Friday, 2 November 2018


Since the London Marathon started in 1981, thousands of competitors have taken part. Going for a run is as much about your mind forcing your body out the door as it is about physical fitness. Overcoming these psychological barriers can make a difference between finishing the event or not.

Philippa Cates is no stranger to the mental and physical challenges of running, and has written a book about this wonderfully exhausting pastime. The Marathon celebrates this fantastic achievement, but also highlights in a comedic way the potential pitfalls of taking part. 
Philippa feels that runners can become very single-minded during their training, even turning down social events because "I've got a long run in the morning." But sometimes temptation can get in the way. She says: “A couple of years ago, I was given one of the comedy grown-up I-Spy books and I thought that I could apply this humour to marathon running. So, while I was training for the Virgin London Marathon in 2017, and struggling to keep myself going, I thought: what if a runner was presented with a number of temptations along the way. How would they overcome them?”
Philippa was emboldened to continue when she misplaced her MP3 player. She continues: “I was bereft! Often music can be a lifeline to a marathon runner, so for a while I felt like a boat without a paddle, and then I realised that the silence was a golden opportunity. That's when I started drafting The Marathon in my head." 
The Marathon is a cheeky, but family-friendly satirical short rhyming story accompanied by playful illustrations from the hugely talented artist come Jack Sparrow impersonator, Terry Cooper. The story follows our hero, Runner, as he takes on the gruelling business of training for and running a marathon. Not a natural athlete, and with a weakness for cake and socialising, Runner faces many distractions along the way. But will he complete his challenge? 
The book has been endorsed by Leanne Davies, founder of Run Mummy Run. She says: "This book is great fun! It is what training for a marathon is really like. The Marathon strikes a chord with the Run Mummy Run community."
Echoing the spirit of some of the most popular twenty-first century children’s picture books, this satirical spoof book is a clever hybrid between adult and children's book, and you don't need to be a runner to enjoy it. It’s a fun book for all the family with a slight anarchic twist.
The Marathon is available to purchase now at or via Philippa's website at

Sunday, 28 October 2018


Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce the release of God Bless Hooky Street, a comprehensive companion to the beloved TV series Only Fools and Horses. 

Only Fools and Horses is a national institution. From ‘Don’t be a plonker!’ to Del Boy falling through the bar, the rickety Reliant Regal to the smashing chandelier, its characters, storylines and sayings have entered the national culture in a way few sitcoms can claim. For good reason was it voted Britain’s favourite comedy in 2004, and the four Christmas specials and two spin offs that have followed in the years since its main series concluded are testament to its enduring popularity. 
Next up is the West End, with a musical due in 2019.
So, almost forty years after it first appeared on screen, it seems that there’s still life in the old dog yet. But what’s behind the show’s longevity? Just why is it such a classic? For the good of the British public, two men have taken it upon themselves to answer these questions, to return through the archives and pick apart this iconic show, episode by episode, special by special. It's a tough job, but somebody had to do it. And going the extra mile, and truly entering into the spirit of the series, they have decided to tackle this most nightmarish of tasks in that other great British institution – the pub! The premise is simple: discuss the show in minute, fan-boy detail, in a different pub for every series and special. These discussions are transcribed verbatim, capturing the easy flow of their conversation as they do what they do best — drink and discuss all things New York, Paris and Peckham.

But who are these mysterious men? None other than Grant Bull and Richard Colleran, a pair of ordinary blokes who’ve been fans of the show since day one. In witty, irreverent repartee, they cover the series from 1981 to its final special in 2003, discussing the hilarious pratfalls, poignant moments, and all the trivia and special touches that make the series so beloved.

As Grant says: “I’ve watched enough Only Fools and Horses to write a thesis; Richard has too. But we didn’t think an essay format would suit the feel of the show. A lot of its appeal resides in Rodney and Del Boy’s banter. Everyone’s local has a Del, someone with the chat, the charm, the dreams and the schemes. The pub helped us keep things snappy, chatty, sometimes a little bit sozzled, but most of all sincere.’

