I am slightly ashamed to say that it's been a year since I wrote the last blog – I will aim to improve on this!
We've had quite a journey at Peahen HQ – in the metaphorical sense (we haven't exactly 'been' anywhere this year, have we?!). When I started Peahen, I wanted to publish books that I would buy for my own children; books that I'd pick up in a book shop, flick through and want to take home. As a self-publisher, we never know what our next enquiry is going to be. We aren't commissioning books as a traditional publisher would, but I always have the question in my mind, 'Would I commission this?'. We're very low-key on the marketing front and most of the authors who contact us have been told about us. We offer a personal service and don't have a one-size-fits-all approach. Every book has been unique to work on and I think that shows when I look at some of the books we have published this year. We have books that educate and raise awareness, books that are donating all proceeds to charities and the best bit for me is sharing a little piece of these authors' journeys. I've been blown away by their passion.
Nurdle – a book about lentil-sized microplastics, with proceeds of sales going towards Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society, was a delight to work on. Author Claire Vowell is relentless in her work to help save our seas and the amazing creatures than inhabit it. But, it's also a story to educate us and our children. Making small changes where we can. The art by Jo Joof is stunning and the book is making its way into schools to help share Claire's powerful message.
Elvis – when I read the manuscript for Elvis I was instantly moved: Nobody realised it was Elvis sat there, he could have been anyone, they just didn't care. I am such a believer in sharing stories with your children and using books as a talking point. Helen is a mental health specialist for a homelessness charity. She has managed to tackle what is a hugely sensitive subject in such a kind, gentle way. I have been able to use this book to talk about homelessness with the peachicks but above all, the message is one of being kind. Helen crowdfunded Elvis and all proceeds are going to Julian House and St Mungo's to support their work in ending homelessness and helping to rebuild lives. Every child should have access to this book.
Rodney Meadow-Hopper – technically we didn't 'publish' Rodney this year, but we did reprint it so I'm counting it! Meghan Pugh's beautiful art and Gail Crampton's rhyming text are the perfect match for this little book with a BIG message. Rodney helps children see that it's OK not to feel OK.
The Earth Chronicles – author Jane Browne has become an Amazon bestseller with her children's fantasy series. She's teamed up with TreeSisters and for every paperback of The Earth Chronicles series purchased, Jane donates one tree via TreeSisters to aid their reforestation of our planet. Delve into the world Jane has created. With mythical creatures and plenty of twists and turns, young readers will be hooked – and helping to grow a tree from the comfort of their reading nook.
Little Cat and Friends – Anna Emilia has created a sweet series of stories born firstly from her own struggle with reading. Anna is dyslexic and when she approached Peahen, she was clear with her message that she wanted children to enjoy her simple stories (based on her own cats' antics) as she found it challenging to read when she was younger. We have styled the book so there are different coloured fonts and we've emphasised certain text to help children discover words in a fun way.
Mission: Stay Up Late – My brother gets to stay up late, watching television. I really want to stay up too, so now I'm on a mission...I need a wee, I want a drink. 'What is the best excuse?' I try to think. It was a lot of fun bringing Kelly's story to life. Nicola Moore's fun art was the perfect fit. It's the perfect bedtime story and one a lot of parents can relate to!
Sadie's Favourite Colour – Lucy Godfrey was inspired to write this story as her own daughter would only wear pink. The story's character is loveable Sadie. She's strong-willed and knows her own mind. She embraces life's pleasures with a fun and light-hearted approach and Sadie just loves the colour pink! A fun story with a surprise at the end. Some parents may well have their own little Sadie!
I can't wait to see what's in store for Peahen in 2021. We have some exciting books in the pipeline and can't wait to get to work with some new authors. I'd like to end this year's blog (there will be more than one a year next year – promise!) with this quote from American children's author Beverly Cleary –
"If you don't see the book you want on the shelf, write it."
If you want to buy any of these books, the books can be purchased from the following places AND it would make some authors very very happy :)
Rodney Meadow-Hopper: https://www.etsy.com/uk/search?q=Rodney%20Meadow-Hopper
The Earth Chronicles: https://jabrowne.com/shop-2/
Little Cat and Friends: https://www.littlecatandfriends.com/buy-little-cat-and-friends/
"Carly at Peahen Publishing has been simply fantastic. I have been wanting to get my grandma's stories that she wrote us as kids published for so long, but never really knew where to start. Carly made the whole process so easy and enjoyable; the end result is just stunning & has made our whole family so happy. Thank you so much!"
The Adventures of the Ladybird Family