Louise Forshaw to illustrate Karen Owen’s ‘Major and Mynah’

Louise Forshaw to illustrate Karen Owen’s ‘Major and Mynah’

Firefly Press have contracted Louise Forshaw to illustrate Major and Mynah by Karen Owen, slated for publication in summer 2022. 

Karen Owen fell in love with books and stories at a young age. She read whenever and wherever she could. She’s been a journalist, a creative writing teacher, and an author. 

Karen has written stories (real and imaginary) on everything from noisy elephants to the nomads of Mongolia. She is the author of picture books As Quiet as a Mouse (Maverick Arts Publishing) and I Could Be, You Could Be (Barefoot Books). Karen was brought up in Kent and currently lives in London. 
Find out more at www.karenowen.co.uk and on Twitter @AuthorKarenOwen

Louise Forshaw is an illustrator lives in a small town in the North East just outside Newcastle upon Tyne with her fiancé and 3 noisy Jack Russell Terriers.

Studying Illustration and Animation at Newcastle College, she graduated in 2008 before turning her attention to children’s books. To date, Louise has illustrated over 50 children’s books and is probably best known for her work on the ‘Busy’ series with Campbell Books and the ‘Find Out About’ series with Pat-a-Cake. When not drawing, Louise loves watching animated films and adding to her already overflowing ‘to be read’ pile and reading lots of books. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @Munkey_Pants

In Major and Mynah things are being stolen all over town, but 9-year-old Callie Major has other things to worry about – her dreaded new hearing aids, ‘The Slugs’. But when she meets Bo, an abandoned Mynah bird, she discovers something amazing; thanks to her new hearing aids, she can hear him! Can she use her Slugs to help catch the thief and save the day? 

Stunning environmental adventure by Nicola Davies to launch in hardback with Jackie Morris cover

Stunning environmental adventure by Nicola Davies to launch in hardback with Jackie Morris cover

“When animals speak, it’s time humans listened”

Firefly Press is publishing The Song that Sings Us, an epic environmental adventure novel by
renowned children’s author Nicola Davies. The title publishes as a gift hardback this autumn,
complete with stunning cover and chapter head illustrations by award-winning illustrator
Jackie Morris.

Harlon has been raised to protect her younger siblings, twins Ash and Xeno, and their
outlawed power of communicating with animals. But when the sinister Automators attack
their mountain home they must flee for their lives. Xeno is kidnapped and Harlon and Ash
are separated.

In a thrilling and dangerous adventure each must journey alone through the ice fields,
forests and oceans of Rumyc to try to rescue the others and fulfil a mysterious promise
about a lost island made to their mother.

‘Nicola Davies has written a thrilling rollercoaster adventure which is also a love-song to our
planet,’ said editor Penny Thomas. ‘It’s a rare and wonderful combination with an urgent,
deeply moving and profoundly hopeful story to tell.’

Award-winning illustrator, Jackie Morris, said: ‘This book has the feel of an absolute modern
classic about it … with stunning characters and sublime poetry wrapped around action.
Hope and beauty are a hard song to sing, but Nicola does, and this is it. Her work shines.’

The Song that Sings Us is for ages 12+ and will publish as a gift hardback edition (£14.99) on
October 14th ahead of the UN Climate Change Summit in November. It is available to pre-
order from the Firefly Press website [https://fireflypress.co.uk/books/the-song-that-sings-
us/
]

Firefly is also releasing limited edition signed proofs with exclusive pencil-drawn cover
artwork from Jackie and a letter from Nicola to trade next month. Booksellers who would
like to receive a signed proof are asked to contact hello@fireflypress.co.uk.

Firefly signs ‘dark and dangerous’ MG debut

Firefly signs ‘dark and dangerous’ MG debut

Yvonne Banham, Author

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

The dead have swirled around Delores Mackenzie ever since she can remember, keeping her company when living children refused. Now they want more, and Delores must seek the help of the mysterious Uncles in Edinburgh’s Old Town to try to control her gifts. But when a sinister apparition threatens the life of her new friends, has Delores learnt enough to save them?

A shapeshifting, ghost-filled, paranormal whydunnit with a grumpy gargoyle and a touch of Tartan Noire!

‘I’m thrilled that Delores has found a home with Firefly Press and excited to be working with the Firefly team!’

Yvonne Banham, Author

‘Yvonne has created an enthralling middle-grade adventure set in a vivid and very spooky world.
We’re sure readers will love The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie as much as we do, and we are so delighted to be publishing it!’

Penny Thomas, Publisher

The novel is slated for publication in spring 2023.

