Emma Jones, Editor at Penguin
Harrow Lake (August) is the most addictive, nerve-shredding book you’ll read this year – it’s pacey and smart with a killer twist. It’s the creepiest book I’ve ever read, with all the hallmarks of the perfect compulsive thriller, and the villain Mister Jitters could genuinely rival Pennywise the clown for jump-scares. It’s one of those books that unites people no matter their taste, because the minute you reach the end you’re dying to talk to someone about it! A totally fresh and bold voice in YA, Kat Ellis has weaved a truly spectacular thriller, the perfect summer page-turner.
Shannon Cullen, Ladybird Publishing Director
Sometimes a book comes along that speaks simultaneously to your heart and mind, and Mabel and the Mountain: a story about believing in yourself by Kim Hillyard is such a story. Kim is an entirely self-taught author-illustrator, and when I saw and read about the loveable Mabel – a determined fly who wants to climb to the top of a mountain, much to the disdain of her friends who think she should just fly – I immediately saw a story that would speak to children about their self-confidence. Believing in your ideas, however big or small and no matter what those around you say, is an important theme that Kim explores with warmth, humour and rich illustrations. I’m very excited to encourage our young readers to ‘be more Mabel’ in 2020!
Felicity Alexander, Senior Commissioning Editor at Piccadilly Press
We have some wonderful fiction coming from Piccadilly Press this year. One title we’re particularly excited about is Cloudburst – Wilbur Smith’s first book for children, written with co-author Chris Wakling. Cloudburst takes many of the themes that Wilbur’s adult novels are best known for – rivalry, betrayal, fathers and sons – and weaves them into a gripping adventure story for 10+. Chris Wakling’s background is in thrillers and travel writing, so he was the perfect fit to collaborate with Wilbur on this series, and we’re really proud of the sharp pace and unpredictable plotting that’s the result of these two different authors coming together.
Katie Haworth, Editorial Director at Templar
I’m incredibly excited by Julia Patton’s new picture book Number Seven Evergreen Street. It’s a about (spoiler alert!) a little girl called Pea who saves her home from developers with help from her community and nature. I live in South London, and this story speaks to so many things I see happening in the city around me. What is especially special for me is that Julia has made each member of Pea’s diverse, close-knit community an individual. This really feels like a story that will help children make sense of today’s world with warmth and wit.
Katie Cotton, Publisher for Picture Books Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
From the moment I read Love Your Body by Jessica Sanders, illustrated by Carol Rossetti (March), I was captured by its warmth and honesty. The message that ‘every body is a good body’ is the perfect antidote to those maddening ‘beach body ready’ moments. In an age of rising eating disorders and social media bullying, this book teaches you to love your body not for what it looks like, but for what it can do. It is exactly what young girls (and some older ones, too) need to navigate today’s increasingly image-obsessed world. We are so proud and excited to help bring this powerful book to market.
Roy Johnson, Commercial Director, Troika Books
We are very excited to be publishing new collections of poetry by Dom Conlon, This Rock, That Rock, illustrated by Vivian Schwarz and Sue Hardy Dawson, If I Were Other than Myself, in spring 2020, and a new picture book by Jude Wisdom called The Island, a story of hope and tolerance. Also in spring we are publishing a debut children’s collection of poetry by Shauna Darling Robertson, Saturdays at the Imaginarium, and a new collection of poetry by Coral Rumble, Riding a Lion, illustrated by Emily Ford.
Naomi Colthurst, Commissioning Editor Penguin
From the moment I started reading Hana Tooke’s incredible debut story, I knew this was a book I had to acquire at all costs – and now, with only a few months to go until we publish The Unadoptables, I remain just as head over heels in love with it. It has all the ingredients of a classic children’s book which will be read for generations. Not only is it brilliantly written, with tons of adventure playing out within the most atmospheric of settings, there’s also so much humour and heart, and gorgeous details children will love poring over. Put simply, it is extraordinary.
Debbie Foy, Editor Director, Wren & Rook
In September this year, we are thrilled to be publishing Dare to Be You by Matthew Syed, the much-anticipated follow up to our 2018 bestselling and award-winning You Are Awesome. Dare to Be You builds on some of the themes touched on in You Are Awesome, such as resilience, but introduces many more, including a deep dive into the power of diversity and diverse thinking. Told through anecdotes and stories of Matthew’s life as a child and young adult, we learn that being true to yourself, celebrating your differences and following your own path is the way to build confidence and self-esteem in our rapidly changing and fast-paced world.
