NEW YA NOVEL by Beverley Birch

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available from all good bookshops

Ally from England visits Africa for the first time. Ahead are weeks with her two brothers exploring mangrove creeks, vast sandy beaches, coral reefs and warm seas. But on her first day, walking through a forest, she is swamped by a sense of an unseen presence – of a voice she can’t quite hear.

Then she meets Leli from the local fishing village, and everything changes. Enthusiastically he sweeps her into the world of his village and their offshore island (Kisiri –  the place of secrets) – sacred, protected, revered – and suddenly, inexplicably, under some kind of threat.

Leli and Ally’s friendship is instant and overwhelming, all the more intense because Leli too is experiencing strange things – dreams, infused with local legend, urgent, vivid, threatening.

And whose is that third voice, telling another story that winds round and through Ally and Leli’s tale –  a story of a boy trapped somewhere, dying?

What are Leli and Ally really hearing? A rising echo of the past? Or an urgent and insistent warning from the present?

‘rich and gripping’ THE SCOTSMAN 

‘stunning and sophisticated combination of romance and mystery sure to be devoured by teenagers and adults alike’  READING ZONE

‘a thrilling adventure with important things to say, superbly written’  JUST IMAGINE

‘Compelling, atmospheric and beautifully written’  WRD ABOUT BOOKS 

‘lyrical yet urgent’ YOUTH LIBRARIES GROUP

‘A magical layered story weaving past and present that stole my heart’  JASBINDER BILAN

‘A tender love story that turns eerie, fierce and political, with a strong message about community and resistance’ LIZ FLANAGAN

‘a fine book, vibrant and powerful, infused with a deep love for a land and its history’  CELIA REES

‘brilliant, lyrical and portrayed with a nuance that captures the beauty, history and contradictions of present day Africa’ ADAMMA OTI OKONKWO.

for more information visit

published by Guppy Books
ISBN: 9781913101077

New Picture Book by Mo O’Hara

The Legend of King Arthur-a-tops by Mo O’Hara (and illustrated by Andrew Joyner)  is out in the UK!!!


It’s available to order at all independent book shops and here at Waterstones online


“Truly this contains some knights to remember.” Kirkus Reviews

A bumbling triceratops must prove himself worthy in New York Times bestselling author Mo O’Hara’s second hilarious picture book offering a prehistoric spin on the legend of King Arthur.

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It’s the Festival of the Stone, and dinosaurs from across the land will try to pull the great horn Rex-calibur from the magical stone. The one who succeeds shall be crowned king or queen. Arthur-a-tops is probably the least likely to accomplish the task. And yet…could he be the one true king?

In this completely reimagined Camelot featuring dino-squires, the trusty Merlin-a-dactyl, and easy-to-trip-over dinosaur tails, O’Hara transforms this classic tale into an enjoyable, accessible, and truly funny treat for young readers.

Coupled perfectly with Andrew Joyner’s expressive and classic illustrations, this story will induce fits of giggles and lots of knowing nods from parents who want their little geniuses to have the classics down by first grade.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Inc
ISBN: 9780062652751


Stepping into Stories Festival – February 2020

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Stepping into Stories, Herne Hill Kids’ Lit Fest


        CWISL were delighted to play a prominent role in the Stepping into Stories, Herne Hill Kids’ Lit Fest 4-9 February 2020.  Mo O’Hara & Margaret Bateson-Hill from CWISL worked alongside Lucy Reynolds (Project Manager Doodles & Scribbles), Hayley Byfield (Project Manager from SkewbaldTheatre) & Tales on Moon Lane Bookshop in organizing the festival.


              Eighteen CWISL authors and illustrators delivered workshops, including illustration, poetry, drama, and creating stories, across all the different threads of the festival. An amazing seven hundred and eight pupils and their teachers from five local schools attended the schools’ workshops, most of which were held in the community hub of Herne Hill Station Hall. We were especially delighted to include an outreach workshop with students from Michael Tippett School as well as offer fully accessible workshops at spaces at the Half Moon and Florence Pubs.

CWISL were part of the team that delivered nineteen family events across five days including after-school workshops, evening panels and of course the weekend festival, which was open to all of the community – a wonderful total of one thousand and seventy seven children & adults.


“It was so wonderful to see children, parents, teachers, librarians, so excited and appreciative of the events, authors and illustrators across all ages; that the children had the chance to hear and meet them, to buy the book, and get it signed…  and the sense of community too, with many adults making a point of saying thank you at the end.” 


 – Corinne Gotch – School (promotional) Events Manager for Tales on Moon Lane Books


A special word of thanks must go to the wonderful multitude of volunteers who came and supported all the workshops by offering helping in so many practical ways.


                  The festival was also the culmination of the Stepping into Stories Competition, which CWISL helped launch last October. There were seventy entries and special guests, Katy and Chris Riddell, presented the seventeen prizes. What a week!


Margaret Bateson-Hill and Mo O’Hara