Mark Lemon is the author and creator behind popular children’s book characters, Otis & Thea Lemon. Disillusioned with the lack of diversity in children’s books, Mark (with two mixed-race children of his own) decided to create a series of exciting story books with non-white characters. With thrilling tales and beautiful adventures, the Otis & Thea Lemon series are fast becoming a firm favourite in family households. Mark says, “I truly believe that our titles represent the wonderful and diverse world that our children are growing up in, without stereotype. We believe that our titles rival any traditionally published children’s book, sitting comfortably alongside the industry favourites”.
Mark’s debut children’s book, Otis Lemon & The Spectacular Submarine, was awarded the Platinum Junior Design Award 2016 in the Children’s book of the year (with words) (within last 12 months) category. The awards, organised by Junior Magazine, recognise the finest modern toys and books.
While Otis and Thea loved all the classics, Mark and his wife couldn’t help but notice a lack of books with characters that reflected their children’s ethnicity. Disillusioned by the lack of diversity in children’s literature, he decided to take matters into his own hands and started penning the books during his daily commute to work. The books can be found in Waterstones and Foyles stores in Bristol as well as on their online platforms. They can also be found on Amazon, a number of independent retailers across the UK, plus the Lemon Drop Books website. Mark has carried out BBC radio interviews to promote Lemon Drop Books, giving the books fantastic exposure and highlighting the lack of diverse characters in children’s publishing. More recently, the Otis and Thea Lemon books have been enjoyed by HRH The Royal Duchess of Cornwall and her grandchildren. Mark has provided books to Bristol Children’s Hospital & Great Ormond Street and worked with a number of primary schools having created schemes of work to go with every book.