When I Grow Up…Enjoy reading and learning all about different jobs

Ladybird Senior Designer Nicola Harrison writes about the thinking behind – and the design within – our new non fiction series ‘When I Grow Up’.

. . . . . . .

What would you like to be when you grow up? I remember being asked that question when I was small and not being quite sure what to say as I couldn’t imagine what doing a certain job would be like. Children are often drawn to many different kinds of jobs. They start to think about what interests them, what they enjoy doing and what type of job would best suit their personality. If only I had been able to read the new Ladybird series about jobs that is publishing this year called When I Grow Up…When I Grow Up

These books celebrate a range of popular professions and include all kinds of interesting facts and information about what it’s really like doing a particular job such as: your daily life, what you’d wear, the tools of your trade, the types of incidents and people you may come across, what type of person you need to be to do that job well and so much more.  Firefighter and Doctor are the first books to be published in the series, with Farmer and Builder following in Spring 2016.


As the senior designer on this series, it was my creative task to bring these books to life. My aim was to create a contemporary look that stood out from the crowd with a strong, bold colour palette and to create interiors that help children easily access and enjoy learning about the different aspects of these jobs. I did this by making the boxes that contain art a simplified cartoon strip with rounded edges and having as much action as possible in each image without too much text. I felt strongly that there should be a male and female on the front cover as I think it’s essential to be inclusive of both genders working in that profession and to give children the opportunity to imagine being one of those people whether they are a girl or boy.


I chose a talented illustrator called Mike Byrne who created brilliant art that filled each box with friendly characters and brought all the technical elements to life with his unique artistic flair.

My answer to the opening question is much easier to answer now I have designed these books – my plan B career is to be a Vet – luckily, this title, along with Astronaut will publish in autumn 2016!

WIN copies of When I Grow Up…

We have THREE sets of When I Grow Up… Firefighter and When I Grow Up… Doctor to give away!


To enter our competition, just let us know as a comment below what your little ones want to be when they grow up OR, if they are still a bit too little to decide, let us know what you wanted to be! Enter by 3pm May 14th 2015. Good luck! T&Cs here

Update 14th May 2015: Thanks to everyone who has left a comment, we have loved reading all the sweet and sometimes funny things your children are hoping to be when they grow up. The winners have been chosen and notified directly by email.

72 thoughts on “When I Grow Up…Enjoy reading and learning all about different jobs

  1. Sarah Basley says:

    My little princess has just told me she wants to be a doctor and do check ups for everyone and dress up like a doctor too.

  2. Tanya Camilleri says:

    My 3 year old said she wants to be a princess!

    When I was little I wanted to be an air hostess as loved planes….but i’m too short!

  3. Alice Fox says:

    My son wants to be 5 things when he grows up a professional boxer, a diamond collector, a carpenter (like his dad), a free runner and a solider. I told him he is going to be very busy 🙂 xx

  4. Jessica Low says:

    My 5 year old wants to be a “Rock Star”, and my 3 year old wants to be a Baker – but I think it’s just so he can eat all the buns!

  5. Emma Dobson says:

    My sons wants to be a bus driver just like his Daddy! Although I think he would make a good presenter!!!

  6. Helen TobinPerry says:

    My eldest would love to be a hair dresser as she loves playing with hair and putting plaits, ribbons and bows in ❤

  7. Tarna Crawford says:

    My 8 year old granddaughter wants to be an ice hockey player but in the recent elections, after grilling our local MP, he said she’d make a good politician or dictator 😅

  8. My little boy wants to be a firefighter. He slides down the metal bedposts like they’re a fireman’s pole and every day we get all the toy engines out to fight pretend fires.

  9. Lisa Pollitt says:

    I always wanted to be a nurse as I wanted to look after people, wear a clip belt & wear an upside down watch 🚑🚑🚑

  10. Maz says:

    My little one is really into playing Doctors at the moment. She looks so adorable all dressed up in her outfit 🙂 More than happy for her to pursue that career!

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