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From the bestselling author of Billie B Brown and Hey Jack! comes a magical new series about a wayward witch and a feelings monster that will make your heart squeeze with happiness.
‘Sometimes a friendship just grabs you by the heart and squeezes hard – and Polly and Buster’s magical connection is one of them. This is a story that will resonate with teachers and parents everywhere, and that children will treasure on their shelves for many years to come.’—Annabel Barker, Managing Director
‘Sally’s new series makes me wish that I was eight years old again! Polly and Buster is just heart-meltingly beautiful. It’s been a joy to see Sally effortlessly distil what her young readers are navigating in the real world – exclusion, prejudice, intolerance – into a story brimming with adventure, love and gentle humour.’—Marisa Pintado, Publisher
‘I’m so excited to see Polly and Buster make their way into the hands and hearts of readers. Sally’s exploration of kindness and friendship through both her words and her own stunning charcoal illustrations has conjured up an entirely magical new world for children.’—Penelope White, Managing & Design Editor
How did you develop such a love of reading and books?
We moved around a lot as kids because of my father’s work, especially throughout South-East Asia. To keep us busy, my mother would give us books to read. No matter where I was, geographically, physically or emotionally, the books I read over those years often had the power to reach me in a way that nothing else could. A good story could enter my heart and show me the world from inside someone else’s skin. It could help me understand myself, and even help me feel less alone in the world. A good story could become a true friend.
How did your childhood experiences influence the creation of Polly and Buster?
When I was young, my mother used to take people in. Throughout my whole childhood, on any given day, I could come home from school and there would be somebody’s toddler in the bath because their mother wasn’t coping, or an old neighbour at the kitchen table whose family had abandoned him. Sometimes these people were bright and cheerful and enhanced our childhoods, others were broken and damaged by life, and we knew to be gentle around them. To my mother, everyone deserved kindness, no matter how life had shaped them and she would often say, ‘It’s easy to love people who are loveable, but it is the unloveable ones who need it the most.’
For me, this is probably the most important line in the whole of Polly and Buster’s story and it is spoken by Buster’s mother, who takes in broken monsters and cares for them.
What do you hope readers take away from Polly and Buster?
Because of his mother, Buster has grown up knowing only trust and kindness, but is beginning to understand that the world is not always a fair or friendly place. Polly’s mother, however, is more concerned about what other witches might think of her than whether life is kind or fair.
Adults often forget how challenged we are as children, working out who we are, what we believe in and how difficult it is to develop as our own people in the world, separate from our families or the lessons our parents have taught us, for better or for worse. This is the time I am fascinated to explore in my work—the moment where you realise that you might be different to everyone in your family, and sometimes even everyone around you, and that this is OK.
My hope for Polly and Buster is that my readers will see themselves in the story, and understand that no matter how confusing or frightening the world may seem and despite all the crazy, bad things that grown-ups seem to do all around them, kindness and integrity always win out in the end. And also, if you are lucky, it doesn’t matter how wonky or different or unloveable you may think you are, there will always be someone in the world who will love you.
Be one of the first to read Polly and Buster: The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster! For your chance to win one of five copies, email your details to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Polly and Buster’ in the subject line. The first five people to email will receive a copy.
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