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Nobrow Short Story Competition – Final Selection and Winner Announced

In September last year we launched our first ever Short Story Competition to support new and emerging short form writers of fiction and non-fiction. We put out an open call for writers to send us their response to the chosen theme of ‘The Censor’. We were overwhelmed by the response from all over the world and impressed by the high quality of writing. We have had the pleasure to read so many ingenious and surprising short stories from a diverse selection of writers. 

“Selecting twelve stories and one winner from over two thousand entries was a daunting prospect for us. But, of all of the daunting prospects we have had in the last 12 months (and there have been many) this one was undoubtedly the most enjoyable, most fascinating and most fulfilling! 

The final twelve stories are as moving as they are inspiring and have all been lovingly crafted by writers from all over the world. The winning story rather than being better or more deserving than any of the others is simply a reflection of all of the best writing that we received and importantly it addressed the theme in an original, thought provoking, poignant, personal and humorous fashion. Writing about such a serious subject whilst maintaining a firm grasp on the human condition is what it manages above all else and for that reason we are delighted to have judged it our winning entry.” Sam Arthur, C.E.O. at Nobrow.

We are proud to announce the twelve, brilliant stories that will make up the first Nobrow Short Story Collection:

Winner

Aiden Shaw’s Penis – Ali Said 

Runners-up

Fortress – Catherine Rudolph 

Penguin: A Flightless Migratory Bird – Selma Carvalho 

Redact – Michael Harris Cohen 

Reflections – Mubanga Kalimamukwento 

Refracted – Stephanie Wilderspin 

The General and the Birds – Fernando A. Torres 

The Many Different Lives of Denola – Oluwatimilehin (Timi) Odueso 

The Song Bird – Nathan Alling Long 

The Very Best is Available to Me – Deborah Green 

Three Acts from a Woman’s Life – Mitra Madadi 

Vestiges – Kiki Gonglewski 

Congratulations to Ali Said and all our selected writers. The twelve stories will be published in a beautiful anthology in Spring 2021. We will be sharing more information about the book over the coming months so do keep an eye on our social media channels for news. 

To help us select these final twelve stories and the overall winner from the 25 shortlisted titles, we were delighted to welcome Coco Khan and Amyra León to our judging panel.

Coco Khan, is a London-based journalist for the Guardian, writing on arts media and popular culture often through a political lensShe is a contributing writer to two short story anthologies, The Good Immigrant and It’s Not About the Burqa.  

 “The quality and richness of writing in this competition cannot be understated. The final collection is lush in its diversity of voices, styles and thinking. It is no small feat to take a reader on a narrative journey which, as well as having engaging storyline and characterisation, interrogates what it means to be censored – by whom and how – and what a freedom from that can look like? And in less than 3000 words.

Together, the stories look at censorship in a range of countries, communities and contexts – from censoring by the state to censoring of the self. Yet, despite their differences there were universal themes – how we find crevices to express ourselves even when it is denied. and how the act of storytelling itself is its own form of both censorship and freedom from it. 

Selecting the final 12 was (perhaps unsurprisingly) very challenging, and many of those that did not make it in were exceptional stories. I was particularly moved by Kendall Klym’s Obituary of an Outcast, which although will not joining the final 12, experimented with form to create a tender portrayal of an isolated misfit through the few posthumous messages left for him. 

It was an honour to judge the competition and I am excited to read more from these writers.”

Amyra León, is a New York City-based author, playwright, musician and activist. Her work fuses music and poetry focusing on social inequalities and communal healing. She has three literary works due to be published in 2020. 

“Trust me this collection will have you laughing, crying, and enraged from beginning to end! Aiden Shaw’s Penis intricately explores censorship on a personal societal and universal level whilst keeping us somewhere between laughter and heartbreak.”

As well as our judges, we would like to say a big thank you to the huge team of readers whose thoughts and expertise helped us to narrow down all the entries in the early stages of the competition. Thank you to Anita Goveas, Anna Livia Ryan, Carmina Berhnardt, Catriona Knox, Charlotte Forfieh, Christopher Newlove Horton, Claire Blakemore, Emily Ford, Ericka Banerji, Graeme Williams, Jupiter Jones, Karen Clarke, Katie Baldock, Laurane Marchive, L M Dillsworth, Lilian Weber, Lou Kramskoy, Louise Hare, Madi Maxwell-Libby, Mandy Rabin, Mari Lawton, Miranda Miller, Natasha Baddeley, Natasha Cutler, Nise McCulloch, Patrick Towey, Roanne O’Neil, Sabrina Richmond, Satu Hämeenaho-Fox, Simon Miller, Wendy Lothian and Zoë Aubugeau-Williams.

Above all, thank you to the writers from all around the world for telling their stories and sharing them with us. 


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Reza Dalvand on Mrs Bibi’s Elephant

Just as spring sprung, and the blossom bloomed (and the world went into lockdown) in April, we released Mrs Bibi’s Elephant beautifully illustrated by talent Reza Dalvand, a Tehran-based illustrator and author of children’s books.

