Think Australian Junior newsletter
Image. Advertisement:
Inside the Australian book industry

Introducing 'Think Australian Junior'

Welcome to the first edition of the Think Australian Junior newsletter. We’re incredibly excited to be bringing the best Australian children’s and YA books to an international audience of publishers, rights managers, scouts, literary agents, and film and TV agents.

Similar to our Think Australian newsletter, which was launched last week and focuses on adult titles, the Think Australian Junior newsletter will be published monthly and will include the latest Australian rights sales and acquisitions, award-winners and bestsellers, as well as profiles of Australian publishers, acquiring editors and authors.

These newsletters complement our annual Think Australian magazine, which has been distributed at the Frankfurt Book Fair for the past 14 years.

If you haven’t already signed up to the Think Australian and Think Australian Junior newsletters, you can do so here (it’s free). And if you have any colleagues who might be interested in receiving this newsletter, please forward this email on to them.

Andrea Hanke
Think Australian

Image. Advertisement: Science books for kids

HarperCollins acquires Eliza Henry-Jones’ first YA novel

HarperCollins has acquired Eliza Henry-Jones’ YA novel From the Sea in a two-book deal via Sally Bird at Calidiris Literary Agency. From the Sea is Henry-Jones’ first YA novel—the first draft was written while she was still a teenager—and follows two well-received adult fiction titles In the Quiet and Ache. Set in an isolated town in Tasmania, the novel tells the story of 16-year-old Gwen, who is grieving for her mother and younger brother while trying to navigate the pitfalls of high school and the arrival of two new kids in town—handsome Ben and his ‘classic mean girl’ sister.

Hardie Grant Egmont has acquired comedian Shaun Micallef’s debut children’s book Tales from a Tall Forest (illustrated by Jonathan Bentley)—a ‘rambunctious and subversively silly collection of fairytales’ aimed at middle-grade readers. Publisher Marisa Pintado said the book ‘feels like a lost instalment from the Brothers Grimm but with all the satire and adventure of The Princess Bride’.

Scribe’s children’s imprint Scribble has sold North American rights to Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys’ picture book The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade to Abrams Books, which will publish the book as Captain Starfish in the US and Canada in 2018. Abrams associate editor Erica Finkel said she is ‘thrilled to have this beautiful, award-winning book on our list’. ‘Captain Starfish is an honest and wise story about how all of us—from the star of the show to the shy wallflower—have merit and can connect with others.’ Scribble first published The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade in 2015. Foreign rights have also been sold to China, Bulgaria, France, Spain and Italy. Bell and Colpoys’ second picture-book collaboration, Under the Love Umbrella, was published by Scribble earlier this year in February.

Other recent rights sales of Australian titles include:

Picture books

  • Penguin Random House has sold Spanish and Russian rights to Marc Martin’s 2016 picture book Lots and Japanese rights to Martin’s previous picture books A River and A Forest. Martin’s newest picture book What’s Up Top?—reminiscent of Press Here by Hervé Tullet and I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen—will be published in Australia in September.

Younger readers

  • Hardie Grant Egmont has sold North American rights to The Lady from Nowhere by Cerberus Jones, the final book in the sci-fi series ‘The Gateway’, which is set in a ramshackle hotel atop a secret space portal.
  • Hardie Grant Egmont has sold Brazilian rights to eight titles in the ‘Squishy Taylor’ series by Ailsa Wild and Ben Wood—a mystery series that is pitched as ‘Modern Family meets Harriet the Spy’.
  • HarperCollins has sold German rights to Withering-By-Sea by Judith Rossell—a multi-award-winning Victorian fantasy-adventure—to Thienemann-Esslinger Verlag.

Young adult

  • Text has sold Dutch rights to Beautiful Mess by Claire Christian, which won last years Text Prize for the best unpublished manuscript written for young readers. Christians story of two teen misfits who find each other will be published in Australia in September.


  • Walker Books has sold Korean rights to three books in the narrative nonfiction series ‘Nature Storybooks’: Big Red Kangaroo (Claire Saxby, illus by Graham Byrne), Flight of the Honey Bee (Raymond Huber, illus by Brian Lovelock) and Platypus (Sue Whiting, illus by Mark Jackson).

For the latest Australian rights sales and acquisitions news, click here.


Shortlist highlights Australian books with an environmental theme

The Australian Wilderness Society has announced the shortlists for the Environment Award for Children’s Literature, which are presented annually to books that ‘foster a love of wild places and wildlife’ and ‘encourage a sense of responsibility for our natural world’.  Shortlisted in the picture book category are: Circle (Jeannie Baker, Walker Books); Chooks in Dinner Suits (Diane Jackson Hill & Craig Smith, Museum Victoria Publishing); and The Cassowary’s Gift (Pam Skadins & Kathryn Lovejoy) and Echidnas Can’t Cuddle (Nieta Manser & Lauren Merrick) from Little Steps Publishing. Shortlists were also announced in the children’s nonfiction and fiction categories.

