons) Illustration student Zara McDermott won <a href="https://www.creative-conscience.org.uk/winners/foraging-zine" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer noopener">Silver at the Creative Conscience Awards</a> with her innovative zine about ethical foraging, designed to promote good health and wellbeing in a sustainable way, winning in the ‘Health, Wellbeing + Disability’ category. The same zine won Zara the <a href="https://www.aup.ac.uk/posts/foraging-with-award-winning-arts-university-plymouth-student-zara-mcdermott">Arts University Plymouth Global Challenge Award</a> last summer.<br /></p>
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<p dir="ltr">Kate said: “‘Wolf and Bear’ was very much inspired by my own neurodivergence and my friendships. I often find myself ‘being Wolf’ and wanting to do it all, while other times my need to retreat into my own mental space leads me to seek solitude like Bear, and push others away. I wanted to create a story suitable for all ages, that allowed us to empathise with both characters equally, and show that it really is okay to not always be okay.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“I used an innovative illustration technique for the book - ‘Wolf and Bear’ is one of the first picture books to use cyanotype printmaking as its illustration technique. The metaphor of light and shade is used in the book to denote mood and mental health, and I was determined to create the artwork <em>literally</em> out of light and shadow! I had to very much invent the process as I went along through lots of trial and error! The trick was in combining the traditional printmaking technique with separate colour overlays made from pastel, crayon and digital drawing, to convey the mood and emotion in a child-friendly way.”</p>
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Kate Rolfe demoing her cyanotype printing method

<p dir="ltr">“I studied at Arts University Plymouth from 2005 to 2007, gaining a Foundation Degree in Animation Arts. My friends that I studied alongside have remained deeply important to me and although we don’t get to see each other much as we live at opposite ends of the country, they have a special place in my heart. I think when you meet true friends like that it stands the test of time and can overcome difficult circumstances. I suppose that is why ‘Wolf and Bear’ resonates so deeply with adults too, as they know the heartbreak of distant friendships, and are moved by the moment where the two friends are reunited.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Bea Carvalho, Head of Books at Waterstones says, “For twenty years the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize has been a highlight of our bookselling calendar: through it we have discovered some of the most exciting children’s authors and illustrators at work today. This year, as ever, our booksellers have chosen a stunning shortlist which is truly reflective of the vibrancy, creativity and genius to be found in children’s storytelling today. If this is the future of children’s writing, the next generation is in safe hands.”</p> <p dir="ltr">You can buy <a href="https://www.waterstones.com/book/wolf-and-bear/kate-rolfe/9781035019595">‘Wolf and Bear’ online via Waterstones</a>.</p>