This last award was particularly special. As someone who as been committed to inclusion for over 20 years, it has been a real thrill to see Lulu shortlisted for a prize that is not about diversity. This may seem odd, but I strongly believe that all children should see someone like them in books and that this should be an ordinary, everyday thing. I believe that little girls (whether Black, Asian, disabled, or not) should not be in books in order to teach young readers about tolerance, racism or some other ‘issue’. I think Lulu has the right to be the star in her own story for no reason other than she’s wonderful! And what better reward for that, than to win an award for growing flowers!

Work is already complete on the second title about Lulu’s baby brother Zeki who is proving to be quite a character in his own right. And Lulu fans can look forward to following her as she adopts a rescue cat in 2017. I hope that the celebrations around our 10th birthday will help put Lulu and Alanna Books more securely on the map. We will continue to work in innovative ways with our international partners, and smarter and harder here in the UK – because we believe the books we publish are special – and far more important than cheese!

Books mentioned: Lulu Loves the Library, Anna McQuinn, ills Rosalind Beardshaw, 978-0-9551998-20 Lulu Loves Stories, Anna McQuinn, ills Rosalind Beardshaw, 978-1-907825-019 Lulu Reads to Zeki, Anna McQuinn, ills Rosalind Beardshaw, 978-1-907825-057 Lulu Loves Flowers, Anna McQuinn, ills Rosalind Beardshaw, 978-1-907825-125 Zeki Loves Baby Club, Anna McQuinn, ills Ruth Hearson, 978-1-907825-101 Little Frog, Jakob Martin Strid, 978-0-9551998-68 A Splendid Friend Indeed, Suzanne Bloom, 978-0-9551998-99 What Are You Playing At?, Marie-Sabine Roger & Anne Sud, 978-1-907825-026 My Friend Jamal, Anna McQuinn, ills Ben Frey, 978-0-9551998-13

Lulu knows 12 ways to improve your reading 3. read

1. choose some books 4. read

2. get them home 5. read

6. read 7. read 8. read 9. read 10. read 11. read 12. read

To celebrate ten years of publishing for children, Alanna Books have created this special poster featuring the wonderful Lulu to promote reading. Books for Keeps readers can download it for free. It forms the centre pages of this issue (pp16 – 17) and you can also find it here

Anna McQuinn, publisher with Alanna Books is also a children’s author. As well as the Lulu series, she has written books for Chicken House, Barefoot Books and O’Brien Press.

Books for Keeps No.218 May 2016 5

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