A heart-warming story with a message as big as an elephant, this fanciful tale of friendship between an eccentric lady and her beloved pet is as poignant as it is beautiful!

Eager to know more about Reza’s new book and the process behind it? We caught up with him to tell us more on this gently uplifting tale that has the feel of a modern fable and is a timely reminder about the importance of friendship and acceptance.

Flying Eye Books: Mrs Bibi’s Elephant is a charming story about a lady and her beloved pet. What inspired you to write this story? 

Reza Dalvand: The base of the story was from a few years ago, when my neighbour had a cat. She was an old woman who lived with a cat and she spent all her time with that cat. It was a little weird to others, but I thought they were so cute. So, I mixed it with so many dreams and a drama, and of course a giant elephant! 

FEB: Is there a meaningful message that you want to teach children through Mrs Bibi’s story? 

RD: Yes, I would love for the readers to feel the love and friendship and to understand and accept different thoughts and lifestyles. And I refer to the last page of the book, I hope everyone learns that home is more than just a place for fancy objects and economics. It’s a place for living.

FEB: What do you love most about writing and illustrating for children’s books? 

RD: Being a creator! It’s super when I think about an idea, and then I write, illustrate and give it to children! I can share my dreams, my thoughts and my emotions with others! It’s wonderful that I can be a part of families around the world. When I write and illustrate a book, I think how can I be effective. I’d like children back to my books several times and learn, enjoy and laugh.

FEB: The illustrations are as charming and beautiful as the story of Mrs Bibi and her elephant. Could you tell us about your creative process?

RD: Oh, thank you! At first, I choose a suitable paper, it’s important to me. I prefer heavy and rough papers. Normally my sketches are without details (although the sketches of Mrs Bibi’s Elephant were with details) and some of aspects come by improvisation and I don’t know what will happen at the end! I finished the book by oil colour, pencil, crayon and marker. My favourite technique is oil colour in the mix with other tools.

FEB: What sort of challenges do you encounter as the writer and illustrator? 

RD: I think to make a balance between marketing and personal creativity. I have a lot of personal great ideas for making a book, but I know some of them are not good for the market. It depends on the country, culture, language and marketing criteria. Sometimes the publishers ask me to change some lines or illustrations! Although I would love my books be without any change, I do know some of these changes are effective in selling the book and it’s better to trust them :)

FEB: If you could have any animal as a pet just like in Mrs Bibi’s Elephant, who would be your companion? And why? 

RD: I love birds but I think dogs are best friends for human. They have been with us for 15,000 years and we know each other pretty well. The story talks about love of nature and a big elephant is a symbol of kindness. So, we can have a love of elephant in the heart and keep a pet like a dog or a cat. I have a cute dog, too. Her name is Tzores (although we don’t live together now).

FEB: And finally, what advice would you give to other author/illustrators interested in making books for a young audience?

RD: Don’t despair and keep going! Read and watch more of other artists, different types and genres! Talk with kids and ask them what they want, their dreams and fears. They will be your main fans. Try different materials and finally, you will find which one is yours. And take care, exercise and stay healthy! An artist needs a well body to create ;)

Order a copy of Mrs Bibi’s Elephant here.

 


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Philip Giordano on I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast

In this time of strange uncertainty and worry, so many of you have been loving the bright and beautiful illustrations from I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast, so to tell you a bit more about them, we had a (socially distant) chat with their creator, Philip Giordano.

Born in a small coastal town in Liguria, Italy, to a Filipina mother and Swiss father, Philip Giordano is a tireless globetrotter, who now lives and works in Tokyo. After studying at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts and at the European Institute of Design, he earned a Master in Animation in Turin. He works for a number of magazines and publishing houses around the world, illustrating book covers, designing toys, and creating children’s books and animations.
The simple and colorful shapes of his illustrations, his iconic characters, and his graphic landscapes render his unique style immediately recognizable and transform his stories into breathtaking visual journeys. 

Flying Eye Books: The illustrations of I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast are absolutely stunning and brimming with life from all kinds of habitats. Where did you get your inspiration for the book?

Philip Giordano: When I was young, I grew up surrounded by plants. I was lucky because my home in Italy is located between the sea and the green Ligurian countryside. My mother taught me her love for gardening. I remember that inside the house we had large trunks where she planted the orchids she brought from the Philippines (her native country) and other exotic plants that she grew to feel connected to her Asian roots. It felt like being in a jungle.

As a child, I was struck by a photo of Margaret Mee (a British botanical artist specialized in plants from the rainforest and ecological activist) in one of my mum’s gardening magazines. She was suspended over the forest intent on painting the flower of a species that blooms only at night (I think it was called Moonflower).

So I started collecting plants and became a plant nerd at an early age, hoping one day to become like her: a sort of brave 19th-century explorer and discoverer of new species. And I knew for sure that I wanted to draw them!

FEB: Illustrating text written by expert ecologist and educator Michael Holland, did you learn a lot of things about the wildlife you never knew before?

