Firefly signs ‘haunting’ MG sequel from Yvonne Banham

Firefly signs ‘haunting’ MG sequel from Yvonne Banham

Yvonne Banham

Penny Thomas, Publisher at award-winning children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press, has acquired world rights in MG novel The Haunted Life of Delores Mackenzie, the much-anticipated sequel to 2023’s The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie, from Edinburgh-based author Yvonne Banham. 

The title publishes this autumn with another stunning cover from illustrator Nathan Collins.

Paranormal students Delores and Prudence are being hounded by inquisitors after they broke the rules and helped rescue a fellow student from death at the hands of an evil spirit. Cruel inquisitor Magoria Jepp is searching for secrets at their home in Edinburgh’s Tolbooth Bookstore. But does she have an uncanny history of her own to hide?

As Delores tries to save herself and her housemates, she attracts the unwelcome attention of a murderous Boçan, or evil spirit, intent on stealing her paranormal gifts.

Can Delores defeat her enemies, and maybe her own family too, to save everyone she loves at the Tolbooth?

‘I love the whole creepy, gothic, sensation-rich world that Yvonne has created around Delores and the Tolbooth Bookstore,’ said Thomas. ‘With beguiling, original characters, subtle relationships, and a real sense of danger, this is an adventure which even includes a grumpy, sherbert-straw-munching gargoyle with a blue blanket. What’s not to love?’

Yvonne Banham said: ‘I had such a great time working on the first Delores Mackenzie book with Penny Thomas and the Firefly team, so it was an absolute joy to find out I’d be working with them on more spooky adventures in Edinburgh Old Town. I knew I hadn’t finished causing problems for Delores and it’s been a lot of fun writing some darkly ghoulish new ones.’

The novel is slated for publication 12th September 2024.

Praise for The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie:

Let Your Imagination Fly! / Llyfrau i danio’r dychymyg!

Let Your Imagination Fly! / Llyfrau i danio’r dychymyg!

From eerie adventures at sea, to endearing sausage-dog tales Firefly Press has the stories to encourage children to read for pleasure. And now we are thrilled to announce Let Your Imagination Fly, a book promotion and marketing programme aimed at reaching new readers aged between 7 and 18 in 2024.

As a Wales-based publisher, this outreach programme, funded by the Welsh Government’s New Audiences Fund, will focus on our home country. The latest PISA figures found that children’s reading levels in Wales are the lowest in the UK, and along with other countries, there has been a steep decline post-pandemic. And with a score of 466 in reading, comparable to an OECD average of 476, the need to encourage new readers is stronger than ever.

Research also shows that reading for pleasure is ‘the single biggest indicator of a child’s life chances’. An OECD 2021 report stated that: ‘engagement in reading, framed by a desire to read for pleasure, can mediate socio-economic status and may help address endemic inequalities’.

As our titles are aimed at children and young adults, we feel it is vital that they: a) appeal to young readers as reading for pleasure, and b) are discoverable through schools and libraries and other community spaces as well as bookshops, and virtually, online, where new readers might come across books for the first time. We also believe it is key that our titles can show readers themselves reflected in the books they read, and are empathetic reads that encourage understanding of Wales’ diverse communities.

The Let Your Imagination Fly project aims to organise author visits to schools, libraries or community centres, particularly in low income and/or ethnically diverse areas across Wales, to target potential new readers through social media, and to collaborate with reading promotion agencies to encourage more children from Wales to read for pleasure.

If you would like to find out more about the opportunities to get involved with Let Your Imagination Fly, please contact

This programme has been made possible through the support of Creative Wales and the Books Council of Wales.

The Blue Book of Nebo on BBC Radio 4 ‘Book at Bedtime’

The Blue Book of Nebo on BBC Radio 4 ‘Book at Bedtime’

Stunning YA novel The Blue Book of Nebo has been this week’s read for BBC Radio 4’s Book at Bedtime slot.

Manon Steffan Ros’ multi-award-winning novel, set in North Wales, is read by Gwïon Morris Jones and Rhian Blythe.

With a reading each day this week, you can catch up on BBC Sounds here:

Read more about The Blue Book of Nebo here

Buy the Blue Book of Nebo from all good bookshops,, Gwales or

Find teacher resources here

The Blue Book of Nebo is also part of EmpathyLab’s Read for Empathy Guide Wales: Watch Manon Steffan Ros’ moving Read for Empathy video here

Major and Mynah selected for The Blue Peter Book Club

Major and Mynah selected for The Blue Peter Book Club

The news is finally out! Major and Mynah, written by Karen Owen and illustrated by Louise Foreshaw, has been selected for The Blue Peter Book Club.

Working with The Reading Agency, Blue Peter host a monthly book club segment on their show. Each month, they film at interesting and active locations thematically linked to that month’s book where Blue Peter presenters join readers for a book club discussion of that month’s title. Children who join in with the Book Club and send their reviews can earn a brand-new Blue Peter Book Badge designed by Sir Quentin Blake.

Major and Mynah will be featured on Blue Peter, (CBBC and iPlayer) CBBC HQ, BBC Social accounts, BBC websites including the BBC Education Bitesize platform and CBBC.
BBC Education will support the Blue Peter Book Club by creating 12 companion guides to sit within Bitesize Primary.

Find out more here:

Callie Major does not like wearing her new hearing aids AT ALL. But when she meets abandoned Mynah bird Bo, she realises that her ‘slugs’ mean she can communicate with him!

Together the unlikely duo set off to catch the thief who has been causing trouble all over town. Includes high-speed chases, a very peckish bird and purple POO!

And I Hear Dragons cover reveal

And I Hear Dragons cover reveal

Happy St. David’s Day! Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

To celebrate St Davidʼs Day, we’re revealing the cover of our brand new childrenʼs poetry anthology of ʻdragon-focusedʼ poems, conceived and edited by the National Poet of Wales, Hanan Issa, with a wonderful ‘dragonʼ cover from Eric Heyman. The anthology features some 29 poems by 26 poets from across Wales. Ac Rwy’n Clywed Dreigiau/ And I Hear Dragons will be published in English and bilingually in Welsh and English on May 30th.

A ground-breaking new anthology from diverse Welsh writers aimed at children aged between eight and twelve.

And I Hear Dragons explores the concept of identity, and Hanan has written a poem of the same name that ʻcelebrates the children of Wales as ferociously brave mythical beastsʼ, taking on discrimination, pollution and more, and upholding Walesʼ tradition of croesawgar (welcoming).

ISBN 9781915444578 | Paperback | RRP £7.99

Participating poets include Wales Childrenʼs Laureate Alex Wharton, Iestyn Tyne, Nia Morais, Grug Muse, Sophie Anderson, Mari Ellis Dunning, Emma Smith Barton, Jaffrin, Marvin Thompson and many more…

Firefly Press are Country Finalists for Small Press of the Year

Firefly Press are Country Finalists for Small Press of the Year

This week we received the exciting news that we are a Country Finalist for the prestigious Small Press of the Year Awards.

The British Book Awards 2024 Small Press of the Year, sponsored by CPI Books, celebrates the independent presses dedicated to imaginative, forward-looking and diverse publishing.

In total there are 55 small presses listed across nine different regions and countries, including 12 in London, seven in both Scotland and South-East England, six in North England, five in Wales, South-West England and the Midlands, and four in the Island of Ireland and East England. 

A huge thanks to our wonderful editors, designers, marketers, reps, authors, illustrators, translators, agents and more for making this possible. Roll on the Nibbies!

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