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The Lion Above the Door
The Lion Above the Door

BOOK OF THE MONTH - From Onjali Q. Rauf, the award-winning author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, comes an incredible story about missing histories and the concept of a universal family, told with humour and heart.

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Guest Blog with Felicity Alexander

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The excitement of new books never gets old for us here at Toppsta! And so, when we hear about new publishing imprints launching that are searching for undiscovered authors and illustrators, we want to hear all about them.

We asked Associate Publisher Felicity Alexander to tell us all about her latest project - new imprint Welbeck Flame, which launches this autumn. 

In her guest blog, she tells us what it's like to be a publisher, her plans for Welbeck Flame, and fills us in about the first book on her list The Boy Behind The Wall which is already proving popular with our readers.

 "‘The Boy Behind The Wall’ is by far one of the best books I've read... exceptionally good and it deserves a 5/5"
Diamond1, aged 12

"It was adventurous and scary and it felt like a spy film at times. I'm so glad I stuck with it because it ended up being my favourite book!"
Calebj10, aged 10

"This book kept me on the edge of my seat... I liked the twist that the story took and ended very differently to what I thought it would."
Rhiannon, secondary school pupil

"It contains friendship, action, danger, and spy tactics, which is really cool.  We were reading this book as a group, but I asked if I could read it over the weekend because I really needed to know what was going to happen."
Leia, secondary school pupil

"I would recommend this book to all my friends."
Leo, secondary school pupil

"there was never a dull moment and it was really tense, especially when the plot went a different way to what I was expecting!"
MissDetective, aged 17

Read on to find out more from Felicity.

Toppsta
2021-09-24
Guest Blog with Felicity Alexander

guest blog from felicity alexander

Hello! I’m Felicity Alexander and I’m the Associate Publisher of the new children’s imprint, Welbeck Flame, which launches this autumn. 

It’s been amazing to have the chance to create something brand-new and to search for talented authors and illustrators. I’ve always loved books. When I was little, we moved house a few times – and the first thing I unpacked was always my books. I loved putting them in order according to author and genre and felt most at home once that was done. My absolute favourites were A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett and Back Home by Michelle Magorian. 

I am now ‘grown-up’ with a toddler of my own, but in many ways my tastes haven’t changed. I still love realism with a touch of magic and memorable young characters that are easy to identify with. 

My job at Welbeck Flame is to scour the globe, looking for books that I think children (and adults) will enjoy – and will stand the test of time. The best children’s books can be read again and again, by different generations – and who knows, they might even outlive us all!

I’m really proud of the brilliant books we’ll be publishing in the coming year. We have Isla Fisher’s first picture book about a movie star dog, as well as fiction ranging from a trip aboard the doomed Titanic to a magical series set in a village that divides our world from Faerie.

Toppsta
2021-09-24
Guest Blog with Felicity Alexander

And this October, we publish our very first title, which is called The Boy Behind The Wall

It’s a page-turning thriller about two boys, Harry and Jakob, who live either side of the Berlin Wall and become friends when Harry sends a helium balloon over the wall with a postcard attached. It’s for readers aged 11+ - and has cliffhangers at every corner. 

Toppsta
2021-09-24
Guest Blog with Felicity Alexander
Book pages Placeholder Book

The Boy Behind The Wall

A page-turning thriller for 11+ readers set on either side of the Berlin Wall, perfect for fans of Alex Rider and CHERUB.

What would you risk for a friend you've never met . . . ?

In 1960s Berlin the Wall is everywhere. It cuts through streets, parks, even houses. Teenagers Harry and Jakob live either side of the divide.

In West Berlin, American Harry witnesses the brutal shooting of a boy trying to escape over the Wall into the West, and decides to emulate his comic book heroes and help those in the East however he can.

On the other side in East Berlin, Jakob is the adopted son of a high up Stasi officer, feeling suffocated by the rules of a strictly regimented society and desperate to find his real family.

When Jakob finds a message that Harry has sent over the Wall, he grasps the opportunity. The boys begin a secret friendship, evading the authorities using lemon juice as invisible ink to share hidden messages.

They soon realise that a bold plot to carve a tunnel under the wall is the only way out for Jakob - and it's time to put their friendship to the test. Just how much are they prepared to risk for each other - and for freedom?

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Here is a bit more about it. 

  • What inspired The Boy Behind The Wall?

The Boy Behind The Wall was written by a team of writers and editors, working together and exchanging ideas. One of them first had the idea for The Boy Behind the Wall back in 2013 when he was visiting a museum in East Berlin. He thought to himself that if the Second World War could inspire so many great children’s books, then maybe the Berlin Wall could do similar. In the museum, he read about a young student’s balloon being shot down while flying from West to East Berlin – and that sparked his imagination. He wondered if someone might have been able to send a message across the Wall. And the book took shape from there . . . 

  • Do you have a favourite scene?

I don’t want to give too much away but I love the scene where Harry hides in his father’s car. As the reader, you really don’t know what’s going to happen – and the tension is so high. 

  • Who is your favourite character?

I really like Jakob’s friend, Dana! She’s so brave – and it’s fun working out whether she’s trustworthy or not. And I like the fact that she’s more logical and cool-headed than Harry or Jakob, particularly under pressure. 

  • Can you tell us anything about book two?

Yes. The writers are busy working on book two – and I can’t wait to read it. It’s going to be set a generation later, in the 1980s, just before the Wall comes down. And it’s going to focus on Jakob’s daughter, Greta. You can expect to see some familiar faces from The Boy Behind the Wall – including Dana and Jakob’s foster father, Hans. And like book one, there will be lots of action and nail-biting suspense!

I hope that gives you a little taste of everything we have coming up. We can’t wait to hear what you think of our books.

Thank you to Felicity for this great insight into her publishing!

Toppsta
2021-09-24
Guest Blog with Felicity Alexander

23rd September 2021

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Featured Book
The Lion Above the Door
The Lion Above the Door

BOOK OF THE MONTH - From Onjali Q. Rauf, the award-winning author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, comes an incredible story about missing histories and the concept of a universal family, told with humour and heart.

View book
Featured Books