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Branford Boase shortlisting for Aubrey

Horatio Clare's first novel for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, published by Firefly, has made the shortlist of the prestigious Branford Boase award 2016. The award celebrates outstanding debut novels by children's authors and their editors and has been the first to identify major new talents in children's writing such as Francis Hardinge, Meg Rosoff, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness.

Aubrey, a novel about talking to owls and depression, for 8-12-year-olds, is up against five other debut novels for the 2016 award, which will be decided at a London awards ceremony on July 7th.

Beautifully illustrated by Jane Matthews, the book has already been praised as ‘a sheer joy’ by former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo, and ‘A jewel not to be missed’ by the Sunday Times, which, along with the New Statesman, put Aubrey in its round-up of the best children’s books of 2015. 

This year the Branford Boase judges are Russell Allen team leader for children’s services across the West Sussex Library Service, recently awarded Public Librarian of the Year; Simon Key, bookseller from the Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green; Marion Lloyd, former children’s editor; and Rosie Rowell, author of Leopold Blue, winner of the 2015 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of the Guardian.

Julia Eccleshare said: “UK children’s publishers are more eager than ever to find and nurture talented new authors and this is an extremely exciting shortlist. All areas of the children’s book market are flourishing so this list includes books for young readers and for teenagers. It reflects current trends and features some wildly inventive books that play with language and ideas; a time travel story; a book that explores a transgender teenager’s struggle with identity; a book about a parent’s depression. They are all distinguished by the quality of the writing, the author’s ability to control plot and create character, and by an originality of approach.”

‘We’re thrilled that Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot has been longlisted for this award,’ said Firefly publisher and Aubrey editor Penny Thomas. ‘It’s a wonderful book by a talented writer and illustrator, and it’s great as a new independent Welsh publisher to have our books recognised like this.’



New in for spring




Our wonderful first spring title has just arrived on our shelves – Alien Rain by Ruth Morgan is the story of Bree – an ordinary teenage girl living in a Martian city. She’s never seen a bird fly or the sea or the rain. When she is selected to go on a mission back to Earth she is delighted but amazed – why her? But there are terrible shocks ahead – who can Bree trust, and whose side is she really on?

Alien Rain is available to buy on the Firefly website here.

For the chance to win a copy you can enter our Goodreads giveaway here

You can meet Ruth Morgan as she launches her new book at the Cardiff Children’s Literature Festival on Sunday 24 April - for full details click here

An if you missed the chance to meet Firefly authors Shoo Rayner and Horatio Clare at Cardiff Children's Literature Festival last weekend, don't worry, there's still time to book for events with Laura Sheldon and Dan Anthony too.

Singing Pirate Walk with Dan Anthony            
Saturday 23 April, 3pm    
Meet at Cardiff Central Library

Ruth Morgan: Aliens at the Museum
Sunday 24 April, 12pm                              
National Museum Cardiff

Creative Writing with Laura Sheldon author of Mr Mahli's Shed and a ghost named Dylan
Sunday 24 April, 3-4.30pm                               
Old Library, Learning Suite                      


Highly Commended



This month we’re delighted to congratulate two of our authors on receiving Highly Commended status in this year's Welsh children’s book prize, the Tir na n-Og Award

White Petals by Maria Grace, a heartwarming Young Adult story of teenage friendships set in the South Wales valleys, and Elen’s Island by Eloise Williams – fun adventure on a wonderful Pembrokeshire island, part of our Dragonfly series for younger readers were both selected for special praise by the judges of the 2016 award.

Eloise also starts a residence at Oriel y Parc in St David's, Pembrokeshire this week. Fore more information visit Eloise's website here


April Ebook Bargain



Don’t miss the chance to buy two YA Firefly titles going cheap in the Kindle April sale. Kindle versions of The Boy who Drew the Future by Rhian Ivory and Blackfin Sky by Kat Ellis are available at the bargain price of just £1.09 – this month only!!


