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The World in Multicolour

Behind the scenes: Around the world with Lantana

in: Cultural diversity

 

At Lantana, we say that our books open up the world for young readers. Our stories offer windows onto other cultures and mirror back our common humanity. But what you might not know is how each book is the product of an intercultural and global collaboration, and this opens up our world, too. Join us on a quick trip around the world as we take you behind the scenes of the production of our upcoming title, Kaya’s Heart Song!

First stop, London!

British summer weather is famously fickle, but editor Alice Curry remains steadfast as she steers the production of Kaya’s Heart Song from manuscript to book. Written by first-time author Diwa Tharan Sanders and set in the jungles of Malaysia, this joyous story about mindfulness and listening to your heart made our hearts sing. We believe that pairing an author with an illustrator from another culture enhances the global qualities of the story, while the author’s voice keeps the experience authentic. Alice approached Argentinian illustrator Nerina Canzi, whose stunning work on The Ammuchi Puchi put her at the top of the list. Who better than Nerina to bring Kaya’s magical journey in the vibrant Malaysian jungles to life?

 

To Argentina for some winter lemons

While Alice enjoys (sometimes) sunny weather, Nerina gathers winter lemons from the tree in her garden. Alice, Diwa and Nerina coordinate via email (in Spanish and English!), sharing photos and Pinterest boards until they come up with a look that inspires them. Nerina works her magic while keeping cosy in her artist’s studio.

 

 Then, to a beach island in Sri Lanka

“Sunny blue skies and a steady ocean breeze fill me with lots of energy to write,” Malaysian-born author Diwa says. Under the warm tropical sunshine, Diwa reads some notes from Alice and polishes her manuscript. “I love writing outdoors and being close to nature. Because I’m relaxed, the words flow easily.”

 

 

And finally, to snowy New Zealand

Katrina Gutierrez, our communications and project manager, coordinates publicity and events with Alice and the London team all the way from New Zealand. With Alice and Katrina at opposite ends of the earth working with a list of authors and illustrators from around the globe, Lantana is truly a publishing house with diversity at its heart.

Kaya’s Heart Song will be out in the Spring and is available for pre-order here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for up to date news about this and our other books!

 

 

The Lantana Team

 

 

Magic Number 3! Celebrating 3 years of Lantana Publishing

in: Publishing

The week is drawing to a close, but we are still on a birthday high! We thought it would be great to round off our celebrations by sharing 3 of our best accomplishments.

1. Our 10 inclusive and diverse books!

We are thrilled to have created 10 visually stunning, high-quality books that children from all over the world enjoy. What’s more, we are proud that all of our books are products of intercultural collaborations. To date, our small team, authors and illustrators come from almost 20 countries. This creative cultural exchange, wherein we tell the same story from different cultural perspectives, continues to energise and motivate us.

Around the world with Lantana’s books

We are especially proud of the success of A Wisp of Wisdom: Animal Tales from Cameroona charity fundraiser and preservation project that sought to give children in Korup, Cameroon 2000 books. Together with Tom Moorhouse and 10 fabulous authors (including Abi Elphinstone, Piers Torday and Gill Lewis), illustrator Emmie van Biervliet and the conservation charity WildCru (Oxford University), we created a special collection of tales. The project raised more than £13,000 for the Korup children.

2. Awards and accolades!

Last year Chicken in the Kitchen won Best Book at the Children’s Africana Book Awards and was made a White Ravens Honour Book. The book’s illustrator Mehrdokht Amini earned a Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 nomination for her stunning work. She is also 1 of only 17 UK entrants in the Biennial of Illustration Bratislava Awards – one of the most important awards in book illustration. Amongst our awards and accolades are:

Mehrdokht Amini (illustrator), Alice Curry and Nnedi Okorafor (author) in Washington DC for the Children’s Africana Book Awards

We are also amazed to have been 1 of 5 publishers – and the only one from the UK – shortlisted for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year (Europe Category) at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2017. Finally, our founder and director Alice Curry received recognition this year for her amazing leadership and clear vision. She was shortlisted for the Young Stationers’ Prize and won the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which celebrates women of promise in publishing.

3. Hello, USA and Canada!

Chicken in the Kitchen, The Tigon and the Liger, Sleep Well, Siba and Saba and The Wooden Camel have had a wonderful welcome in the USA, already receiving starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews and high praise from Publisher’s Weekly, the SLJ and book bloggers like HereWeeRead. We are very excited that more children in the USA and Canada will have a chance to read our books. Our books are distributed by Lerner Publishing Services. 

Hardcover US editions!

And there you have it, our magic number 3.

We couldn’t have done it without you. THANK YOU for cheering us on these past 3 years. We look forward to many more years of championing inclusion and representation in children’s books.

Because all children deserve to see themselves in the books they read.

