Thursday, April 14, 2016

David Almond to do two illustrated books with Walker

Walker Books UK has acquired two books by David Almond – a middle-grade novel that will be illustrated by Alex T Smith, and a picture book illustrated by Levi Pinfold.
Publishing director Jane Winterbotham negotiated a two-book deal for world rights with Almond’s agent, Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan Associates.
The middle-grade novel, The Tale of Angelino Brown, is the story of a tiny angel who appears one day in a bus driver’s pocket, going on to touch the lives of everyone in the town and the school. The picture book, entitled The Dam, is set in a flooded valley in Northumberland and is a “lyrical and poetic evocation of the power of music and community”.
Publication is set for 2017.
Almond, whose previous books include Skellig and A Song for Ella Grey (both Hodder Children's Books), said: “I’m delighted that the wonderful Walker Books will be publishing these books, which are so different from each other. It's a real joy and privilege to work with two such brilliant artists.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ryan Tubridy and PJ Lynch sign to Walker Books

Ryan Tubridy Signs to Walker Books

The Walker Books Group is delighted to announce the world-rights acquisition of a captivating picture book about President John F. Kennedy’s return to his ancestral home in Ireland in 1963.

Written by Ryan Tubridy, Ireland’s foremost radio and television broadcaster and host of Ireland’s premier Friday night chat show The Late, Late Show, and illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal-winner P.J. Lynch, Patrick and the President beautifully evokes a seminal moment in Ireland’s history through the eyes of a young boy. Deirdre McDermott, Walker Books picture books publisher, acquired world rights in a single-book deal from Noel Kelly at NK Management and Caroline Walsh at Conville & Walsh Ltd.

When President John F. Kennedy returned to Ireland in 1963 and visited his ancestral home, Dunganstown, he described the trip as the best four days of his life. For a generation of people of Ireland it was a visit with lasting impact, and many homes still display their JFK memorabilia with pride. In this warmly told, big-hearted picture book, Ryan captures the feverish excitement in the build-up to JFK’s visit and the emotional investment from both parties – all evoked through the eyes of a young boy called Patrick who wants to know, more than anything, what it would feel like to shake the President’s hand.

Firmly rooted in historical fact, this feast of a book offers readers a very pure, and personal, take on JFK’s visit to County Wexford. P.J Lynch’s masterful watercolour paintings are brimming over with the style and sensibility of 1960’s Ireland and bring vividly to life the character of Patrick, his family, his school mates and, of course, this charismatic world leader President John F. Kennedy.

John F. Kennedy’s visit in 1963 was such a significant moment in Ireland’s history and culture,” says Deirdre McDermott, Walker Books picture book publisher. “It struck a deep emotional chord with many Irish people. It feels to us that this story – Patrick’s story – was one that Ryan was always meant to tell. And this era – these characters, these lives – were always meant to be painted by P.J. We are very proud to be publishing Patrick and the President and we are equally proud to welcome Ryan onto our list, especially as he has long since promoted and encouraged children, of all ages, to be engaged with books.”

“What a labour of love!” adds Maria Tunney, Senior Picture Book Editor. “Ryan perfectly embodies the hopes, the spirit and the ambitions of a nation in the character of young Patrick.”

About writing Patrick and the President, Ryan Tubridy says: “It has always been a dream of mine to write a book for children, so this is a magical moment for me. The fact that P.J. Lynch is illustrating the story makes it even more special. The story of JFK's visit to Ireland is profound and colourful and even more so through the eyes of my new fictional friend, Patrick, who gets caught up in the excitement of the event. The sight of a child reading a book is one of the most gratifying of them all. If children can enjoy this postcard from the past and maybe want to learn more about Irish history, I think we’ll have achieved something.”

On illustrating Patrick and the President, P.J. says, “President John F. Kennedy has always held a special place in the hearts and imaginations of the Irish people. I first encountered his handsome profile on a silver half dollar, brought from America by a visiting cousin; I was a little boy then and I knew nothing about his extraordinary life and career. However, I knew he was special, and I knew that he belonged to us, as well as to the people of America. It has been a great pleasure for me to work on Ryan’s story, and to help recreate the magic of those few days when President Kennedy visited Ireland and made a little boy’s dream came true."

Ryan Tubridy is an award-winning radio and television broadcaster with Ireland’s RTÉ. He currently presents a weekday morning chat show, The Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio 1 and is also the host of The Late Late Show, Ireland's most popular TV show and the world's longest running chat show on RTÉ One. In 2011, Ryan began working with BBC Radio 2 and since then he has covered for Graham Norton, Ken Bruce, Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show and Simon Mayo’s Drivetime Show. More recently, Tubridy has embarked on a career as a writer with his debut title JFK in Ireland, a profile of US President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 visit to Ireland, publishing in 2011 and his second title, The Irish Are Coming released in 2013. Aside from broadcasting and writing, Tubridy is intensely passionate about US politics. Having spent 18 months researching President Kennedy's historic visit to Ireland in 1963, Ryan worked on a documentary for RTÉ One a behind the scenes at this era-defining visit. In 2011, he acted as Master of Ceremonies at the welcoming event for Barack and Michelle Obama. Ryan lives in Dublin with his family.

