I’m so excited that Winter Magic is published today! I’m delighted to be part of this beautiful and classic anthology of frosty, magical tales curated by the wonderful Abi Elphinstone and published by Simon & Schuster. Featuring everything from snow queens, frost fairs, snow dragons and pied pipers, it’s a real festive treat.
The anthology includes brilliant stories from classic children’s writers Michelle Magorian, Geraldine McCaughrean, Jamila Gavin, Berlie Doherty, Piers Torday, Lauren St John, Amy Alward & Emma Carroll. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be part of such an impressive line-up of children’s writing talent.
My story ‘Casse-Noisette’ is set in 1890s St Petersburg, and is told from the point of view of a young dancer in the very first production of The Nutcracker. I’ve always loved reading ballet stories by the likes of Noel Streatfeild, Eva Ibbotson and Lorna Hill, so it was wonderful to have a go at writing one of my own.
The book itself is a thing of beauty: a gorgeous hardback (my first hardback!) with silver foil on the cover, and fabulous endpapers featuring all the authors’ signatures. The beautiful cover illustration is the work of illustrator Thomas Flintham.
You can get hold of a copy of the book from WaterstonesThe Hive or Amazon now – or if you’re in London, I’ll be doing a special signing with Abi and Piers at the South Kensington Bookshop on Monday 7 November; and appearing at an event at Waterstones Piccadilly with Abi, Lauren and Geraldine on 22 November – find all the details on my events listing here.
Keep an eye out on social media for lots of fun festive tweets to celebrate Winter Magic – this week the authors celebrated publication day by sharing childhood photos of ourselves enjoying the snow. Here’s me aged 4, setting out on an intrepid winter adventure. Follow #WinterMagic on Twitter for lots more!
We’re so excited to be announcing some new developments to children’s books radio show Down the Rabbit Hole today!
This morning we’ve launched our brand new website dtrhradio.com, featuring a gorgeous new logo and artwork from amazing illustrator Rebecca Cobb (see above). The website will be an online home for the show, with information and lots of extra content.
We’ve also launched a podcast version of the show, available via iTunes. You can pop over to iTunes to listen to our archive, or subscribe – and if you’re a fan of the show, we’d love it if you would also consider rating the podcast, or leaving us a review.
Finally, we’re launching a brand new Down the Rabbit Hole e-newsletter. You can sign up to stay in touch with all the latest DTRH news – and to be sure you’ll never miss out on an episode again!
It’s been so wonderful to see Down the Rabbit Hole grow and flourish since the first epsisode, broadcast on Resonance 104.4fm way back in February 2014. Melissa, Louise and I are so grateful for all the enthusiasm for the show from authors, illustrators, publishers and readers alike. Now more than ever it feels like we are in real need of space to discuss and celebrate books for children – we hope that our new website, podcast and newsletter will offer new ways to help us reach listeners and readers, and to start up even more conversations about children’s books.
Visit the new website here – and don’t forget to check out our September episode, featuring journalist, presenter and author Clare Balding talking about her first children’s book The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop, illustrated by Tony Ross.
I’m so excited that The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow is now available as an audiobook, beautifully read by actress Jessica Preddy. You can listen to a sample of the audio book here.
I loved audiobooks growing up and listened to lots of them – I have lots of very vivid memories of long car journeys listening to Winnie the Pooh, Roald Dahl stories and tapes of children’s poetry. It’s brilliant to think that people will now be able to discover The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow in exactly the same way!
This week we revealed the cover for the sequel to The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow and The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth! Say hello to The Mystery of the Painted Dragon!
As you might guess from the title (and the graphic above) the third book in the series takes Sophie, Lil and the rest of the gang into the Edwardian art world. The story centres around a priceless painting that has been stolen in such baffling circumstances that even our young sleuths don’t know what to make of it.
Can Sophie and Lil find the missing painting, unmask the villain, and prove themselves detectives to be reckoned with? You’ll have to wait until February 2017 to find out…
For now, let’s take a closer look at the incredibly gorgeous cover art, created by amazing illustrator Karl James Mountford.
Karl worked closely with Benjamin Hughes, Art Director at Egmont, to create this stunning cover, which features beautiful shiny copper foil. I think it’s going to look so lovely on the shelf next to Clockwork Sparrow and Jewelled Moth.
I’ve also been lucky enought to have an early peek at some of the interior illustrations that Karl is creating for this book, which are so special. I can’t wait to be able to share the finished book!
Starting a channel is something I’ve been thinking about for a little while. Recently, I made this video for my US publisher Kane Miller to show to their sales consultants, and really enjoyed it – even just filming quickly on my phone, using basic editing software (and my very basic skills!) it was such a fun creative project.
What’s more, whilst obviously I love any excuse to talk about children’s books, at the moment, it seems especially important to be shouting about them. It’s so sad to see the brilliant Guardian Children’s Books site closing its doors; as well as that some great children’s book reviewers have recently been cut from newspapers like the Telegraph. In spite of the fact that children’s books make up a big part of the overall books market, coverage in the mainstream media tends to be relatively limited (which is exactly why we started up Down the Rabbit Hole in the first place) and with these kinds of changes underway, there could be even less space to talk about children’s books in the future. With this in mind, it seems more important than ever to use all the platforms available to make as much noise as we can about children’s books.
Here’s my first attempt at a video – a little introduction, plus a book haul:
It’s been wonderful to see so many lovely responses to my first effort at Youtube already! Thanks so much to everyone who has been kind enough to subscribe, like, share, or leave a comment! I’m looking forward to making some more vlogs soon. Check out my channel and subscribe here.