Troika Books

  Does She Dare



'Sensitively written and wonderfully evocative, this gritty, tender novel has startling contemporary relevance.'

Sixteen-year-old Lizzie Parsons is dazzled by the suffragettes and their
daring Votes For Women campaign. As she follows them into unexpected
danger, Lizzie also faces a terrifying battle of her own against a violent
and abusive father. Does she dare defy him? And how - with deeds or words?

Bernard has set his new book on Ashley home ground. Lizzie Parsons lives in
Sutcliffe Road Plumstead, south London, where Bernard's mother once lived
and one of Lizzie's schools (The Slade, now Greenslade) is where his son
David is headteacher. But wherever the book is set, its theme is universal
- the continuing need to fight for women's rights, at home and out in the
world, a relevance to be highlighted in February 2018 with the centenary of
the success of Britain's suffragists and suffragettes.

Troika Fiction
ISBN 978-1-90991-59-0


Bernard is delighted to announce that Justin and the Demon Drop Kick and Your Guess is as Good as Mine - two of his best-selling books for 8 to 12 year olds - are now on the Troika list. They join his collection of short stories The Way It Is and his novel Jack and the German Spy, which features highly on his library borrowings.

  Justin and the Demon Drop Kick


Justin's got the blame again.
All Justin wants to do is play football but trouble seems to get in the way.
Now someone's kicked a football in Mr Branston's face and the finger's
pointing right at Justin.
How can he tell them who really did it?

'Bright and breezy story with likeable and lifelike characters.' (Books for Keeps)

Troika Fiction
ISBN 978-1-90991-54-5

  Your Guess is as Good as Mine


When the heavens opened, lightning flashed and the thunder roared above
him, it seemed too good to be true that Nicky's dad's yellow Mini was outside
the school.
But it wasn't his dad's car - and Nicky is suddenly plunged into a terrifying
adventure and a frantic race against time...

A rare fiction title on 'Stranger Danger'.

This crisply written book should be on the list for all young readers ... a first
rate story. (Junior Bookshelf).
'An important book for today's children.' (Clare Rayner, GMTV).

Troika Fiction
ISBN 978-1-909991-44-6



Lena Lenik cover

When Lena's mum gets sick, Lena is dead scared.
No one will tell her what's going on.
Suddenly worries like Scout badges and school bullies don't seem to matter.
But the news is good - the best news in fact.
Lena can't do enough to help - but when the time comes,
she faces a challenge like no other.

'A wonderfully heartfelt tale, from a writer renowned for his realism,
empathy and compassion for the underdog.'
Bernard's 70th book.

Published by Barrington Stoke
ISBN: 13-9781781125717




Break in the Sun

BBC Store is making available again the children's drama Break in the Sun, based on Bernard's best-selling book which was first published in 1980. This is what the BBC says about it:


Break in the Sun is one of the best remembered serials for a particular generation of children. This tough, heart-rending story of Patsy (Nicola Cowper), who dreams of escaping her spiteful, workshy stepfather and the London Docklands and returning to her idyllic past in Margate is children's storytelling of the highest order. In fact, it might not be going too far to call it a minor masterpiece.

Break in the Sun was written by award-winning writer and teacher Bernard Ashley, whose work is typified by a commitment to telling tough, realistic and fiercely moral stories of working class children in crisis. At its centre is a female character who is not a victim but a fighter, and one who became a hero for both boys and girls at that time.

Bernard says: 'When I started writing I wanted to depict something different from what had gone before in children's books. My first book The Trouble with Donovan Croft (Oxford) was one of the first children's books to be set in a state school. I wanted to tell stories about the world I was living in. This story was inspired by a visit I made to Drew School in Silvertown where, because ground space was precious in Docklands, the playground was on the roof. Up there I noticed this girl, whose task it was to check the weather station. I saw her take the readings, write them down - and then stand and look out down the river, rather wistfully. What was going on in her mind? And that's where Patsy Bligh came from, thinking of her past life in Margate.'

Bernard continues: 'The serial won a staggering seven million viewers, many of them adults - including local dockers who told me they tried to finish early on Wednesdays to get home for the next episode. And I received letters from parents of children who were bed-wetters like Patsy; one said 'God bless the BBC for not pulling back from that.' And the opening music, "Reflections" by John Renbourne, was absolutely right. It grips you instantly, it's so haunting.'

Break in the Sun was adapted for TV by Alan England, but Bernard went on to write his own scripts for Anna Home, head of BBC Children's TV - Running Scared, The Country Boy and Dodgem, which won the Royal Television Society award for best children's entertainment in its year.

'The great sadness at the moment,' Bernard says, 'is that these days there isn't an outlet for those kinds of dramas for older primary school or younger secondary school children. And they really do need to see their own lives reflected. It's a huge comfort to know that "you're not the only one..."

(The above is an edited version of the BBC Store 'Golden Age of Children's Drama' promotion)