PG: I already had some knowledge of the plant world, but working on “I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast” I discovered a lot of facts, especially from chapter three where Michael explains how much plants are present in and connected to our daily life. For example, when he talks about a fern from New Zealand that Māori hunters would use to find their way back home after hunting at night because the undersides of these plants’ fronds are visible. I was amazed to learn this! 

FEB: Working with educational and factual text on nature did you find it difficult to accurately illustrate plant and animal anatomy whilst making sure the children understand the processes of nature visually?

PG: The main challenge was to create scientific illustrations while maintaining my geometric, abstract, colourful and surreal style. I hope I stuck a good balance amongst all these elements.

To introduce the world of plants to children, I created a group of humanised quirky insect characters led by “Little Square”, a square-shaped fly, that appear throughout the book.

FEB: What is your creative process when working on a children’s book? How does this differ to other work you’ve been commissioned for?

PG: It’s my first non-fiction book and there is a lot of illustrated page: 114! As I’ve never done a book before dedicated exclusively to plants, it was something completely new, regarding both the non-fiction aspect as well as the amount of work to be managed in a limited time. It was a bit overwhelming, but also very exciting.

Fortunately, I got to work with an excellent team. I’d like to thank the remarkable designers for their outstanding direction as well as my dear agent for her reassurance in difficult moments.

FEB: And was there a most challenging part you found working on I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast?

PG: One of the difficult parts was managing the work in different locations. During the making of the book, I was travelling a lot for work. The storyboard part started in the Japanese countryside and ended around Taiwan and Honk Kong. Most of the final illustrations were made in my hometown in Italy.

I was fortunate in that I got ideas by directly observing the flora in the different countries I visited. Like some strange fruits eaten in Hong Kong, or tropical ferns spotted in Taiwan, or ancient pine trees in Japan. I tried to put these things into the book. (You can spot them ;) )

FEB: Your artwork is SO vibrant and bursting with energy, where do you get your colour inspiration from? And how do you create your textures?

PG: From my childhood, from all the time I spent alone in the fields watching insects and other small creatures all day long. From a book, found in Tokyo before starting the project, about fabrics and wallpapers from the fifteenth century to the present day. There are beautiful and unusual palettes. I create my textures by scanning patterns made using monotype techniques, ink brush strokes, collage out of old paper.

FEB: The animals and plants illustrated in geometric, dramatic art style have such beautiful quality. How did you develop this visual style?

PG: approached illustration because I wanted to reproduce the beauty of natural creatures, their colour and their complexity. My course in naturalistic painting (20 years ago!) gave me the basis to faithfully reproduce things with pictorial mediums. I still have the hobby of painting realistically on wooden boards.

At a certain point, however, I was fed up with representing reality, with all its shadows, shades, perfect proportions and boring rules on perspective. I needed to simplify, tidy up, see things from another point of views. This coincided with my arrival in Japan where I’ve been living for the last 9 years. In particular, I immediately fell in love with a certain essential and geometric Japanese graphic style from the 1950s (Takashi Kono) and started to observe and study them. It was a natural process. And, I was in Japan where the abstraction of forms is the basis of their aesthetics.

FEB: If forced to pick just one plant, which is your favourite of all?

PG: From the plants I draw, one of my favourites is the tulip with its bulb and roots. One of my favourite plants (a Plant that I want at home with me) is the big fern tree! I think I miss the jungle house of my childhood.

FEB: And what was your most favourite part of the book to illustrate?

PG: I had fun creating the compositions of the 4 chapters. One of my favourite pages is “Watery World”.

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions Philip!

You can order a copy of I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast here and find downloadable activities to do at home here.


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A Statement From Nobrow

We have been upset to see a number of inaccurate and damaging exchanges appear on social media over the weekend, making allegations about Nobrow, its employees and its shareholders.  These now risk harming the careers of our loyal illustrators and authors, upsetting our dedicated staff and causing entirely unfair damage to our company. We now have no alternative but to respond to these, to correct the record.