Richard adds: “This book has been three years in the making. Three years of us sitting down together and watching all sixty-four episodes of both our, and most might say, the nation’s favourite television show. Three years of analysing every minute detail, and discussing every thought we’ve ever had about the show. We would talk about how we related to the characters, we would quote the scenes we loved, we would dissect how the show changed from a political observation on Britain in the 1980s  to a ‘scam of the week’ sitcom to almost a comedy drama, but there was something else we recognised when we would talk about it. Unlike some other shows, we realised that this was a show we enjoyed watching with our families, both now and when we were children.”

Sure to delight aficionados, and an accessible guide for fans new to the show, God Bless Hooky Street’s boozy, matey back and fore, leavened with the occasional five-pints deep sentimentality, is a true match for the tone of the show. 
Genuinely informative, comprehensive, and hilarious in its own right, God Bless Hooky Street is destined to become the classic companion to this most classic of series.
God Bless Hooky Street is released on 22nd November 2018.

Friday, 19 October 2018


A North East based author of children’s literature is a finalist in the prestigious 2018 People’s Book Prize for The Book Spy. Mark Carton, from Newcastle, has been nominated as a finalist after 4 months of national public voting.

Also, London-based author Molly Arbuthnott has been nominated as a finalist for the 2018 People’s Book Prize for her heart-warming children’s book Oscar the Ferry Cat. 

The People’s Book Prize is the only national literature award decided upon entirely by the general public, therefore carries the additional credibility of being selected by the book’s own readers. The Children’s Literature Award has had several significant previous winners, including best-selling children’s author and TV presenter David Walliams for his first book Mr Stink; therefore making it a major stepping stone for first-time and emerging authors.

The Book Spy is Mark Carton’s second novel, and is a series of short stories spanning 80 years. It tells the tale of a secret children’s network of spies called the ‘Children’s Reading Intelligence Agency’ or ‘CRIA’. The Book Spies originated in World War II, set in Bletchley Park, with other stories taking place across the world – each featuring children from different generations. The stories recount the missions of children who are enlisted to join the CRIA and how they shaped world events, encouraging many children to engage in and enjoy reading.

Oscar the Ferry Cat was inspired by Molly Arbuthnott’s own family cat going missing in April 2014. The curious cat managed to open a car window by stepping on the control before the lock took full effect. The family returned to their car in Oban to find paw prints on the bonnet, but no cat. Beautifully illustrated by Agnes Treherne, young readers love following Oscar’s adventures.
The People’s Book Prize is a national competition, so The Book Spy and Oscar the Ferry Cat faced stiff competition with hundreds of titles nominated nationally this year by their publishers – as well as a long-list of 20 children’s books being put to the public vote.

Commenting on the finalist nomination for the award Mark Carton said: ‘I was delighted to get the initial nomination and having spent the early part of this year touring almost 40 schools in the North East with a ‘Book Spy Roadshow’, it was a real thrill to find out that I have been shortlisted as a finalist. The school visits showed the passion young people have for literature and great stories, and the purpose of The Book Spy is to encourage young people to share their love of reading. The school visits were wonderful, as the reception in every school was overwhelming.’

The Book Spy was published by Candy Jar Books, and head of publishing Shaun Russell commented: ‘Mark had a real passion for this story and the idea of the Children’s Reading Intelligence Agency was genius, as children love the idea of becoming spies in their own secret network. The book is a great read for 8-12 year olds and is a worthy finalist in these outstanding book awards. Everyone at Candy Jar is very proud of Mark and The Book Spy.’ The Book Spy has its own dedicated website and Mark Carton has his own author site which features his other work and his availability for author sessions.

Molly Arbuthnott is a primary school teacher from London. She has always loved writing and is thrilled to have been nominated as a finalist for The People’s Book Prize for her book Oscar the Ferry Cat. Agnes Treherne is a Sussex based illustrator who studied fine art at the University of Edinburgh, and provided the enchanting artwork to accompany Oscar’s story. Oscar the Ferry Cat has his very own website . The story immortalizes the author’s beloved cat Oscar who was sadly never found. It follows his experiences as he navigates coming to terms with loss and forging new friendships. Proudly published by Jelly Bean Self-Publishing, this book appeals to children aged 5 – 8 years as it explores Oscar’s new living situation as he searches for his home.

