Here We Are: adapting Oliver Jeffers’ children’s book for TV

Jeffers’ illustrated bestseller has been reimagined for the screen in a 30-minute film created by Studio AKA. We talk to director Philip Hunt about the making of the film, and the challenges of adapting a popular picture book

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth is a beautiful exploration of life and the world that surrounds us. Through rich illustrations and simple language, it provides a heartfelt introduction to space, animals, and humankind – teaching young readers about everything from the solar system to the human body.

Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, the book was inspired by the birth of his first child, and his subsequent attempts to explain to him the things that we as adults often encounter without a second thought.

Speaking to CR when the book was released, Jeffers said: “It started off by almost seeing the humour of giving this two day-old baby a tour of our apartment…. [I had a] realisation of just how little people know when they first arrive, and the responsibility of parents and communities to inform the way in which a human being views their world, and interacts with their world.”

A spread from Oliver Jeffers’ book Here We Are

Released in the midst of an environmental crisis, and the aftermath of a divisive US election campaign, it offered a timely and uplifting look at the world, and a reminder of the importance of kindness and compassion. It quickly became a bestseller, receiving glowing reviews in The Times, the New York Times and the Guardian, and a best book of the year award from TIME magazine in 2017.

Almost three years on from its publication, Jeffers’ story has been translated for the screen. Created by Studio AKA in collaboration with Jeffers and Apple TV, the film version follows a seven-year-old boy names Finn as he learns about the wonders of the world at the brilliantly named Museum of Everything.