Black Chook Books: Hatching Great Stories for Little People

Black Chook Books

Black Chook Books has evolved from a partnership between writer and illustrator Martin Bailey and designer Kathryn Enchmarch, who are both passionate about the unique world view New Zealand has to offer. Their wonderful, original children’s books will captivate their young audience with clever rhymes and humorous illustrations. Here they talk about their exciting journey so far with Black Chook Books and their hopes and dreams for the future.

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business? 

Martin: For many years I’ve been putting pen to paper to create stories with illustrations that jump off the page for children. So, it was the perfect next step to create our own business and offer something new and unique to what is currently available on bookshop shelves. 

Kathryn: I wanted to promote Martin’s work as a prolific illustrator and help share the humorous and beautiful illustrations that are captured in his books.  

The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?  

The Frankfurt Book Fair was perfectly timed with a trip to Europe to visit family so we decided to take a punt and print our first children’s series ‘Big Thyme’, join the New Zealand collective of publishers, and launch them at the Frankfurt fair. It was a mind-boggling experience to say the least, but a great opportunity to showcase them worldwide. People from all over the world immediately loved the fun and colourful illustrations created at home in New Zealand.

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?  

While we were at the Frankfurt fair, an agent visiting the New Zealand stand expressed an interest in our books. We didn’t get a chance to meet her then, but fast forward to the Bologna Children’s Book fair and we met her by chance! Thanks to this serendipitous moment, our first five board books started being sold into the US and Canada. We now sell all ten titles there.

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