Acquisition Announcement: Becoming Brave – a heartfelt biographical picture book about love, grief and believing in yourself.

Posted in Acquisition Announcement on Tue, 18 April at 9.28 am

Little Tiger to publish Becoming Brave – a heartfelt biographical picture book about love, grief and believing in yourself from double debut Jennie Cashman Wilson and Tomekah George.

Managing Editor Nicola Edwards acquired world rights in all languages for Cashman’s lyrical text, working editorially on the title alongside Senior Editor Isabel Otter. Illustrator Tomekah George was brought on board by Art Director Emma Jennings.

Following Jennie and her relationship with her late husband, critically acclaimed jazz musician Abram Wilson, Becoming Brave is both an exploration of grief and a celebration of courage. Jennie Cashman Wilson is the founder of The Abram Wilson charity – an organisation that works to open doors to minoritised young talent in the music industry. You can read more about their aims here.

If you want to try new things, you have to be brave. But you can’t be brave without also being scared.

While Jennie grew up wanting to please other people, Abram followed his heart from an early age. The two couldn’t have been more different, and yet when they met Jennie fell in love with Abram’s fearlessness.

But when life takes a turn for the worse and Abram is no longer by Jennie’s side, will she find her own courage? 

This poignant and heartfelt picture book explores themes of love, grief and believing in yourself in a gentle and uplifting way. With a contemporary setting and characters that many readers will relate to, this book is great for inspiring children and starting important conversations. 

Cashman Wilson says: “The first time I told the Becoming Brave story was to an audience of about 1,000 primary-school children at Birmingham Symphony Hall. It was my sixth and final year of getting up on stage and telling these bright young things stories about courage and fear, me and Abram. When I got off stage someone suggested I turn the story into a children’s book. This turned out to be the spark of an idea that quickly snowballed into what eventually became an actual, real-life children’s book. Becoming Brave has been a journey in itself, weathering the formal withdrawal of the UK from the EU, a global pandemic, a war in Ukraine and a cost-of-living crisis. It feels like if ever there were a time for courage it is now. I feel deeply privileged to have had the opportunity to share mine and Abram’s story in such a beautiful and creative way and I’m so grateful to Little Tiger for involving me in the process in the way they did. I’m also indebted to Tomekah George who worked so hard on making mine and Abram’s story come to life, I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator. Her involvement in this book has been a crucial part of the Becoming Brave journey and I’m extremely thankful to Little Tiger for investing the time and resources that are so necessary to develop emerging talent. I hope you enjoy reading Becoming Brave as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Edwards commented: You know some manuscripts are special the moment they cross your desk, and that was unquestionably the case with Jennie’s deeply moving story of love and loss. It explores not only grief but the way that fear and bravery are inextricably linked and that our hard times can be the catalyst for real and positive change. Jennie’s passion for helping young people find their power really shines through in this inspirational story of what it means to face our fears and live boldly, no matter what life throws at us along the way.

Jennings added: We knew we needed to find a very special illustrator to bring this true story of love, loss and hope to life. As soon as we saw Tomekah’s portfolio we fell in love with her striking, dynamic artwork and knew that she would be able to visually explore the nature of fear and bravery. Her emotive illustrations perfectly captured the different energies of Abram and Jennie’s characters and evoked the spirit of jazz music that infuses the story. She was a joy to work with!

George commented: “I’m honoured to be a part of sharing such a beautiful story, I can’t wait to see it in the wild!”

Little Tiger will publish Becoming Brave in August 2023.

About the Abram Wilson charity: Abram Wilson was a critically acclaimed and award-winning jazz trumpeter musician from New Orleans, who made London his home and forged a name for himself on the UK jazz scene. By 2012 he was at the height of his creative abilities and in the middle of a UK tour with his band when he became increasingly unwell. Abram died a few weeks later on Saturday 9th June from cancer. He was 38.

His wife and manager Jennie Cashman Wilson founded the Abram Wilson charity in his memory. She says:

“Throughout his career, Abram touched thousands of lives with his music, workshops and projects. He was a creative spirit but he knew that building a career as a freelance musician was really tough.  Someone of his ability and stature could have played with anybody, yet time and time again he would take on much younger, less experienced musicians and mentor, educate and encourage them. When Abram died, the kernel of an idea to somehow continue the work that we had begun together was formed.”

That idea has since grown into the Abram Wilson charity today. Abram’s experiences have influenced how the charity’s programmes happen, as part of an exciting and thriving UK jazz scene. The Abram Wilson charity continues to work hard to inspire a new generation of talent that is representative of the society we live in.



Read more

Becoming Brave

Author: Jennie Cashman Wilson

Illustrator: Tomekah George