Supporting underrepresented writers

Publishing inclusive stories

Strength in stories

Embedding change in children’s literature

Who are we?

Sheju John and Judy Skidmore, Sonya McGilchrist, Ebony Lyon

Publisher Ebony Lyon Ebony co-founded Formy Books in early 2020, and comes from a commercial sales background. She is passionate about delivering cutting edge books featuring under-represented Black communities. Her passion goes beyond what is inside the pages; she is also focused on emerging Black representation in the arts and fighting for inclusivity throughout children’s publishing.

Publisher Sonya McGilchrist Sonya has worked for BBC One, BBC Two and Radio 4 and she pursues the same values in publishing that motivated her as a journalist - integrity, a belief in quality and above all, respect for the audience. Her aim is to offer young readers great stories that feature a range of characters and locations that go beyond those that are usually represented in children’s books. This could be through our character's class or race,as well as through the locations and cultural context of the stories.

Publishers Judy Skidmore and Sheju John Judy was a graphic designer in magazine publishing, making information look beautiful. And Sheju runs a tech firm. When their children came along, like many people, they got fed up with searching in vain for diverse kids books and they started making their own. They love the creative process of making a book: the wordplay, the artwork, the design. Together they want to create a place where hitherto marginalised voices can shout their stories from the rooftops.

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What are we doing?

We support emerging, underrepresented talent in UK publishing through the mentoring, and publication of debut talent.

We promote diversity in UK publishing through our three diverse-owned, independent, inclusive publishers: Dinosaur Books Ltd, Formy Books CIC, and Parakeet Books Ltd.

We champion inclusion in UK children’s fiction by producing three new inclusive children’s fiction books – one to be produced by each company – which shall be delivered as a ‘book pack’. These books will cover a core age range of 5 – 11.

In coming together as publishers we promote strength and unity through stories.


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