Meanwhile Back on Earth is a story that explores the universe bringing us on a journey through time as a father takes his two squabbling children into space, inviting them to take a look back at Earth and the conflicts that have taken place since the beginning of time. The father hopes this will show his children that what binds us together matters more than what might set us apart – a message that will resonate with all ages.
The book was inspired by the Our Place in Space project – an epic 10 km scale model of the solar system which will travel throughout Northern Ireland and across the water to Cambridge. Our Place in Space has been commissioned as part of the Unboxed 2022 programme, funded by the UK government, which is designed to celebrate innovation and creativity across the UK.
A hugely ambitious and bold concept for a book, the story is told with Oliver’s trademark wit, lightness of touch and unique take on life. Meanwhile Back on Earth will sit alongside Oliver’s multi-million copy bestsellers, Here We Are (2017) and What We’ll Build (2020).
‘Anyone who has undertaken a long road trip with small children in the back seat (who don’t necessarily agree with each other), shouldn’t have difficulty making the leap to seeing how these small interactions about space and identity can easily play the analogy for how our larger society seems to have (dis)functioned for a very long time. They also, I hope, will remember, that despite whatever tempers were flared, there’s nothing quite like returning to the safety of home, and how that small act in itself provides perspective.' - Oliver Jeffers, Author
Ann-Janine Murtagh, Executive Publisher at HarperCollins Children’s Books said: ‘Oliver is a zeitgeist creative whose vision on the world inspires young and old across the globe. In his profound new picture book, Meanwhile Back on Earth, he explores the universe and brings us back to earth with an extraordinary cosmic perspective on peace; calling out for the triumph of love over hate and with hope for the future. His words and pictures offer wisdom and love to inspire children that a tender heart and the beauty of art can make a difference. We feel enormously privileged to publish this book, and it’s creator, Oliver Jeffers, who brings good to the world in everything he does.’
Oliver Jeffers’s visual world is a unity of curiosity and humour and is unrivalled in picture-book publishing. His spellbinding illustrations, thought-provoking stories and characteristically bold handwritten text has made him one of the most visionary artists of our time. His commitment to his work was honoured at the beginning of this year where he received an MBE for his Services in Art.