P.J. Lynch has won many awards throughout his incredible career, including the Mother Goose Award, the Christopher Medal in the US three times, the Irish Bisto Book of the Year award and the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal on two occasions, first for The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, and again for When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest. His meticulous research brings impeccable detail to the many books he has illustrated, including such titles as A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Mysterious Traveller by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham and The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune – the first book that P.J. has both written and illustrated. Most recently, he created the artwork for Once Upon A Place, Irish Children’s Laureate Eoin Colfer’s anthology of stories and poems. P.J. has been commissioned to design posters for Opera Ireland and the Abbey Theatre, as well as designing stamps for An Post. He lives in Dublin with his wife and their three children.

Home to books for all ages, Walker Books UK publishes many award-winning authors, illustrators and brands including Anthony HorowitzCassandra ClareLucy CousinsAnthony BrownePolly DunbarPatrick Ness and Where’s Wally? Walker Books UK is part of the vibrant international Walker Books Group that includes Candlewick Press in America, Walker Books Australia, the Walker Group Licencing division, and Walker Productions, developing Walker content for other media platforms, including Hank Zipzer for BBC. The Walker Books Group enjoys a unique ownership structure which includes all of its employees worldwide and more than 150 authors and illustrators. Walker is the world’s leading wholly independent publisher of English-language children’s books.
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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Late Late Toy Show 2014

It's a very Irish institution - The Late Late Toy Show, where for many decades, a whole show is dedicated to Children.  There are lots of kid's performances, special guests and for one night the country accepts lots of product placement all in the name of fun!
The show is now watched be a worldwide audience with lots of Irish emigrants indulging in a night of nostalgia which traditionally signalled the start of the Christmas season in Ireland.
Each year, there is a section devoted to books.  It's often quite a short segment but the message gets through that books are still the most worthwhile presents which outlast various chunks of plastic, video games and all the many other big toys with massive marketing campaigns.
Here are the Walker Books titles featured on this year's show;

Pog Mar Seo by Mary Murphy

The Pigeon Needs A Bath by Mo Willems

Quest by Aaron Becker

Shh! We Have A Plan by Chris Haughton

The Night Before Christmas illus by Niroot Puttapipat

Monday, June 30, 2014

Dublin City and Council Councils Library Supply Tendering

Dublin City Council has joined the other three Dublin local authorities in a tender for the supply of library books.
 The 2012 tender for library book supply from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council awarded €595,000 of the total €800,000 to a UK multinational with a group turnover of £1.8 billion. The award criteria guaranteed 65% of the marks to the lowest price
The latest tender has a value of €7.5 million ( retail value €12million) and the same award criteria.

Up to now, library supply was spread among a number of suppliers and bookshops through smaller contracts.  The bundling of the contracts together into this larger tender, effectively elimates these Irish suppliers from the process as the successful applicant must prove they have previously handled a contract of this size.  You might say that this tender process could in effect, 'gift' the contract to one of two UK based wholesale library suppliers.
It should be noted that procurement followed the same route in th UK some years ago resulting in the closure of many businesses and now the UK lacks competition.

The cost saving (reletively small at that) argument is an easy one to win.  It's the quickest soundbite for media to grab however the bigger picture shows considerable damage will be done to the publishing industry.
The immediate effect of a move to UK supply will be the closure and job losses in Irish library supply businesses.  The next in line will be publishing employees and publishers' agencies in Ireland.  Irish indigenous publishing will then see their sales into Irish libraries decrease due to the removal of local interaction with libraries.
To illustrate this, an Irish publisher I represent used to supply Northern Ireland Libraries through a Belfast based supplier.  Due to the unsustainable discounts demanded by libraries, this supplier closed last year.  The same Irish publisher now does releatively little business with the UK supplier that subseqently won the contract.

Local Govenment procurement is required to consider local socio-economic factors when making decisions but I fear that the civil servants responsible are disconnected from the effect of many of their decisions.  Neither are they sensitive to the fact that in order for the economy to succeed, we all need to succeed.

So, is it really down to the 'them and us' argument between public and private sector? 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Become a Walker Books Reporter

Do you have a child, niece or nephew who might like to receive advance review copies of new new books from Walker?

Join our team of Walker Reporters and you’ll get:
➜ Free copies of our latest books to review before they’re published
➜ Free goodies, such as posters, bookmarks and stickers
➜ The chance for your reviews to appear on promotional material, like posters, adverts and websites

If you would like to become part of the success of some new authors and illustrators send your request to me at the following email address and I will email you an application form.
mail (at)

(at) = @ - (have to do this to stop the spammers!)