Posted on Leave a comment

Acquisition Announcement: I Am Strong Just Being Me, an empowering picture book from Laura Dockrill

Little Tiger has acquired I Am Strong Just Being Me, an empowering new picture book from award-winning author Laura Dockrill, illustrated by Kip Alizadeh.

Perry Emerson, Commissioning Editor at Little Tiger, acquired world rights from Jodie Hodges at United Agents, with illustrations being acquired from Mandy Suhr at Storywise. I Am Strong Just Being Me will publish in Spring 2025.

From the power of silence to the strength of an embrace, a curious young child explores the many different ways to be strong in this thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated book.

Perry Emerson, Commissioning Editor said:

It has been an incredible honour to work alongside Laura Dockrill and Kip Alizadeh, two hugely talented picture book makers, to create I Am Strong Just Being Me. Laura’s unmatched picture book voice, and Kip’s stunning, cleverly considered illustrations have come together to create a gorgeous book that works on many levels to convey a powerful, and empowering, message about the kinder, gentler and more empathetic ways we can be ‘strong’. We couldn’t be prouder to be publishing this book on the Little Tiger list.

 Laura Dockrill said:

We put a lot of pressure on young people to be ‘strong.’ This demand expects a lot from us, and I find sets off anxiety, trigger-shoots my nervous system and sends me into ‘fight or flight.’ But when I am kind to myself, I am able to cope better, to think clearer and to celebrate my efforts. I Am Strong Just Being Me is a book about being human, asking for help and leading with love. I hope that it will help my son navigate the world with softness and remind him that it’s ok to keep learning as we go. Kip has done the most beautiful job with the illustrations in capturing the metaphor of a garden to show how nature constantly learns to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. This really is a group effort, and I’m so proud of this special book we’ve created.

Kip Alizadeh said:

I was inspired to make the illustrations for I Am Strong Just Being Me by my own experiences of non-traditional strength and resilience, especially what I witness in nature. I used sketches of trees, flowers, animals and people that I’ve drawn while out and about as reference for the artwork, and I based the character of Bean on myself as a child!

Little Tiger will publish I Am Strong Just Being Me in Spring 2025.

‘Everyone’s falling for Laura Dockrill’ VOGUE

Laura Dockrill is an award-winning writer from Brixton, South London.

Laura is the author of Angry Cookie and The Lipstick. Her first book for children, Darcy Burdock, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Book of The Year Prize and the Carnegie Medal, and her young adult novel Big Bones was shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2018 and earned her plaudits like ‘Top 10 Literary Talent’ from The Times newspaper and Top 20 Hot Faces to Watch from Elle magazine.

Laura’s upcoming picture book Grey, illustrated by Lauren Child, publishes in May 2024.

Author social media handles

Instagram: @lauraleedockrill
Twitter/X: @LauraDockrill

Kip is an illustrator and visual artist. Recent projects include illustrating the Lambda Literary Award nominated The Wishing Flower written by AJ Irving. Kip is queer, Iranian and English and lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Illustrator social media handles

Instagram: @kipalizadeh
Twitter/X: @kipalizadeh

Posted on Leave a comment

The inspiration behind Knowing the Score by Ros Roberts

When I was 4 years old, my Aunty Jen, who I adored, asked me to be her bridesmaid. I said no, emphatically no. No-one knew why. No-one could convince me to change my mind. It made no sense to my family. I loved to dress up, loved my aunty.

On the wedding day, my sister wore a beautiful, pink gown, carried a posy of flowers and everyone complimented her. I wasn’t jealous. I knew my decision was right. We got in the car to go home and I was mystified when my sister climbed in. You see, I truly believed at the age of four that if you were someone’s bridesmaid, you then had to go and live with them. I liked my parents and my bedroom, thank you very much.

The memories of that decision, that one moment when my sister got into the car are SO clear; the realization that I could, after all have worn that dress and walked down the aisle following my aunty. I had got it so wrong, but no one had ever thought of course, that I had that thought in my mind!

Ros and her family aged four

Readers of Knowing the Score will see moments of this bridesmaid story in the book. I am fascinated by memories; how we grasp at them, struggle to make the pieces fit. It’s like the feeling when you wake from a dream, madly scrabbling to remember what happened. Gemma has so much of this in her mind – fragments of memories of when she was a five-year-old bridesmaid at her uncle’s wedding, of things that have happened over the years with her mum and the family fall out. She can never quite make those memories fit together but she is determined to find out the truth and try to heal the rift.

Knowing the Score is about healing and forgiveness. It is about courage and determination. In her quest to reunite Gran, Uncle Joe and her Mum, Gemma has to dig deep, ask difficult questions and push to get answers. It is a story driven by this incredible 11-year-old, determined to bring her family back together.

About the time I sadly refused to be a bridesmaid, I also picked up a tennis racket. Tennis was played by all my family. Trips to Wimbledon, summers playing tournaments, winters driving miles to an indoor court – the best of memories.  I’ve played all my life and always wanted to set a book with a tennis background. I won’t ever be a Noel Streatfield but reading Tennis shoes when I was a teenage made me so unbelievably happy. Tennis is for everyone. If one child reads Gemma’s story and gives it a go, picks up a racket, then I will be truly thrilled. If not, maybe someone will rescue a cat and call him something crazy like Carrot Cake – either of those two things would make me a very happy writer indeed.