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Seven Million Sunflowers

Like many I was shocked and saddened as Russian troops began their brutal onslaught in February, 2022. So began one of the largest refugee crises the world has ever seen, as over seven million Ukrainians left their country to escape the fighting. To help out our family joined Homes for Ukraine Scheme, and so three generations of the same family came to live with us.

Opening our home to a Ukrainian family, opened my eyes to what it’s like to escape a war, the wrench of leaving friends and family far behind, dealing with a constant stream of bad news, adapting to a new country, a new culture, all done with strength, humility, resilience. They were the inspiration for Seven Million Sunflowers, which tells the story of Kat, a fifteen-year old Ukrainian girl who, with her mother Yulia, and brother Marko, leave Kharkiv and come to England to live with their host family, the Hawkins. A quiet street in Kingston-upon-Thames seems the perfect place for Kat and her family to recover from their experiences. But life in England isn’t as straightforward as it seems.

Escaping a war doesn’t mean you’ve escaped trouble.

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"A memorable, moving, powerful book"

Claire Hennessy, The Irish Times

"Written in attention-grabbing style — a potently direct first-person narrative with poetic impact — Seven Million Sunflowers is charged with empathy and utterly un-put-down-able. "



“Gripping from the opening pages…an empathetic reminder of how others can help.”


Irish Examiner.

Book 4
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"An exercise in empathy."


Nicolette Jones. The Sunday Times.

Seven Million Sunflowers was The Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week.

Book no3
Book no.1
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Read Between The Lies

Read Between the Lies, is a story of dyslexia, drama and deceit. It tells the tale of 16 year old Ryan, and 17 year old Tommy, two teens who from different parts of the country, with different backgrounds, and who go to different schools. But they have one thing in common– they’re both dyslexic. While Ryan has come to terms with his dyslexia and is succeeding at school, Tommy is in denial, and won’t seek support. Tommy’s issue comes to a head when he’s forced to face his greatest fear – reading in public. He turns to the one person he never thought he’d ask for help – Ryan.

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‘This was a really interesting book. I enjoyed it as I have not read many books about dyslexia, so it was different and very informative.’

Reader. Aged 13.

‘I was completely invested in Ryan and Tommy’s story. A cracking UKYA read.’


‘well-paced and highly engaging with more than one satisfying twist.’


‘Such a big brilliant, big hearted book.’

Eileen Armstrong.

'An honest, open family drama shining a light on dyslexia' 


Sunday Express 

'An engaging book for young readers... with lies, secrets, and dyslexia at the heart of the story' 


Armadillo Magazine

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Sofa Surfer

15-year-old Tyler's teenage angst turns to outright rebellion when his family leave London for a new life in Yorkshire. He's angry with his parents about the upheaval and furious at losing his home. With only the dog to confide in, Tyler has no idea that a chance meeting with a skinny girl called Spider will lead him into a world he never knew existed. Spider is sofa surfing and Tyler finds himself spinning a tangled web of lies in his efforts to help her escape her world of fear and insecurity.

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'A story with great heart, and wisdom, which shows the healing power of true friendship'


Ele Fountain, author of Boy 87.

‘A real heart-wrenching, eye-opening read that had me captivated and in for the long run from the very first chapter.’


Amy’s Bookish Life.

‘Author Malcolm Duffy has written a near-perfect novel that I found exceptionally touching.’


Whispering Stories.

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Me Mam. Me Dad. Me.

Several years ago, I visited a project supported by Comic Relief. I met a young boy. He looked normal enough. Short cropped hair, jeans, T-shirt. But he hardly said a word. There was a good reason for this. He lived in a house where his mother suffered domestic violence.

The boy left a big impression on me. I wondered what he’d witnessed, and what he could possibly do about the abuse his mother was experiencing. That boy became the inspiration for Me Mam. Me Dad. Me.

The story follows Danny, a 14 year old Geordie lad. To write Danny’s tale I turned the clock back to my own childhood, growing up on a council estate on Tyneside - the kids at school who never took life seriously, the mystery that was girls, playing football until it was too dark to see the ball. But there was something else that Tyneside gave me, the distinctive Geordie voice for Danny to tell his tale.

I want you to see what Danny sees. Feel what he feels. And understand the path that he takes to try and save his Mam. But above all, I want you to know that, despite what has happened, and as Danny himself discovers, there is always love. There is always hope.

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This debut young adult novel has a great and distinctive voice. Well plotted and surprising, it is about how a youngster can make foolish choices despite being brave and determined and wanting to help. It has sweetness and comedy, despite the gravity of its theme. And it is a lesson in standing up for yourself and others and finding the people who deserve your trust.

Nicolette Jones, The Sunday Times  

I held my breath held throughout! All in all, the story is simply fantastic.

Ollie Campbell, 15

'A powerful tale of filial love when domestic violence gets in the way. An unforgettable central character and a truthful ending make for a truly impactful read.'

The Bookbag

Book no 2
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