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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.

 

 

 

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Acquisition Announcement: Wintour’s Game, an action-packed new teen series from Brían Dungan.

Little Tiger has acquired Wintour’s Game, the first in an action-packed new teen series from Brían Dungan.

Karelle Tobias, Junior Editor at Little Tiger, acquired world all language rights from Helen Boyle at Pickled Ink in a three-book deal. Wintour’s Game will be published in August 2024, with book two and three to follow in Summer 2025 and Summer 2026 respectively.

Alex Wintour has only got this far in life by living off her wits. Well, that and an ability to see glimpses of the future. Then a robbery goes wrong, and her path is set on a collision course with the enigmatic teen millionaire Colman Reece, who needs her help for the heist of a lifetime.

But with high-speed car chases, a sinister sect on her tail and the hunt for a mysterious weapon underway, Alex soon learns that even being able to see the future doesn’t always give you the winning hand…

Perfect for fans of Artemis Fowl, Alex Rider and Lockwood & Co.

Karelle Tobias, Junior Editor said:

Brían’s writing hooked me from the very first chapter. Wintour’s Game is a pacy, cinematic thrill from start to finish, with compelling world building and a cast of dynamic characters that leap off the page. It’s been such a joy working with Brían to develop this incredible series, and I cannot wait for readers to meet Alex Wintour and explore the time bending society she’s drawn into.

Brían Dungan said:

Telling stories has always been something I’ve loved to do. But from the day I met Alex Wintour, it’s something I’ve had to do. Her vitality, vulnerability, audacity and rebellious teen spirit simply refused to be kept off the page. I couldn’t be happier to have found a home for her at Little Tiger and that we finally get to share the voice that’s been ringing so loudly in my head! Wintour. Is. Coming.

Little Tiger will publish Wintour’s Game in August 2024.

Born in Dublin, Brían splits his time between his family, his day job in film and television and his passion for writing. As a camera assistant, Brían has worked on projects as varied as Game of ThronesThe Last DuelDerry Girls and Black Mirror. Now turning to novel-writing, Brían aims to be the latest in a long and distinguished line of published authors from his hometown of Skerries, where he lives with his long-suffering wife and three daughters.

Author social media handles:

Instagram: @briandungan1

 

 

 

 

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Acquisition Announcement: I’m Going to Make a Friend, the first ever picture book from Darren Chetty.

Little Tiger has acquired I’m Going to Make a Friend, the first ever picture book from Darren Chetty.

Maudie Powell Tuck, Senior Commissioning Editor at Little Tiger, acquired world rights from Rachel Mann at JULA (now at CAA) in a three-book deal. I’m Going to Make a Friend will publish in hardback in May 2025 and is illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat.

Sometimes it feels impossible to make a new friend. There are so many questions! Will they play how I want to play? Will they have other friends, or like me most of all? Will they hug me when I’m sad, or give me space? In the end, the only thing you can do is to dive in and give it a go.

Stephanie Stansbie, Editorial Director said:

We’re thrilled to be embarking on a relationship with philosopher and author Darren Chetty, who will offer young readers bold and refreshing new perspectives. In his first picture book, Darren cuts straight to the heart of the myriad of emotions – the vulnerability and courage – that it takes to form meaningful relationships. While Sandhya Prabhat’s bright, funny characters and magical illustrations illuminate this heart-warming, original take on the pursuit of friendship.

Darren Chetty said:

Friendships matter when we’re young – and they never stop mattering. I really wanted to write a story about moving house and making friends while also celebrating the power of the imagination. I hope that readers will find the space to enter into the world of the book.  I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Little Tiger on my first picture book!

Little Tiger will publish I’m Going to Make a Friend in May 2025.

Darren Chetty is a Welsh Indian South African Dutch Londoner. He teaches in primary schools and at university and writes for people of all ages. He loves football and music and collects children’s books, snow globes and toy robots.