  • History of Nobrow, what we are about
    • Nobrow started in 2008 and has always strived to bring exciting, new artists and their works to the fore of the trade publishing world.
    • In the 12 years since its inception Nobrow has grown and developed beyond its early inauspicious beginnings and has launched many artists and writers beyond its original goal of re-invigorating the English language market for graphic narrative books.  Many of the Nobrow contributors now enjoy global success in many languages.
    • The allegations raised against Nobrow regarding bad contracts and poor pay are unfair, inaccurate and unfounded.
    • All current Nobrow contracts which have been in place since 2014 are in line with industry standards. We continue to update them on an annual basis and keep them in line with the marketplace. Our contracts are negotiable and we do not coerce anyone.
    • Specifically, our intention is always to pay a fair and on market advance and royalty. In light of the recent allegations as to the level of our payments, which have rather taken us aback, we have decided immediately to carry out a research project as to equivalent advance and royalty levels to check that we remain on market for a publisher of our size. If we find that we have been inadvertently paying below market rates, we will of course review them.
    • We are speaking to our illustrators and authors. If we come across any concerns they have, we will, of course, address them.
    • We do not prevent authors or artists from working with other publishers on different projects, nor could we, and in fact many of our artists and authors work with many other publishers.
    • The 2013 email that was leaked onto twitter without permission and out of context was the beginning of a conversation that was taken no further, and does not represent the views of the company then or now.
    • Alex has invested his own money into Nobrow since founding the company with Sam. That was a significant investment in comics and illustrated publishing and associated events that were at first loss-leading (like ELCAF & Nobrow magazine) and he has not worked in the company since 2015, although he remains a shareholder. Neither he nor any other shareholder has drawn a dividend from the company to this day.
  • Current circumstances
    • All businesses, and particularly publishing businesses such as ours that are reliant on retail, have been severely affected by the SARS COV-2 virus.
    • We have therefore been forced to furlough five members of staff in our London office during the government furlough scheme period.
    • None of these valued staff members would be in this position if not for the crisis and it is through no fault of their own.
    • We sincerely hope there will be no further job losses, but everything depends on the evolution of the global pandemic, the lifting of lockdown and its impacts on retail and other developments. We don’t comment on individual staff employment issues as it would not be fair to those people involved.
  • ELCAF:
    • ELCAF is run as a break-even annual community event with grant funding, sponsorship and exhibitor and visitor revenue. If profit is achieved after an edition the revenue is rolled into the following year’s event. This means all funding raised for ELCAF and all revenue generated by ELCAF is spent on the event and related community events.
    • ELCAF exhibitors are curated by the organisers. There is limited table space in the venue and the event has been oversubscribed since the second edition. Additional days were introduced to give more people the opportunity to take part.
    • ELCAF uses donated office facilities from Nobrow.
    • Whilst associated with Nobrow, ELCAF is run by three freelance Events Organisers.
    • To ensure the continuation of the event and for the benefit of the community, Nobrow underwrites any financial loss experienced by the organisation of the ELCAF event.
    • The purpose of ELCAF has always been to provide a platform for small press artists and others to exhibit their works to a wider audience, as well as to share ideas and learn from the works of international artists that might have not been so accessible.
    • It is with regret that we have to cancel ELCAF 2020 as a digital or physical event, but the team will continue to promote the work of the illustrators and community involved and we will review the organisation of the event next year according to the evolution of SARS COV-2. We hope this in no way damages the well-being of all those participating artists and contributors.

We have been as frank and open as we have been able in a short period of time, in order to put this episode to rest. In these really difficult times, our industry has to pull together to survive and continue to support talented authors and artists to share their creations with the world.

Thank you.


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My Very Own Space Activity Sheet

Trying to find your very own space during isolation might be difficult! But we’re here to help with activity sheets from the book My Very Own Space by Pippa Goodhart and Rebecca Crane. These activity sheets focus on the importance of boundaries and how personal space can be found in your own head, as well as physically!

Take a moment for yourself and think about what makes you happy, then draw the pictures in the circles :)

What’s your favourite book? If you cant pick or don’t have one yet, why not try to create your very own story!

Activity sheets available for free download here 🌼

And if you’re like the little rabbit who wants to read a book in peace, we recommend My Very Own Space by Pippa Goodhart and Rebecca Crane, available on our website. With minimal text accompanying sweet illustrations, this charming picture book explores ideas of personal space and sharing in a way that even very young children can enjoy 🐰

So remember to take some time off and find yourself the perfect space you need ✨

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on www.nobrow.net but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.


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Me and My Fear Family Art Project

By Jessica Traylen (Infant Art Club) who is based in Central London, as tested by her two kids! Check out Jessica’s workshops at her web shop here

Welcome to the first in our #FlyingEyeArtClub series, where this week we’re styrofoam printmaking with @infant_art_club, with designs inspired by Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna.

This is a simple, quick and effective way to make prints, using just paint and styrofoam. Sheets of styrofoam (polystyrene) can be bought from online arts and crafts suppliers, or better still – recycle! You can use the kind of foam you might find in the packaging of supermarket pizza. It’s an achievable art activity for all ages – little ones will enjoy mark making and adults can help with the printing while older children might even have a go at incorporating mirror writing into their designs.

1. You will need: styrofoam, a pencil, paint and paper.

2. Draw out your design with a pencil on the styrofoam, taking care not to press all the way through the foam.

3. Next, using either a roller or a paintbrush, spread a thin, even layer of paint onto your foam printing plate.

(Block printing ink or acrylic work best but poster paints can work too, just let the paint dry out a bit before printing!)

4. Now place your styrofoam design-side down onto your paper – apply even pressure across the back, being careful not to let the foam sheeting slip.

5. Then lift to reveal your printed picture!

 6. Ink up your foam printing plate and repeat as much as you like. You can also carefully wash your styrofoam plate to store away and reuse again another day.

Keep checking our blog for more of our #FlyingEyeArtClub series, and to see what wonderful creations you can get to working on with your little ones!


