We’re super excited to announce that Becoming Brave, a new children’s picture book about love, grief and believing in yourself, will be published in August 2023.
Written by our founder and CEO Jennie Cashman Wilson and illustrated by Tomekah George, it follows Jennie and her relationship with her late husband, critically acclaimed jazz musician Abram Wilson.
Becoming Brave is an inspirational story of what it means to face our fears and live boldly, no matter what life throws at us along the way. As well as exploring grief and celebrating courage, it’s a true story that touches on themes of love, loss, hope and believing in yourself in a gentle and uplifting way that will help start important conversations.
Jennie says: “The first time I told the Becoming Brave story was to an audience of about 1,000 primary-school children at Birmingham Symphony Hall. It was my sixth and final year of getting up on stage and telling these bright young things stories about courage and fear, me and Abram. When I got off stage someone suggested I turn the story into a children’s book. This was the spark of an idea that quickly snowballed into what eventually became this actual, real-life children’s book. Becoming Brave has been a journey in itself, weathering the formal withdrawal of the UK from the EU, a global pandemic, a war in Ukraine and a cost-of-living crisis. It feels like if ever there were a time for courage it is now. I feel deeply privileged to have had the opportunity to share mine and Abram’s story in such a beautiful and creative way and I’m so grateful to Little Tiger for involving me in the process in the way they did.”
It’s not only Jennie’s first book but also the debut publication for talented illustrator Tomekah George, whose striking, dynamic artwork perfectly captures the different energies of Abram and Jennie’s characters and evokes the spirit of jazz music that infuses the story.
Jennie adds: “I’m indebted to Tomekah George who worked so hard on making mine and Abram’s story come to life, I couldn’t have asked for a better illustrator. Her involvement in this book has been a crucial part of the Becoming Brave journey and I’m extremely thankful to Little Tiger for investing the time and resources that are so necessary to develop emerging talent. I hope you enjoy reading Becoming Brave as much as we enjoyed making it.”
Tomekah George commented: “I’m honoured to be a part of sharing such a beautiful story, I can’t wait to see it in the wild!”
The book describes the story that ultimately led to the creation and growth of the Abram Wilson charity today. Abram’s experiences have influenced how our programmes happen, as part of an exciting and thriving UK jazz scene, to inspire a new generation of talent that is representative of the society we live in.
Becoming Brave will be published by Little Tiger in August 2023 and you can pre-order it at your local independent bookshop or via one of the following online sellers: Bookshops UK, Waterstones, WHSmith or Amazon.
About Jennie Cashman Wilson
Jennie’s background is in arts fundraising and working with young people, which is how she met her late husband, the acclaimed jazz trumpeter Abram Wilson. The pair worked on numerous projects together up until Abram’s passing in 2012, after which Jennie set up the Abram Wilson charity. We open doors to the music industry for minoritised young talent and have grown to work with over 200 performing artists and 650 young people. Jennie has been listed in WISE100, a national index recognising the top women in social enterprise and is a recipient of the WACL Talent Award. Becoming Brave is Jennie’s first children’s book.
About Tomekah George
Tomekah’s delicately hand-crafted illustrations have featured in newspapers, food packaging, pottery, classrooms, books and digital campaigns across the US, UK & Europe. Her work is constructed from early memories and love for Afrofuturist themes expressed through a blend of colourful and textural layers. Her handmade process continually fuels a bold style creating unique pieces that sit somewhere between a print, collage and a painting.
About Little Tiger
Little Tiger publish a huge range of formats and genres, striving to create a diverse range of high-quality books, with something that will appeal to every reading taste, helping children develop a passion for books and a life-long love of reading. This includes board books for the very young, picture books, chapter books and longer novels and non-fiction.