We Need Your Help to Help Others!

Planesrunner art workSorry I’m late – in fact, I’m very conscious that I’m so late this week it’s nearly next week . . . It started because we had a couple of really urgent non-moveable deadlines (those are the ones where if I don’t get my act together we’re going to have to move publication dates, rather than just requiring a substantial amount of schmoozing to persuade the typesetter (No, not typo-setter, as I originally wrote), or production to squeeze in an extra manuscript …

And because we at JFB are such a small team, that invariably has a knock-on effect: so dropping everything to turn around a late-delivered copy-edited manuscript so it can go to the typesetters on time means the editing planned for that day now has to happen the following day – but that didn’t work, because of an important meeting, which then got cancelled at the last minute, and—

Well, you get the picture: it’s now Friday and I am just starting on Monday’s work …

So I’m keeping this very brief and instead of sharing with you some more deep and meaningful publishing insights, I’m going to tell you about something we’re planning for next month – and for which we need your help.

The Snowmelt RiverApril 23rd is World Book Night: an annual celebration of reading and books, when people who are passionate about books go out into their local community to try to inspire people who don’t normally read for pleasure, or who don’t own books.

World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, and the charity’s highly laudable mission is to give everyone an equal chance to become a reader. They, like we, know that everything changes when we read.

According to the World Book Night website , a whopping one in three people in Britain do not regularly read. Personally, I think that’s shocking, and so we at JFB would like to do our bit to help introduce those thirty-five per cent of non-readers to the joys of books.

We’d like to play this year, and we’ve decided the best way is to give free books to schools. As we’re publishing three YA series right now, we’re going to donate a selection of those books – so we’ll not just get kids reading; we’ll get kids reading SF, Fantasy and Horror!

Just to remind you, we’ve got SF in the form of Ian McDonald’s Everness books, about Everett Singh, Sen and the crew of the airship Everness. Using an app on his iPad called the Infundibulum, Everett and his friends travel the multiverse looking for his kidnapped dad.

The City's Son artworkFrank Ryan’s The Three Powers quartet is a classic quest fantasy story, following four children who find their way from Mount Slievanamon in Ireland to the enchanted but war-ravaged world of Tír.

And of course we have Tom Pollock’s The Skyscraper Throne: urban fantasy at its best. Beth and her best friend Pen have discovered a London they never even dreamed of – but with all the wonder of a secret, magical city comes terror too, for Reach, the King of the Cranes, is intent on taking the city, and only Filius Viae, London’s ragged Crown Prince, and his human friends stand in his way.

And that’s where you lot come in. We’d like you to nominate schools, please – the name and address, and one line on why you think that school deserves to win.

And between 7pm-midnight on April 23rd, we’ll draw a new winner every hour to receive a bumper hamper of JFB YA titles.

You’ve got six weeks: so start nominating now!


Jo sig


  1. Eastbank Academy, 26 Academy Street, Glasgow G32 9AA
    A school in the east end of Glasgow that would really benefit from good books to get young people, especially young men, reading.

  2. Seaton Burn College, Dudley Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne NE13 6EJ
    The percentage of non-readers in an impoverished area is so much higher than 35% but the librarian here tries her absolute hardest.

  3. Stephanie Saulter

    Bridge Academy Hackney, Laburnum Street, London E2 8BA
    An inner city school with a diverse mix of young people, in the same part of London that the young protagonists of the Syscraper Throne and Everness books hail from; I think the kids at Bridge will see people like themselves in those books, maybe for the first time ever.
    (Are we only allowed to nominate one school each? If more than one please also consider Hackney City Academy, Homerton Row, London E9 6EA for the same reasons.)

  4. Shawlands Academy in Glasgow (31 Moss-side Road Glasgow G41 3TR Phone: 0141 582 0210 Fax: 0141 582 0211). They have an EAL Department (English as an Additional Language) which educates children from many different countries who come to live in Scotland with their parents. I think that the books would be a brilliant way to help them learn and get immersed in the written language. Also, they could discuss them with others and overcome the barrier of reading in another language. 
    I also think Polmont Young Offenders Institution and their school could benefit from the books. They could help the young people find a way to escape from their surroundings and maybe let them find something in the books that would help them once they are out. 

  5. Shoeburyness High School
    Caulfield Road, Shoeburyness, Essex, SS3 9LL.
    Every generation has a group of oddball kids akin to The Breakfast Club, who retreat to the library to hang with like-minded kids and talk about books, gaming, music and comics. They could do with an updated selection of modern sci-fi, horror and fantasy to boost their imaginations and keep their dreams alive. If they’re stuck with decades-old children’s books, their heads will explode. You might be responsible for killing the next Stan Lee…

Leave a Reply