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The Fun Bundle – Leaf and The Secret of Black Rock Activity Sheets

Get creative and design your own Leaf crown and swim along with unique ocean creatures with this week’s FUN BUNDLE featuring activity sheets from Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann and The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton!

Leaf Crown Activity Sheet

by Sandra Dieckmann

Our friend Leaf, the polar bear has stumbled into this beautiful vibrant forest full of big leaves and small leaves, round leaves and colourful ones! Come join Leaf and let your inner creativity loose by gathering all your materials and spending your afternoon with this fun crafting activity making your own Leaf crown 🍃👑

Leaf activity sheet available for download here. We recommend printing this in A3 so the crown fits!

The Secret of Black Rock Activity Sheet

by Joe Todd-Stanton

The Black Rock is as big as a mountain and sharp as a swordfish, but have you ever wondered what kind of creatures inhabits the deepest waters that surround it? Help Erin uncover the mysteries of the legend of the Black Rock by showing her the types of creatures that live there 🐳

The Secret of Black Rock activity sheet is available for download here

We’d love to see what you’ve been making and creating with us on social media so don’t forget to tag us in at @flyingeyebooks! If you’ve enjoyed these activity sheets, and are looking for reading materials, these books are perfect for storytime to keep the little ones engaged with a new adventure! Available in our online shop…

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on www.nobrow.net but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.


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A Guide to Flying Eye Submissions with Senior Editor Emily Ball

Emily is our Senior Editor, and she works almost exclusively on our Flying Eye titles. She works with authors and illustrators from the commissioning stage to the moment the book is sent to print. She has a Masters in Children’s Literature from the University of Reading, and previously worked at Scholastic’s London branch. 

Take a read below to see Emily’s advice on our submissions policies, and how best to present your work when contacting a publisher.

We’re always on the hunt for new and unique stories, which is why we run our open submissions email. This allows all kinds of people, from all over the world, to reach us directly with their work. Despite spending most of my time working on current projects, I love delving into the submissions email and seeing if there are any gems hiding in there.

Although we aim to read and reply to each submission, we are a small team and do not always have time to reply to everyone! We get around 100 new submissions for children’s illustrated books every week – so sometimes I barely make a dent. However, we still want to see them coming in, as I’ve commissioned some of my favourite projects through this process. One of our upcoming titles, the beautiful Child of Galaxies, is just one of those books.  

Child of Galaxies was submitted by Blake Nuto, a primary school teacher from Tasmania who writes in his spare time. I absolutely loved his poetic and touching text, and after bringing it to our monthly acquisitions meeting we swiftly made an offer and started the hunt for the perfect illustrator. When we saw Charlotte’s art we knew her powerful yet heartfelt style was the right fit for such a moving story, and after showing her the text it seemed she thought the same – so we signed her up!

Child of Galaxies is out this May and we couldn’t be more excited. It’s a beautiful picture book about what it means to be alive and is excellent for teaching children about their place in the universe in a positive and life-affirming way. In our current situation, we feel proud to publish books like this and we sincerely hope you fall in love with it as much as we all did here. It’s a stunner. 

That’s just one of many stories from our open submissions email, which shows it is possible to get published this way! Other books we’ve received through our submissions email include the award-winning book The Journey by Francesca Sanna.

However, here’s a few top tips that might help your picture book stand out if you’re eager to send something in: 

  • Keep your submission short and sweet. If you can’t describe your book in 1-2 sentences, then it’s either too complicated for a picture book or you haven’t summed it up well enough. We flick through these emails quickly, so we want the gist of the story quickly, too.
  • Aim to attach whatever you’re submitting to the email you send. We can’t look at external links for security reasons. It also takes more time, which we often don’t have a lot of. We’re ok looking at low-res PDFs and Word documents, as we can always get in touch with you for more if we like what we see.
  • Do your research. Does your book fit our list? Every publisher is different, and we often get submissions that are great but not right for us. Research us and other publishers before submitting. You can do this by looking on ours and other publishers’ websites, browsing online at books and seeing who published them and – when this is all over – heading into bookshops to look at other children’s books that are already out there.
  • Think outside the box. As well as researching us as publishers, do some market research on your book, too. Think about whether a book like yours already exists and whether there would be room in the market for another one. What is your unique selling point? We love books that feel different and unusual, with a real story to their creation. If you think that’s you – send it over.
  • Is your artwork right for us? If you are providing text and illustration, make sure your illustration is at the high standard we expect from our illustrators. A lot of people submit thinking they NEED to provide artwork alongside their text. You don’t need to do this, as if we think the book is good, we will find the right illustrator ourselves. If you’re not someone who has studied illustration, or has a background in illustration, it’s unlikely we will go for your artwork, but we might still be open to your text.
  • Send in samples of the book, not just your artwork. Of course, if you think your art is good enough, we’d love to see it. A lot of our books are written and illustrated by the same person, so we know a lot of great illustrators are great storytellers too. Just please try to send in one or two spreads showing how you envision the book working, rather than an isolated drawing. We’re also happy to see a link to your portfolio if it backs up a submission.
  • Avoid rhyming if you can … but there are exceptions. We tend not to go for rhyming books unless the rhyme is a huge part of the story/appeal. A lot of the time we get really interesting and fun stories into the inbox, but because the rhyme feels forced, we disregard them. If you can tell your story without rhyme, do it. If it feels like it needs to rhyme, make sure it’s to a high standard.
  • Make every word count. Picture books are a collaboration of brilliant text with excellent illustration, and both do different things in a book. Try to make sure the words you’re using are really intentional and won’t just be repeated again in the illustration. We get a lot of submissions where the basic story is great, but it’s way too wordy and over-explained. Try to cut back text if you think this is you and think about what’s important to explain. In the words of the brilliant illustrator and author Judith Kerr:

