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Award-winning Welsh author publishes first children's book in English

An award-winning Welsh author has just published her first children’s book in English. Manon Steffan Ros has won numerous awards for her work, including the Welsh Book of the Year and the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod (both for Llyfr Glas Nebo), as well as the prestigious Tir na n-Og children’s fiction prize on numerous occasions. Those People Next Door carries an important message about showing kindness to all and to not judge people who are different.

The Welsh version of the book, Pobol Drws Nesaf, won the Tir na n-Og children’s literature prize in 2020. The book has received high praise with Welsh magazine Barn describing the book as “The message within is simple but so important – not everyone is the same and that should never be a problem”.

Those People Next Door has been beautifully illustrated by Jac Jones. Author and illustrator have collaborated before, in 2013, on a Welsh-language book, Dafydd a Dad.

“I wanted to write a light and fun story that also had a simple yet important message – not to judge people who look, speak or act differently. I wrote this story a couple of years ago, and as time has passed, I saw the increasing need to share it. The message is that you show kindness towards everyone. I think children and adults can fear the unknown, so I hope that Those People Next Door can abate those fears slightly, and that we can celebrate the differences together,” says Manon Steffan Ros.

Manon adds:

“Jac is such a talented man and brilliant company. It’s an honour for me to be able to work with him as I’ve admired him and his work for decades. His illustrations in Those People Next Door are brilliant – the message is a serious one, and his comical and engaging illustrations create a warmth to the story.”

The story sees a ‘strange’ family move in next door to Tim and his family. They speak, look and eat differently to everyone that Tim knows. But soon Tim and Bob, the son of next door’s family, become firm friends. When Bob is picked on, Tim looks after him, and the neighbours become part of the community through speaking the same language. And although they're different, it doesn’t matter.