Author social media handles: Instagram: @rapclassroom | Twitter/X: @rapclassroom

Sandhya Prabhat is an independent animator and illustrator based in the Bay Area, California, and is from Chennai, India. She holds an MFA Degree in Animation and Digital Arts from NYU Tisch School of the Arts Asia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature from Stella Maris College.

Illustrator social media handles: Instagram and Twitter/X: @sandhyaprabhat 

 

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Acquisition Announcement: Eric Huang’s East Asian mythology-inspired series

Little Tiger has acquired Guardians of the New Moon – an adventurous young fiction series inspired by East Asian mythology from Eric Huang, illustrated by Quang and Liên.

Senior Commissioning Editor Mattie Whitehead acquired world rights for four books directly from the author. Whitehead will be working editorially with Charlotte Leung, Editorial Assistant. Kimberley Chen, Designer, acquired illustration rights from Doreen Thorogood at Good Illustration Agency.

Little Tiger will publish books one and two in January 2025, books three and four will follow.

The Jade Emperor is bored. Having just created the world, he wants something to pass the eternity of time! So, he comes up with a brilliant idea – a Great Race! All creatures on Earth will be invited to compete, from the tiny Rat to the great Water Dragon. And the first twelve to complete the race will have a year in the zodiac cycle named after them forevermore.

Temple cat Miaow finds himself (reluctantly) joining the race, where he meets Ming, a spirited and fiery nine-tailed fox determined to become his best friend. The reserved Miaow gradually warms to Ming but when Miaow begins to make other friends, Ming’s bubbling insecurity and impulsivity spill over, causing a series of accidents that disrupts the race and endangers the racers. Will the pair (and their friendship) make it to the finish line?

The first book tells the story of the Great Race – the twelve winners of which make up the Chinese zodiac – and introduces readers to the characters. The first two books will publish to coincide with Lunar New Year, and the series will see Ming and Miaow taking on their new roles as Guardians of the New Moon. Their job: to visit the titular animal at the start of each lunar new year and help ensure the success of that year. And so, the adventure continues…

Mattie Whitehead and Charlotte Leung said:

Packed with humour, magic and fun-filled adventure, we are so excited to be publishing the Guardians of the New Moon series. With Eric’s gorgeous writing and characters that bounce off the page, and beautifully illustrated by Quang and Liên, the series is a perfect celebration of East Asian mythology for younger readers. We can’t wait to join Ming and Miaow and see how the winners of the race cope with their newfound fame!

Eric Huang said:

When my sister and I were growing up in California, our dad told us bedtime stories based on East Asian legends his mother told him when he was a boy in China. He often made us the protagonists of these magical sagas, the ones saving the day after inadvertently wreaking havoc that shook heaven and earth. The Guardians of the New Moon series is inspired by these stories. They’re original adventures that mix the twelve animals of the Lunar Zodiac with magical creatures and unpredictable gods amidst the accidental chaos created by a young cat and nine-tailed fox.”

Quang and Liên said:

The story of the Great Race of Zodiac animals is popular in Asian culture – we grew up with it. It’s interesting to redraw them in a fun way. All of them – Miaow, Ming, Su, Tu Di Gong and the Jade Emperor – come alive in Eric Huang’s writing, we love reading their story. Their actions and expressions appear immediately to us when we read so we just move them onto the paper. And finally, through their story we learn that trying to achieve a goal is important, but the most important thing is finding true friends on the way.    

Eric Huang has always been fascinated by legends and lore. As a boy, he was determined to find real-life dragons, so he studied palaeontology at university. Reality didn’t live up to his Jurassic Park dreams, though, and he found himself working as secretary at Disney Publishing, launching a career in children’s books. Since then, Eric has held editor and publisher positions on three continents, including at Penguin Australia and Penguin UK. Eric lives in London with his boyfriend Brian and cat McNulty. He’s a podcaster, writer, and lecturer at City University of London’s Masters in Publishing programme.

