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Little Island and Skein Press to Co-Publish Traveller Folktale Picturebook by Oein DeBhairduin

Little Island and Skein Press to co-publish Traveller folktale picturebook by award-winning author Oein DeBhairduin

Irish Traveller folktale to be illustrated by Irish-based illustrator Olya Anima

Independent Irish publishers Little Island Books and Skein Press announce they are teaming up to publish The Slug and the Snail by Oein DeBhairduin, whose debut Why the Moon Travels was one of the Irish publishing sensations of 2020 and won twice at the KPMG–Children’s Books Ireland awards 2021: the Judges’ Special Award and the prestigious prize for a debut author, the Éilís Dillon Award. World rights were acquired directly from the author by the two-press team.

The Slug and the Snail, a children’s picturebook to be illustrated by Olya Anima, is a fable about difference, acceptance and choosing your own path, by Traveller author DeBhairduin. The story comes from the Irish Traveller oral tradition. It will be published in summer 2023.

Two slugs travel happily together as brothers, until they meet a crow who shows them that they have no home. Ashamed, one of the slugs decides to make himself a home, and calls himself snail. The brothers grow apart and become suspicious of each other. The slug with no shell-house feels ashamed until he learns to see that the very road he travels is his home, and so he shall never be homeless. The happy slug no longer sees himself through the judging eyes of others, but proudly asserts his place in the world.

Little Island‘s Matthew Parkinson-Bennett says of The Slug and the Snail:

“Little Island, Skein Press, and Oein share an independent spirit and a determination to be change-makers in Irish publishing. Irish Traveller culture is greatly under-served by the books world, but Oein has been doing great work to share the rich repository of story he is steeped in. We’re proud to be part of the team taking a small piece of that culture into the publishing mainstream.”

Skein Press’s Fionnuala Cloke adds:

“We are delighted to be teaming up with Oein DeBhairduin and Little Island to publish this gorgeous picturebook. The importance of children seeing their culture beautifully and positively represented cannot be underestimated; everyone benefits from inclusion and brilliant stories. Oein’s storytelling will undoubtedly capture all young readers’ imaginations, gently prompting their curiosity and offering new ways of viewing the world, as all good books do.”

Oein DeBhairduin adds:

“I feel utterly blessed to have the opportunity to work with Little Island, Skein Press, and the ingenious artistry of Olya Anima in the crafting of a tale of care, culture, and connection. Stories can bridge spaces we never ever realised were lonesome, forge new understandings, and make friends from strangers. I’m excited to see where this story will travel to and all those it will visit.”

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