“Children shouldn’t be made to read anything unnecessary. I would never put anything in the text that was in the pictures. If you say, ‘He was wearing red trousers,’ and you see a boy wearing red trousers, it’s a waste of their energy. I try to use as few words as possible, as well as possible.”

And we completely agree.

  • Be open and willing to make changes. Publishing your book with us is a collaborative process. Sometimes we will find a text we like that needs work before we can take it to our acquisitions meeting. Or if we do take it to acquisitions, we may ask you to develop it more based on feedback from that before acquiring it. Then, if we acquire the book, it’s likely we will edit it/ask you to change parts of it, to get it to be the best it can be. Therefore, we expect our artists/authors to be open to change, to listen to our feedback and to be willing to work hard to make the perfect book.
  • Keep trying and be patient. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back from us, or if we reject your submission. We are a small team, with a small list, and we can’t take on every book we like or reply to every submission we get. If you don’t hear from us within 6 months, it’s likely we’ve passed on your book and haven’t been able to get back to you. If we do reply with bad news, that doesn’t mean you should give up hope. Keep trying, researching, reading and thinking – one idea might not work, but there’s plenty more where that came from and our emails are always open.

If you’d like to submit a children’s book proposal to us here at Flying Eye please find the details here.


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The Wild Fun Book!

Are you missing the outdoors? Bursting to go outside? Then come join the creator of the book Wild, Emily Hughes and the little girl who has known nothing but nature from birth.

Dive into the deepest depths of the wilderness to create your very own Wild Fun Book with the girl who has been taught to talk by birds, to eat by bears, and play by foxes. These drawing and colouring activity sheets will help you unleash your unashamedly, irrefutably, irrepressibly wild side!

These drawing sheets look like they’re missing some wildlife – let’s get imaginative and quirky to fill in what your wilderness would look like! Have you come across any strange animals in your garden/outdoors? What did they look like? And how did they talk, eat, and play?

Learn how to draw some of Emily Hughes cutest wild animals with her step by step activity sheets! Work your way up from a crow and then you’ll be going pro with the fox in no time✨

If you’ve enjoyed looking through these activity sheets, the printable download is available here!

Activity sheets brought to you from the book Wild by Emily Hughes is available to order from our website here

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on www.nobrow.net but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.


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Free Activities Galore: From Space to the South Pole

Write some secret messages via Morse Code, put together the ideal team of explorers for your expedition to the South Pole, and discover some new and beautiful exotic birds, all from our new set of free worksheets!

Perfect for either hours of fun, a bit of distraction or the focus of a homeschool lesson, we’ve collected together some amazing activities from our books for your little learners. However of course all of our activity and colouring in sheets are suitable for all ages, getting stuck in is highly encouraged ✨

Shackleton’s Journey Activity Book

by William Grill

Take a journey across the Antarctic with the infamous explorer Ernest Shackleton, with these activity sheets from William Grill – all based on the award-winning book Shackleton’s Journey. Design your own epic adventure and recruit volunteers, whilst testing your knowledge of the South Pole as you vanquish sea monsters!

These worksheets come direct from the pages of Shackleton’s Journey Activity Book, a companion title to Shackleton’s Journey

Download the above activity sheets here.

Professor Astro Cat’s Intergalactic Activity Book

by Ben Newman & Zelda Turner

Looking at the stars, do you dream of new worlds beyond our own? Would you like to explore distant planets, fly a rocket or try some chocolate quantum physics? Good news, Professor Astro Cat is here to help!

Packed with amazing experiments, thrilling facts and create-your-own adventures, this Intergalactic Activity Book offers a universe of excitement, and is bursting with ideas for a future at the frontiers of space!

Download the above activity sheets via the link here.

Beautiful Birds Colouring In Sheets

by Emmanuelle Walker & Jean Roussen

Lose yourself in a riot of colouring in as you bring these exotic birds to life! Immerse yourself with Emmanuelle Walker’s wonderfully detailed bird illustrations. From Warblers to Blue-tits and Kakapos to Owls, colour in an alphabet of birds in their feathery fancies – perfect for all ages.

These colouring in sheets are an ideal quiet activity for a calm evening or afternoon. And if you enjoy these you can always grab a copy of either the full colouring book, or the original beautiful book its based on, from our site.