Diverse creatives: call out for submissions

Diverse creatives: call out for submissions

Firefly Press is welcoming submissions from illustrators from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

As well as searching for new illustration talent to compliment our upcoming list, we are specifically looking for illustrators to illustrate children’s poetry, with a view to publish an anthology with the winners of the Rising Stars Wales Awards. 

To be considered, we are inviting illustrators from BAME backgrounds to provide a sample of work to compliment one of the three attached poems, taken from our recent publication Daydreams and Jellybeans by Alex Wharton.

Guidelines for Illustration Submissions

  • Please email submissions@fireflypress.co.uk by 5pm on Thursday 1st July 2021, with the subject line ‘Illustration submission: [insert name]’. 
    • All attached images should be 198(h)x129mm(w), saved as your name and the title of the poem you have chosen to illustrate.
    • Please include an illustrator bio that indicates how you meet the set criteria for consideration. This should include date of birth, and eligibility. 

Terms and Conditions

  1. Submissions will be accepted from diverse (Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic) illustrators living in the UK.
  2. Submissions from students welcome.
  3. Only one entry will be accepted per person.
  4. Closing date for entry will be 1/07/21 at 17:00. After this date no further submissions will be permitted. Only submissions to submissions@fireflypress.co.uk will be considered. 
  5. Firefly Press reserve the right to suspend publication of the Anthology if circumstances beyond their control make it necessary. 
  6. Firefly Press cannot acknowledge receipt of submissions and are not required to respond to individuals with feedback.

In addition we are also keen to receive submissions from poets from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds, to consider for the Rising Stars Anthology. The anthology is for 7-11 year olds. For poets to be considered, send three poems to submissions with the subject line ‘Poetry submission: [insert name]’… by the same closing date!

Firefly acquires debut middle-grade by Daniel Peak

Firefly acquires debut middle-grade by Daniel Peak

Penny Thomas has acquired world rights in LITTLE HORROR by award-winning TV writer Daniel Peak, from Abi Sparrow at SP Agency.

Rita may be a baby, but she has the mind (and attitude) of a teenager. She may be new to walking but she’s as wise-crackingly clever as anyone in Key Stage 3. She knows she is not a normal toddler but when her parents disappear and a sinister clown and an ice-cream van seem to be hunting her down, even a soft-play centre might not be safe… 

It will take all Rita’s cunning and resourcefulness, as well as a cat flap, a mobility scooter and a reluctant teenage sidekick, to defeat an evil conspiracy and a crazy genius villain. Imagine The Fugitive – if Harrison Ford was two feet tall and wearing Pampers. 

‘A page-turning, hilarious debut with a brilliantly bonkers, feisty heroine, Little Horrorhad me biting my nails, while laughing out loud!’

Rebecca Lloyd, Editor

A lead writer for CBBC’s Horrible Histories, and co-writer of Lee Mack’s Not Going OutLITTLE HORROR is Daniel’s debut children’s novel. He said, ‘I’m very honoured and excited to be joining the Firefly list alongside such brilliant writers. I can’t wait to send Rita on the run into the real world.’

Little Horror will publish in paperback on 30 September 2021. Cover artwork by Seb Burnett.

Firefly spreads its wings with new staff members

Firefly spreads its wings with new staff members

This spring, we’re growing our small team with three new appointments…

Children’s book illustrator Becka Moor joined us as a designer this month. And bookseller Amy Low and YA vlogger Karen Bultiauw join our award-winning team in April to work on sales and marketing.

Becka, who has worked on a variety of young fiction, non-fiction and picture books, has illustrated for authors such as Gwyneth Rees and Pamela Buchart, as well as new editions of The Famous Five series. She joins Firefly to work on the design and branding of its quality fiction list, and is also illustrating Firefly’s forthcoming middle-grade detective novel Libby and the Parisian Puzzle by Jo Clarke.

Amy Low joins Firefly from award-winning independent bookshop Book-ish in Crickhowell, where she co-founded the Crickhowell Children’s Book Festival in 2019, and has also been studying for an MA in Children’s Publishing at Bath Spa University. And Karen Bultiauw is a book vlogger and freelance publicist who has also worked in retail and for Welsh indie Accent Press.

We’re extremely proud to welcome all three new staff members to the team. We love Becka’s illustration and design and are so excited that she is joining us in this new role. Karen and Amy will bring terrific experience and passion for children’s book publishing to the sales and marketing team, alongside our Publicity Manager Megan Farr. At the same time we are very sad to be saying goodbye to our wonderful Sales and Marketing Officer Simone Greenwood, who has done so much to grow the company over the last two years and win two NIBBIES awards in a row!’ 

Penny Thomas, Publisher
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