On discovering her position as a finalist, Molly stated: ‘They say if you find a job you love you will not do a day’s work in your life. Every day for the last 6 months has felt like a holiday! It has been very humbling to witness the warm reception Oscar has received. I hope he will continue to touch the hearts of children – he’s against stiff competition but where there’s a will (and a cat!) there’s a way!’  

The People’s Book Prize winner will be announced in May 2019 following a further public vote, at the Stationers Hall in London, with patron of the foundation Frederick Forsyth CBE presenting the awards.

Sunday, 9 September 2018


Candy Jar Books is proud to announce a new chapter in the adventures of Lethbridge-Stewart, Anne Travers, Bill Bishop and the men and women of the Fifth Operational Corps!

Beginning at the end of August 2018, the Lethbridge-Stewart range returns with a six-book series celebrating fifty years of the Brigadier. And with it comes a brand-new look for the range.

The new design was the brain child of head of publishing Shaun Russell and Will Brooks, known for his work on Titan Comics’ Doctor Who range, as well merchandise for the latest series of Doctor Who. Shaun says: “Andy (Frankham-Allen, range editor) and I have been discussing rebranding the books for some time now, and it seemed the anniversary range was the perfect time. New cover design, new logo, and I knew just the man for the job. We had worked with Will previously. His covers for Philip Martin’s Gangsters and Peter George’s Pattern of Death were outstanding, and we knew he would create the right look for us. And he didn’t disappoint!”

The artwork for Scary Monsters is by Lethbridge-Stewart artist Richard Young. He says: “This is my ninth cover for the Lethbridge-Stewart books, but the first one I've done as the lead book, so the stakes were raised for this. It's also the first cover to feature the Brig. I'd been pushing to feature him on a cover for years, and with this being the fiftieth anniversary of the character it felt like the time was right.”

Andy Frankham-Allen explains the umbrella-title, The Laughing Gnome. “We took our cue from Life on Mars and its sequel series, Ashes to Ashes, and opted for another David Bowie title for our very first time travel series of books. But we didn’t want it just be a title – we decided that we’d make the Laughing Gnome an integral part of the story, the catalyst for our heroes’ adventures in time. I don’t wish to give away the conceit of the series, but the basic premise is thus: Sir Alistair is nearing the end of his life and has just buried another old friend. Feeling out of sorts, he is somewhat surprised to find himself in 1981. Some mysterious force has pulled him backwards in time, into his own past, an adventure he has only vague memories of! As the series progresses we discover that both Anne Travers and her husband, and popular series regular, Bill Bishop, have also been dragged through time. But why? What, or who, is behind it?”

The first book in the series, Scary Monsters, is by Simon A Forward, who penned the 2016 Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Blood of Atlantis.

Simon says: “To be asked once to write for the Lethbridge-Stewart range is fortunate. To be asked twice seems like - what are they thinking? Letting me loose to play with these favourite characters again. Madness. Initially, I thought, well okay, but only if the right idea struck. And the next day the right idea struck me. To make life more challenging, this time it was more than merely contributing to a range. For the Brigadier's big anniversary year, Candy Jar outlined an ambitious arc to frame these adventures.”

Not only is it the first of the series, but if forms something of a sequel to Blood of Atlantis, with the return of popular character Grigoriy Bugayev and Señora Sophia Montilla. But Simon is keen to stress there’s more to it than that: “This is more than your average jaunt down memory lane and it's about much more than introspection and reflection.
My book sees the Brigadier and friends confronting terrorism in an international thriller that, while rooted in the past - and in the Doctor Who universe - should carry some resonance in the 21st century. And not just for the Brigadier.”

