Skip to content

New books published

August 19, 2016

KATHARINE QUARMBY

It’s a bit unusual to have three publications out in one month (July), but very exciting – and they are all collaborations with lovely people.

The first two are picture books, co-written with the English Traveller, Richard O’Neill, and are published to coincide with Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month. Yokki and the Parno Gry, about a magic horse and its relationship with a Traveller family which has fallen on hard times, is a really lovely story and was great fun to work on with Richard, turning it, with his blessing from an oral story to a picture book. The other, Ossiri and the Bala Mengro, is a more comical story about a monster, and a girl from a Travelling background who yearns to be a musician.

Equally, it was an honour to contribute a chapter, ‘Becoming English’ to A Country of Refuge, edited by Lucy Popescu and published by Unbound this month. This was a book that celebrates the contributions that refugees have made to this country. I wrote about my mother and grandmother coming to the UK just after the war from what was then Yugoslavia.

The first picture books reviews are in:

“This is a window onto a different culture and a reminder to have faith in imagination.” Super review by Nicolette Jones in the The Times and The Sunday Times Children’s Books Summer Reading!

Historical Novel Society on Ossiri and the Bala Mengro: Marion Rose reviewed it, writing: “This is a picture book where everything has been thought about, from the patterned end papers to the glossary that explains the sprinkling of unfamiliar words. It is beautiful to look at, and wonderful to read aloud. I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who is old enough to meet an ogre.”

Elizabeth Hawksley reviewed Yokki for the Historical Novel Society thus: “I loved learning about the Travelling life, what everyone did, and how they coped. It’s also a story about the power of the imagination to rise above the bad times and look forward to a better future. Children of 4-9 should love it.”

https://historicalnovelsociety.org/reviews/ossiri-and-the-bala-mengro/embed/

Leeds Gate, a Traveller charity, reviewed the books, with 11 year old Jerry Hanrahan writing:

“My name is Jerry Hanrahan, I am 11. I went to primary school except for most of the last year.  I’m hoping to go to high school in September. I read the books in our training room at Leeds GATE with my brother Billy crawling and exploring around us!

I read Parno Gry, it was quite easy for me to read, and I liked the story.  My favourite character was Yokki cos he told stories.  The worst bit was when Aunty couldn’t sell her flowers, I felt really disappointed for her.  The pictures were good.  I read half the other book, Ossiri and the Bala Mengro, but then my brother was making a lot of noise so Helen read through the rest.

I think these books would be best for children a little bit younger than me, say about nine.  I liked the stories being about Travellers and what was in the pictures. I think they should write more books. Thumbs up!”

http://leedsgate.co.uk/yokki-and-parno-gry-and-ossiri-and-bala-mengro-new-books-children-reviewed-jerry-hanrahan

illustration Marieke Nelissen

“A traditional Romani folk tale brought to stunning life… hugely original story introducing characters and stories from other cultures in an engaging and delightful way.” ReadItDaddy

Over at the Travellers Times, a magazine for the Roma, Romani and Traveller community, the books were reviewed thus: “This book, Ossiri and the Bala Mengro was a fantastic read, all though it is mostly suited to younger children as there are a lot of pictures. The illustrations are colourful, entertaining and show what is happening in each part of the story well….Yokki and the Parno Gry…made me feel hopeful towards the future. ‘Yokki and the Parno Gry’ is a wonderful tale of what a child’s hope and imagination can bring to a family, it’s just an added bonus that it’s about the Gypsy and Traveller community.

http://travellerstimes.org.uk/Blogs–Features/Richard-ONeils-Gypsy-Traveller-stories-book.aspx

cover.jpg.rendition.460.707

Samantha Ellis also reviewed A Country of Refuge for
The Times Literary Supplement:

“Lucy Popescu’s A Country of Refuge is a collection of both fiction and non-fiction about refugees. A moving essay by Joan Smith about Anne Frank’s father’s attempts to seek asylum, comparing it to the story of Aylan (Alan) Kurdi, a victim of “the same depressingly bureaucratic response to refugees fleeing fascist regimes”, proves that empathy is not the preserve of fiction. Not every contribution earns its place. An excerpt from Rose Tremain’s story “The Beauty of the Dawn Shift” is not nearly as powerful as the whole original. It is also a little unclear why two pieces (neither new) by William Boyd about Ken Saro-Wiwa have been included, since Saro-Wiwa was never a refugee. But this book is full of powerful writing. Many of the best contributions come from writers who are refugees,
or second-generation refugees, themselves. Hassan Abdulrazzak describes an encounter with an RSPCA inspector who refuses to allow his Iraqi family a dog, and his realization that “it was going to be a long, hard struggle to learn all the rules of my new homeland”; Katharine Quarmby tenderly describes her mother’s induction into the mysteries of The Archers.”

http://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/as-if-there-never-had-been-stories/

Advertisements
2 Comments leave one →
  1. odetteelliott6 permalink
    August 20, 2016 1:52 pm

    Congratulations Katharine on broadening our horizons with these lovely stories.

  2. judy cumberbatch permalink
    August 22, 2016 7:30 am

    Beautiful illustrations, wonderful writing. Everything you need in a picture book. Congratulations Katharine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: