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Away With Words– A Q&A with author Sophie Cameron

A Q&A with Away With Words author Sophie Cameron.

Out May 2023.







What is your latest book, Away With Words about?

Away With Words is set in a version of our world where we can see and touch the words that people speak, as well as hear them. The story is about 11-year-old Gala, who has just moved from Spain to Scotland with her dad to live with his boyfriend, and her difficulties with learning English and adapting to her new home. She makes a friend at her new school named Natalie, who has selective mutism and collects other people’s old speech. The girls begin writing messages to their classmates with the discarded words, but something goes wrong and it gets them into trouble.

What was the inspiration behind Away With Words?

I really love learning languages – I think I’ve studied around 15 over the years, though unfortunately I’ve forgotten most of them too! I often find producing different sounds really difficult, though, so the idea of speech having a physical dimension came from feeling like words were literally stuck in my mouth and unable to come out. I was also inspired by children’s books that use language in interesting ways, such as Sophie Someone by Hayley Long and Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle.

Away With Words explores communication, did you do a lot of research for the novel?

I moved to Spain 7 years ago, and some parts of Gala’s story are based on my own experiences of living and working in Spanish and Catalan – the frustration of not being able to explain myself as well or as quickly as I’d like, or the thrill of realising that I’d made progress. But I chose to move abroad, whereas Gala is thrown into an environment where no one speaks her language and she has no say in the matter. I read up on ESL teaching and spoke to several people who had been similar situations – my wife moved from France to Scotland when she was 11, so her input helped a lot! I also did a lot of research on selective mutism for Natalie’s part of the story. We later had a sensitivity read done by a paediatric speech and language therapist, so it was really interesting to get their feedback.

What part of Away With Words are you most excited for young people to read?

I’m mostly excited for people to read about the concept and hopefully hear some of their own ideas about how communication would work in a world where speech was visible. Pip Johnson, the Senior Designer at Little Tiger who designed and illustrated the wonderful cover, has also done an amazing job getting creative with the layout of the text and it looks brilliant – so while I can’t take credit for that, I can’t wait to see what readers think of it!

How has Scotland and Spain influenced your writing?

Settings are really important for me, which is why all four of my published books so far take place in Scotland – it’s the place I know best, and being able to visualise the locations and include small, real-life details brings the story to life for me. Away With Words is set in Fortrose on the Black Isle, where I grew up, so it was really nice to be able to include some of my favourite places and weave them into Gala’s story. I’m finding that Spanish elements are cropping up in my writing more and more, though, and I have a few ideas for stories set here too.

What’s the best part about being a children’s author?

It’s always amazing to hear from readers, especially young ones, that they’ve enjoyed my books or that they’ve helped them in some way. Many of the books that have most influenced me are ones I read when I was young, so it’s a real privilege to think that someone could one day look back at one of my stories in a similar way.

Where and when do you do your best writing, and what are you working on at the moment?

I work best in cafes, preferably in the morning. Something about the noise and movement around me gives me a better focus on what I’m working on, and I’m far less likely to get distracted if I’m out of the house. Right now I’m hopping between a few projects: a contemporary MG novel, a YA fantasy, and what will hopefully be my first book for adults.

What does a ‘day off’ from writing look like for you?

I work for a communications agency and I have 3-year-old twins, so writing actually feels like a day off for me! When I’m not busy, I’m usually studying languages (right now I’m focusing on Korean, Italian and Gaelic), baking or watching TV.

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Sita Brahmachari has been shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing for her YA novel When Shadows Fall

The UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people, The Yoto Carnegies, today announced their 2023 shortlists today. We are delighted that Sita Brahmachari has been shortlisted for the Medal for Writing for her YA novel When Shadows Fall, illustrated by Natalie Sirett.

The Yoto Carnegies are unique in being judged by children’s and youth librarians, with the respective Shadowers’ Choice Medals voted for by children and young people. The 31 initially longlisted titles were whittled down to a shortlist of 13 by the judging panel, which includes 12 librarians from CILIP’s Youth Libraries Group.

What the organisers said about selecting Sita Brahmachari and When Shadows Fall. 

‘Five-time nominated author Sita Brahmachari has secured her place on the shortlist for the first time for When Shadows Fall, a “beautifully observed”, “lyrical” novel written through an original mix of forms, combining poetry, prose and illustrations by Natalie Sirett. The judges highlighted the “unforgettable voices” in this story of friendship and community. A previous winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Brahmachari is an ambassador for Amnesty, and her passion for centring marginalised voices comes to the fore in this “powerfully charged” tale.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 21 June at a live and streamed lunchtime ceremony at The Barbican, hosted by former Children’s Laureate Lauren Child. The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice, a specially commissioned and newly designed golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize. The Shadowers’ Choice Medals, voted for and awarded by children and young people shadowing the shortlist from today, will also be presented at the ceremony. Following the brand refresh of the Awards this year, the Shadowers’ Choice winners will also receive a golden medal for the first time.