Download your own Beautiful Birds Colouring In sheets here.


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Nobrow & Flying Eye Information for Online Book Readings

Through this time of quarantine and isolation, we feel that sharing stories is now even more important than ever. We want to make this as easy as possible for everyone but we do owe it to the creators of our books to be able to let them know that it’s happening, and where possible encourage people to get hold of their books too.

In order to encourage reading and classroom read-aloud experiences, and to support schools and public libraries forced to close by the escalating COVID-19 outbreak, Nobrow and Flying Eye Books are permitting teachers, librarians and booksellers and bloggers to create and share story time and read-aloud videos and live events for families stuck at home, according to the following guidelines:

For Teachers and Educators providing distance learning to students in a virtual classroom setting:

  • Story time or classroom read-aloud videos in which a Nobrow or Flying Eye  book is read aloud and the book is displayed (for picture books) may be created and posted to closed educational platforms such as Google Classroom, Schoology, Edmodo and Discovery Education, Dojo in order to replicate the read-aloud book experience that would otherwise be available to educators in the classroom.
  • If a Teacher or Educator plans to share a story time video by recording a video, uploading it to a YouTube channel, and posting a link to that YouTube video inside a closed educational platform, that YouTube video must be designated as “Unlisted” (not “Public”) when uploading. See screenshot for how to choose “Unlisted” while uploading on YouTube.
  • These story time and classroom read-aloud videos may be hosted on the educational platform and/or YouTube (as an “Unlisted” file) until the end of the current school year, after which we request that they be removed from the educational platform and/or from YouTube, unless this permission is extended for the next school semester.

For Booksellers, Librarians & Bloggers who wish to provide a story time reading or other read-aloud experience: 

  • Story time or read-aloud live events in which a Nobrow or Flying Eye book is read out loud and the book is displayed may be streamed live, in real time, on social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we’d love it if where possible you could tag us in @NobrowPress or @FlyingEyeBooks and the creator(s) of the book along with a link to buy the book. We will also share your reading to our followers.

Reporting requirements – We ask that all educators, librarians, booksellers & bloggers please email [email protected] to let us know of the reading, so that we can let the creator(s) know that it’s happening and also help to share it to a wider audience.


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The Flying Eye Feelings Resource Pack!

Let’s start off this week by getting you and your little ones in touch with your inner feelings! What does the word ‘feelings’ mean to you? How did you feel yesterday? What about today?

We’ve put together these Flying Eye Feelings activity sheets, with an introduction to consider a number of different feelings, which then help children to begin to explore their own feelings and how they affect them. The pack includes structured lesson plans filled with free illustrated extracts from the books, discussion questions and suggested activities perfect for homeschooling and online classes in KS1/KS2.

Books included in this activity pack all teach their own lessons with objectives and outcomes that are covered in the stories⇩⇩⇩

Tough Guys Have Feelings Too by Keith Negley, helps children to identify and express feelings, discuss what people mean when they say ‘tough guy’ and demonstrates that everyone has feelings no matter how ‘tough’ they are!

Using the book, Me and My Fear by Francesca Sanna we teach little ones to reflect on how fear can affect us; share a fear they might have and find strategies to overcome it in future. From this activity sheet, you’ll gain a list of useful phrases and keywords about fear, achieve a ‘My Fear’ worksheet, and a written reflection on sharing our fears ✨

The Immortal Jellyfish by Sang Miao helps little ones to understand some of the difficult emotions associated with loss of a loved one, and explores whether the people we love are always with us in some form. From these activity sheets, you’ll achieve a drawing of a creature you would like to become and a short story about someone you love visiting you in a dream.

The hi-res printable activity sheet pack is available to download here 📩

Books mentioned in this pack are available to order from our website below

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on www.nobrow.net but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.


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Nobrow Book Club: Stay at Home Edition!

Hi again Nobrow fans,

Here at both the London and New York offices, we’re handling our quarantines by continuing to put in the work to bring gorgeous books to all of you in need of some inspiration in these strange, socially-distanced times. But we need to stay inspired as well! So we asked around to see what everyone on staff is reading to get them through the week. Check it out:

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama (Kodansha Comics, 2019)

“I’ve been reading on my doorstep in the sunshine after working on my Nobrow projects, and at the moment I’m on a Witch Hat Atelier adventure. It’s been amazing to dip back into some lovely light-hearted manga during these stressful times. Featuring a gutsy female protagonist, stunning magical displays, a healthy portion of fantasy, and beautiful world-building, this little gem is perfect for readers of all ages. Kamome Shiarhama works at both Marvel and DC as a cover artist, so combine that talent with an ability to craft a beautiful story, and you’ve got a little winner here. I challenge you not to root for Coco as she refuses to give up on her ambition to become a magician, and gets into a lot of hot water in the process!”

