WHERE ARE WE GOING
By Michelle Monan
Illustrated by Lucinda Coulson
Published with the help and support of Candy Jar’s partner imprint Jelly Bean Books, this child-
Written before lockdown, Michelle’s lovely book encourages children to face their fears. Michelle, who is a long-
As children return to school, Michelle is also hoping that her stories will help with the depth of anxiety and loneliness that young people have faced for the last three months. She continues: “Writing my first book was definitely a release for me. It helped me face up to my own personal demons, and although my second book was written before lockdown, it now seems incredibly relevant to children who’ve not been able to go for long walks in the countryside. It promotes outdoor play, and although children may not be able to do this quite yet, it will help parents as they encourage their children back outside.”
Michelle’s first book, Can You Hear it Too? follows two brothers as they build a den in the woods, but when they hear all kinds of noises they imagine terrible things. Their fear is quickly followed by relief when they discover the truth behind the noises. It was published by Candy Jar in 2017. Michelle's latest book, Where Are We Going? moves the story onto autumn with the same brothers on a different adventure, but still very much focusing on anxiety. Michelle has written a summer story, and has lots of ideas for winter, completing the four seasons.
Head of publishing at Candy Jar Books, Shaun Russell, feels that Where Are We Going? is well-
Can You Hear It Too?
THE BOY WHO WAS ALWAYS WARM
By Yasmin Simsek
Illustrated by Emily Ann Harris
Candy Jar is pleased to announce its eighth ‘Book of the Month’, The Boy Who Was Always Warm by Yasmin Simsek.
Published with the help and support of Candy Jar’s partner imprint Jelly Bean Books, this beautifully illustrated book explores the importance of kindness through the touching story of Ozzy, a boy whose kindness makes him uncomfortably warm.
As well as teaching children valuable lessons of caring for one another and enjoying physical activity, the book reinforces how sleep is essential in keeping you healthy and happy. Yasmin says: "I wanted my book to encourage parents to read their children to sleep, which is why the simple story is focused on a child who wants to go to sleep. This is especially pertinent in the summer months when it is light and warm and it is difficult to convince children to get their recommended ten hours of sleep."
In a world where mental health issues are more talked about than ever, The Boy Who Was Always Warm effectively communicates that being overly tired can negatively affect your mood and behaviour. Getting a good night’s sleep is a key part of taking care of your mental and physical health, and Ozzy’s transformation throughout the book shows this in a light-
Yasmin has worked with children with special educational needs in the UK for the past six years and has encountered a lack of representation within the children’s book industry. This inspired her to include a diverse range of ethnicities in The Boy Who Was Always Warm, as well as tackling the aforementioned mental health issues, and introducing a single mother into the mix.
She continues: "I want parents of my generation to have a book that they can read to their children that is not extremely explicit about the diversity of families, such as outright stating that someone has gay parents. I think it is important to have written book that does not patronise children and allows them to accept the uniqueness of everyone in the world from the early stages of their development."
The Boy Who Was Always Warm teaches that kindness is important and that you should accept everyone, regardless of their race or familial situation, a lesson that all children should learn in today’s society of acceptance.
Yasmin now lives back in Denmark and has produced two versions of the book – one in Danish, the other in English.
She concludes: "I wanted to produce a book that can be read anywhere in the world. I’ve started with two languages but I plan to expand it further. It is important in this time of misinformation that the true values of love and inclusivity are brought to the fore. I hope my book does this."
The Boy Who Was Always Warm by Yasmin Simsek is available from here.
By Darren Broderick & Fiona Cunningham
Illustrated by Terry Cooper
Candy Jar is pleased to announce its seventh ‘Book of the Month’, Twigsy by Darren Broderick and Fiona Cunnningham.
Published with the help and support of Candy Jar’s partner imprint Jelly Bean Books, this beautifully illustrated book has been created to help teach children about the changing seasons.
The book is about Twigsy, a tiny acorn who comes to life during the autumn. After being separated from her mother, Twigsy sets out on a fantastic adventure. Along the way, she meets all kinds of animals, and discovers why the autumn is such a special time.
Written by software developer, Darren and PhD researcher, Fiona, Twigsy is a dream come true." Fiona says: "We’ve always wanted to do this, but ordinary life would often get in the way. One day we found ourselves on a long train journey, so after exhausting crosswords, chatting about our upcoming wedding, Spotify playlists and numerous games of i-
Darren says: "We were travelling to the North Coast that day and the view outside was stunning. The autumn leaves had started falling, the sky was blue, and the sun was shining. It was perfect weather to get our creative juices going. After a great deal of brainstorming, Twigsy was born. It was as though we’d known the little acorn for most of our lives."
Fiona continues: "It was easy after that. The story just told itself. Twigsy is an adventurer – the eyes of the child, discovering new things. Our long-
Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar Books, believes that this kind of picture book is needed more than ever. He says: "With children living life under lockdown, it is possible that they are missing out on the great outdoors. Of course, this book won’t replace the sensation of kicking leaves in the air, or taking a long walk in the forest, but it comes pretty close. It’s a great way to educate children about changing seasons during our uncertain times."
