We are very excited to announce that we will be holding a submissions window for diverse and LGBTQ+ authors, as well as authors with a disability, on Sunday 30th August 2020. We will also be holding a short submissions window for all authors on Monday 31st August 2020. The window will run from 00:01 until 23:59 on 31st August 2020, and any manuscripts submitted outside of these times will not be accepted.
Imagination has no borders. No culture has a monopoly on the way children think or feel and this is why we actively encourage new voices from anyone – regardless of where you are from (and where you’re going). Our focus is on our readers: children long to see themselves in books but are also more open than many of us to new characters and notions. With this in mind, we are advertising our submissions window to promote fairness and we will be accepting manuscripts for any genre.
Firefly Press will be accepting submissions for:
· Younger readers, ages 6-9
· Middle grade, ages 9-12
· Teen and Young adult, ages 12+
Please note that we do not publish picture books or any fiction or non-fiction books for adults. Before submitting, make sure that you read and follow our guidelines for submission.
As you may have seen we have revealed our stunning autumn 2020 covers. From an exhilarating new fantasy debut to the third instalment of the Clockwork Crow trilogy, this year’s upcoming titles promise to have something for everyone:
Meet Kay, a 16-year-old girl grieving the loss of her mother, her home and life as she knows it. Can her new friend Siôn help her find the beauty of Blackmoss Mountain? Or will she lose everything again?
Released July 2, available to pre-order now! You can join Chloe for her online launch, see details below.
Join Chloe for her online launch on July 2, over on Twitter.
Coming September 10 is a thrilling debut full of puzzles, danger and friendship. Read the first chapter here. When Kip Bramley receives a cryptic invitation, delivered by a beetle-shaped drone which appears to be breathing, his world will change forever. Soon he finds himself chasing riddles and solving puzzles on a crazy treasure hunt set 400 years earlier by a mysterious genius. As things get dangerous, it seems much more is at stake for Kip and his family than winning top marks at his strange new school…
Pre-order by August 20 to receive a signed copy and a pin badge!
This second Lori and Max detective story arrives October 8! A stolen phone and an unruly dog; a buried lunchbox and an antique children’s book. Lori and Max must dig through layers of lies to solve two mysteries.
Pre-order by September 17 to receive a signed copy.
Too Dark to See by Chloë Heuch is a beautifully written coming of age YA novel that perfectly captures the intensity of being a teenager. Themes of grief, first love, sex and resilience are sensitively explored against a forbidding landscape, with characters and nature that are both benevolent and violent. We loved Kay and Siôn’s blossoming relationship, as they help each other find hope after trauma. It is a novel that has all the wildness and passion of a contemporary Wuthering Heights.
Too Dark to See publishes on 2 July. Read a blog post from Chloë about the landscape that influenced her writing.
For me, wild landscapes are a place where life and death are thrown into relief. The Landscape in Too Dark To See is central to the plot. The protagonist, Kay, literally and symbolically has to climb a mountain to gain perspective and see things in a different way.
Landscape has always been important to me. As a child, my artist parents would often whip out sketch books, painting or drawing the views around them, whether we were back home in Derbyshire, or on holiday in Wales. I enjoyed painting and drawing too, and I learnt to see the landscape in a painterly way, that I guess affects the way I write about place.
The natural landscapes in Wales, in Snowdonia, and where I live on the Llŷn Peninsula, dominate everything. You get a real sense of nature’s power and might when walking among the hills and mountains here. It sometimes feels as though the rounded back of a mountain is a slumbering giant or creature half nestled in the earth.
It can feel a bleak or dangerous place when you are high in the hills alone, and weather changes bring rain and mist obscuring your way. Siôn is much more at home in this environment than Kay, and he understands the cycle of life better through his observations. This environment can seem harsh, cruel even, when we see predators attacking prey, or stumble across the remains of a kill.
When alone, such a landscape has a habit of bouncing back your thoughts, like an echo, returning them to you. This can mean if people are low, or unhappy, like Kay, the dominating aspect of nature can scare and intimidate. Even with so much space, you can suffocate on yourself! But when you stop being afraid of all that space, it becomes an amazing place to reconnect with yourself and what matters.
You realise that we share our world with amazing plants and animals and can learn a lot from them. Understanding the natural world is ultimately an uplifting experience, as we feel connected to the planet and more in touch with our own amazing life force: our heart beats, our beautiful breath. It makes you want to live every moment to the full! It was this reason I wanted to set Too Dark to See in a more remote and wild landscape, to give Kay and Siôn this backdrop, for their story. I hope you like it!
‘I was impressed by this beautifully told story of love and survival… Grief, sex, destructive behaviour, resilience and the natural world are all handled with great sensitivity.’ Caroline Sanderson, The Bookseller
‘A beautifully written portrayal of teen grief. The characters are very real and draw you in.’ Kelly McFarland, TBHonest
‘An evocative story of a teenage girl coming to terms with loss and finding hope and light in the untamed landscape of her new world, Too Dark To See is stunning. Each page oozes with a purity of raw emotion. … Remarkable, genuine, heartfelt and so very real.’ Fallen Star Stories
In recent weeks we’ve all seen how empathy is more important than ever, to help us listen to and understand others, enable us to help those in need, and to stand against injustice. Today, Empathy Lab is asking us all to encourage children to READ empathy-boosting books, CONNECT with others by listening, and ACT by putting empathy skills into practice – all as part of Empathy Day 2020.
At Firefly Press, we’re proud of our wonderful authors and illustrators who work so hard to create and share stories for children which will help them to empathise with others. This year, we’re delighted that Vanessa Harbour’s powerful middle-grade historical story Flight is an Empathy Lab selection in their Read for Empathy Guide 2020.
Flight is ‘a nail-biting adventure about children who manage to save Lipizzaner horses in the Second World War. Gripping, and excellent for exploring and understanding relationships (and history), with strong characters.’
Empathy Lab UK
You can read a special blog post by Vanessa about the importance of developing empathy for (and between) the characters in Flight, hosted by the brilliant Library Girl and Book Boy.
Other Firefly authors are taking part with Empathy Day too…
‘At this time of pandemic the whole world has had to dig deep and show kindness and empathy to each other and to strangers. Empathy is literally saving lives.’
Kate Mallinder is the author of feel good teen reads Summer of No Regrets and Asking for a Friend. Watch her special message for Leicester Libraries here. Kate is also taking part in #ukteenchat on Twitter from 8-9pm.
And Wilde author and Children’s Laureate Wales, Eloise Williams, has created a terrific Authorfy ‘10 Minute Challenge’ especially for #EmpathyDay. Watch it here.
Empathy Reads for Years 2 – 4
Empathy Reads for Years 5 – 6
Empathy Reads for KS3+
Here are some ways you can get involved with Empathy Day…
Share your recommended #ReadForEmpathy books
Take part in the Empathy Day virtual programme
Read a book from the Empathy Lab’s Read for Empathy Collection
Take part in one of the activities in the Family Activity Pack
There are loads of brilliant resources to inspire and help parents, teachers and children get involved with Empathy Day over at www.empathylab.uk. including this downloadable Empathy Day Resolution poster.
Empathy Lab is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to build children’s empathy, literacy and social activism through a systematic use of high-quality literature. Each year, they organise Empathy Day and create a guide for schools, libraries and parents.