Welcome to a new year! What do we have to look forward to in 2019? We asked leading children’s books editors to tell us about the books they are most excited to be published (in 100 words only). Here’s the list (publishers D – H and for For Books of the Year 2019, Part Three):
Rosie Fickling, David Fickling Books Editor: I first met Ro 4 years ago; a sweet and quiet girl… with a secret. She’s the lead character in the incredible Paper Avalanche – a story that Lisa Williamson has carefully crafted and moulded over the past few years and one I couldn’t be more excited to see in the hands of readers. This is Lisa’s third book, and my favourite so far. You’ll understand why when you meet Ro, because you’ll get a glimpse of true kindness, true strength and best of all, that truest of friendships: the kind we all should experience (but sadly sometimes don’t).
Alison Dougal, Publishing Director of fiction Egmont: ‘Entering The Land of Roar truly feels like stepping inside a child’s imagination; we’ve been searching for something as magical, uplifting and funny as this for a long time. Middle-grade readers will be on the edge of their seats as they join twins Arthur and Rose on their incredible adventure through this world packed full of the best things you can imagine, but also the scariest things. We fell instantly in love with this gorgeous book and we’re having so much fun creating an incredible package to match. We can’t wait for it to launch in September!
Lindsey Heaven, Editorial Director, Electric Monkey: ‘Holly Jackson is a stunning new voice in YA thriller fiction. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder is as addictive as the Serial podcasts and as hooky and clever as the very best crime blockbusters. Every plot twist had the entire team enthralled and texting each other throughout the night! We’re very proud to have Holly and this book on our list.’
Annie Eaton, Acting Editorial Director, Faber: It’s so hard to pick one favourite from the Faber list – there are so many brilliant reads coming next year! But I think The Hug has to be the most endearing and gorgeously illustrated picture books of 2019 – both for children and love-struck grown-ups!
Penny Thomas, Publisher, Firefly: I’m really excited to be publishing YA title Tulip Taylor by Anna Mainwaring this June. Tulip is fifteen and speaks for everyone who likes make-up and also likes to think they have a brain – particularly those generations brought up face to face with social media. Tulip is a make-up vlogger whose favourite book is her hefty dictionary. Challenged to go on ‘survival’ reality TV show, and struggling to escape her mother’s money-making schemes Tulip is set up to fail but is determined to prove she’s not just a pretty face. Think Pride and Prejudice meets I’m a Celebrity, for teens…
Julia Marshall Publisher Gecko Press: I’ve chosen The Runaways by Ulf Stark, illustrated by Kitty Crowther. When Gottfried Jr decides to bust his cumudgeonly grandfather out of hospital for one last adventure, he weaves such a complex and beautiful series of lies that when he finally decides to tell the truth, no one believes him. Ulf Stark’s writing is wise and warm, his characters super life-sized, and he can do funny and sad in the same sentence. The Runaways has a beautifully satisfying plot and Ulf Stark’s characteristic understanding of fathers, sons, mothers and grandfathers. The illustrations from Kitty Crowther grow more beautiful the more you look at them.
Peter Gill, MD Graffeg: We are particularly excited to be republishing Joyce Dunbar and James Mayhew’s classic Mouse and Mole series in May in a larger hardback format to really show off James’s gorgeous illustrations. Joyce’s funny and moving texts about the furry friends are timeless and we couldn’t believe these lovely books had been out of print for such a long time. We’re delighted to have the opportunity to bring these wonderful stories back to life.
Katherine Agar, Editorial Director at Hodder Children’s Books: I’m over the moon to have brought Zanib Mian to our list. Her debut middle grade, The Muslims, was the winner of the Little Rebels Award in 2018 (and also longlisted for the UKLA Award, and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal). Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet is the story of Omar, an ordinary British Muslim boy with a huge imagination – and it’s brimming with warm humour. Zanib has expanded the story with hilarious new scenes and we’ve re-illustrated it with artwork by Nasaya Mafaridik, ready to launch the series to a broader audience.
Rosemarie Hudson, Publisher Hope Road: The Chronicles of Will Ryde and Awa Maryam Al-Jameel’ is the first in a thrilling historical trilogy by Rehan Khan, called A Tudor Turk. The action is set in Istanbul in 1591 during the reign of the all-powerful Sultan Murad III. When the Staff of Moses is stolen from his palace, a small group of undercover warriors is assembled to track down the thieves. Fast-paced and furious, the story is a Mission Impossible of its time, with a rich and authentic multicultural cast of characters.