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Posted 27 May at 10:17 am in news, Verna Wilkins
An enthusiastic group of Haringey teachers took part in a training day this week, which included a talk by Tamarind founder Verna Wilkins and Commissioning Editor Patsy Isles. The teachers were given a brief history of the list, heard why multicultural books are so important in the classroom and how the books can be used to support teaching.
The teachers were buzzing after the talk with one saying ‘I could have listened all afternoon.’ All teachers took a catalogue and Tamarind posters away with them for their classrooms, and many signed up for the e-newsletter.
Verna will be speaking to Ealing’s early years practitioners in July, at the launch of the ‘Building Futures, Believing in Children’ booklet.



Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Posted 25 May at 12:04 pm in news

Dave and the Tooth Fairy is now available as an interactive whiteboard resource from Oxford University Press as part of the Oxford Reading Tree series. Click here to see how you can use Dave for speaking and listening, writing and fun in the classroom.

Dave and the Tooth Fairy book cover

Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog

We love all our books, but if you need recommendations, here they are: 10 books every library and school must have! Click on the titles to find out more.

Dave and the Tooth Fairy

A classic! Former National Curriculum text celebrating over 15 years in print. Currently on Oxford Reading Tree.

Themes: jobs, losing teeth, Down’s Syndrome, wheelchair use, fairies

Choices, Choices…

A hilarious rhyming romp through careers for boys.

Themes: jobs, poetry, humour

Amina and the Shell

A tropical Thumbelina tale, highlighted in children’s book week 2009.

Themes:  climate change, giants, agriculture

The Day the Rains Fell

Stunningly illustrated tale about saving the environment highlighted in children’s book week 2010.

Themes:  environment, water, creation, animals, African jewellery and pottery

The Silence Seeker

An asylum seeker’s search for peace and quiet in the noisy city – a great book for discussion. 

Themes:  immigration, making friends, noises and silence, urban life, ESL, SEN

Miss Bubble’s Troubles

A clever class saves their beloved teacher in this rhyming story.

Themes:  humour, poetry, school, hospital, pets

Ferris Fleet the Wheelchair Wizard

Space, magic and wizards! Great junior fiction for boys. 

Themes:  space, humour, wheelchair use, single-parent family, working mums, moving house 

Accessible biographies of well-loved icons

Including Benjamin Zephaniah, Malorie Blackman and the Obamas. Click here to view all.

Themes:  Black History Month, non-fiction, biography, careers

Spike and Ali Enson

A tale of alien adoption.

Themes:  humour, aliens, sibling rivalry, adoption

The Young Chieftain

Pacey 11+ fiction where L.A. skater boy Jamie MacDoran faces up to an ancient Scottish legacy. 

Themes:  dual heritage, bereavement, family history, responsibility

And a little something for bed time…
The Night the Lights Went Out

A soothing, lyrical story for anyone who’s afraid of the dark.

Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Posted 20 May at 9:55 am in authors, black authors

Children’s book writing workshop at
Afro Hair and Beauty Show
Business Design Centre, Islington
May 30th and 31st, 2pm-3pm daily

Do you remember how old you were when you first saw a black person in a book? Join Patsy, Commissioning Editor at Tamarind Books, for a fun creative writing workshop on writing multicultural stories for children and teens. Patsy will give aspiring children’s writers practical tips for success and discuss the importance of representing black children in literature. Bring your notebook and pen!


Click to read Tamarind’s manuscript submission guidelines.

Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Latest Posts on the Tamarind Blog
Posted 1 May at 11:57 am in interviews

We’ve delved into the lives of a picture book author and an illustrator so far in this feature. (If you missed out, you can catch up by clicking on interviews.) In this interview you’ll meet the woman who puts words and illustrations together on the page to create our fantastic picture books: designer Zoe Waring.

Which Tamarind books have you worked on?
Baby Ruby Bawled, The Day the Rains Fell, Why Can’t I Play?, Ben’s Birthdays, Miss Bubbles Troubles… The other books are all top secret for now!

What would you be if you weren’t a designer?
I’d love to have my own little art studio where I could listen the radio and doodle all day long!  I’d also quite like to be an art teacher, helping children to develop their creative skills, unleashing their imaginations and making lots of mess in the process! 

Describe a typical day.
I tend to work on a couple of books at a time, and each is usually at different stage of development. The first stage for a picture book is the editor and I looking at the story. We discuss each character, how old they are, their personalities, ethnicity, hobbies etc. Then we look at the scenes throughout the text and I work out what each page will look like. I start by scribbling ideas on paper then take this on to my Mac to add in the type and move things around. I design the insides and then the cover. This is the most important part; it has to be really eye catching and tell the reader what the story is about all in one image! Once we are happy with the design and layout, I write a creative brief for an illustrator to follow.

The next stage is to find the right illustrator. I search online, in magazines, at exhibitions and through artwork submissions. It’s often difficult to choose! Once we have somebody whose style is perfect for the story, I send them the text, my designs and a brief to work from. First their rough sketches arrive, which is really exciting. After this, the illustrator begins the final artwork with their paints, pastels, pencils, Photoshop, pens, pies and whatever else they like to work with. Unveiling the finished artwork is a big moment for everyone involved – lots of excited ‘Oooh’s! I send the artwork off to be scanned so that we have it as digital files, ready to drop into layout software. I experiment with fonts to match the artwork, story and age range, making sure everything fits and is looking amazing. When I’m finally happy I send copies to the editor, author and illustrator to make sure they are too!

My last job is sending the work to the production team to arrange printing. Eventually the shiny new books arrive, ready for all the lucky readers!  

What are you reading at the moment?
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, a collection of short stories by my favourite weird and wonderful Japanese author, Haruki Murakami.

What’s your favourite Tamarind book and why?
This is far too difficult to answer. I have too many favourites to choose one!

To find out more about Zoe’s designs and illustrations, you can follow her on Twitter.

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