Fitness guru Joe Wicks has recently completed his first children’s book, The Burpee Bears, and he’s bringing it to the Bath Children’s Literature Festival 

We are very excited that you’re coming to Bath Children’s Literature Festival just two days after your picture book The Burpee Bears comes out. Will this be one of the first live events you’ll be doing for the book?

Yes this will be the very first live event with the Burpee Bears. I’m so excited. I’m so proud of the story and the message behind it and I love nothing, more than meeting people and having that connection in person. You just can’t beat live experiences so I’m looking forward to it. Bath is also such a beautiful place so I look forward to showing Indie and Marley around. 

The Burpee Bears look like a friendly family. Will they help show us grown-ups that doing a burpee isn’t as hard as it looks? Why did you choose burpees and not, say, squats or star jumps? 

The book isn’t really about burpees – I just love the word and think it sounds fun for a family of bears. They do exercise as a family and go on a little adventure in the woods, and I think it’s a great message to share because they all feel so much happier and energised after getting outside and getting some fresh air. At the back of the book I have a few recipes to make with the kids and some basic fitness moves and stretches to try together too.

The amazing award-winning illustrator Paul Howard is illustrating the book – do you love the illustrations as much as we do?  

I can honestly say I totally fell in love with Paul’s illustrations as soon as he sent over the initial sketches. He totally nailed it and bought to life the bears in a way I could only dream of. I think they all have so much character and personality and the whole book is full of energy and life. I can’t wait to share them with the world. 

The Burpee Bears have ups and downs in their family life. Were any of them inspired by things that happened to your family and two kids?

I wanted to create a family of bears which people could really relate to. There’s definitely big similarities between the characters and my own family. I just love each bear so much, especially baby bear who is always up to mischief and making me laugh. One thing which happens in the book is just before the bears are about to head out on an adventure Baby Bear does a poop. This happens with Marley all the time lol. 

Your book festival event is being held in the Komedia (live entertainment venue) in Bath. What have you got in store for families who come along on the day?

So it’s going to be lots of fun and high energy. We will start with a little stretch and a mini workout to get our energy up and our focus ready then I will do a fun and exciting reading of the book, hopefully followed by a Q&A if anyone has some questions for me. 

What’s next for The Burpee Bears – will there be more adventures to come?

This is just the start and it’s so exciting. I actually have an eight book children’s publishing deal so I have many fantastic ideas to come with the Burpee Bears. I also can visualise an animated version of the story coming to life so that’s something I’d love to work on in the future. I really want to inspire as many young children as possible to enjoy movement and exercise and I think my books will be a great vehicle for that message. 

You seem like a really, really busy person. Do you like to sit down and quietly read books with your kids?

Not a day goes by where I do not read a book to Marley and Indie. It is the highlight of my day. No phones. No music. Just the world of imagination and story. My kids love to sit and read and it’s something I am so passionate about. I think it’s really helped with their vocabulary too. I want all parents and kids to enjoy reading together as a beautiful and cherished moment of connection. 

Joe Wicks and The Burpee Bears will be at Komedia, Bath, from 1pm on Saturday 2 October as part of the Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The event is suitable for ages four and over. Tickets from bathfestivals.org.uk or tel: 01225 463362.