Author social media handles: Twitter/X: @dinoboy89 | Instagram: @EricHuangBooks

 

From their Saigon studio, Quang and Liên work seamlessly as a duo, creating their stunning artwork using a mix of watercolour, acrylic and digital. Inspired by the folk culture of Vietnam and Asia, this incredibly talented award-winning Vietnamese author-illustrator partnership produce the most beautifully vibrant and poignant stories. Select clients include: Google, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Macmillan, Lerner, Workman, Little Tiger Press, Templar/Bonnier, Charlesbridge, What on Earth Books.

Illustrator social media handles: Instagram: @kaaillustration | Website: https://www.kaaillustration.com/

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Acquisition Announcement: Desert Echoes, a propulsive YA novel from Stonewall Honor-winning author Abdi Nazemian.

Little Tiger has acquired Desert Echoes, a propulsive YA novel from Stonewall Honor-winning author Abdi Nazemian.

Mattie Whitehead, Senior Commissioning Editor at Little Tiger, acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Charlotte Bodman at Rights People, on behalf of John Cusick and Chiara Panzeri at Folio Literary Management, for publication on 29th September 2024

Fifteen-year-old Kam is head over heels for Ash, the boy who swept him off his feet. But his family and best friend, Bodie, are worried. They struggle to understand Ash. He also has a habit of disappearing, at times for days. When Ash asks Kam to join him on a trip to Joshua Tree, the two of them walk off into the sunset … but only Kam returns.

Two years later, Kam is still left with a hole in his heart and too many unanswered questions. So it feels like fate when a school trip takes him back to Joshua Tree. On the trip, Kam wants to find closure about what happened to Ash, but instead finds himself in danger of facing a similar fate. In the desert, Kam must reckon with the truth of his past relationship – and the possibility of opening himself up to love once again.

Desert Echoes is a moving story about human resilience and connection from the author of Only This Beautiful Moment. Perfect for fans of Last Night at the Telegraph Club, The Great Godden and If You Still Recognise Me.

Mattie Whitehead, Senior Commissioning Editor said:

We were so proud to publish Only This Beautiful Moment in the UK last year, and with Desert Echoes I was similarly drawn into the story. Abdi writes so perfectly for YA readers – combining the everyday lives of teenagers with really important themes in such a natural and nuanced way. With thoughtful characters, intrigue and heart, readers will be gripped by Kam, Ash and Bodie’s story.

Abdi Nazemian said:

Desert Echoes is a deeply personal novel that explores the mystery and power of one of my favorite places, Joshua Tree. It’s an honor that Mattie and the Little Tiger team are bringing the book to one of my other favorite places, the UK. I hope readers in the UK and Commonwealth connect with this story about lost love, found love, and the healing that awaits us when we take the time to listen.  

Little Tiger will publish Desert Echoes in September 2024.

Abdi Nazemian is the author of Only This Beautiful Moment (a Stonewall Award Winner), Like a Love Story (a Stonewall Honor book), The Chandler Legacies and The Authentics. His novel The Walk-In Closet won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Debut Fiction. His screenwriting credits include the films The Artist’s Wife and The Quiet, and the television series The Village and Ordinary Joe. He has been an executive producer and associate producer on numerous films, including Call Me by Your Name, Little Woods, and The House of Tomorrow. He lives in Los Angeles with his husband, their two children, and their dog, Disco. Find him online at www.abdinazemian.com

Author social media handles: Instagram: @abdaddy and Twitter/X: @abdaddy

 

 

 

 

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Acquisition Announcement – Flash of Neon, a dazzling teen story from Carnegie shortlisted author Sophie Cameron.  

Little Tiger has acquired world rights to Flash of Neon, a dazzling teen story from Carnegie shortlisted author Sophie Cameron.

Mattie Whitehead, Senior Commissioning Editor at Little Tiger, acquired world all-language rights directly from Sophie Cameron for publication in paperback and eBook in May 2025.

