The Emma Press

Guest Post: The Emma Press


The Emma Press is an independent publisher dedicated to producing beautiful, thought-provoking books. It was founded in 2012 by Emma Wright and is based in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham. Having been shortlisted in both 2014 and 2015, the Emma Press won the Michael Marks Award for Poetry Pamphlet Publishers in 2016.

The Emma Press has announced plans to launch a call for picture book proposals from writers – including those who illustrate their own work – in 2019. The independent publisher, which is based in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, will be looking for manuscripts for picture books for children with potential for crossover appeal.

The call opens on 14th January 2019 and closes on 20th April 2019. Writers will be invited to send in full manuscripts for the first round of submissions. All finished picture books will be 32 pages long, including front-matter and end-matter. The editorial team reading the submissions will consist of Yen-Yen Lu, Charlotte Geater, Emma Wright, Richard O’Brien and Philippa Barker.

Successful proposals will be matched with illustrators. The editors are particularly keen to see picture book manuscripts from authors who are underrepresented in publishing. They are keen to see submissions from BAME writers, from writers with immigrant backgrounds, from LGBTQ+ writers, and from disabled writers. They are seeking new stories, and fresh perspectives on the world for a curious, contemporary readership. Publisher Emma Wright said: ‘Picture books are a vital part of childhood. They are where we start to learn about ourselves and the world around us, and about the possibilities of literature, art and the imagination. There is still so much work to be done to make the world of picture books an inclusive, welcoming place where children can see themselves and also learn about others. I am looking forward to building an exciting, outward-looking list for children of all backgrounds.’

The Emma Press’s newest picture book is The Dog Who Found Sorrow, publishing at the end of this month. It is written by Rūta Briede and illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa, who were both award winners at the 2017 International Jānis Baltvilks Awards in Children’s Literature and Book Art. It is translated from the Latvian by Brasliņa.

The Emma Press celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2018, and they won the Michael Marks Award for poetry pamphlet publishers in 2016. They have published a number of illustrated poetry books, including many for children, and they launched their picture books list in early 2018 with Rūta Briede’s award-winning book Queen of Seagulls.


In 2019, alongside their call for picture book manuscripts, the press is launching Bicki-Books, a series of bijou poetry picture books, which each feature a classic Latvian poem translated into English. Every book is fully illustrated by a top Latvian illustrator. The series is art-directed by Rūta Briede. This will be their first open call for original picture books written in English.

For more information, please email Yen-Yen Lu at



Meet Skig, who’s meant to be a warrior (but is more of a worrier).

Meet a giddy comet, skidding across the sky with her tail on fire.

Put a marvelous new machine in your pocket

And maybe you’ll be able to fix all your life’s problems.

‘Moon Juice’ is Kate Wakeling’s first collection of poems for children and it proves to be a celebration of imagination and language. Filled with variety, the collection is brimming with humour, curious characters, powerful vocabulary and a wealth of poetic forms, providing plenty to enjoy, share and be inspired by.

‘New Moon’ is a beautifully written poem that plays with metaphor and alliteration and assonance. Children will be encouraged to listen to the musicality of the words as it is read and how the sounds are carefully selected to ebb and flo together. Words are used sparingly, with just one or two on most, making it the perfect starting point for many reluctant poets. Here the emphasis is certainly quality and not quantity.

‘This Be the Scale’ sets the imagination working. Each verse of the poem is a volume, from the very loudest to nothingness. However, the volume is described using something completely extraordinary, otherworldly and simply wonderful, yet the reader can picture it – or rather ‘hear it’ perfectly: ‘1. Sound of Jupiter’s stomach rumbling’; ‘4. Low hum of double-decker buses, night time worry an unlit cellars’; 11. Top-notch ping of new moons and the first hint of sunshine on a birthday morning.’ Another poem along similar lines is ‘Little Known Facts.’ The poem takes the absurd, sublimely ridiculous and delightfully silly and presents it as truth. These little-known facts focus on children – what children can do using just a pigeon and two straws, what grows behind children’s ears, what happens when a child jumps up and down – but children could create their own only any topic: school, adults, weather, planets… The possibilities are endless. With both of these poems children are encouraged to think outside the box.

‘I Found a Dinosaur Under The Shed’ tells the story of a child and their dinosaur, from when the child first discovers the little creature under the shed to when they bid farewell. The poem chronicles the dinosaur’s growth and how the child cares for it. The details within the poem are incredibly emotive and the ending is tinged with sadness. Children could be encouraged to take this story from the poem and create a narrative. They would have to think carefully about their descriptions and how they share the emotions of the characters to maintain the feel from the poem. To challenge the children further they could rewrite the poem from the dinosaur’s point of view. How would its feelings and perspectives differ from the child’s?

A wonderful surprise at the back of the book, is a little section with ideas on how to write your own poems using some of Kate’s as a basis. This is a fun section to be explored in the classroom and at home. There are also lovely interviews with both the poet, Kate, and illustrator, Elina.

Moon Juice by Kate Wakeling, illustrated by Elina Braslina

The Emma Press     978-1910139493