Activities and resources for When Shadows Fall are available on the Yoto Carnegies website.

When Shadows Fall

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Acquisition Announcement: The Best You, a new picture book by Mindful Champs founder, Nima Patel







Little Tiger has acquired world rights for The Best You, a new picture book by Mindful Champs founder, Nima Patel

We are delighted to present The Best you, an inspirational and thought-provoking picture book from the Mindful Champs founder and mindfulness advocate Nima Patel: The Best You.

We often ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, expecting that they want to be astronauts, activists, artists or athletes. We want them to see the wide world of possibility that lies before them, but what about the incredible potential that is already within them?  

The Best You celebrates all the wonderful qualities that children have and can develop, and reminds us all that what really matters is being the best you that you can be.

Sales, Rights and Marketing director Nik Bhatia acquired world rights for the series. Illustration rights were acquired by Editorial Director Patricia Hegarty from Eunice Mcmullen.

Author Nima Patel commented:

The Best You was written out of a deep desire to draw attention to a narrative which I believe constricts children from growing with true purpose and authenticity. As adults, we are continually asking children WHAT they want to be when they grow up. They are put under so much pressure from a young age to choose a career path or to get top marks that it ends up leading to their success becoming largely measured in terms of that alone.

The Best You aims to shift this narrative and, instead, focus on asking children WHO they want to be when they grow up. By teaching children to develop traits of good character first and foremost, we can prepare them to thrive in any situation they may face. And as children practise skills that promote character development, they build a reservoir of strength that they can draw on throughout their lives. Confidence, determination, resilience and honesty are just some examples of traits that can sustain children at home, at school and in the big world out there.

I have had an incredible experience working with Little Tiger on my first book. Writing a book with a team that really understood my vision, as well as the value in the message I wanted to deliver, was so important for me. From editor to illustrator and everyone in between, Little Tiger have been an absolute dream to work with.”

Illustrator Cally Johnson-Isaacs commented:

“As a lifelong yoga and mindfulness enthusiast, in recent years I have enjoyed dedicating my artwork to positive affirmations, movement and breath.

I feel it’s truly important for children to benefit from the simple practice of bringing a gentle, accepting attitude to the present moment. How wonderful it is to create illustrations for a beautiful book which will promote peace, happiness, kindness and a pathway for discovering the best version of ‘you’. I am very proud to be part of such a creatively fulfilling project.”

Nik Bhatia, Sales, Rights & Marketing Director said:

“In an increasingly pressurised world, The Best You is a much-needed celebration of the positive traits that will help children thrive, and that we should all be encouraging as mindful parents and caregivers. With gorgeous illustrations by Cally Johnson-Isaacs, this life-affirming picture book is the perfect addition to the Little Tiger list. We are delighted to be partnering with Nima Patel to help young children reach their full potential.”

The Best You publishes in January 2024.

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Acquisition Announcement: Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf by duo Craig Barr-Green and Francis Martin.

03 March 2023








Little Tiger lands Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf – a bold new picture book with a neurodiverse hero by duo Craig Barr-Green and Francis Martin.

Senior Editor Perry Emerson acquired the imaginative, empowering story in a two-book deal with world rights in all languages from Curtis Brown’s Isobel Gahan. Francis Martin was signed on to illustrate the series by Art Director, Rebecca Essilifie.

In this fresh re-imagining of Little Red Riding Hood, autistic protagonist Gina Kaminski rewrites the traditional fairy tale in her own innovative way.

Gina Kaminski is here to tell you three facts.

1 – Little Red Riding Hood is full of BIG mistakes.

2 – Gina Kaminski is off to fairy tale land to fix them.

3 – She WILL save the wolf.

A book to inspire every child to tell their own story, their own way. Just like Gina.

Emerson commented: “It’s a rare thing to discover a picture book character who immediately makes you sit up and listen, but Gina Kaminski does exactly that. In a voice that is as innovative as it is arresting, Craig Barr-Green tells the story of a young autistic girl taking control of the fairy tale of Little Red Riding Hood in her own brilliantly bold way. We hope this book will inspire creativity in children everywhere, and through its engaging humour and adventurous storytelling, will encourage an empathetic understanding of the different ways in which we all see the world.