 

Watch this space and our social media channels for news on our exciting new books, special offers and discounts! 

The Lantana Team

Alice Curry *shortlisted* for the Young Stationers’ Award 2017!

in: Publishing

Shortlistings have been coming thick and fast for our founder and director, Alice Curry! We are so proud to announce that, on the heels of winning the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize 2017, she is the only woman on the shortlist of this year’s Young Stationers’ Award!

What is the Young Stationers’ Award?

The prize is awarded to a young person who “has achieved great success in their career; made an outstanding contribution to the sector in which they are working; or achieved success outside their immediate world of work in interesting ways which are relevant to the ethos and trades of the Stationers’ Company.”

Dominic Graham, Chairman of the Young Stationers comments, “The entries to this year’s prize were of an exceptional level and demonstrated to the judges the range and quality of the work being done by young professionals across the livery’s trades.”

Who else made it onto the shortlist?

Anthony Cond (Managing Director, Liverpool University Press), Ian Buckley (Managing Director, Prima Software), and John Macpherson (co-founder and director, Bright Red Publishing).

And the winner is…!

The winner will be announced on the 24th July at the Young Stationers’ Annual Dinner in Stationers’ Hall. The prize is a trophy kindly donated by The Worshipful Company of Pewterers and will be presented by last year’s joint winners, Ella Kahn and Bryony Woods of Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency.

CONGRATULATIONS, ALICE!

Katrina and the Lantana team

Celebrate Empathy Day! 19 Books that Teach Empathy

in: Children's books

Today, we celebrate the first ever Empathy Day! And we are especially pleased because The Wooden Camel has been selected for the Read for Empathy Guide put together by Empathy Lab UK. Written by Wanuri Kahiu and Manuela Adreani, this is a story about the hopes and dreams of Etabo, a young boy who longs to be a camel racer. The Read for Empathy Guide lists 21 ‘must-reads’ endorsed by Nicolette Jones, the children’s book reviewer for The Sunday Times. You can download the Guide for free from the Empathy Lab’s website!

What is Empathy Day?

Empathy Day is ‘a platform to emphasise the importance of empathy in our divided world, and raise awareness of the power of stories to develop it.’ Books help children ‘lay strong foundations for resisting prejudice and intolerance,’ Miranda McKearney, founder of Empathy Day, states in a press release. These claims are supported by neuroscientific research that ‘shows that the emotions we feel for characters wires our brains to have the same sort of sensitivity towards real people.’

19 Books: Our favourite books that teach empathy

We were so inspired by Empathy Day that we created our own list! These books are close to the hearts of Lantana’s authors, illustrators, and staff.

Wanuri Kahiu recommends Tinga Tinga Tales: Why Giraffe Has a Long Neck by Claudia Lloyd and Edward Gakuya and Elmer by David McKee: ‘Why Giraffe Has a Long Neck is a beautiful story of friendship and how all animals of different sorts come together to help a friend in need. It is kind, compassionate and funny. We love reading it. We also love reading about Elmer who always seems a little different, but his difference is embraced and accepted. It is a beautiful book on friendship and love.’

Manuela Adreani recommends The Story of a Seagull and The Cat Who Taught Her to Fly by Luis Sepúlveda: ‘The sweet story of a cat that promises to care for the egg of a dying seagull. The empathy and love that the cat has for the baby seagull succeeds in engaging everyone – cats and humans – in teaching the little seagull how to fly.’

Abi Elphinstone recommends The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden: ‘Kizzy is a Diddakoi – a halfgypsy – and after her beloved grandmother dies, she finds herself victim to bullying, prejudice and hatred within the community. This is a book that champions outsiders, celebrates the beauty of vanishing cultures and upholds the values of compassion, courage and acceptance.’

Sharanya Manivannan recommends The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros: ‘Such a lovely book that encourages looking at people around you and seeing how we are interconnected.’

Gill Lewis recommends Small Finds a Home by Karin Celestine: ‘I love this book because it is about the power of simple acts of kindness. It is a story of how offering friendship without judgment or expectation enriches all our lives.’

Tutu Dutta recommends The Adventures of Beebo and Friends by Malaysian author Brigitte Rozario and Tan Vay Fern: ‘This is a series of five books (for ages 5-9) about a boisterous and fun-loving boy and his friends, who sometimes gets into scrapes. I chose these books because they teach young readers values such as empathy in a fun and engaging way.’

Mahtab Narsimhan recommends Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña: ‘I think it’s a wonderful story that shows readers how to appreciate what they have instead of wanting what they do not. Some lines in there are priceless, and are not just for kids. Adults can appreciate the subtle message, too!’

Joyce Chng recommends Accessing the Future edited by Djibril Al-Ayad and Kathryn Allan: ‘It is an anthology of speculative fiction that examines disability. Great for medical professionals and people who would want to learn more.’

