Writer in Residence: Dapo Adeola

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.

Dapo Adeola, credit Tim Lane at Penguin Books

Our current Writer-Illustrator Residence is Dapo Adeola. Dapo's theme during this residency is “The Art of Storytelling” and he'll be supporting emerging illustrators, with a focus on under-represented voices in children’s books.  

Dapo Adeola, the co-creator of science-mad chatterbox Rocket from the bestselling picture book Look Up! with Nathan Bryon and illustrator of We’re Going To Find The Monster written by Malorie Blackman, creates vivid and striking children’s book characters and images that prompt and challenge readers’ expectations around race and gender in a fun and upbeat way.

As well as running workshops for children, he has risen to prominence in recent years for using his platform and experience to champion and promote careers in illustration to under-represented groups in the creative arts and publishing industries. 

Enter our exciting 'design a character' competition for a chance to appear in one of Dapo Adeola's books

Speaking about being appointed as BookTrust's Writer in Residence, Dapo says:

'I’ll be looking at illustration as a form of storytelling: who gets to tell stories, as well as the importance of championing and developing the diverse voices and talents within illustration and storytelling in general. My time will be divided up between both the readers and content creators of children’s literature, with competitions and activities for both groups that give an insight into some of the relevant areas of children’s illustration.
'I’ll also be using my tenure to demystify access into publishing for aspiring illustrators by giving them a glimpse into industry life, as well as workshops on navigating social media and building your brand as a beginner in children’s illustration.
'I’m really looking forward to sharing this next step of my journey with you all.'

Read the news story

Hello from Dapo

Get involved

Families: Join in with Facebook Live

This half term, at 11am on Wednesday 27 October, Dapo will be reading a story, answering some of your questions and doing a draw-a-long. 

Join in with Instagram Live

Dapo Adeola will be talking to some incredible authors and illustrators for a series of storymakers' interviews.

All you need to do is go to the BookTrust account on Instagram at 6pm on the following dates, and tap or click our profile picture to watch along:

  • Tuesday 28 September with Jamie Littler
  • Thursday 30 September with Andrea Beaty and David Roberts
  • Thursday 7 October with Allen Fatimaharan and Hannah Lee
  • Tuesday 12 October with Tom Percival
  • Thursday 14 October with Diane Ewan and Rashmi Sirdeshpande
  • Tuesday 2 November with Jim Field and Rachel Bright
  • Thursday 4 November with Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers
  • Wednesday 8 December with Nadia Shireen


Features from our Writer in Residence


Books by Dapo Adeola

Space Detectives: Extra Weird Creatures

Author: Mark Powers Illustrator: Dapo Adeola

Powers’ and Adeola’s second book in this illustrated series, ideal for newly independent readers, is delightfully fast paced, silly and beautifully illustrated in black and white. Expect plenty of laughs and some brilliant space-themed scene-setting.

Read more about Space Detectives: Extra Weird Creatures

We're Going to Find the Monster

Author: Malorie Blackman Illustrator: Dapo Adeola

A lovely slightly fairy tale-inspired tale about a family with two younger siblings and a teenager getting ready for breakfast, featuring the wonderful storytelling and word wizardry of Malorie Blackman and the illustrations of prize-winning Dapo Adeola.

Read more about We're Going to Find the Monster

Space Detectives

Author: Mark Powers Illustrator: Dapo Adeola

A summer holiday job selling ice cream aboard the exotic space station of Starville turns into a race against time to avoid a catastrophic collision with the moon. Bring on the Space Detectives!

Read more about Space Detectives

Hey You! An empowering celebration of growing up black

Author: Dapo Adeola Illustrator: Various

A baby is born to loving parents, but as she grows up it’s hard for her to find books to read containing girls that look like her. Sometimes, as she gets older, she encounters racism, and life can be very hard. Yet, she is reminded that she stands on the shoulders of the great black community that has come before her – and that she has the power to be anythi…

Read more about Hey You! An empowering celebration of growing up black

My Dad is a Grizzly Bear

Author: Swapna Haddow Illustrator: Dapo Adeola

The dad in this book is very bearish - he loves honey, chases his little boy around while growling, and naps everywhere. And there's nothing like a grizzly bear hug from your dad to make you feel safe. A charming picture book celebrating all the bear-like dads out there.

Read more about My Dad is a Grizzly Bear

Clean Up!

Author: Nathan Bryon Illustrator: Dapo Adeola

Rocket loves visiting her Grammy and Grampy in the Caribbean, especially splashing in the waves with her cool surfing Grammy - but when Rocket finds a baby turtle washed up on the shore, tangled in plastic, she decides something must be done. It's time to clean up!

Read more about Clean Up!

Look Up!

Author: Nathan Bryon Illustrator: Dapo Adeola

Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola’s charming picture book gifts us with a gorgeous character in Rocket, a girl whose passion for all things space is as inspiring to the reader as her heroine Mae Jemison is to her. 

Read more about Look Up!

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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