1981: London, a bomb detonates in a London pub and Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart is among the injured. Moscow, a hijacked plane sits on the airport runway and Major Grigoriy Bugayev leads the assault against the six gunmen holding the passengers hostage.

These are the triggers that set the two military men on an international manhunt. Their investigations converge and uncover a group of terrorists whose roots reach back to sinister Cold War experiments, and something that was unearthed in ancient ruins in the New Mexico desert by one Sophia Montilla… and Anne Travers.

Terror is a contagion. It means to spread. And humanity is set on doing everything in its power to help it…


The Laughing Gnome: Scary Monsters is available for pre-order now for £8.99 (+ p&p). The book is released at the end of August.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Carry On Star Angela Douglas Releases Debut Novel

Award-winning independent publisher Candy Jar Books is delighted to announce the upcoming publication of the debut novel by Carry On actress, Angela Douglas.

Josephine: An Open Book is a powerful and compelling story of a young woman’s journey to stardom and the trials and tribulations of showbusiness and celebrity. Set against the backdrop of London’s 1960s, her paths cross with the likes of Kirk Douglas, Steve McQueen Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Neil Armstrong.

Though a work of fiction, the novel draws extensively on Angela Douglas’ own experiences, weaving a story which is at its very heart, universal in its themes: love, loss, the breakdown of a marriage and the decline of health. Josephine is ultimately an uplifting memoir of determination and conviction in the face of adversity, and is sure to resonate with the reader.
Angela Douglas is best known as an actress and for her roles in the iconic Carry On feature film series. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s she made numerous appearances in theatre, film and television, including the iconic series: The Avengers, The Saint, Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, Doctor Who, Holby City and Coronation Street.

In 1962 she met the British movie icon, Kenneth
More. They fell in love and married in 1968, remaining together until More’s death in 1982.
In 1988 she met acclaimed director and playwright, Bill Bryden. They married in 2009.
Josephine is Angela’s first work of fiction, having already worked as a journalist and author, writing two non-fiction titles, including her autobiography Swings and Roundabouts, which received great praise from audience and critics alike.
Angela in Carry On Cowboy
As Angela put it herself, Josephine’s life is set in a world she knows well:
“I have described Josephine as ‘made up truth’. Many of the characters with whom Josephine meets are famous names because they are lifted from real-life experiences of my own. Josephine and I share many things, but there are also many differences... She is very much her own woman, and she finds herself in a lot of scrapes and circumstances, which I luckily did not. Josephine is an ambitious, fiercely independent bundle of energy who never settles for less than she deserves. As her father says: “when she was little she tried to ride the rainbow. Her ambition was up high….her reality was at times down there.”
What parts of Josephine’s life are based on truth and what are a work of fiction? That’s what you’ll have to determine for yourself…”
Candy Jar’s Head of Publishing, Shaun Russell, explains the book’s rare appeal:
Josephine has so much for a reader to enjoy. There’s the genuine insight into life of an aspiring young actress, struggling for expression and self-fulfilment in an industry often more interested in exploiting such ambition; a timely theme if there ever was one, and based on life. And most of all, an emotionally honest, compelling, and moving central story. That’s at the heart of everything: Josephine herself, a strong, vivacious woman won’t settle for the life she’s been given, but instead shoots for the moon. Does she make it? You will have to find out…”

Friday, 13 July 2018


Obvious Photoshopped image of Sean Alexander
Candy Jar Books is pleased to announce the winner of the Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Competition. The winning story, Boys Don’t Cry, is written by Sean Alexander from Holyhead, north Wales.

Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, says: “Sean has written a touching and heartfelt short story. His take on the Brig was unique amongst the entries. His story is set at Brendon School where the Brig has to uncover the truth about an awful tragedy.

Andy Frankham-Allen, range editor of the Lethbridge-Stewart series of books, agrees: “Boy’s Don’t Cry is a wonderful little tale of life in Brendon, and we picked it because it showed a great understanding of the Brigadier, as well as the author displaying a knack for writing great prose. Add to that, the setting is one we’ve wanted to further explore in the main range, so as part of the winning prize, I’ll be working with Sean Alexander on developing another tale of Brendon School which will serve as a back-door pilot for a possible new range of novellas.”

