Halloween at home: Ten tricks and treats by Sharon Marie Jones

Halloween at home: Ten tricks and treats by Sharon Marie Jones

Halloween at Home by Sharon Marie Jones

This year there will be no big Halloween parties or Trick-or-Treating – Boooo-Hoooo! But Halloween at home can be great fun too … with Grace-Ella Spells for Beginners and Grace-Ella Witch Camp author, Sharon Marie Jones, Top Ten Tricks and Treats for a Hauntingly Hair-raising Halloween!

So no need to miss out on all the fun. Just grab your broomstick and witch’s hat and keep on reading….

  1. Pumpkin carving

Use your carved pumpkin as a table decoration for a terrifying teatime! Here’s a YouTube video with some top tips for carving. Remember to always get supervision from an adult when carving pumpkins.

2. Dressing up

Get dressed up for the day and give your family a spooky surprise. Here’s me as a child in my witch costume.

3. Decorate

Decorate your house with some ghoulish garlands.

4. Crafts

Find bits and bobs to make some creepy creations e.g. an egg-carton spider, a broomstick bookmark, a magic wand to cast spooky spells.

5. Apply bobbing

Fill a large bowl with water and apples, then using only your mouth, try to get an apple out. You could time yourself to see how many apples you can collect in 30 seconds. Or have a race to see who can collect all the apples in the fastest time. Remember to always gave an adult nearby to supervise.

6. Witch’s Stew

Cut out some spooky shapes then using a straw, suck-up the shapes and place them in the cauldron to bubble and brew. Choose a shape each and have a race – first to suck up all their shapes and drop them in the cauldron.

7. Pin the Tail on the Black Cat

Cut out a cardboard black cat (without a tail). With a blindfold on, try to pin the tail on the cat.

8. Potions

Get outdoors and go foraging for autumn ingredients. Mix up your ingredients to make your own potions. You could pour your potions into jam/small jars. Why not label your potions too … just remember not to drink them as they might be poisonous!

9. Terrifying teatime

Make teatime frighteningly fun with some terrifying treats and spooky snacks e.g. creepy cupcakes, vegetable Frankenstein fingers to dip in scream cheese, spooky-shaped sandwiches, slimy jelly sweets, zombie-bread men, mummy-marshmallows.

10. Spooktastic stories

Choose a scary story to read at bedtime. There are lots of spooktastic stories available from Firefly Press! Go and take a peek-a-boo…

Have a fangtastic Halloween!

Firefly Press nets its first non-fiction

Firefly Press nets its first non-fiction

As reported in The Bookseller today, Firefly have acquired world rights for Robin Bennett‘s Stupendous Sports series for 7-11 year olds, which kicks off with Rampaging Rugby in August 2021, followed by Cool Cricket and Fabulous Football. Each chapter will include cartoons, special player tips, irreverent explanations, fascinating facts and funny stories, and will be illustrated by Matt Cherry.

Rampaging Rugby will publish in time for the Bicentenary of Rugby in 2023 with the forward and pro tips by Conrad Smith, ex All Black and double World Cup winner.

‘The central aim of the Stupendous Sports series is to teach kids about the sport but with a light touch and just as much about the spirit of the game as the rules. My hope is that the series does for PE what Horrible Histories did for Year 7 History with Mr Simkin.’

Robin Bennett

Did you know…?

  • Rugby started when Webb Ellis picked up a football during a game and ran with it? (He cheated, basically)
  • Basketball was created by a rugby coach who wanted an indoor sport to keep his players fit off-season
  • Rugby is played in 119 countries and has over 400 million fans

The Best Scary Children’s Books for Halloween

The Best Scary Children’s Books for Halloween

Halloween is one of the best times of the year to be a kid – trick or treating, fancy costumes, plenty of sweeties and some spooky ghost stories. What’s not to love?

This year we’re holding a Spooktacular Halloween party with Eloise Williams and Jennifer Killick. But with still a couple of weeks to go before the main event, we thought we would share our favourite scary books for children of all ages to start getting everyone into the Halloween spirit.

Read our list below if you dare to discover ghosts, witches, vampires and unexplained bumps in the night…  

Grace Ella: Spells for Beginners by Sharon Marie Jones

The perfect Halloween book for young readers aged 6-9 years old.

Spells for Beginners is the first children’s book about witches in the fantastic Grace Ella series. Follow Grace Ella and her cat, Mr Whiskins, as they take their first steps into the witching world. Will Grace be able to use her newfound powers to defeat the school bully without revealing her magic to the whole school? Buy today to find out!

Sophie Finds a Fairy Door by Laura Sheldon

Step into the magical world of fairy land with Sophie Finds a Fairy Door. Sophie and Bella the fairy go on an adventure through the magical fairy door in the skirting board. After a day of fun, they decide to take the teacup train home again, but it won’t go! Fairy dust isn’t working, what will they do next?

Mr Mahil’s Shed and a Ghost Named Dylan by Laura Sheldon

Next up is another spooky book by Laura Sheldon. Mr Mahil’s Shed is the perfect ghost story for middle schoolers (9-12 years old) this Halloween!

