Guest publisher blog: Forgotten Favourites by Hot Key Books



Do you remember your favourite childhood book? Perhaps it was an adventure story that inspired you to travel the world, or a hilarious page-turner that still makes you smile today. It’s these books that we share with friends, family and strangers (whether they like it or not), and recommend to people throughout our lives – because, classic or not, they are our favourites.

Now imagine going to buy that book for a friend and discovering that the book has gone out of print – and you can’t get a copy. You can’t share your experience, and a new generation won’t stumble upon the story as you once did.


With that in mind, we at Hot Key Books have a new project – to reissue our favourite books from childhood that are now out of print. We want to share these stories with children today, and we hope that they will find new readers that are as fanatic about the books as we were. Our first two reissued classics, GRINNY and FIREWEED, have two particularly passionate champions here in the office – here’s what they have to say about their respective favourites…

I must have been about 9 when I first read GRINNY. It scared me witless and I couldn’t sleep for days. Over the years my copy has been lost, been rediscovered, been sellotaped, and finally abandoned when it lost the entire middle section. More importantly, it’s been shared. When I was a bookseller I used to love recommending books, matching the right book to the customer, but I got an even bigger sense of pride (or ego) when it was one of ‘my’ books – something I had read and loved and could pass on. Now I’m in publishing it’s lovely to think that something I have worked on will help turn someone into a reader, but it’s a really lovely feeling being able to introduce a whole new generation to a book I loved, and I seem to be channelling all those feelings I had at 9. And on rereading, it still scares me, only this time I can’t admit to it as freely…

Kate Manning, Sales & Marketing Director at Hot Key Books

GRINNY (9781471401459) by Nicholas Fisk was first published it 1973, is out now in celebration of its 40th anniversary



I have never experienced war first-hand, although I have read and loved plenty of great novels for children set during the first and second world wars. Still, I have never read a book like FIREWEED, a book that unsentimentally but powerfully describes the ordeal of two teenagers adrift in London during the 1940s Blitz; a book that told me how to prevent my ear-drums bursting when a bomb goes off nearby; a book that made me very grateful that I have never had to test that out.

One of the great and powerful messages that comes from this unflinching novel is that our powers of resilience are greater than we could ever imagine, even when we’re very young. It comes down to survival and what’s important in life. FIREWEED is a wonderful and still very important book – in so many ways.

Emily Thomas, Publisher at Hot Key Books


FIREWEED by Jill Paton-Walsh (9781471401749) was first published in 1969, and will be reissued on 01/08/2013

Do you have a forgotten favourite that you would like to see republished? Let us know @HotKeyBooks!

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