Eileen Browne (author)

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Eileen Browne is an author and illustrator best known for being the author of the Handa books.


Browne was born in Birmingham, United Kingdom. She lived in London for more than 20 years before moving to the county of Wiltshire. Browne has worked as a school teacher and a youth worker before becoming a full-time writer and illustrator.[1]


Browne's books have been praised by Early Childhood Review for including diverse characters and properly presenting different cultures, such as Kenyan life in Handa's Surprise.[2] The Guardian also recognized Handa's Surprise as one of the "50 best culturally diverse children's books."[3] Handa's Surprise is also noted for the use of illustrations to provide the reader with information the main character doesn't have.[4][5] In 1995, Handa's Surprise was on the shortlist for the Sheffield Children's Book Award.[1] Handa's Surprise has also been adapted into a theatre production using song and puppetry.[6]

Browne continues to fight for diversity in children's books and media, commenting for example, on the lack of female characters in children's television.[7] The narrative that Browne creates is a sense of inclusion, where "colour seems merely incidental."[8]

Browne has related that she was first interested in exploring diversity in the 1980s when she lived in the Finsbury Park area of London.[9] She was running a junior youth club that had a diverse group of children and when the children from her club asked her to put people like them in her books, Browne to realised "how important it was for them to see pictures of themselves."[9]


  • Boo Boo Baby and the Giraffe
  • Caraway and the Cup Final
  • Handa's Hen
  • Handa's Surprise
  • Handa's Surprising Day
  • Handa's Noisy Night
  • In a Minute
  • Mary Had a Dinosaur
  • Nicki
  • No Problem
  • Through My Window
  • Tick Tock
  • Up the Tree
  • Wait and See
  • Wait for Me!
  • Where's That Bus?
  • Winnie Wagtail


  1. ^ a b "Eileen Browne - Author". Love Reading 4 Kids. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  2. ^ Graham, Judith (1996). "My Favourite Picture Book". Early Childhood Review: Papers from GAEC, 1996-1997 (2): 26–27. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Diverse Voices: The 50 Best Culturally Diverse Children's Books". The Guardian. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  4. ^ Merchant, Guy; Thomas, Huw (2012). Picture Books for the Literacy Hour: Activities for Primary Teachers. New York: Routledge. p. 122. ISBN 1853466271.
  5. ^ Graham, Judith (2014). "Reading Contemporary Picturebooks". In Butler, Catherine; Reynolds, Kimberley (eds.). Modern Children's Literature: An Introduction (2nd ed.). New York: Palgrave. pp. 55–56. ISBN 9781137364715.
  6. ^ Wrigh, Marian (22 July 2015). "The New Victory Theatre's 2015-2016 Season". Black Star News. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  7. ^ Groskop, Viv (5 June 2014). "Is UK Children's TV Really Sexist?". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  8. ^ Pinsent, Pat (2007). Children's Literature and the Politics of Equality. New York: Routledge. p. 106. ISBN 9781853464256.
  9. ^ a b Newbery, Linda (2013). "Inclusiveness in Children's Fiction". Writing Children's Fiction: A Writers' and Artists' Companion. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. p. 51. ISBN 9781408156872.

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