The process of making Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf was an exceptional example of the power and importance of creative collaboration in picture book making. It was a joy to see Craig and Francis’ creative minds spark and inspire one another during the development of the book. Francis’ artistic voice feels as innovative and fresh as Craig’s storytelling, and we truly believe that, together, they have created a ground-breaking book that places an autistic main character at the very heart of a universally inspiring story. We at Little Tiger are all incredibly proud to be publishing this important and compelling picture book.”

Ellie Farmer, Editorial Director: I’m delighted to publish Craig and Francis on the Little Tiger list. Their unique and considerable talent make Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf really rather special, reflecting the Little Tiger passion for championing diverse voices and introducing our readers to important perspectives and ideas.

Barr-Green added: “I wanted to write a picture book that gave a three dimensional, neurodivergent child absolute centre stage in a rollicking adventure. Gina Kaminski is that character. I am beyond delighted that she has found her home with the endlessly brilliant Little Tiger, and Francis Martin’s fabulous illustrations are bursting with character, and energy, and just the right amount of anarchy. I couldn’t wish for a better team and I am incredibly excited to introduce Gina to the world.”

Martin commented: “In Gina Kaminski Craig has created a fantastic girl character whose no-nonsense attitude to fairy tales will be an inspiration  to children everywhere. I am glad! proud!, ecstatic! that  I got to create the visualisation of Gina.”

Little Tiger will publish Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf in September 2023.

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Tiger Aspect Kids & Family and Little Tiger announce collaboration on prospective TV options

March 2023

Tiger Aspect Kids & Family and Little Tiger announce collaboration on prospective TV options

Children’s publisher Little Tiger and leading television producer Tiger Aspect Kids & Family, part of Banijay Kids & Family, are joining forces with the intention to option and develop future animated and live action TV projects, aimed at children of all ages and families.

This exciting collaboration brings together both parties’ expertise and passion for children’s entertainment and education.

Little Tiger’s rich portfolio of bestselling and far-reaching books, featuring unforgettable characters, striking worlds and wide-ranging concepts, are the perfect source material to create innovative and entertaining TV for children and families.

Tiger Aspect Kids & Family’s presence internationally and its brilliant creative team, plus its similar business ethos, align with Little Tiger’s ambitions to nurture talent and grow in the entertainment space.

David Bucknor, Managing Director at Little Tiger said:

“Children’s books have always provided a treasure trove of stories to inspire film and TV. Over the last few years, we have seen a marked increase in interest in our books, from producers keen to feed the ever-growing number of platforms and distributors hungry for content.  As we embark on this exciting collaboration with Tiger Aspect Kids & Family, we look forward to working together creatively, and finding new ways of sharing our stories with screen audiences.”

Tom Beattie, Managing Director at Tiger Aspect Kids & Family said:

 “This felt like a perfect partnership, not just because we both have ‘Tiger’ in the company names. Little Tiger create some brilliant characters and worlds that fit with the Tiger Aspect Kids & Family DNA, and so it made sense to work more closely together. We have a proven track record of taking books to screen and we’re excited with what is to come.”

The deal was negotiated by Jude Evans on behalf of Little Tiger and Tiger Aspect Kids & Family’s Dee Stevens.


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Acquisition Announcement: ‘Keisha Jones’ by Natalie Denny, illustrated by Chanté Timothy

 Little Tiger has acquired world rights for new series, ‘Keisha Jones’ by debut author Natalie Denny, illustrated by Chanté Timothy

Keisha Jones is an appealing and timely series with a fearless black girl at its heart. Keisha is an empowering role model who’s itching to stand up to the world.

Funny and engaging and vibrantly illustrated by Chanté Timothy, the series is written in first-person and has an interactive page design, incorporating letters, emails and texts.

Jane Harris, Associate Publisher at Little Tiger, acquired world rights from Chloe Seager at Madeleine Milburn and Charlie Moyler, Art Director at Little Tiger, acquired illustration rights from Lydia Silver at Darley Anderson.

Keisha Jones Takes on the World is the first book in the series and publishes in August 2023 and is ideal for newly independent readers.

Brimming with ideas and passion, Keisha’s determined to stamp down injustices and stand up for what she believes … even if it does lead to a spot of trouble!

When Grandpa Joe tells Keisha about Great Aunt Bee, who was a lawyer and an activist, Keisha is determined to follow in her footsteps. Forming the Bee Squad, she enlists her friends KD and Paisley to help put an end to inequality. Soon they have their first cause.

