It’s such a delight to welcome TWO stars in the making with their debut release in the kidlit arena! We congratulate author Laura Holloway and illustrator Kristen Willis on their gorgeous book baby, Peek-a-Boo Lottie! What a dynamic duo, with both words and pictures playfully bouncing off one another to capture the utter charm and charisma of their energetic Lottie. Interspersed with a diverse mix of culture, community and family, there is no hiding that this picture book is one colourful expression of love.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story with us, Laura and Kristen! 🙂


About the Author

Laura Holloway is a children’s author, freelance writer and EALD teacher. Her debut picture book Peek-a-Boo Lottie! was published with Five Mile in 2024. Laura writes stories that inspire children to play, explore and imagine. She believes there is no better way for children and caregivers to make magical memories than through reading together.

Laura lives and writes in sunny Perth, Western Australia.

Laura can be found at her website: www.laurahollowayauthor.com and on Instagram.

About the Illustrator

Kristen Willis is a multi-faceted Brisbane-based creative. She is a picture book illustrator and founder of her Graphic Design business, Tondo Creative. Between briefing clients, running a business and filling her creative cup, she effortlessly brings pigment and pixels to narrative storytelling. She believes illustrating is like composing a classic Italian dish – it takes a dash of love and a whole lot of lyrical hand gestures and is best enjoyed with others.

Explore Kristen’s portfolio and follow her kid-lit journey on Instagram.


WHO wrote, illustrated and published this book?
Peek-a-Boo Lottie
Written by Laura Holloway.
Illustrated by Kristen Willis.
Published by Five Mile.

WHAT is it about?
Lottie loves to spread smiles as she plays peek-a-boo with all the people she meets in her diverse neighbourhood.

What is your favourite part of this book?
LH: My favourite part of the book is the ending, when Lottie and Mumma are getting ready for bed. They play one last game of peek-a-boo with a loving twist.

KW: I love the cultural references on each spread. The reader will learn to say ‘peek-a-boo’ in eight languages.

Kristen, what media did you use to illustrate it?
I used traditional mediums to create the illustrations. Gouache (Liquitex Acrylic Gouache) underpainting, layered with colour pencil (Caran D’Ache Luminance) on paper (Fabriano Aquarello Artistico Hot-pressed 300gsm).

WHEN is its release / launch date?
Peek-a-Boo Lottie was released into the wild on Harmony Day, 21st March 2024.

WHY is this book meaningful to you?
LH: Being my first book, it’s very meaningful to finally see one of my manuscripts turned into a real-life book I can read to my kids. The celebration of play and community captures my values and how I want my kids to experience childhood.

KW: As the illustrator, I reflected on childhood moments while creating the concept artwork for the book. I vividly remember exchanging 4-year-old hellos and stories with my Nonna’s Singer Sewing Shop customers. And the beauty of being Australian, is living in a culturally diverse landscape.

Why would its message resonate with readers?

LH: I’ve never met a young child who didn’t love playing peek-a-boo. It’s great for development and building connection, but it’s also just a really fun game! I hope the multilingual element will help introduce young children to the idea that people speak different languages and spark curiosity.

KW: Peek-a-Boo Lottie offers a sense of inclusion amongst different cultures in society. From the moment we leave home, we never know who we might meet, and more importantly, we are open to the interactions we exchange. Life is full of wonder and surprises.

HOW long did it take to write?

LH: A long time! I’ve been working on this manuscript for a few years. The writing process involved a lot of research, a couple of big rewrites and a million tweaks.

How long did it take to illustrate? What was your process?
KW: As a full-time creative and graphic designer, I put my laser-focus glasses on and threw myself entirely into the process. Character studies came first, followed by four to five thumbnail options for each spread. Once Five Mile circled their favourites, I jumped straight into true-to-size page art with my paints and pencils. I also do all of my image processing and digitising at home on my behemoth A3 flatbed scanner.
Oh, and I always dash to Officeworks to check printed proofs before submitting to the publisher. Here is a fun reel of studio life as I create the book from beginning to end: watch me

How do you feel about the text / illustrations? Do they convey the feeling or mood you envisioned?
LH: It was a little nerve-wracking to hand my manuscript over to the publisher to choose an illustrator, and I was really hoping I’d end up with a book I liked and could feel proud of. As soon as I saw Kristen’s portfolio, I knew it was in safe hands as I loved all her work. I was so excited to see the character sketches and I felt like she’d captured Lottie’s playful spirit perfectly. When I saw the final illustrations, I could not have been happier! They absolutely conveyed the feeling of fun and community I was hoping for. Kristen is also a lovely human and has done a fabulous job with promotion, which is a great bonus!

KW: I used the title lettering from the cover to create a custom font for the book and was thrilled to discover that the Five Mile designer used my font for the entire story. So, the words and illustrations have a playful continuity in style and flow.

OTHER information or experiences you’d like to share?
KW: Peek-a-Boo Lottie is a debut picture book for both Laura Holloway and me. We have thrown ourselves deeply into the process and have come together to give the book the best possible send-off into the wild.

Please share your some of your favourite promotional ideas for this book.
LH: It’s certainly not in my comfort zone to ‘promote’ myself or the book, as I’m generally a quite self-deprecating person. However, the promotional side of things has been a lot more enjoyable than I expected. I’m having a book launch in Perth, which will be a great chance to celebrate with friends, family and local creatives. I’ve been busy preparing craft activities, stickers and my kids even have special costumes lined up. The support on social media has been so fabulous, so a lot of my efforts have been focused there.

KW: Laura sent me a cute, crocheted Lottie doll to commemorate our first book baby. Lottie has been the star of my promotional reels. I even hand-made a peek-a-boo selfie stand for little ones to interact with for the book launch. Here is a fun little reel of the full process: watch me.

Thanks so much, Laura and Kristen, for sharing this amazingly vibrant journey with Peek-a-Boo Lottie! Congratulations! 🙂

#thequicksixinterview #peekaboolottie #culture #community #diversity #childhoodplay #justkidslit

Thanks to Gemma Creegan for sourcing this interview with the creators.

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