Sean Alexander says: "In true Doctor Who producer style, I'm surprised and delighted to be chosen as the winner of Candy Jar's short story competition! Opportunities like this are few and far between, so my heartfelt thanks to Shaun and Andy for selecting me. I look forward to our collaboration on a brand new Lethbridge-Stewart novella later in the year. Splendid fellows, both of them!"

The book also features eight other exclusive short stories featuring Lethbridge-Stewart at various stages in his life. This is a chance for fans to see the Brigadier like they’ve never seen him before!

The eight stories are:
The Stranger Paradox by Thomas Firth
Soldier in Time by Martin Gregory
Burning Daylight by Paul Chase
The Brigadier Rides Again by Ross Hastings
In Machina Exspiravit by Anthony Robertson
Special Responsibility by Gary Tinnams
Shadows in the Glen by Richard Brewer
The Man with the Red Case by Matthew Ball

The idea for the Lethbridge-Stewart Short Story Competition came from the company’s commitment to shedding light on fresh writing talent. Since 2015 the Lethbridge-Stewart novels have championed previously unknown authors such as Jonathan Macho and Gareth Madgwick, alongside famous writing names in the Doctor Who universe including John Peel, Nick Walters, Simon A Forward and David A McIntee.

All royalties from each book will be donated the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff. Shaun, who received chemotherapy treatment at the centre, says: “In 2015 I was diagnosed with bowel cancer, just as we were launching the first Lethbridge-Stewart series. As you can imagine, undergoing six months of treatment was physically and emotionally draining. If it wasn’t for the support of the centre I wouldn’t have got through this difficult time. This is my way of giving something back.”

Tuesday, 10 July 2018


Candy Jar is delighted to announce a new addition to their team. Keren Williams joins the company in a newly created role: Children’s Digital Assistant.

In this capacity, Keren will be combining editorial, marketing and administrative responsibilities in relation to Candy Jar’s ever-expanding roster of children’s literature, as well as assisting in the expansion of the company’s self-publishing imprint, Jelly Bean. She brings to the role a lifelong passion for children’s literature, with her two favourite children’s novels being J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Candy Jar’s head of publishing, Shaun Russell, explains about Keren’s new position:

‘Keren joined us for a work experience placement while completing her master’s degree. We were struck by her energy and enthusiasm, as well as her insightful comments, particularly in regards to one our new children’s titles, The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: Curse of the Mirror Clowns. For those who don’t know, this is a children’s spin off of our Lethbridge-Stewart range, and not only did Keren improve the book editorially, but tasked with marketing it, she managed to introduce the book to a swathe of new reviewers and readers. That was when we realized she had the insight, practicality and creativity we needed to push our children’s range to new levels.’

With a range of recently and soon-to-be released children’s titles, including Lost in Christmas (by Hollywood institution Michael Sloan) and The Bonkers Book of Jobs (an irreverent look at the weird and wacky world of work), Keren is sure to have her hands full right away. But it is a challenge she is relishing:

‘The best thing about indie publishing is you get to pitch in on all sides of things – everyday is a new challenge, which keeps things interesting. Candy Jar, I mean we have got a lot of fun stuff in the pipeline, and I can’t wait to get stuck in.’

Candy Jar Books is an award-winning independent publisher based in Cardiff, south Wales. It’s partner imprint, Jelly Bean Self-Publishing, is a quickly expanding player in the booming UK self-publishing market.

Monday, 18 June 2018



Newcastle-based author, Mark Carton, has written a book to address the lower levels of literacy amongst young people. The Book Spy tells the remarkable story of the greatest spy network of all time, The Children’s Reading Intelligence Agency – a fictional organisation created to protect stories from all around the world.