Keisha is incensed to discover that her local pet shop is selling male rabbits for more than female rabbits. It’s time to takes matters into her own hands and stand up for rabbits’ rights!

Jane Harris, Associate Publisher who acquired the series said:

“Working with Natalie on Keisha Jones has been a total joy. Natalie has created a warm, funny character fizzing with personality and brimming with ideas (some of which are wonderfully outlandish!). Keisha’s indomitable spirit and sense of justice shine through in every scene and her escapades are sure to delight young readers. Chanté Timothy’s bold and expressive illustrations are a perfect fit and bring Keisha’s world to life brilliantly. Little Tiger Fiction are over the moon to welcome Natalie and Chanté to the list, and we can’t wait to introduce readers to the force of nature that is Keisha Jones!”

Natalie Denny said:

“Introducing pint sized activist, Keisha Jones, and her wild and wonderful ways to young readers is a dream come true! Keisha is a whirlwind of fun and mischief with a heart of gold; passionate about making the world a better place. I am so excited about working on this fantastic series with Little Tiger and where Keisha’s journey may take us!”

 Chanté Timothy said  “I’m looking forward to everyone experiencing a whole host of expressive characters, especially Keisha who I think will inspire critical thinking and bring a smile to faces.”

Keisha Jones Takes on the World publishes in August 2023, followed by book 2 in 2024, entitled Keisha Jones is a Force of Nature.

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Acquisition Announcement: New Middle Grade adventure series by author, Sufiya Ahmed 

Little Tiger has acquired world rights for new Middle Grade adventure series by author, Sufiya Ahmed 

Little Tiger is delighted to announce the acquisition of Sufiya Ahmed’s exciting new series, THE TIME TRAVELLERS.

This new series for 8+ readers brings the past to life. Join three adventurous children as they travel to amazing places across the world and throughout history, meeting historical legends and learning more about themselves.

Mattie Whitehead, Senior Editor at Little Tiger, acquired world rights, all languages for two books from Sophie Gorell Barnes at MBA Literary Agency.  

Suhana, Mia and Ayaan are doing their best(ish) to work together on a school trip, but it’s not easy. They are NOT friends and being in parliament is weird! It gets EVEN WEIRDER when they find themselves in 1911! They are amazed to see people from all over the world taking part in women’s suffrage demonstration. Suhana wants to learn more, but Mia and Ayaan are anxious to get back. Then they lose each other… Will they be able to get back to the present, without changing the course of history forever?  

Sufiya Ahmed said:  

I am so excited for young readers to meet Suhana, Mia and Ayaan on their adventures through time. The Time Travellers think they know it all when it comes to British history, but the reality they encounter in the past has them questioning everything. I feel passionately about our British shared history, and Suhana, Mia and Ayaan make it their mission to bring it to light.” 


Mattie Whitehead commented:  

“There is still so much to explore when it comes to the past, and who better to introduce readers to fascinating history than Sufiya! Combining all her strengths, THE TIME TRAVELLERS is a fun and exciting series with brilliant characters and adventure (as well as being full of intrigue and discussion points!). I can’t wait to time travel with Suhana, Mia and Ayaan – readers are in for a treat!”


The first book in THE TIME TRAVELLERS series publishes in February 2024, followed by book two in Autumn 2024.

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Fanny the Gipsy Hill Cat. The inspiration behind The Railway Kitten by Holly Webb

Children at book events often ask me if all the cats and dogs in my Animal Stories series belong to me. I have to explain that I could never have written the books without the wonderful animals I’ve been lucky enough to share my life with, but I haven’t actually had fifty-five different puppies and kittens. (The fifty-fifth book in the series is published in April!) Even though I did grow up with one cat, two dogs, twelve gerbils, a mouse, three hamsters, a terrapin, some stick insects and a canary (not absolutely all at the same time).

Lots of the books are actually based on my own pets – Lost in the Snow,
the very first book in the series was inspired by Rosie, the stray kitten who adopted my family a little while before I was born. Our clever kitten was a family story, and I have such strong memories of making up adventures for her with my mum. When my editor at Little Tiger suggested writing a lost cat book, seventeen years ago, those stories were still in my head. In every story the poor kitten was having a terrible time – she was lost, stuck in the snow, hungry, being chased by a dog – but it was OK, because I knew that she was actually downstairs, probably curled up on the back of the sofa (or letting my dad feed her cheese and onion crisps, which were her favourite treat). I wanted that drama and danger in my books, along with the security of a happy ending.

