Penny Thomas, Publisher at children’s and YA publisher Firefly Press, has acquired world rights to The Sleeping Stones, an exciting and emotional MG debut steeped in Welsh culture and myth, by Beatrice Wallbank from Abi Sparrow at SP Agency.
Firefly Editor Janet Thomas said: ‘Beatrice has written such a big-hearted, immersive adventure, setting the brave, kind Gruff and Mat against myth, magic and the raw power of nature. It’s about how you can love your home so much and still welcome newcomers. All the different elements weave together so well. I cried in four separate places reading it and ended the book with a huge smile on my face!’
‘Iolo,’ Gruff said. ‘I saw someone standing on a seventh stone.’
Iolo stared at him.
Gruff’s heart did little leaps of excitement and fear.
‘There are only six stones,’ Iolo said.
‘Yes. I know.‘
Iolo shook his head, slowly. ‘There is something starting today, Gruffydd. And I don’t know what it is. But before this summer is done, I believe that the Sleepers will do what the legend tells us they will.’
‘Wake up?’ Gruff said.
Iolo nodded and turned away. ‘They will wake. And they will walk.’
Gruff lives on a small island off the Welsh coast full of legends. He has mixed feelings when Matylda and her family arrive – it would be good to have a friend his age, but he is jealous of someone new arriving, just when his family’s sheep farm is running out of money, and he might have to leave the home he loves.
When he first looks at her, for a moment, Mat’s eyes seem to reflect the sea. Then strange things start happening and Gruff and Mat and others find themselves irresistibly drawn to the Sleeping Stones, a line of rocks like natural stepping stones leading out to sea.
Stressing themes of belonging, empathy and the natural environment, The Sleeping Stones draws on Welsh mythology to whisk the reader into a beautiful island adventure.
‘I am thrilled that The Sleeping Stones has found a home at Firefly, and am very much looking forward to the publication journey ahead!’ said Wallbank. ‘I am excited to share my love of the natural world and the inspiration that old stories can bring to tales told today. This story has friendship and kindness at its heart, and I hope that it will have a positive impact on those who come to read it.’
The novel is slated for publication in spring 2023.