The artist for Twigsy is Terry Cooper, who over the years has illustrated a number of Candy Jar and Jelly Bean books. Darren concludes: "We really loved Terry’s artwork and were so pleased that he was available to do our book. His friendly style really captures the essence of the character. On our train journey we conceived Twigsy, but Terry has given birth to her."
All profits made from sales will go to Almost Home Animal Shelter in Northern Ireland.
Twigsy by Darren Broderick and Fiona Cunnningham is available from here.
The HAUNTED STAIRCASE
By Devika Rosamund
However, unlike the books of E Nesbit and Enid Blyton, The Haunted Staircase takes both the reader and the characters back to a realistic portrayal of Victorian servitude. Similar to Downton Abbey or Upstairs Downstairs, this book is a fascinating depiction of a bygone world, but with an added twist! What if children from the twenty-
The characters use a magic spell to travel back in time where they investigate the mysterious death of a Victorian servant girl. For authenticity, Devika undertook a great deal of research about Victorian service. In particular, how so-
Devika is also a talented artist and was pleased when Candy Jar suggested including her artwork in The Haunted Staircase. She concludes: “I had a lot of fun illustrating the story myself and I hope that my writing and simple illustrations will inspire young readers to write and illustrate their own stories. I am grateful to my editor, Shaun Russell, for improving my ghost story by adding humour. I wanted the ghost to be a pleasant character, rather than an evil one, and I always make sure my stories have happy endings. I like to leave young readers with a sense of satisfaction that all the problems are solved in the end.”
The Haunted Staircase can be purchased from here.
I MISS BEING MRS
By Abigail Hope
Candy Jar is pleased to announce its fifth ‘Book of the Month’, I Miss Being Mrs by Abigail Hope. Published with the help and support of Candy Jar’s partner imprint Jelly Bean Books, this thought provoking and shocking memoir will help victims of domestic abuse get through the lockdown and make plans for a better future.
The book is a journey of resilience and determination. It shows that hope can overcome insurmountable obstacles. Abigail says: “Nobody wants to leave everything behind. Often victims of abuse blame themselves for their partner’s cruelty, internalising emotions for sake of the children. I wanted to show that these feelings can be beaten. In particular, emphasize how my faith sustained me through the dark times.”
Abigail admits that not all people have faith – especially given the painful circumstances – but feels that the story of her struggle can help someone else build a better life and break free from maltreatment.
She continues: “My trust in God helped guide my decisions and show me a better path. I now live in a wonderfully safe place with my happy children beside me. My faith was my coping mechanism. However, others may have their own ways to cope. I do believe that courage is important; the courage to face up to the truth; the courage to find your own way out. People are there to help you. There is a better way to live.’
Abigail wrote I Miss Being Mrs from the safety of South Wales where she lives with her five young children. Her heartbreaking story follows Abigail’s marriage from a fairytale wedding, to a deteriorating relationship full of bullying, lies and paranoia. Her story, however, is underscored with hope and optimism.
Abigail concludes: “It was very difficult leaving the father of my children. I loved him so much, and felt I could help him overcome his demons, but he is an alcoholic and needs the support that I cannot give him. Ultimately it was the children who were more important and I took the decision to start a new life elsewhere. Navigating my way through the family courts to protect my children was difficult, but it was worth it in the end.”
I Miss Being Mrs is Abigail’s first book. She works as a debt centre coach for the charity Christians Against Poverty, helping vulnerable people to become debt free.
I Miss Being Mrs, by Abigail Hope, is available now from: https://abigail-
By H E Sonko
Illustrated by Dave Moreing
Mo’s Fro is modern fairy tale with a twist. It teaches children about multi-
She says: “It is important to tell stories that authentically represent British life. Our differences don’t divide us, they unite us. We’re all special, we’re all unique, we’re all valid – and so we’re all, at the end of the day, one. Getting to know each other is not something to fear; it’s an adventure that never stops. That’s the message I hope comes across to my young readers.”
Featuring vibrant full page illustrations by Dave Moreing, Mo’s Fro is a heart-
Mo’s Fro, by Hannah Sonko, is available now from: https://www.facebook.com/MoFroOfficial/
APRIL (ALL AGES):
OLD CLOTHES & PORRIDGE
By Maureen Mullally-
Candy Jar is pleased to announce its third ‘Book of the Month’, Old Clothes and Porridge by author Maureen Mullally-
Brought up by her grandmother in Glasgow, Maureen and her little sister Oonagh only saw their parents at eighteen month intervals. Old Clothes and Porridge tells the story of a childhood spent against the backdrop of the Depression, the launch of the Queen Mary, the Jarrow march, the abdication of King Edward VIII, the coronation of George VI, WW2 and the VE Day celebrations. Maureen says: “I wrote this book for my grandchildren. I’ve always told them about my childhood, and they have often said, “Why don’t you write it all down?”, so that’s exactly what I did.”
