Gender Stereotyping

This interesting clip shows just how young gender stereotyping starts. At Wacky Bee we like to think of ourselves as an inclusively minded publisher. At The Writers Advice Centre we try to encourage all our authors to be diverse wherever possible. I think this clip shows just how important that is, and something to bear in mind when creating characters and coming up with story ideas.

New Big Bee Signing

Dougal Trump is making a come-back! The books are the creation of Jackie Marchant and were originally published by Macmillan. The hero of the books is an accident-prone schoolboy who makes a number of gaffes and keeps getting himself into scrapes which aren’t always his fault. Remind you of anyone? Picture clue below! (Boris Johnson holding the original Dougal book)

Because Wacky Bee feels there is room for only one D. Trump in the world, Dougal has changed his last name to Daley and is now being illustrated by the fabulous Loretta Schauer. It’s Not My Fault will be published in time for Bologna Children’s Book Fair (April) with the second book Where’s My Tarantula following shortly after. A brand new (previously unpublished Dougal) will follow later in the year. These books will be Wacky Bee’s first ‘Big Bee’ titles and we are beyond thrilled to be welcoming Dougal, Jackie and Loretta into the WB stable. 

Foreign Rights Sale

Wacky Bee is delighted to announce that they have sold complex Chinese rights to both My Mum Is There and My Dad Will Do. Can’t wait to see the Chinese versions! Both books will also be published as board books in time for Bologna Children’s Book Fair in April. And look out for the third Little Elephant book later in the year. Little Elephant’s Big Year by Martin Thomas (illustrated by Ag Jatkowska) will be published in the Autumn.

We’re In!

Our wonderful young fiction title Philomena, The Cat Who Thinks She’s A Dog has made it into Children’s Books Ireland’s prestigious Inis Guide 2016 – 17. Many congratulations to author Jessie Wall (a.k.a. Warrior’s author Cherith Baldry) and illustrator Emily Stanbury.

Award Nomination !

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Congratulations to Wacky Bee author and illustrator – Charlie Farley and Joe Barleymow – for their nomination for a British Book Design and Production Award. The Great Farty Slob Beast was a finalist in the Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Education category and narrowly lost out to Kids Get Coding (Wayland). Congratulations should also be extended to Head & Heart Publishing Services who were responsible for producing the book on behalf of Wacky Bee.

img_0751Team Wacky Bee attended the awards ceremony earlier in November. The evening took place at London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel and was hosted by children’s presenter and author, Floella Benjamin.

This was Wacky Bee’s first award nomination and we were all incredibly proud to be in the presence of other nominees which included all the big names in publishing together with smaller publishing houses like ourselves.

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From left to right – Louise Jordan (Publisher), Charlie Farley (author), Caroline Hill-Trevor (Foreign Rights) and Lucy Llewellyn (Production)

Sleep Deprived Parents Cry For Help!

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Exhausted parents of babies and toddlers need more help getting their children to sleep at night, according to new research by BookTrust, Britain’s largest reading charity.

Over three quarters (78%) of parents say that lack of sleep is the hardest aspect of being a new parent, with some mums, dads and carers claiming they would pay more than £10,000 to put an end to sleepless nights.

More than a third of parents (35%) view getting their child to sleep at night as one of the most challenging things about being a parent, and night waking only increases the challenge with over half of parents (52%) whose children wake up three times a night on average saying it’s their main worry. Making it no surprise that 3 in 5 (60%) parents want guidance on having a consistent and successful routine to get their child to sleep at night.

The BookTrusJo Frost HI RESt survey of a thousand parents with children aged three and under prompted the charity to team up with TV parenting expert Jo Frost, to launch Bath Book Bed. A campaign which aims to encourage parents to stick to a simple bedtime routine with a soothing a story to help their little ones sleep soundly.

Jo Frost, who has been a nanny for more than 20 years, said: ‘Sleep deprivation is the most common complaint I hear from parents of young children. Tired parents and tired children is a recipe for disaster. But the solution doesn’t need to be complicated regimes or expensive gizmos. A routine as simple as bath, book, bed can get young children to settle so that everyone can benefit from a good night’s sleep.’

Another worrying statistic to come out of the research was that more than 7 in 10 (71%) parents with children aged three and under feel they have a shorter temper when they are tired and it affects their family life, with more than a fifth (22%) strongly agreeing with this.

Jo continued: ‘Routines establish healthy boundaries so when families come together at night, bonding and reading together, it not only helps put an end to sleepless nights, but strengthens children’s vocabulary and literacy skills, and enables them to foster a love of reading. It is my hope that families understand the enormous impact they can make in their children’s lives with a few minutes of fun reading each night.’

During the campaign Jo will be on hand to provide advice to parents about how best to introduce the Bath Book Bed routine and how to maintain it. BookTrust is also encouraging parents to sign-up to ‘14 Days to Better Sleep’, with tips, videos and support to help them adopt the Bath Book Bed routine. Also backing the campaign are public health organisations Community Practitioners and Health Visitors Association (CPHVA) and the Institute of Health Visiting (iHV).

Diana Gerald, BookTrust Chief Executive said: ‘Bedtime battles are all too common and families up and down the country know that once you have children, a good night’s sleep can sometimes seem like a distant memory. But a simple routine of bath, book, bed has been used by parents for generations and we hope it will help struggling families. We can’t think of a better preparation for a good night’s sleep than a cuddle and a bedtime story.’

Life After the Book Fairs

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Now that both Bologna and London Book Fairs are over for another year it’s time to take stock. For a small publishing company like Wacky Bee the ‘should we/shouldn’t we have a presence at book fairs’ question is always a difficult one to answer. However after two exhausting, expensive weeks we are looking back with some satisfaction.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair saw us on the Publishers Association stand and those four days were all about interacting with other small publishers like ourselves, looking at books to buy from foreign publishers and foreign publishers looking to buy books from us – hopefully! It helps that Bologna is a beautiful city and life after the fair each day was as much fun as the fair itself!

We arrived back from Bologna on the Saturday and then it was straight off to Olympia to set up for London Book Fair. This was our sixth year exhibiting at London having first done four years exhibiting as The Writers’ Advice Centre and then two as Wacky Bee Books…albeit that last year we only had one title! The Writers’ Advice Centre still had a small presence on one side of our stand but it was mainly about Wacky Bee. This fair was less about selling and more about simply making our presence felt and exploring platforms to help get the Wacky Bee name out there.

Next year London Book Fair takes place three weeks before Bologna and hopefully we’ll be back at both with even more titles. We now have a much clearer idea as to where we are going with Wacky Bee and have decided to restrict our list to three main areas – Picture Books for 4+, Little Bee books for 5 – 7’s and Big Bee books for 7 – 9’s. We also have a much clearer idea as to what we are looking for in terms of subject matter and, in the coming weeks, this will be reflected on our website.