New book about Billy Boston to be released

A new children’s book about Wales Rugby League’s greatest player, Billy Boston is being published next week, in English and Welsh.

Cardiff-based publisher Llyfrau Broga Books have announced that the 10th edition of their hit children’s book series “Welsh Wonders” in English and “Enwogion o Fri” in Welsh, will celebrate the life and achievements of rugby league legend Billy Boston MBE. It is written by popular children’s author Jessica Dunrod and illustrated by talented former Disney artist, Selom Sunu.

“BILLY: The Powerful Life of Billy Boston” and “BILLY: Bywyd Pwerus Billy Boston” will both launch on St. David’s Day, March 1, 2024 in what will be a very special morning at his old primary school in Cardiff Bay, which was known as Tiger Bay back when he was living there.

Boston scored 571 tries in 564 appearances his rugby league career, the second-highest all-time try scorer in the history of the sport, playing for Wigan, Blackpool Borough, Wales, Great Britain and Other Nationalities, winning World Cup, European Championship, Challenge Cup, League Championship and Lancashire Cup medals. He has been immortalised on statues at Wigan, Wembley Stadium and Cardiff Bay, and has a stand named after him at Wigan’s ground. He is in the Wigan, Great Britain and Wales Halls of Fame, on the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame’s ‘Roll of Honour’ and was made MBE for his services to sport in 1986. He was given a lifetime achievement award by the BBC in 2016.

Author Jessica Dunrod said: “As someone who is passionate about celebrating our multicultural Wales, I have worked hard to ensure that we are all represented and included in our literature, at least for the sake of our kids, and I believe in some small way I have achieved that.

“To me, the next step was to celebrate those who should have been honoured and captured in our books long ago, so I was delighted when Broga Books mentioned Billy Boston. I knew immediately that I wanted to write about him, because I understood that by writing a children’s book about him, his story and legacy would be documented and included in Welsh literature with permanence. To my dismay, I did not learn about Billy Boston MBE in school, and I should have. To launch this title on St. David’s Day would mean so much to me, as every year on the national day of Wales we can also celebrate one of our national heroes.”

Huw Aaron, director of Broga Books, said: “Billy Boston is a Welsh sporting legend and one of the greatest rugby players to ever play the game. He has been unfairly maligned in Wales because his success came in Rugby League as opposed to Union, but it’s high time that his achievements were recognized and celebrated, and that a new generation are introduced to this Welsh Hero free from the prejudices of previous generations. We’re confident that the combination of Jessica’s passion and storytelling skills and Selom’s amazing artwork will result in a fantastic book that will be a fitting tribute to Boston’s life and career, and a fun and dynamic action-packed book to be read and re-read at bedtime and storytime.”

Wales Rugby League chairman James Davies adds: “It’s great to see this book being published with the Great Billy Boston and how he dealt with adversity to become the person he is. When anyone starts taking an interest in rugby league in Wales, one of the first names that is always mentioned is Billy Boston. Billy is certainly a “Welsh Wonder” and this book is a fitting tribute to a person we all recognise a Welsh Sporting Legend.”

The books will be available from next Friday from all good bookshops in the high street and online.