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Framlingham-based author Kate Rolfe on Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlist for her first publication, Wolf and Bear





A Suffolk author and illustrator has been nominated for a prestigious national award for her children’s book.

Framlingham-based Kate Rolfe is on the shortlist for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for her first publication, Wolf and Bear.

The book looks at neurodivergence as well as mental health and follows two friends who have different ideas about playing together.

Kate Rolfe has been nominated for a Waterstones Children's Book Prize for her book, Wolf and Bear. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Kate Rolfe has been nominated for a Waterstones Children's Book Prize for her book, Wolf and Bear. Picture: Mark Bullimore

The 39-year-old said: “I first found out about the nomination late last year, and it was a secret I have had to keep, so it is very exciting now that it is out there.

“The story is about Wolf, who wants to play a certain way, and Bear, who has to learn to say that certain types of play do not suit him as he struggles with a little bit of sadness – so the book talks about it being okay to say that you are not okay and that true friends will be there for you.”

Kate said the book has resonated with so many people, not just in this country but also further afield.

The book looks at neurodivergence as well as mental health and follows two friends who have different ideas about playing together. Picture: Mark Bullimore
The book looks at neurodivergence as well as mental health and follows two friends who have different ideas about playing together. Picture: Mark Bullimore

“It has really struck a chord across the age groups, which is really lovely,” she said. “Over the weekend, I got a message from a couple in Ohio who said it had really touched them and they even bought some of the book’s artwork.”

Kate, who won the V&A Student Illustrator of the Year Award 2022, said much of her work, including the book, were autobiographical on some level.

She said: “I see myself as both characters in the book: sometimes, I feel like bear and want my own space and, on other occasions, I am the one pestering and wanting to do loads of stuff with other people.

“If I won the award, I would be over the moon as Wolf and Bear is a really personal story and has a lot to offer in terms of the conversations around mental health.”

The winner of the award will be announced on March 21.