Former Radio 1 Roadshow events manager, Mark, has invented an authentic back-story to encourage children, especially boys, to reach for a book. From the early 1940s at Bletchley Park to modern day south Wales, The Book Spy highlights the crucial work done by CRIA operatives. This is not MI5 or the CIA, but a network of children discovering important books from around the globe, and bringing them back to the United Kingdom. The book reveals how Book Spies helped to defeat the Nazis during World War II, saved an endangered species, and foiled an evil genius’ secret plot.
Mark says: “I wanted to create something that would fuel the imaginations of children and encourage them to read by introducing the prospect of becoming a real-life Book Spy.”
The Book Spy, which has been shortlisted in the People’s Book Prize, proudly teaches children about the most powerful weapons in life, books. Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar Books, says: “Mark has written a variety of stories for us at Candy Jar Books, including a Doctor Who spin-off story Lethbridge-Stewart: 48 Crash. We truly believe that his Book Spy concept, which encourages children to read, has the potential to be used by every school in the country.”

According to information provided by The Reading Agency analysis shows that in England 16 to 24 year olds have lower levels of literacy than young people in 21 out of 24 countries in the OECD. Literacy levels are higher in Japan, Estonia, Czech Republic and the USA.
Research also shows that reading for pleasure can reduce the symptoms of depression, build empathy and help us build relationships with others. Mark continues: “I feel that reading can also create a shared comradeship and our website has been designed to reflect this.”
Unlike other children’s book review websites The Book Spy actively encourages children to write (or record) their own reviews, upload them and share with their peers.
The Book Spy is published by Candy Jar Books, and priced at £6.99, it is available from, Amazon and all good retailers.#


Careers advice. We’ve all had it (if our schools were obeying the law, anyway) and it’s probably fair to say that for many of us it was a waste of time. Whether it’s the crossing off of nine tenths of our ambitions; the oh-so-encouraging ‘I’m not sure this is for you’; or the one-size-fits-all ‘have you considered teaching?’ almost everyone has their own story of the shoddy guidance we received for one of the most important decisions we ever have to make.

The work we decide to pursue influences pretty much every other aspect of our lives: where we live, the people we meet, our daily routine.  If we’re lucky enough to find our vocation, our job might even become our single most defining feature. And yet we make most of the decisions that influence our future careers at ages when we’ve barely begun to understand who we are. The things we value at sixteen, eighteen or twenty-one generally appear frivolous when we are faced with the reality of mortgage repayments, school catchment areas, and commuting distances.

It is perhaps this question – who am I? – that a child should most ponder when considering their future career. Once we know who we are, we can better consider who we would like to be. Taking this approach, careers guidance is participatory and individual, leading the young subject to a deeper understanding of their priorities – what they want from work, rather than what work will want from them.

These are the findings of Mark Wilkinson and John Ambrose, both of them renowned academics in the field of careers education and guidance. And having dedicated their professional lives to improving the provision of careers advice in the UK, they have now decided to take the question directly to children, with their debut book, The Bonkers Book of Jobs.

The book is aimed at children at Key Stage 2 and 3 – the stages where the provision of careers advice provision becomes a legal necessity for any school. Its premise is simple: thirty six different careers are detailed, with information of the general responsibilities, salary, levels of demand and entry requirements. The careers are split into six categories: weird, scary, cool, disgusting, delicious and stupid (it should be noted that, for Mark and John, strongly influenced by the irreverent style of the classic Horrible Histories series, stupid is very much a compliment). At the end of each job’s section, there is a brief quiz on the reader’s thoughts; these lead to a further interactive quiz at the end of each category; and at the end of the book is the final quiz, which draws on all the reader’s previous answers in order to provide them with a personal psychometric profile.

This profile is then tied back to the various paths identified earlier in the book, and their particular suitability depending on the reader’s own personality. But rather than dictating certain paths, Mark and John are careful to avoid prescriptivism; instead, the reader is encouraged to consider a job in relation to how they think and feel.

