The Festive Season

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. The Wacky Bee and Writers’ Advice Centre offices will be closed from close of play on 23rd December, reopening on Monday 9th January. See you in 2017!





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 !


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.

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!


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.

Launching Two New Picture Books!

The launch date of Wacky Bee’s two new picture books is fast approaching. 19th February is THE day and to celebrate the launch of both My Mum Is There and My Dad Will Do author Martin Thomas is doing a reading/book signing at Waterstones Oxford on Saturday 20th Feb, 2 – 4pm and another one at Waterstones Witney on Saturday 27th Feb, 2 -4pm.


Martin’s sessions are great fun so do check them out if you’re in the area. He’s passionate about story telling and we’re all excited to meet Little Elephant (from the books) in the flesh! You’ve probably noticed that we’ve added some promo videos of our books to this page, so scroll down for a taster of My Mum Is There and My Dad Will Do – both set to some fab music.

Martin is also offering an after-school children’s workshop on Thursday 25th February which will include a taster of Lifted! (a mini musical of the books) and little elephant puppet craft. This will be taking place at Oxford’s Story Museum. Tickets are free but you do need to book here workshop

The workshop is followed by an evening launch event where Martin will be doing further readings and signings. There will also be a special appearance from Little Elephant and Little Elephant’s creator, Sarah Lewis. Plus illustrator, Ag Jatkowska will be joining the throng along with publisher, Louise Jordan. It’s going to be a great evening and we’d love to have you there. Book a free ticket here launch party

And tune in to hear Martin talking about both his books on BBC Radio Oxford, 8.20am Saturday 20th Feb. The perfect listen for Saturday morning breakfast!