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Jazz Dog – FCBG Children’s Book Award Blog Tour 2020

Once again at Picture Book Club Cottage, it’s an honour to kick off the Federation of Children’s Book Groups Children’s Book Award, the only book award voted for entirely by children.

This year, our entry on the short-list is Jazz Dog which is written and illustrated by Marie Voigt and published by Oxford University Press. We were lucky enough to be able to ask Marie about the inspiration behind Jazz Dog.

“I felt inspired to write Jazz Dog after seeing Tom Hardy read “Odd Dog Out” by Rob Biddulph on CBeebies Bedtime stories. I remember dreaming of having my own book read on there one day…

Having grown up behind the wall in former East Berlin, I felt great sadness at Donald Trump wanting to build a wall between the US and Mexico, and the UK wanting to pursue Brexit. This inspired the book’s wider themes of inclusion, intercultural communication and that together we can achieve the greatest results.

Also, like the little dog in the story, I have also always followed my heart and pursued dreams that others thought were crazy. I truly believe if we all do what we love, we spread happiness, inspire and bring people together, contributing to a better world in one way or another.

Initially, the story had no music theme. The dog basically just didn’t like the harsh sound of barking and decided to learn how to meow instead. It was the idea of my wonderful editor Pete Marley at OUP Childrens to maybe incorporate Rock and Jazz. I loved the idea straight away and was amazed at how little I actually had to adjust the story to make it work. I’m doubly grateful he made that brilliant suggestion because the musical theme allowed for much more interesting illustrations.

The actual dog character was inspired by our Golden Retriever, Harry. In fact, he is the reason I initially wanted to become an author illustrator, so I’d be able to capture his cheekiness.”

“Not long after publication in the UK, I was gobsmacked to find out that CBeebies Bedtime Stories wanted to read Jazz Dog, and by no other than Robbie Williams! For me this was the ultimate proof that one should always pursue their dreams and that they really can come true!
It’s actually Harry’s 15th Birthday today on 6 March 2020! And I’m so glad he still got to witness Robbie reading his book on TV and it being shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award!”

It looks like Harry really enjoyed seeing the book he helped inspire on TV! Happy birthday Harry and best of luck to Jazz Dog in the FCBG Children’s Book Award! We love the theme of bringing everyone together and breaking down barriers. Get voting!

Place your vote for Jazz Dog or any of the other short-listed books on the FCBG website here. But you must be under 18 to vote. For those of more mature years, you can still support Jazz Dog by buying a copy from your local independent bookshop or online or by asking for it at your library.

The Children’s Book Award is the only national award voted for solely by children from start to finish. It is highly regarded by parents, teachers, librarians, publishers and children’s authors and illustrators as it truly represents the children’s choice. Thanks to the support of the publishers, over 1,000 new books are donated to be read and reviewed by Testing Groups across the country every year, with over 150,000 total votes being cast in the process. At the end of each testing year, nearly 12,000 books are donated to hospitals, women’s refuges, nurseries and disadvantaged schools by FCBG groups.