It’s release day today for Stripes’s fantastic anthology I’ll Be Home For Christmas, which has a host of stunning contributors writing Christmas stories on the theme of home. Even better, the book is raising money for the wonderful homelessness charity Crisis.
Check out the spectacular full lineup of contributors: Benjamin Zephaniah, Non Pratt, Marcus Sedgwick, Cat Clarke, Kevin Brooks, Holly Bourne, Juno Dawson, Sita Brahmachari, Tracy Darnton, Tom Becker, Katy Cannon, Melvin Burgess, Julie Mayhew, Lisa Williamson, while the gorgeous cover is illustrated by 2015 Kate Greenaway winner William Grill.
We asked Katy Cannon to celebrate with us by taking part in a special Christmas-themed edition of 5-4-3-2-1!
Five songs that sum up I’ll Be Home For Christmas perfectly
Ooh, that’s a hard one to start with! Not least because the anthology is such a mix of different sorts of stories – which is part of what makes it such great reading. But here are a few that feel like the book to me:
1. I’ll Be Home For Christmas (of course!)
2. Christmas TV by Slow Club (because it’s about having someone in your life who makes things better when you’re together. Also, practically the last line is ‘Just come on home’!)
3. Snowfall by Ingrid Michaelson (my agent introduced me to this one, and I just adore it!)
4. Feels Like Home To Me by Chantal Kreviazuk (Not Christmassy, exactly, but just such a lovely song about what home means)
5. When The Thames Froze by Smith and Burrows (Because it’s about friendship and community and London and – above all else – hope. Which is what I hope this anthology will give to the people Crisis helps, every day.)
Four relationships you love reading about in short stories
I think portraying relationships between people is something that short stories do really well, particularly capturing that moment when something between them changes, and suddenly everything is different. Here are my top four:
1. Romances – of course!
2. Parent and child relationships
3. Friendships – new ones, old ones, all sorts
4. Strangers – I love seeing how a meeting with a stranger can influence both people involved.
Three items of book swag you’d love to see made for I’ll Be Home For Christmas
1. A Christmas bauble – I’d love to have one to hang on my tree every year!
2. A mug, just for drinking hot chocolate out of on cold days
3. A notebook, for writing more Christmassy stories in!
Two winter classics you wish more people were reading today
1. Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares – Christmas in New York! What’s not to love?
2. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – my all time favourite Christmas read.
One place you love to read during the cold months
1. Curled up on the sofa under a blanket, with a hot drink beside me, lights twinkling on the Christmas tree and snow falling outside the window…