This week marks quite a special publication (or re-publication) of FIREWEED by Jill Paton Walsh. First published in 1970, and winner of that year’s Book World Festival Award, FIREWEED is a beautifully written classic, evoking a time of tin Spitfires, powdered eggs, warm woollen mittens and reading by firelight. In this gorgeous new edition, Guardian columnist Lucy Mangan has written the foreword, discussing her memories of FIREWEED and why it should be reissued for a new generation of readers.
Set in 1940s London in the grip of Hitler’s Blitz, it follows the adventures of fifteen-year-old runaways Bill and Judie. For both, wartime London is a playground, a world free from interfering parents and responsibilities. But although ducking Nazi missiles and camping in bombed-out houses seems almost fun for a while, the reality of living through a war quickly begins to set in. Winter is coming, and Bill and Julie will discover that playing at being grown-ups can be a very dangerous game indeed…
FIREWEED is the second in our collection of reissued classics, the first being the sci-fi favourite GRINNY by Nicholas Fisk, which we published last month with a foreword by Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman. Originally published in 1973 we felt (especially our Sales & Marketing Director Kate Manning…) that it was well and truly time for a new lots of children to be spooked, chilled and entertained by the mysterious Great Aunt Emma.
In November the charming and funny MARY-MARY by Joan G. Robinson will become the third classic to be revived and re-published by Hot Key Books. Mary-Mary and her four older brothers and sisters first began entertaining boys and girls in 1957. This is a lovingly restored edition complete with original illustrations. This special edition includes the first book of the series (MARY-MARY), as well as its sequel, MORE MARY-MARY and features beloved stories such as MARY-MARY GOES VISITING and MARY-MARY’S HANDBAG alongside the original illustrations.
All three of these books were the childhood favourite of someone here at Hot Key. These are the books which entertained them, opened doors in their imagination and helped to turn them into the book lover they are today. These books unlocked the power of stories for them, and now we want to know which books did that for you.
And so, we’ve decided to launch a competition to find our next reissued classic. We know how much you, our dear readers, love books and so we know that amongst your encyclopaedic knowledge of books is the perfect one for our list.
All we ask is that the book is a children’s or young adult book, suitable for 7-year-olds upwards and that it is out copyright. (Don’t worry if you don’t know whether it is or isn’t – we’ll work that bit out!). We want to hear as many suggestions from you as possible, from British favourites through to American and translated ones for ages 7-19.
We’ll be looking at your suggestions together, and if we all feel a book fits with our list, and it is available to us, we will endeavour to publish it, acknowledging you and your genius suggestion!
So start sending them in! Either leave a comment here, tweet us @HotKeyBooks with #forgottenfaves, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Forgotten Faves’. Let’s bring brilliant books back to a new generation of readers!