Izzy Gizmo

Timeframe: 2017-2018

Izzy Gizmo is a critically recognised picture book collaboration with the writer Pip Jones. This work was developed in the context of increasing concern around the lack of diversity within fictional lead characters in picture book industry. Research undertaken by The Centre for Literacy and Primary Education/Arts Council England confirmed that during 2017 of 9,115 titles published in the UK’s children’s book sector only 4% featured BAME characters.

Ogilvie choose to address these shortcomings by researching and developing a unique black female character which promoted a ‘growth mindset’ (Dweck 2006). The development of her character and her visual world was rooted in a practice-led methodology that utilised primary archive work conducted at the Seven Stories (Newcastle, UK) and Ogilvie’s on-going use of non-verbal language to strengthen and support the book’s central themes.

The outcome is a picture book that positively contributes on many levels – Izzy Gizmo as a female identity functions a role model who is not only black but also an engineer learning to develop her own design process, confidence and self-sufficiency. As a piece of learning based literature, this picture book create a framework for all children, but importantly better enables children from ethnic minorities to begin to make sense of their world and their potential place within it.

It has been shortlisted for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Prize 2017, Hearst/WHSmith Big Book award 2018, and longlisted for the North Somerset Teachers’ Book Award in 2018. It has entered teaching curriculums at pre and primary school levels in the UK, USA and Canada. To date book has now been co-published internationally in 8 countries outside the UK. Following this success, a second title Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention (by Ogilvie and Jones) was released in 2019 and was awarded the WH Smith Book of the year.