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A book for Christmas that isn't gender stereotyped #KingstonLitFestLaunch

Good morning,
Fed up with blue books about boats and bikes for boys and pink, fluffy, unicorn books for girls? Looking for a different gift this year? We are working with children's author Christian Darkin on the launch of the latest book - deliberately free from gender stereotypes - in his hugely popular Act Normal series, written for seven to 12 year olds, which is due for official release at the Kingston Kids Literary Festival on December 16th. We'd like to send you a copy for review/consideration...please let us know if that's OK? 
Christian Darkin is a Dad to two boys and hopes that Act Normal and Don't Tell Anyone About the Present Machine will strike a chord with anyone looking for a more challenging, engaging and fun book that contains themes such as computer coding, a train chase, history and science (like how to make a diamond in your kitchen!).

Kind regards,
Helen Lewis
Literally PR 



Act Normal And Don't Tell Anyone About

The Present Machine

By Christian Darkin


The eighth book in the best-selling ‘Act Normal' children's book series challenges the gobbledygook idea that blue monster toys are only for boys and pink fluffy toys are solely for girls...


Fed up with kids' books about fairies and footballers?


[image]Books for junior school children have become horribly gender stereotyped. Parents all over the country are rebelling against fairies and unicorns while children are crying out for books they can get their teeth into.

In 'Act Normal and Don't Tell Anyone About the Present Machine' an explosion of gendered toys and books are turning children into zombies who crave pink magic fairy toys for girls, or Tank Monsters for boys. Jenny, our science loving heroine, and her chaos-causing brother, must go on an adventure to put things right. Along the way, there's computer coding, a train chase, a magnetic liquid monster, and a chemist granny who nearly starts World War III during Woodstock. There's also a recipe for making diamonds in your kitchen....

Act Normal and Don't Tell Anyone About the Present Machine is not your average middle grade novel, and makes the perfect Christmas gift or stocking filler for seven to eleven-year-old boys AND girls!

"When my children got to the age when they started to read books on their own, I took a look at what was available for them, and I was frankly shocked. The shelves were full of books about monsters and football for boys, and for girls, a sea of pink fairies and books about unicorns. Now, of course, the children worked this out in seconds. They decided immediately what they ‘ought' to be reading, and what they should avoid, and I noticed that grown-ups, even with the best intensions, ended up doing exactly the same thing when buying presents for my children.

There's nothing wrong with having books about fairies or football, and there's nothing wrong with more boys liking one than the other. But my kids don't want those books to be ALL they read, and I for one don't want it to be all they're offered."

-Christian Darkin, children's book author


The Author

Christian Darkin gets asked to do impossible things most days - whether it's bringing dinosaurs back to life, or building alien spaceships, or just looking after two of the world's most surprising children. Sometimes, on a really good day, when all the impossible things have been done, and there's a little time left, he writes.


Christian is the man behind the incredibly popular 'Act Normal' series of books for kids who love reading something different. He's a coding expert, an illustrator and animator, documentary and film maker, a regular visitor to schools in his role as an author, and a father.

[image]Christian lives in London and has also written for older readers, his credits include two young adult novels: 'The Skull' (published by Bloomsbury) and a detective technothriller, '@thelogician'. Christian has also written six non-fiction books, two science documentaries, a Doctor Who spinoff film starring the sixth Doctor, and articles for dozens of magazines and most of the national newspapers. His illustration work can be found in hundreds of children's books but also in grown-up titles such as the scientific journal, Nature. Christian works as an animator, recently creating an entire popular series for BBC's CBeebies, as well as special effects for film and television.


When not writing, or looking after his two sons, Christian can be found travelling around the country visiting schools and appearing at literary festivals. His eighth story, Act Normal and Don't Tell Anyone About the Present Machine, is his eagerly anticipated book released in time for the Christmas rush!



Title:Act Normal and Don't Tell Anyone About the Present Machine

Author:Christian Darkin

Genre:Children's Fiction

Availability:Paperback, Kindle 



Pages: 158


Press folder:

Online profile:




For more information, editorial opportunities, interview requests or review copies please get in touch 7904801669