Julie G Fox gives a personal account of being a child refugee and explains how this experience motivated her to write Goodbye, Emma, set up Clever Fox Press and write books for refugee children.
And that is how my first children’s book came about. It was called Goodbye, Emma and told the story of a boy refugee who is forced to leave behind his pet when his family flee their country. This book was of course based on my own family's experience. I decided that by the time I found an agent (if at all), sold the book to a publisher (another question mark here), and the book finally hit the stores, the momentum would be lost, so I decided to self-publish. I also planned on donating all proceeds from sales of Goodbye, Emma to various refugee centres around the world. This meant that a traditional publishing route was out of the question as no for-profit publisher would agree to such a deal. The book came out in January 2016 and was my first attempt at self-publishing. When I say ‘self’ I actually mean it. I had to learn every step of the process, from mastering publishing software, to writing press releases and learning the meaning of numerous abbreviations (pdf, jpg, png, epub, mobi) as well as new vocabulary (margins, bleed, trim, gutters etc).
fiverr.com) who stepped up to the challenge of educating me about the art of illustrating for children’s books. A few of my characters are now hand-made toys thanks to etsy.com which connected me to the world of craftsmen from distant lands. Talented toymakers from Ukraine, Latvia, Hungary and Russia produced hand sewn versions of the characters I have created. My daughter recently suggested that the reason I am so happy with my new found passion, my publishing house, is that I have finally figured out how to rebuild and recreate the lost collection of books and toys I was forced to abandon in my childhood home 25 years ago. She might be right.
Julie G Fox is the founder of charitable publishing house Clever Fox Press, and is the author of Goodbye, Emma. Julie writes books aimed at child refugees and collaborates with illustrators and toymakers from around the world, mostly from countries facing economic or humanitarian crisis. Clever Fox Press have produced numerous books and are currently working on various new projects, including a collection of international folklore and a series of books on history and sport.
Louisa Glancy is the Wednesday Features Editor for Words & Pictures. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org