Candy Jar Publishing Co-
Maureen agrees and would encourage others to write down their life stories. She continues: “Yes, I would and in fact I do. I know one woman who used to be a war correspondent and one man who had a brilliant military career. People have fascinating lives and they should be documented.”
One of Candy Jar’s most popular titles is Eileen Younghusband’s One Woman’s War, which offers a vivid insight into the life of a young woman facing the grim reality of war. Shaun Russell, Head of Publishing, says: “Old Clothes and Porridge reminds me so much of One Woman’s War. As soon as I read it, I knew Maureen’s story would touch hearts across the generations. This book is attention grabbing, well-
After being advised by her best friend’s granddaughter of the benefits of being in control of the publishing process, Maureen decided to go with Jelly Bean. Maureen says: “It was great to receive an email from Shaun on 19th January and the books arrived on 19th March! And when you hold that book in your hands it’s like having a new baby.”
Overwhelmed by the support of her family and friends, Maureen is really delighted with the end product. She concludes: “I would like to send my gratitude to everyone who has read my book and for the lovely things they have been saying about it. I am so pleased that it now available on Amazon.”
Old Clothes and Porridge is now available worldwide through Amazon. To order the book visit: https://tinyurl.com/ycybtlg3
RORY AND HARLOW'S TIME TRAVELLING TAXI
KING ALFRED AND THE CAKES
By Rob Willsher
Illustrated by Patrick Coombes
Candy Jar is pleased to announce its second ‘Book of the Month’, Rory and Harlow’s Time Travelling Taxi by Rob Willsher. Published with the help and support of Candy Jar’s partner imprint Jelly Bean Books, it tells the story of two dogs, Rory and Harlow, and how they find a magical taxi that transports them back in time on a historical adventure of a lifetime.
In a recent interview, Rob explains how the idea for Rory and Harlow’s Time Travelling Taxi was, in fact, more of a collaboration. He explained: "Many years ago I was a London cab driver. At the time we had some rescue dogs and on a few occasions I took one of the dogs, Toto, to work with me in the front of the taxi. That’s when my wife Fiona came up with the idea of us doing a book about a dog that travels to historical places in London, or even all around the world!"
The book’s target audience is four to eight and adheres to the National Curriculum for this age group. In the book, Rory and Harlow travel back in time and meet Alfred the Great, who defeated the Danes by sending messages to his officers, thus highlighting the importance of being able to read and write.
Rob states: "One of the greatest skills in life is the ability to read. Even if all you are reading is a tin of beans, it can take you so far in life. I hope I’m helping to encourage a new generation of readers."
Rob is currently working on the second book in the series entitled The Woman with the Long Red Hair, which focuses on Boadicea, who was bullied by the Romans over how much land she was entitled to after her husband’s death, and is a topic that children can relate to.
Rob continues: "They are books that you can read to your child, or that your child can read to themselves. I gave Rory and Harlow’s Time Travelling Taxi to a twelve to thirteen year old to read and he couldn’t put it down, saying it was nice and easy to read, especially with the pictures. Even adults have said they’ve learned something from the book!"
Although currently published by Jelly Bean Books, Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell, says: "This book has a lot of potential and I can see lots of children and parents really taking an interest. The text is a mixture of fact and fiction and, paired with beautiful illustrations by artist Patrick Coombes, it is perfect for those who are just getting into reading. Once the Candy Jar schedule has cleared up, we are hoping to bring this book out as one of our own."
With the promise of becoming a Candy Jar publication in the near future Rory and Harlow’s Time Travelling Taxi is sure to be a hit. Both entertaining and educational, the book will make a great addition to any bookshelf and is sure to give young eyes a workout!
For now Rory and Harlow’s Time Travelling Taxi can be bought and enjoyed straight from the author. To order the book visit https://roryandharlows.co.uk/
By Paul W Robinson
Mary Edith Pechey and Marie Curie were two of the most influential women of their times. Marie Curie conducted significant research on radioactivity as well as being the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. Edith Pechey was one of the first female doctors in the United Kingdom and a promoter of women’s rights. Both women were contrapuntal to the development of the human race, but what would happen if their lives were thrown off track?
Inspired by a writing exercise, Paul created Timesplit after receiving the prompt, “One day she woke up…” He combined this with his expansive knowledge of famous women throughout history – of which he has a list – in order to raise more awareness of their achievements.
Paul explains: “I am a strong believer in writing about important female characters. I want to readdress the balance between the genders while teaching younger girls about amazing, influential women.”
Having taught young people for the past forty years, including working with those hard of hearing, Paul’s main aspiration is to develop new role models in order to inspire his students. He aims to create more relatable and exceptional characters; Charlie Holmes is based on one of his deaf students, Charlotte.
Timesplit encapsulates adolescence in a realistic way, with a generous serving of miscommunication, humour, love and heartbreak. Paul will soon be featured in The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: Lockdown collection.
Timesplit is available for https://paulrobinsonbooks.onlineweb.shop/