Since 1973 Usborne has been publishing popular children’s books which now-grown-up readers recall fondly. Many cite their various tomes, on topics such as History, Nature, Science and Literature as a major influence on their adult life.
None more so, it seems though, than their books about spooky shenanigans. I myself hold their Supernatural Guide: Haunted Houses, Ghosts & Spectres one of the major influences on my interest in writing short stories about all things creepy. I managed to get my hands on a copy and share my thoughts on it, as well as some images from the book, on my own blog a while back. In fact, I also recently acquired a dogeared copy of Mysterious Powers & Strange Forces which is on my desk as we speak!
Anyway, one day a few weeks back I was browsing Twitter (instead of writing, as usual) and ended up following a thread which caught my eye. The splendid Reece Shearsmith of Inside No. 9 and The League Of Gentlemen was talking about a book he was scared by as a child. Around the same time Usborne’s Director of Global Branding & UK Marketing Anna Howorth had been waxing nostalgic for the very same book – All About Ghosts, leading to this glorious exchange:
Reprint and I'll do the new foreword!
— Reece Shearsmith (@ReeceShearsmith) January 10, 2019
So Anna started a petition, promising that if she got 1000 signatures that would probably be enough interest for her to “take this to the people who can make it happen”.
If, like me, you read these books as a kid, were terrified and fascinated in equal measure by the stories and illustrations, and would still love to see them back on bookshelves then please do take two minutes out of your day to sign Anna’s petition. At the time of writing it sits at just over 700 names, so all it needs is one last little push – maybe you’ll be the one to get it to its target…