So I met the guy who said yes to the first Harry Potter book...

Yes. And he was dressed as Dumbledore.

Most people know the story of JK Rowling's route to publication. 12 publishers turned her down. There was DEFINITELY no appetite for a boy wizard story amongst the general public.

Barry Cunningham thought differently and in 1997 he said yes.

I met him on a cold, dark November evening in a glorious town hall surrounded by all kinds of literary characters (it was a dressing up party) children's authors and illustrators from all over the UK.

I was there at this mass book launch launching my picture book Mr Mustachio. I would love to tell you he said something amazing. Or I said something memorable. But to be honest I was so star struck and generally overwhelmed by the whole thing I bumbled my way through the conversation.

He was very sweet and we chatted about the launch, my book and a book by one of my friends who had been published by his new publishing company Chicken House.

Then someone dressed as Harry Potter came over and asked for a photo with him and he was off posing and smiling like a real Dumbledore amongst us. 

Becoming a children's author is many people's dream. It's been inspirational moments like that that have kept me going in my own writing. 

Writing Panda Post was the biggest project I've ever taken on. It was the equivalent of writing 47 new reading books for Reception. And I was determined to make each one special and fun so that when children open their envelope to hear what Panda's been up to they're not disappointed. 

Yasmin
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