Discover the secret ghost in Mr Mahil’s Shed with Tomos and Alys. At first, he seems grumpy but harmless, but when the friends take him to a school poetry lesson, this ghost’s behaviour starts to change…

Pete and the Five a Side Vampires by Malachy Doyle

This Spooktacular children’s vampire book  about things that go bump in the night is perfect for 7-9 year olds this Halloween.

Pete and Blob the Basset Hound go on a walk late at night. Everything seems fine until things take a spooky turn and they join a football match with a more than usually bloodthirsty opposition.

Can Pete and Blob take the night back, or will it belong to the monsters?

Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick

The co-host of our Halloween party has a more than averagely scary[PT1]  children’s book for ages 9-12 out now – it’s described as ‘howlingly funny horror’ Times Children’s Book of the Week .

Only read this scary adventure book if you dare, as Crater Lake is the Year Six school trip from hell. A blood-stained man, a creepy activity centre and some very strange goings on in the night. Something’s definitely not right and only one thing is for certain, if you want to survive: Don’t. Ever. Fall. Asleep!

Wilde by Eloise Williams

And the latest book from Jennifer’s co-host of our Halloween Party, Wilde by Eloise Williams is also a fantastic book about witches for 9 – 12 year olds. 

Join Wilde as she makes a life-changing move to Witch Point and discovers the spooky town legend of a witch called Winter. Everyone says ‘The Witch’ is long gone but who is leaving the frightening curse letters?

Help Wilde catch the culprit before it’s too late!

Three Strikes by Lucy Christopher, Kat Ellis and Rhian Ivory

Last but not least, we have three terrifying stories for the price of one. Three Strikes is a trilogy of scary teen and YA novellas.

YA as it should be – dangerous, dark and daring.

C.J. Skuse

Discover a dangerous and unknown world in The Darkness, be entranced by unearthly voices in The Twins of Blackfin and only read Match Girl if you dare… Three Strikes is only for the bravest of readers this Halloween.

What scary books will you be reading this season? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to book your tickets for our fun-filled Halloween party!

Rising Stars Wales Award 2021: Call out for submissions

Rising Stars Wales Award 2021: Call out for submissions

We’re delighted to partner with Literature Wales and launch a call out for submissions for the next Rising Stars Wales Award 2021, the second round of an initiative to identify and nurture talented children’s poets from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds based in Wales, with the view to publish an anthology of their work.

In November 2019, Literature Wales and Firefly Press collaborated on the Rising Stars Wales 2020 Award, a new initiative open to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic children’s poets living in Wales. The award discovered new talent, provided opportunities, and spotlighted three talented emerging individuals. The poets continue to develop as writers and gain further opportunities as a result of the award. And we were so impressed with 2020 winner Alex Wharton, that we signed his debut children’s poetry collection, Daydreams and Jellybeans, which will be published in January 2021.

Find out more about how to submit poetry for the award here.

‘I am deeply grateful accepting this award, I feel it recognizes my passion and dedication for writing Children’s Poetry. It has already opened up a terrific opportunity for me as the wonderful people at Firefly Press will be publishing my full collection of poems Daydreams and Jellybeans early next year. Poems are to be shared, they find the people who need them – and the award has enabled a wider platform for my words. It’s exciting and I am very thankful.’ 

Alex Wharton, Rising Star Wales Award 2020 winner

‘Just as no language can cover the full range of human experience, so no writer has a monopoly on the way we see the world. Stories are a net, the wider we cast it, the more connections we make. This is why Quarto Translations is proud to sponsor the Rising Stars Wales Award.’

Robin Bennett, Founder and Managing Director, Quarto Translations
Daydreams and Jellybeans Competition Winners Announced

Daydreams and Jellybeans Competition Winners Announced

Daydreams and Jellybeans Alex Wharton

Earlier this month, poet Alex Wharton announced a brilliant competition for 7-11 year olds to join in the fun around his forthcoming poetry collection Daydreams and Jellybeans, illustrated by talented children’s illustrator Katy Riddell – out in shops January 2020!

We had hundreds of fantastic submissions and Alex had such a difficult decision to make choosing a winner. So… we’re delighted to announce that we will have two joint winners:

o   Theo Janneh, aged 10 from Torfaen, for his beautiful poem Underworld Dreams, which reflects the vibrant life of the sea floor. 

o   Sophie Macfarlane, aged 11 from Surrey, for her quirky and funny poem Wonder Thunder. Sophie’s rhymes, in which everything is subverted, made Alex and all of the Firefly Press team giggle.

Both Sophie and Theo will have their poems printed as part of the Daydreams and Jellybeans collection, and have their poems illustrated by Katy Riddell. They will also receive a Firefly Press prize bundle including some of our best titles for their ages, and a signed copy of Daydreams and Jellybeans when it is released.

I’d like to say a huge congratulations to Theo and Sophie for writing such wonderfully dreamy and imaginative poems. Both Poems are oozing with imagery, rhythm, and creativity. Underworld Dreams by Theo, displays a depth of beautiful and vivid ideas that really tickle the reader’s thoughts. Whilst Wonder Thunder by Sophie has been crafted with pure joy and playfulness. I’m really excited for them to be joining me in my book. Well done!

Alex Wharton