Laurie loves stories. She loves reading them in her mums’ bookshop in their small Scottish town. She loves sharing them with new readers. She also loves telling stories about people she’s not yet met and places she’s not yet been. But when one of these people comes crashing into Laurie’s world, it turns her whole life upside down.

Neon is the boy Laurie’s been dreaming of for the last six months, and he’s exactly as she had created him – down to his ability to play any instrument he picks up. And when he steps off the train and into Laurie’s world, he teaches her what it means to be real.

Flash of Neon is a fantastical story about imagination and friendship from the author of Away with Words.

Mattie Whitehead, Senior Commissioning Editor said:

With each of Sophie’s books I’ve been instantly drawn in, falling in love with the characters, and Flash of Neon did just that. Sophie combines real world, fantasy and important relatable themes with beautiful writing, and the result is another super special story. We can’t wait for readers to meet Laurie, Neon and the whole creative cast of characters… 

Sophie Cameron said:

I’ve absolutely loved working with Mattie, Karelle and the rest of the Little Tiger team on my previous teen books and I feel very lucky to get to publish another story with them. Flash of Neon has been really fun to write and I can’t wait to introduce it to readers next year!

Little Tiger will publish Flash of Neon in May 2025.

Sophie Cameron is a YA and MG author from the Scottish Highlands. Her debut YA novel Out of the Blue was nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019. Her debut MG novel Our Sister, Again won the Leeds Books Awards 2023 and her second MG novel Away with Words is on the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal 2024. She lives in Spain with her family.

Author social media handles

Instagram: @sophiecameronbooks

Twitter/X: @sophiemcameron

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The illustration process behind I Really, Really Need A Poo – Duncan Beedie

Whenever I start illustrating a new book, the process invariably starts with a discussion with the art director – in this case the highly talented Rebecca Essilifie. As this book was the third in the series, we were hitting the ground running in terms of its visual style, but initially we would have discussed colour palettes, layouts and the sense of action each page might require in the context of Karl’s text.

Firstly, to get an idea of the overall composition of each page, I rattle out some rough thumbnail storyboards. I’m not worrying too much about text placement here – although that is lurking at the back of my mind so that I’m not rejigging images too much in the later artwork stages. The storyboard helps give me and Rebecca a sense of the pacing of the visual story: when to use full bleed illustrations and when to break the story down into smaller vignettes, etc. Once we are happy with this, it’s on to the rough artwork.

As the name suggests, they are still just rough black and white sketches. But they are drawn to scale and this is when I liaise with Rebecca to finalise the text placement. I’m continually being reminded to leave some extra room to incorporate any longer translated text in international co-editions – something I always seem to forget!

Nailing down the layout as accurately as possible at the rough stage means that the colour art is essentially a case of tracing, with some inevitable adjustments. I worked as an animator for 15 years before switching to picture books and, as such, I became rather adept at drawing in what was then Adobe Flash (now Animate). To this day I find it the most proficient way to digitally draw my book illustrations, much to the disdain of more qualified artists. However, that’s just the first part of the process. I then export these flat colour files to Photoshop via Illustrator before adding texture and additional shading.

Et voila! A fully realised picture book illustration is then ready to be pored over, amended, tweaked and prodded before it hits the printing presses.

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The story behind Becoming Brave by Jennie Cashman Wilson

In my new picture book, “Becoming Brave,” I share a deeply personal journey about my own childhood and the impact of the pressures to conform. The story revolves around my transformation from a free-spirited, creative child into someone who felt the constant need to be ‘good’ in order to please the adults around me. This shift ultimately led me to abandon my true desires in favour of approval. Meanwhile on the other side of the world there was a boy who had fallen in love with the trumpet and would do anything to keep playing. The turning point in my life came when I met that grownup boy Abram, a jazz musician who showed me what I’d been missing. Following his passing three years later, I realised that I had nothing to lose and gradually started embracing my fears. It took nearly seven years for me to truly understand the concept that it was okay to fail, which is when I penned ‘Becoming Brave.’