Keilly Swift recommends Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and Frog and the Stranger by Max Velthuijs: ‘Teaching my baby girl that friends come in all shapes, sizes and shade!’

Geraldine McCaughrean recommends 4 books!: The Girl in Between by Sarah Carroll takes us inside the life of a woman who has sunk as low as life can take you and the child she took there with her. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech made me weep for a little boy who has lost his dearest possession. Island by Nicky Singer is about empathy temporarily mislaid between mother and son and discovered between man and animals. Little Bits of Sky by S.E. Durrant lets a reader experience how it feels to have no one permanent in your life, the damage it does and the healing possible when someone comes along who is prepared to show unqualified tenderness.’

Nadine Kaadan recommends Sky Blue Accident by Piet Grobler: ‘Such a creative and poetic children’s book!’

Katrina Gutierrez recommends Migrant by Maxine Trottier and Isabelle Arsenault: ‘My pick is a sweet story about a family of harvest labourers – Menonnites from Mexico who travel to Canada every spring – that uses imaginative metaphors to express the migrant child’s feelings, longings and optimism. They are migratory geese, then a litter of kittens cuddling for warmth, then a hive of worker bees. A clever and gentle way to encourage compassion for labouring migrants.’

Alice Curry recommends Shine by Filipino author Candy Gourlay: ‘I picked Shine because it is a book about accepting difference in other people but more importantly in ourselves. A gentle, sensitive novel that acknowledges our limitations but above all celebrates our immense capacity to love.’

And of course, we recommend The Wooden Camel!

This is what Empathy Lab has to say about why they recommend this book: ‘Everyone has dreams, and this story of a Turkana boy who longs to be a camel racer will resonate with children everywhere. Readers will empathise with the kind-hearted siblings desperate to find a way to make their youngest brother happy.’ 

Happy Empathy Day, everyone! We hope you enjoy these books as much as we do. 

 

Alice Curry is the *WINNER* of the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize 2017!

in: Cultural diversity

Representing Lantana and cheering Alice on were our co-director Caroline Godfrey and author and referee Tom Moorhouse

A huge congratulations to Alice Curry, our Founder and Publisher and fearless leader, for winning the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize! The judges called her a ‘great role model for future generations starting out in publishing’ and said she ‘stood out for her radical switch from academia to starting up a publishing business that puts her passion and knowledge to practical use’.

The Kim Scott Walwyn Prize celebrates the professional achievements of women of promise in the publishing industry. It is open to any woman who has worked in UK publishing for up to seven years. Alice was one of five inspirational women shortlisted for the award – all ‘forces of nature’ in publishing. These are: Amy Durant (Publishing Director, Endeavour Press), Candice Carty-Williams (Senior Marketing Executive, Vintage), Sarah Braybrooke (Managing Director, Scribe UK) and Zeljka Marosevic (Co-Publisher, Daunt Books Publishing).

Alice Curry with Mary Beard

Alice with Mary Beard who gave a fascinating speech about feminism in antiquity

Alice’s thoughts on winning the prize…

This is an incredible honour and – a day after the ceremony – it still hasn’t quite sunk in. Lantana is a tiny, independent publishing house with a mission to open up a space for diverse voices in children’s publishing and I’m so thrilled that this award signals a move in publishing towards its margins – a sign of a more inclusive and welcoming attitude towards young houses and towards those who aim to spot gaps and see opportunities and try to make change where change is needed.

I believe this award celebrates not just the achievements of individuals but a whole collective of people working together to make change in the industry. None of us would be where we are today without the support we constantly receive – from colleagues, family, friends – and it’s this support that allows women like me and the other shortlisted candidates to channel our vision and passion into businesses or imprints or campaigns with a heart and a social conscience.

Alice Curry Kim Scott Walwyn Prize

Kim Scott Walwyn’s parents, who proudly honour their daughter’s memory with this award

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my tiny team who are wonderful and who have backed me and my vision for Lantana from the start. I am also deeply grateful to Kim Scott Walwyn’s family and the judging panel for this incredible show of support and encouragement – it is a wonderful legacy and a real boost to the confidence of any woman starting out in this industry. My thanks also go to the sponsors of the prize – the Society of Young Publishers, National Book Tokens and the Publishing Training Centre – who offer much-needed financial support and formal training.

I want to acknowledge the other shortlistees – Amy, Candice, Sarah and Zeljka – who are all incredibly impressive women and will no doubt continue to achieve amazing things throughout their careers. And last but not least – to women in general, those often unsung heroes who contribute so invaluably to every business and every sector, just like Kim Scott Walwyn whose memory we honour with this prize.

Long may awards like this one inspire and encourage women – young or old – to take risks and dream big.’

WE ARE SO PROUD OF YOU, ALICE!

Katrina and the Lantana team