Sarah Lambert, Fiction Editorial Director, Orion Children’s Books
We cannot wait to publish The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by LD Lapinski (April), a magical adventure that will take 9+ readers to whole new worlds. Packed with imagination and excitement, it stars 12-year-old Flick Hudson, who discovers the Strangeworlds Travel Agency where she finds hundreds of worlds just steps away from ours. All you have to do to visit them is jump into the right suitcase… But the world at the very centre of it all, a city called Five Lights, is in danger. Flick must race against time, travelling through unchartered worlds, to save it before it collapses into nothingness – and takes our world with it. From an amazingly talented debut author, this is sure to be a hit.
Victoria Rock, Founding Children’s Publisher & Editor-at-Large at Chronicle Books
Combining the talents of Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan and rising illustration star Francesca Sanna, My Friend Earth (February) invites the very youngest of readers to celebrate the beauty of nature. Brimming with bold colours, this book is a magical ode to the many wonders of our planet with a subtle yet powerful environmental message. Patricia’s texts are always a deceptively simple. Here, she’s taken an age-old idea and offered an extremely child-friendly way to think about it. We wanted the look and feel of the book to be equally unique. Francesca’s work shares the same sensibilities. It’s a perfect partnership.
Erica Finkel, Editor at Abrams Books for Young Readers
As curious and determined as ever, the Questioneers are back in a new chapter book adventure from Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. Iggy Peck and the Mysterious Mansion (May) sees Ada Twist, Rosie Revere, Sofia Valdez and Iggy Peck working together to solve a strange mystery in an even stranger house, and it will take all of Iggy’s architectural know-how – as well as the help from his fellow Questioneers – to save the day. This irresistible addition to the Questioneers series combines a Scooby-Doo style caper with a haunted house, a missing ice cream baron and a sincere passion for STEM.
Erica Finkel, Editor, Amulet Books
A celebration of the Eternal City, Paolo: Emperor of Rome (March) tells the story of a daring dachshund who escapes from an indoor existence to live the sweet life on the streets of Rome. In a whirlwind tour he discovers all that the city has to offer: the ruins, the food, the art, the opera and – of course – the cats. Brought to life by Claire Keane’s joyous illustrations, Mac Barnett’s spirited and humorous voice is as enchanting as ever and will have everyone cheering on the bravery of this big-hearted dog who fights for honour, freedom and independence.
Nicola Carthy, Editor, Picture Books, Orchard Books
We are incredibly excited to be publishing a brand-new picture book from the bestselling, award-winning Lauren Child in September 2020. The Goody tells the tale of Chirton Krauss, who is a very good child indeed . . . until he starts to wonder what it might be like to be bad for once. This beautiful book teaches the importance of allowing children the freedom to be themselves. It’s Lauren at her very best!
Susan Barba, New York Review Books
I am most excited to publish Meet Monster by Ann Cook and Ellen Blance, with illustrations by Quentin Blake. Gentle, playful, purple Monster is a newcomer to the city who in short order finds a home, a friend, and a neighbourhood that welcomes him in. First introduced in 1973, these emerging-reader stories were written by children (with Cook and Blance) for children. About our new omnibus edition, Blake says, ‘I am delighted that Monster is out and about again as lively and beautifully coloured as ever, and making lots of new friends of all kinds.’ I couldn’t agree more!
Ellie Brough, Senior Editor, QED
Fake news has fast become a part of our everyday lives. It didn’t just spring up overnight so where did it come from? Fake News (QED, August) looks at the concept of fake news and the media as a whole, laying out the history and facts to give young readers a greater understanding of the issue. By the end, kids will have the tools to make their own informed opinion on the subject. This is an exciting addition to the What’s the Issue series and will be a great help when trying to navigate the modern media landscape.
Emily Pither, Senior Editor, words & pictures
The Farm That Feeds Us (May) is a gentle introduction to how a small-scale, organic farm works and how farmers grow food for us to eat. This beautifully illustrated, non-fiction picture book takes a wider look at where our food comes from. We hope that it will help parents and teachers to develop children’s knowledge and encourage conversations about food production, nature and how we can influence the methods of farming for a sustainable future.