As Mark explains: ‘There’s reams and reams of research out there demonstrating that a child learns much better if they are enthused and engaged. The same is true for careers advice. Because, ultimately, a career is a choice. And if we are engaged with our decision-making processes, then ultimately we make more considered – better – choices. At the same time, what you never want to do – whether in education or careers guidance – is intimidate a child. Ultimately, a child knows that at, say, fourteen, they don’t have to make a career choice right now, and if you try to pressure them into it, they’ll simply disengage altogether. But if you say to a child, well, you like sport, you like the outdoors, you’re an extrovert, did you know you can, say, travel the world teaching golf? Or become a walking guide, and be out in all these picturesque places all day? Suddenly you’ll find them taking an interest. Because you’re tacking an interest in them, in what they like, in what they want.’

Like the Horrible Histories series, the book maintains this sense of fun through lively, jokey writing, and zany illustrations throughout. It revels in the unexpected, bizarre, even the icky elements of the job it describes. With a new strategy for schools’ career guidance provision coming into effect in 2013, school are now required to provide access to ‘useful information about career paths and the labour market to inform their own decisions’. The Bonkers Book of Jobs has been reviewed as fulfilling these requirements, but it is unlikely that many other classroom resources will feature such detail on the day to day of ‘portable toilet service deliver’; but perhaps they should, considering that, as the book explains, this particular industry has sixty years of unbroken growth.

It is this combination of fact and frivolity which makes The Bonkers Book of Jobs so effective. By engaging with its young readers, by entertaining them, most of all, by listening to them, it will serve as not only an indispensible aide to parents and beleaguered careers advisors everywhere, but a go to read for children too.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

The Norris Girls Short Film

We love The Norris Girls at Candy Jar! So much that we produced a short film to celebrate its strong female characters. Check it out! And then please buy the book


Candy Jar Books is releasing a series of six titles to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Brigadier. The first five fall under the banner of The Laughing Gnome, and follows Sir Alistair, Brigadier Bill Bishop and Dame Anne as they adventure through time, visiting the 1930s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the 2010s! These are followed by a novel that takes the readers right back to the start of the Brigadier’s journey and reveals the decision that changed his life forever!

The Laughing Gnome consists of Scary Monsters by Simon A Forward, The Fear of Web by Alyson Leeds, The Danger Men by Nick Walters, Day of the Matador by Robert Mammone, and Lucy Wilson and the Bledoe Cadets by Tim Gambrell. These are followed by On His Majesty’s National Service by David A McIntee & Dr Lynette Nusbacher.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018


Somerset-based poet Cherry Cobb shows off her wild and vivid imagination with the release of her debut children’s novel.

As a former lecturer, Cherry appreciates the importance of children’s literature, and is very aware of the vitality of the topic of World War II in schools across the country. She said: “The idea for Will’s War came to me after I visited a ghost village, which was evacuated in 1943. The trip got me comparing life now to what it must have been like back then. As a major topic in schools, I decided to write a story containing these time periods to help children gain a larger understanding on the subject.”

Will’s War shows life from the perspective of eleven-year-old Will during the twenty-first century. The book addresses life for a child in a single parent family, and the emotional devastation that occurs when a parent decides to leave. The story also represents common feelings of loneliness and ‘not fitting in’. This life is compared to the plight of World War II, where millions of children were evacuated in Britain, bringing together all sorts of people who would not have otherwise met, in the struggle for safety.

Will is an ordinary child, who enjoys playing with Lego and his dog Rollo. Will’s War explores the differences between the two time periods by placing a modern day child into the chaos of the 1940s. Will experiences a situation that is far more devastating than his own. With absent fathers fighting in the war and children separated from their families to live with complete strangers, Will comes to regret his stupid row with his mum and misses his future world. 

Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said: “If your child is learning about World War II, this is a book worth getting. It shows the past in a way that children can really engage with. It’s informative in a fun way.”

A cross between Back to the Future and The Railway Children, this book takes you back to a time of fear and devastation. A time that is difficult to imagine in today’s society. Will’s War brings the past to life, whilst introducing relatable issues for the kids of today. Will discovers both friendship and himself along the way, but can he discover how to get home? Join Will as he fights in his own war to return home.