Now I have three very spoilt cats (I’ve just rescued a coffee cup with milk in from my eldest cat, who thinks food tastes better stolen). They’ve inspired five books between the three of them so far, as well as giving me constant reminders on cat behaviour while trying to sit on my laptop. But lots of my books are based on stories from friends, and even from readers. I had the most brilliant email from a fan called Edie a few years ago, telling me about her kitten who’d been rescued from a barbed wire fence, and named Barbie! I read it thinking, wow, this is a book! That email became The Rescued Kitten.

The Railway Kitten came from being told another wonderful rescue story. My agent Julia told me about the cat at Gipsy Hill Station near where she lives – actually just up the road from Norwood, where I grew up. I loved the idea of a station cat who liked to greet all the passengers, and wondered about putting a station cat into a book. However, I’d actually already written The Forgotten Puppy, about a dog
who accidentally goes on a train journey, and I didn’t want the stories to be too similar, so I made notes
and stored the idea away. (The Forgotten Puppy was inspired by a reader who told me at a book event about her station staff dad finding a dog on one of his trains!) A while later, Julia gave me an update on Fanny the Gipsy Hill Cat – she’d been hit by a car and badly injured, but a crowdfunder had raised the money for her operation in a matter of hours. It was such a wonderful example of love. Fanny was actually saved by community donations a second time in 2020, when she had a serious infection and needed veterinary care.

Real animal stories are a fantastic starting point – but I often have to make a lot of changes to make the original story work for a children’s book. For The Railway Kitten I really wanted to add child characters. Scarlett and Abbie are nine-year-old girls who love seeing Whiskers at the station every day on their way to school – they’re really worried when she disappears, and they’re the ones to discover the kitten after her accident. They’re desperate to save her, but the kitten’s owners need help to fund her surgery. The girls are the ones to suggest fundraising, and they make posters to put all round the station to tell everyone who loves Whiskers what’s happening. After the surgery Whiskers’s owners aren’t able to give her the care she needs, and Scarlett adopts her. The details about Whiskers’s operation and aftercare actually came from my own cat Milly, who was hit by a car a few years ago (the third book she’s had a major part in!)

I’m so excited for The Railway Kitten to be published – it’s a story that I’ve been thinking about for such a long time!


Photo credit: Charlotte Knee

To hear more from Holly Webb, then watch this interview filmed last year at Holly’s home.

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Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere – A Q&A with Ruth Lauren

When Tourmaline’s mother goes missing on a search for precious artefacts, Tourmaline sets off to find her with her best friend George, her new friend (former foe) Mai and her limitless determination. On their adventure, they encounter a band of female pirates, a maze of talking trees and a series of challenges that test the children and their friendship. But will it be enough to reunite Tourmaline with her mother?

The first book in a fun, feminist fantasy adventure series, with a protagonist that flies off the page and into readers’ imaginations. Perfect for fans of Katherine Rundell, Vashti Hardy and Abi Elphinstone.

If you’d like to find out more about the author behind Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere, check out Ruth Lauren’s Q&A below:

What is Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere about?

 It’s about a very determined girl who has to launch a rescue mission when her intrepid explorer mother goes missing. It’s also about friendship and thinking about right and wrong and how it’s not always straightforward to tell the difference – but mostly it’s a fun adventure.

Tell us a bit more about the world Tourmaline lives in?

Tourmaline has lived all of her life in Pellavere University where her mother works as an artefact hunter, but she’s about to burst out into a much bigger world where she’s going to sail the seas, discover a very strange island and learn that magic exists.

What are you most excited to share with readers of your new children’s book?

 I really hope readers will love Tourmaline and her friends (and possible foes) and I can’t wait for them to meet a certain Captain and explore the very unusual island of Elsewhere. And last, but definitely not least, I’m excited to share the beautiful and striking cover by artist Sharon King-Chai. It’s stunning!

What children’s books would you recommend to young readers that have entertained and inspired you? 

So many! I’ll restrict myself to a few favourites I’ve read very recently. For the most wonderful fantasy, I loved Utterly Dark by Philip Reeve, the Monsters of Rookhaven books by Padraig Kenny and Gallant by V.E. Schwab. The Five Realms series by Kieran Larwood is brilliant. Anything by Lucy Strange is fantastic, as is Hilary McKay. And two very different books I enjoyed for very different reasons – When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle and Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans. I’ll leave it there or I’ll be recommending books forever.

Any tips for aspiring writers?

Read. Read everything. Read all the time. Nothing will make you a better writer than reading. And when you start writing, keep going. If you want to be a writer, you have to be very persistent and never give up – a bit like Tourmaline!