Exclusive Interview with Adam Hancher

Adam Hancher is an illustrator hailing from The Black Country, now based in East London. He graduated from the University of West England with first class honours in 2010. He has worked for: The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Puffin Books and Penguin Random House. Adam's first book, The Little Pioneer was published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books in 2016 and was chosen by Costco as one of their picks of the Bologna Book Fair. 

Here's our exclusive interview with Adam about his fantastic new book 'Taking Flight - How the Wright Brothers Conquered the Skies'.


We love ‘Taking Flight’, did you enjoy illustrating and writing the book?

Yes I did, and the most enjoyable part for me was the research. These brothers, in-fact the whole Wright family, were incredibly interesting characters. They lived very rich lives; it was difficult to condense such an amazing and complex biography into 32 pages!


Taking Flight

‘Taking Flight’ was published to coincide with the 150th birthday of Wilbur Wright on the 16th April 2017. When did you first hear about the Wright brothers and their story? Could you tell our readers a little bit about the Wright brothers and their story?

I most likely learned of the Wright brothers at school, I know it was at an early age. As children Wilbur and Orville were encouraged to constantly learn, through both academia and practical means. During their younger years they worked as printers, published newspapers and built their very own brand of Wright Bicycles. Always hungry for a new challenge, the brothers discovered inspiration in the aviation work of fellow inventors, Sir George Cayley, Samuel Langley, Octave Chanute, and Otto Lilienthal. Soon enough Wilbur and Orville were dedicated to the pursuit of flight. ‘Taking Flight’ focuses in particular on the brothers’ devotion and teamwork in their search for sustained and controlled flight. Wilbur and Orville’s story is quite complex. Their are many people who inspired, encouraged and challenged them along the way, too many to include in such a short picture book. I would love for this book to be an introduction to the Wright brothers’ story, and hopefully afterwards children and parents might be curious enough to learn more about their amazing lives, and all of the other aviators that chased the dream of flight.


‘Taking Flight’ encourages young children to follow their dreams, no matter the obstacles in front of them. Was your dream as a young child to be an author and illustrator?

I cannot begin to imagine how amazing those first flights would have felt, but sadly in these modern times flying can be something we take for granted. What drew me to the Wright Brothers – more so than their flying – was their passion for inventing. My father worked as a heavy vehicles mechanic, and he has a keen interest in industrial heritage. I have a very clean life and job in comparison, but I grew up around all things mechanical, so I feel drawn to that subject matter. It’s great material from an illustrative point of view too, so many tools!


Throughout the book there are many fantastic illustrations. Do you have one that you really enjoyed drawing?

I most enjoyed drawing the smaller, vingetted illustrations, which focused closely on Wilbur and Orville – flying their first glider, using their wind tunnel, testing their propellers. I enjoyed depicting the playfulness that seemed to be the foundation of their work and relationship. Yes they worked hard, but they also had fun, apparently Orville was quite the practical joker.


If you could give one tip to a young author and another for a young illustrator what would they be?

Plan and research. If you know your stuff and have the story beats laid down, it’s much easier to write and compose each page. You soon run out of pages, and it’s hard to add in content if you miss something or feel that the pacing is off once the book is developed.

To all illustrators – draw a lot. Go to life drawing, sketch, draw outdoors, whatever you can manage to fit in. It sounds obvious, but I struggle to find the time to hone my drawing skills, and it always weighs on my mind. Keep up your drawing practice and it makes life as a commercial illustrator so much easier.


Taking Flight’ is the first book in a new biographical series titled ‘Dare to Dream’. This book series is dedicated to inspirational figures throughout history. If you could write about another inspiring figure from history, who would they be? And why?

Of course there are so many, but to pick just one I would say Kanō Jigorō – educator, athlete, a genuine polymath and the founder of Judo. He too had a curious mind that constantly sought new challenges; he truly believed in what he was creating. That would be a great story to tell.



Taking Flight by Adam Hancher is out now! £11.99 ISBN: 9781847809285 Frances Lincoln Children's Books



Taking Flight



 Book Giveaway! 

 Send in your suggestions of who the next ‘Dare to Dream’ book could be about and you could win a copy of ‘Taking Flight – How the  Wright Brothers Conquered the Skies’ by Adam Hancher’. Winner announced at 2pm Wednesday 3rd May 2017

 **Congratulations to Philip Underwood who is our giveaway winner!**

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“The next book for me would be about the Royal family over generations and how they have changed in the last few hundred years. You could include a family tree of the royals and write about their reign and how successful they were. This would be a great book for history lovers! ”

by philip underwood on 2nd May 2017

“I think the next book could be about queen Elizabeth the 1st ”

by Maryam Saleem on 2nd May 2017

“I think the next book could be about shoutokutaishi,a Japanese ruler who created wonderful laws.I think it would be a really good turning point for everyone to be better people.”

by Hafsah Saleem on 29th April 2017

“The next book could be about Mo Farah a great inspiration and story for young people and their families”

by pamela thakral on 28th April 2017

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