—Niamh Jones, editor

Tender by Choo (ShortBox, 2019)

Tender by Choo is a thick artbook collection of beautiful full-colour works by Choo, published by ShortBox Comics. If I were to sum up this book in a word it would be “balanced”—you would think that this level of detail would become overwhelming but Choo’s expert use of composition, character, and colour keeps the heavy detail and strong emotive characters in balance throughout. At times erotic, at times tender, full of queer imagery, it comes together to form an inclusive compendium of personal wordless narrative, doodles, dream-like imagery and fanart. This compendium is a full meal for the eyeballs that you will come to dine on again and again. 10/10 would gawp at again.”

            —Lucy Rivers, marketing designer

Gamayun Tales I by Alexander Utkin (Nobrow, 2020)

“Russian illustrator Alexander Utkin has been hard at work on this series for a few years now, and we’ve finally compiled the first three stories into this nice big paperback compendium! Who’s Gamayun, though? What are these Tales?! Gamayun is a mystical human-faced bird from Slavic mythology who can see the future… so she acts as our tour guide through a bevy of classical Russian folk tales. For any mythology hounds who have already read their share of books on the Egyptian and Greek pantheons, this is a wonderful introduction to Slavic folklore with drop-dead gorgeous illustrations reminiscent of mid-century Disney.”

            —Jacob Shapiro, U.S. sales & marketing assistant


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DIY with I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast!

Whether you’re brushing up on your home teaching skills or just looking for some fun activities for these fresh spring days, we’ve got you sorted 🌻

I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast by Michael Holland and Philip Giordano is an incredible introduction to the world of plants and is packed full of fascinating facts about the powerful science behind the great green machines of the natural world. This comprehensive guide covers everything from the parts of a plant through to conservation, and is full of inspiration for gardeners both young or old. 

We’ve picked out our favourite nature-based DIY activities from its pages for you and your little ones to crack on with. From how to make your own cornflower slime to making beautiful leaf prints to decorate your home, you’ll need nothing more than what you’ve already got on your shelves and in your garden.

And if you take a try of these activities and would like to see more, grab a copy of I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast from our online shop, or ask your local independent bookstore if they can post you a copy. All copies ordered from our site, Storysmith Books in Bristol or Sevenoaks Books in Kent will come with a free poster and seed packets.

First up…

DIY: Cornflour Slime

Slime: nature edition! For this one all you’ll need is some fine cornflour, water and a bit of food colouring – not a manmade chemical in sight. You could even try making your own food colouring from turmeric, beetroot, or spinach! Truly a-maize-ing stuff.

DIY: Wild Weed Bottle Garden

If you live in a flat or don’t have your own garden, that doesn’t have to stop your gardening adventures. Head along on a walk to a local park or nature spot, and build your very own wild weed bottle garden to take home with you. A free and easy way to bring a bit of nature to your windowsill.

DIY: Leaf Printing

A beautiful way to make some artwork or gifts out of nothing more than leaves, card and a regular ink pad. A wonderful introduction not just to the different types of leaves that have fallen in your garden or local park, but how to do simple and easy printmaking. What else can you find in your garden to print with?

DIY: Invisible Ink

Who knew you can now become a spy with nothing more than a lemon, a pen and a sheet of blank paper?! This magical trick will fool everyone you want to keep secrets from, and is the perfect way to pass notes without those pesky parents knowing a single thing.

DIY: Make Your Own Plant Maze

This insightful activity is not only fun to put together, but demonstrates the incredible way plants grow! Another indoor activity which requires no outside space, you’ll just need some seeds, an old shoebox, and all your creativity.

DIY: Bean Bag Boules

Finally, a use for those oversized multicoloured socks your gran got you last Christmas! Just follow the instructions below to make your very own bean bags, ideal for any range of home-PE lessons.

If you enjoyed these activities then don’t wait to order your own copy of I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast, which is bursting with even more facts and fun! At a weighty 128 pages, this comprehensive guide will offer your young gardener hours of insight into the natural world, and help water their budding passion for science and nature.

I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast was written and researched by the expert ecologist and educator Michael Holland, former head of Education at Chelsea Physic Garden. He has taught tens of thousands of people, aged 2 to 92, about the natural world and is on a mission to educate and inspire people from all walks of life about the powerful world of plants and the vital role they play in our daily lives. 


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A Mouse Called Julian Activity Sheets

Wondering how to keep the little ones busy indoors?

For this week, we’re offering activity and colouring sheets on A Mouse Called Julian, wonderfully illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton. Julian is a mouse who is perfectly happy avoiding other animals but you can join him for dinner, help bring colour into his life, and learn how to draw your own Julian!

Come join in and read along with Joe to find out what happens when Julian has an unexpected dinner guest…

You can download the hi-res printable worksheet here.

A Mouse Called Julian by Joe Todd-Stanton is available to order from our website here.

We are removing the delivery charge for all orders placed on www.nobrow.net but we encourage you to find out if your local bookshop is offering deliveries if you can.

Please keep an eye on our feeds as we devise a timetable of isolation activities! Stay indoors where you can, keep washing your hands and we hope that you all stay well. Lots of love from Nobrow & Flying Eye HQ.