Spotlight on: Sweet Cherry Publishing
By Mollie Gregory-Clark, Priyanka Joshi, Isobel Jones and William Swift
Sweet Cherry Publishing is an award-winning indie press which specialises in bringing accessible, beautifully illustrated and engaging reads to younger audiences (up to twelve years old). Back in 2011, Sweet Cherry’s founder, Abdul Thadha, identified a gap in the literary market. Having grown up in an area of Leicester with a noticeable socio-economic divide, lower than average literacy rates and children who do not typically speak English outside of school, Thadha felt that greater efforts should be made to engage the younger generation using books. Inclusivity and enjoyment were the key tenets from which Sweet Cherry grew. Factors such as cost, language barriers and stockists were all considered by Thadha and his team, who now publish some of the most popular children’s books in the country. In recognition of Sweet Cherry Publishing’s incredible work, the team were voted Children’s Publisher of the Year in 2022 and Small Press of the Year in 2021.
The Geronimo Stilton Series
Sweet Cherry Publishing functions as both an online storefront and an individual publisher. The bestselling release from their publishing headquarters is by far the Geronimo Stilton series, due to the highly recognisable name. This is important, as name recognition is often the first indicator of lasting success in children’s literature. Released in the US under Scholastic, the weight of this UK release is immeasurable, particularly because of the value of these books to young children. Through publishing this series in the UK, Sweet Cherry Publishing brings a respected and valuable children's book inside Britain’s borders.
The publication of Geronimo Stilton has been beneficial to Sweet Cherry Publishing as the messages of the series ardently align with Sweet Cherry’s own goals of inspiring children to read and providing them with literature to encourage them to do so. The Geronimo Stilton series, with its creative text and exciting illustrations, entices children to pick up a book and continues to interest children as their reading develops.
Due to the on-brand message and position in the literary canon, owning the rights to Geronimo Stilton in the UK has paid off for this indie press.
The Songs You’ve Never Heard by Becky Jerams and Ellie Wyatt
Nominated for The Bookseller’s Young Adult Book Prize, The Songs You’ve Never Heard is a heart-warming story of friendship published by a Sweet Cherry imprint and penned by Singer-Songwriter Becky Jerams and Composer Ellie Wyatt. The book explores themes such as family relationships, navigating social media, making music and learning to understand oneself. The book is a ‘booksical’, meaning that it comes with an accompanying soundtrack which can be easily streamed whilst you read for a more immersive experience. The book, along with the accompanying soundtrack, has been praised for its relatability, creativity and, importantly, its positivity – making it the perfect read for anyone who might be finding their teenage years a little tough.
Boy Underground by Isabelle Marinov
Filled with mystery and adventure, Boy Underground follows Hugo, the autistic protagonist, on his journey as he discovers a whole new world under Paris. In an effort to belong somewhere, Hugo joins a group of explorers going to the underground tunnels beneath the city. Through Hugo’s struggles, Marinov provides a realistic insight into the trials and tribulations faced by autistic people on a daily basis. Highlighting brilliant skills, like the photographic memory Hugo possesses, the author comments on a prejudiced society that often overlooks creative minds that are considered strange. This uplifting and heart-warming novel is a great read for anyone interested in understanding the perspective of an autistic child.
When Frankie Made a Human by Rachel Delahaye
Taking inspiration from the gothic tale of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Rachel Delahaye creates a charming twist to the classic in this child-friendly novel. In Frankenstein Castle, Frankie is lonely, bored and tired of putting up with his cruel monster classmates, and decides he needs a friend. Frankie is aware of how the creatures in Monsterweld are too mean and scary to make a suitable companion, so he takes it upon himself to make a human friend. The story unfolds as Frankie’s new friend, with his newfound independence and free will, shows Frankie why humans were banned from Monsterweld in the first place.
Perfect for children aged seven to nine years old, When Frankie Made a Human balances the spooky with the fun and is set to be released in time for Halloween!
Bipolar Blob by Jodie Smith
Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2021, Jodie Smith decided to create a resource for her daughter and other children to use to explain the ups and downs that come with having bipolar disorder. Filled with beautiful illustrations created by Jodie Smith herself, Bipolar Blob takes a child-friendly approach to explain the complexities of bipolar disorder, with the aim of making the condition less scary for children to understand. The book provides a support guide for relatives and parents with a diagnosis to confidently teach their children what it means to be bipolar.