Will’s War is published by Candy Jar Books, price £7.99. It is available from


What will life look like for our children after Brexit? Is intolerance becoming a norm in today’s society? A Cardiff-based writer feels that that the time is right for the public to engage in this conversation. She has written a picture book to highlight these issues.

Author and mum Michelle Freke believes that ordinary families should encourage young people to embrace differences. She says: “In recent times the media has highlighted growing intolerance in our society. Take for instance the recent Windrush scandal, or the rising rates of racial harassment. Our kids pick up on this atmosphere. We cannot rely solely on schools to instil tolerance in our children. Equality and tolerance must start in the home during a child’s formative years.”

Accordingly, drawing on her BA in Early Years Education and her experience writing five previous books, Michelle came up with JJ and Cass, a heart-warming children’s picture book starring her own children. JJ and Cass are two mixed-race siblings, opposite genders and with ten years between them. But despite their differences, they really have so much in common. Michelle believes that it is important to embrace our differences, so our similarities will shine through.

Michelle continues: “I thought my children would be nothing alike. One would be at tots’ group while the other was in the cinema. I would have parent teacher consultation and baby vaccinations within the same hour. But as the little one grew, I began to notice occasions when she would do something just like her brother at that age. I thought that this just went to show: even as we grow into individuals, there’s still so much we have in common, that binds us together.”

So, as the United Kingdom moves away from Europe, Michelle hopes that books such as hers will reaffirm a common belief in tolerance. In writing JJ and Cass, Michelle also remembered her cousins when they were children. She says: “They were two little boys. One would always belittle the other for liking 'girly' things, whereas he liked rugby. I realised that there were so many ways that societal intolerance registers in our children’s behaviour. I knew then that I wouldn’t be alone in striving to teach my children that difference isn’t wrong, or frightening, or weird – difference is beautiful.”

Proud of her Welsh heritage, Michelle is publishing her book through Cardiff-based Jelly Bean Self-Publishing, an imprint of Candy Jar Books. As JJ and Cass becomes available in various bookstores in south Wales this summer, she will take her story on the road, with a promotional tour across the UK. 

Candy Jar’s head of publishing, Shaun Russell, endorses Michelle’s endeavours: “We like to think of ourselves as a conscientious publisher, reflecting the good that books can do for people, as well as society as a whole. We think Michelle’s message is a very timely one, and we’re proud to have her self-publishing with us.”

Featuring full-page illustrations by Patrick Coombes, JJ and Cass is sure to enthral and entertain its young readers, even as it educates them. It is destined to become a go to resource for parents across the country.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is set to reunite with her legendary father!

Candy Jar Books is very pleased to announce a new addition to the forthcoming 'Lineage' anthology. Fully approved by Reeltime Pictures, Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is set to reunite with her legendary father!

The story is called Of the Future and is written by range editor Andy Frankham-Allen.

"It's a great to finally make this happen. Keith, Marc and I have been in discussion for a while now about bringing Kate into the LSverse, and what initially began as a cameo in another Lineage story, has evolved into something much bigger. Of the Future is just the start, and takes us right back to the moment that tore Kate and her father apart, setting up the situation we found them in, in Marc Platt's Downtime. Marc, who created Kate for Downtime in 1995, with Mervyn Haisman's approval, is very happy with the story I've put together, which is good enough for me."

Lineage is due out in the summer, but can be pre-ordered now:

Lineage line-up:

  • Prologue: The Soothsayer by Richard Dinnick
  • The Bone Merchants by Andrew Allen
  • As the Son Falls by Wink Taylor
  • What's Past is Prologue by David A McIntee
  • The War Romance by Harry Draper
  • The Note by Andy Frankham-Allen
  • Inheritance by Gareth Madgwick
  • Of the Future by Andy Frankham-Allen
  • Acceptance, and then Understanding by Andy Frankham-Allen
  • The Arcade of Doom by Chris Lynch
  • Epilogue: The Soothsayer by Richard Dinnick