Writer in Residence: Rashmi Sirdeshpande

Every six months, BookTrust appoints a new Writer or Illustrator in Residence to write blogs, run competitions and give us their own unique perspective on the world of children's books.

Our current Writer in Residence is Rashmi Sirdeshpande. 

Sirdeshpande will use her residency to champion the benefits of an underrated form of storytelling: children’s non-fiction books and factual books. The theme of her time as BookTrust’s Writer in Residence will be: “Using factual books to fascinate young readers” and will encourage children and grown-ups to discover mind-enriching facts together.

During her residency, Sirdeshpande will talk about the magic of curiosity and wonder, and how this can be cultivated in children through sharing non-fiction books. She will explore how factual books can open children’s eyes, make them laugh, make them think, spark interesting conversations with others, and help turn empathy into action. Her message for families is choosing to read non-fiction together is a powerful way to bond, to find common interests and to have fun.

Rashmi Sirdeshpande is the author of award-winning children’s books including Never Show a T-Rex a Book (illustrated by Diane Ewen), Dadaji’s Paintbrush (illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane), and Good News: Why The World is Not as Bad as You Think (illustrated by Adam Hayes). A former World Book Day author, Rashmi has won a number of awards, including the Diverse Book Awards and the Society of Authors Queen’s Knickers Award, which celebrates “outstanding” picture books. Her factual book Good News was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards, Best Book with Facts. Having been diagnosed with autism and ADHD as an adult, Sirdeshpande is an advocate for representing neurodivergent perspectives in children’s literature.

As a creator of both children’s picture books for pre-schoolers, and factual books for primary school age children, Sirdeshpande has experience in capturing the imagination and interest of a broad range of young readers. Her picture books promote creativity and lateral thinking, while her non-fiction titles encourage children to self-reflect, explore their personal interests, and stay curious about the world around them.

Rashmi Sirdeshpande says:

“As BookTrust’s new Writer in Residence, I’d love to get children and grown-ups reading more factual books together. I want to see those shared moments of reading spark conversations and awaken inner storytellers.

I was diagnosed with autism and ADHD aged 39. Looking back, I see why factual books were always so perfect for me as a child. I could follow my areas of intense interests down the deepest rabbit holes. But I believe factual books are truly for everyone – neurotypical readers, too – because we’re all curious about the world. I want people to see that these books can make reading accessible and irresistible.

I love seeing children's eyes light up when they discover a fascinating fact, and you can see they're bursting to share it with someone. Today, in this golden age of children’s factual books, there is so much richness and variety.

If you find the right book, it brings children (and grown-ups) together in a shared ‘wow’ moment that can really stay with them. I've seen it. It sets children on an amazing path of loving books and loving learning.”

Read the news story

Watch Rashmi's Virtual Author Event

Features from our Writer in Residence


Books by Rashmi Sirdeshpande

Good News

Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Adam Hayes

From pandemics to war, world news can sometimes seem rather bleak, leaving many children feeling anxious and despondent. This superb, upbeat book redresses the balance, highlighting amazing news stories from around the globe.

Read more about Good News

Dadaji’s Paintbrush

Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Ruchi Mhasane

A beautifully tender story about love, art and death, set in India.

Mae bachgen yn byw mewn pentref bach yn yr India gyda'i dadaji (taid). Maen nhw'n gwneud popeth gyda'i gilydd – o werthu ffrwythau yn y farchnad i hwylio cychod papur. Ond yn fwy na dim, maen nhw wrth eu boddau'n paentio gyda'i gilydd.

Read more about Dadaji’s Paintbrush

Never Show a T-Rex a Book

Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Diane Ewen

A young girl wonders what would happen if she showed her book to a real dinosaur. This entertaining tale celebrates the joy of reading and demonstrates how books can fuel the imagination.

Read more about Never Show a T-Rex a Book


Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Adam Hayes

This fun financial handbook aims to encourage children to develop good money habits from an early age. 

Read more about Dosh

How to be Extraordinary

Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Annabel Tempest

This inspirational non-fiction picture book introduces children to extraordinary people from across the world and throughout history. Selected from a range of disciplines, the 15 featured individuals are united by common themes of hard work and perseverance.

Read more about How to be Extraordinary

Yes You Can, Cow!

Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Rikin Parekh

Rehearsals are under way for the big production of Hey Diddle Diddle, but Cow is not ready for the spotlight. A hilarious read aloud with a special message for little ones – the importance of peer encouragement, bravery and not fearing failure.

Read more about Yes You Can, Cow!

We’ve Got This!: Six Steps to Build Your Empathy Superpower

Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande in partnership with Empathy Lab Illustrator: Juliana Eigner

Split into six chapters, We’ve Got This! explores what empathy is, how it works, using empathy, learning to recognise emotions, being a good communicator and, finally, puts it all together to help you become an empathy superhero. 

Read more about We’ve Got This!: Six Steps to Build Your Empathy Superpower

How to Change the World

Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Annabel Tempest

This fascinating picture book presents a selection of true stories about incredible people who have challenged injustice and worked together to make the world a better place.

Read more about How to Change the World

Previous Writers in Residence

Previous writers to take up the post include Matt Haig, Laura Dockrill, Cressida Cowell, Chris Riddell and Patrick Ness – see what fun things they all got up to during their time in residence.

Find out more

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