Writing a picture book with the messages of love, loss, fear and courage was not my initial goal. It happened serendipitously. My journey towards ‘Becoming Brave’ started when I embarked on a two-week clowning course in 2019, where I got to embody the magic of embracing failure and learned how I could transform it into something else. Following on from this experience I began working through ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron and that led me to scribbling down my initial ‘Becoming Brave’ story. My words remained hidden in one of my journals for months, but eventually, I found them again. The decision to share my story was driven by my desire to encourage people, especially young children, to have confidence in themselves and their creative potential, even in the face of setbacks.

I first shared my story when I had the privilege of speaking to a thousand primary school children at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, sharing my experiences and those of Abram as part of their annual Generation Ladywood project. This project was close to my heart, as I had watched a whole year group grow from reception to Year 6, which was incredibly special. I wanted children to understand that being brave involves acknowledging fear and the possibility of failure, while also reassuring them that they would be okay. I aimed to convey that failure is not something to fear but rather an opportunity for growth and creativity. The message of ‘No Fear!’ became our annual chant, emphasising the importance of courage in the face of adversity and I’m thrilled that I had the chance to share my story with them first. As the story evolved into a children’s picture book, it felt important to emphasise the process of finding courage from within rather than pushing away fear, hence the title ‘Becoming Brave’.

I’m so grateful to Little Tiger for their commitment to bringing this story to life, especially Nikki, Isabel and Emma who were so passionate, patient and collaborative in their approach. Tomekah’s illustrations are beautiful, and it I feel very lucky that she agreed to take on this story as her first picture book. Thank you and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed making it.

In my new picture book, “Becoming Brave,” I share a deeply personal journey about my own childhood and the impact of the pressures to conform. The story revolves around my transformation from a free-spirited, creative child into someone who felt the constant need to be ‘good’ in order to please the adults around me. This shift ultimately led me to abandon my true desires in favour of approval. Meanwhile on the other side of the world there was a boy who had fallen in love with the trumpet and would do anything to keep playing. The turning point in my life came when I met that grownup boy Abram, a jazz musician who showed me what I’d been missing. Following his passing three years later, I realised that I had nothing to lose and gradually started embracing my fears. It took nearly seven years for me to truly understand the concept that it was okay to fail, which is when I penned ‘Becoming Brave.’

Writing a picture book with the messages of love, loss, fear and courage was not my initial goal. It happened serendipitously. My journey towards ‘Becoming Brave’ started when I embarked on a two-week clowning course in 2019, where I got to embody the magic of embracing failure and learned how I could transform it into something else. Following on from this experience I began working through ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron and that led me to scribbling down my initial ‘Becoming Brave’ story. My words remained hidden in one of my journals for months, but eventually, I found them again. The decision to share my story was driven by my desire to encourage people, especially young children, to have confidence in themselves and their creative potential, even in the face of setbacks.

I first shared my story when I had the privilege of speaking to a thousand primary school children at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, sharing my experiences and those of Abram as part of their annual Generation Ladywood project. This project was close to my heart, as I had watched a whole year group grow from reception to Year 6, which was incredibly special. I wanted children to understand that being brave involves acknowledging fear and the possibility of failure, while also reassuring them that they would be okay. I aimed to convey that failure is not something to fear but rather an opportunity for growth and creativity. The message of ‘No Fear!’ became our annual chant, emphasising the importance of courage in the face of adversity and I’m thrilled that I had the chance to share my story with them first. As the story evolved into a children’s picture book, it felt important to emphasise the process of finding courage from within rather than pushing away fear, hence the title ‘Becoming Brave’.

I’m so grateful to Little Tiger for their commitment to bringing this story to life, especially Nikki, Isabel and Emma who were so passionate, patient and collaborative in their approach. Tomekah’s illustrations are beautiful, and it I feel very lucky that she agreed to take on this story as her first picture book. Thank you and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed making it.