New Books


Two fantastic new 2017 signings for 8-12 year old Firefly readers were announced this month: Aubrey and the Terrible Spiders by Horatio Claire follows his much-acclaimed debut title Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot. While Gaslight, by Eloise Williams sees her young heroine Nansi delve into the murky world of the Victorian Music Hall.
Next month you can also catch Horatio talking about Aubrey at the annual Hay Festival on Saturday 28 May - for more information click here

And look out for two more Firefly titles, Thimble Monkey Superstar by Jon Blake, illustrated by Martin Chatterton and Scrambled by Huw Davies, next month.


Three Firefly books in the Big Friendly Read

We are thrilled to have three of our books included in this year's UK Summer Reading Challenge organised by The Reading Agency to encourage children to enjoy reading books from their local libraries over the summer holidays. This year the theme is 'The Big Friendly Read' to mark the centenary of Roald Dahl.

Magical school adventure Dragon Gold by Shoo Rayner, a romp through the wild nights of Llani (Llanidloes) with Pete and the Five-a-Side Vampires by Malachy Doyle and a mythical battle for child hero Aubrey in Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare, all make this summer’s list of recommended reading in libraries across the UK. 

Celebrating World Book Day


World Book Day is on Thursday 3 March this year - celebrate by dressing up as your favourite book character and check with your local library, bookshop or at school to see if there are any events you can join in with.

Dan Anthony, author of Steve's Dreams: Steve and the Sabretooth Tiger and Steve and the Singing Pirates was part of The Biggest Book Show on Earth on 22 February at Swansea Grand Theatre along with illustrator Huw Aaron, who illustrated both Steve titles as well as Mr Mahli's Shed and a ghost named Dylan by Laura Sheldon. Hundreds of schoolchildren enjoyed meeting Dan, Huw ad many other authors at the Grand, as part of the Show which tours all round the UK over the next two weeks.

And you can also find Dan Anthony and Maria Grace, author of White Petals, our YA book set in the south Wales valleys, at the Spread the Word Festival in Merthyr Tydfil on  Thursday 3 March. 


Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot longlisted for Branford Boase Award 2016

Huge congratulations to Horatio Clare for reaching the longlist of the Branford Boase Award 2016 with his first book for children Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot. Illustrated by Jane Matthews and designed by Claire Brisley, this wonderful book is a tale of talking to owls, myth, adventure and tackling depression.

Aimed at 8-12-year-old readers, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot tells the story of rambunctious child Aubrey and his determination, with the help of the animals of Rushing Wood, to save his father, Jim, when he falls under the spell of the spirit of despair itself, the Terrible Yoot!

It has already been praised as ‘a sheer joy’ by former children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo, and ‘A jewel not to be missed,’ by the Sunday Times, which, along with the New Statesman, put Aubrey in its round-up of the best children’s books of 2015.  
The prestigious Branford Boase Award rewards the most promising new writers and their editors of children’s books.
Horatio has received several awards for his writing for adults, but is particularly delighted to have his first book for children recognised in this way. ‘It's an honour to be listed for such a prestigious prize - Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot is in fabulous company and I am particularly delighted to be up for an award which recognises the role of editors in children's fiction. We would be nowhere without them!’
‘We’re thrilled that Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot has been longlisted for this award,’ said Firefly publisher and editor Penny Thomas. ‘It’s a wonderful book by a talented writer and illustrator, and it’s great as a new independent publisher to have our books recognised like this.’
There are 23 books on this year's longlist, with the shortlist announced in May and the winner in July. Event co-founder Julia Eccleshare said: 'It's been an extraordinary year for debuts ... the boundaries of what is possible in books for children seem to be ever-expanding.'
Firefly has already had one book, Dottie Blanket and the Hilltop by Wendy Meddour, shortlisted for the Tir na n-Og Welsh children’s book prize, and two books, Dragon Gold by Shoo Rayner and The Shiver Stone by Sharon Tregenza, highly commended for the same prize, but Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot is its first UK-wide prize listing.