The shortlists for the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards have also been announced. They aim to ‘promote quality Australian books that help children get the best, most literate start in life’, and are judged on their ‘appeal to children, interactive quality and ability to assist speech pathologists and parents in communication and literacy development’.

Australian independent bookshop Readings—which won the inaugural Bookstore of the Year Award at the London Book Fair—has released the shortlist for its YA Prize. The winner of its Children’s Book Prize—Karen Foxlee’s middle-grade fantasy-quest novel A Most Magical Girl (Piccadilly)—was announced earlier in the year.

Small Things by the late author Mel Tregonning (Allen & Unwin)—a wordless graphic novel about ‘a boy who feels alone with his worries, but who learns that help is always close by’—has won the Gold Ledger Award for excellence in Australian comics and graphic novels. Small Things is also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Crichton Award for New Illustrators.


Introducing the ‘Treehouse’ series

It’s impossible to overstate the success of the ‘Treehouse’ junior-fiction series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. The series launched in Australia in 2011 with The 13-Storey Treehouse and will shortly release its seventh instalment, The 91-Storey Treehouse (Pan). It has regularly topped the Australian bestseller charts, broken retailers’ records for first-day sales, won numerous book awards, been adapted for stage, and even inspired a Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Trees. Think Australian spoke to the creators’ agent Curtis Brown:

How would you describe the ‘Treehouse’ series to an international audience?

A series of adventures in Andy and Terry’s treehouse, the most amazing treehouse in the world! What are you waiting for? Come on up!

How many copies of the ‘Treehouse’ series have been sold in Australia?

The ‘Treehouse’ series has sold over three million copies in Australia. The previous title in the series, The 78-Storey Treehouse, is the number one fastest selling Australian book of all time, knocking off its predecessor The 65-Storey Treehouse on release.

Why do you think the ‘Treehouse’ series has struck such a chord with kids?

Andy and Terry are characters in their own adult-free world, and their adventures have the extraordinary imagination and zany creativity of children. Their books are hilarious, creative, energetic, and kids just love coming along for the ride.

Which countries has the series been sold into?

The ‘Treehouse’ series currently has 84 translation editions in print across the world. They are currently published in: UK, US, New Zealand, Israel, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Greece, France, Korea, China, Turkey, Germany, Brazil, Taiwan, Poland, Sweden, Portugal, Japan, Vietnam, Spain, Iran, Hungary, Latvia, Italy, Romania, Estonia, and Russia—with forthcoming publications in many more to come.

How has the series been received overseas?

The series has been phenomenally well received overseas, with sales now over seven million copies worldwide, and Andy conducting extensive global author tours in dozens of countries—including conducting author events with Jeff Kinney, author of the ‘Wimpy Kid’ series, in the US.

Are there any jokes in the series that have been difficult to translate for other markets?

In Just Disgusting! [from the authors’ previous ‘Just!’ series], Andy tells Terry the most offensive word in the world, written as @#$%$#@. This proved very difficult for the audiobook narrator, who wasn’t sure what to say that would be suitable!

Are there any TV or movie adaptations in the works?

The ‘Just!’ series was adapted into a cartoon series called What’s With Andy?. There are no film or television adaptations currently underway for the ‘Treehouse’ series, with Andy and Terry instead allowing the material to be adapted into the hugely successful stage adaptations until the time is right for film.

What’s next for the authors?

As always, Andy and Terry are busy building more layers on their treehouse!


‘Reverse psychology’ picture book tops bestsellers chart

Radio host Andy Lee’s debut picture book Do Not Open This Book, illustrated by Heath McKenzie, has topped the Australian picture book bestsellers chart for June. The book, which was written as a gift for Lee’s one-year-old nephew and released in Australia last year, uses reverse psychology to encourage children to keep reading. Rights have already been sold in more than 20 territories, including the US, UK, China, Germany, Brazil and France, with the publisher, Lake Press, continuing to field discussion in ‘several other markets’. The remainder of the picture book bestsellers list is made up of titles from much-loved Australian authors Mem Fox and Aaron Blabey. Fox’s first book Possum Magic—which is number three on the picture book bestsellers chart—was first published in 1983 and has since sold more than four million copies.

Australian picture book bestsellers: June

  1. Do Not Open This Book regular and plush toy edition (Andy Lee, Lake Press)
  2. Where Is the Green Sheep? (Mem Fox, Puffin)
  3. Possum Magic (Mem Fox, Omnibus Books)
  4. Busting! (Aaron Blabey, Scholastic)
  5. I’m Australian Too (Mem Fox, Scholastic)
  6. Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas (Aaron Blabey, Scholastic)
  7. Thelma the Unicorn boxed set mini edition (Aaron Blabey, Scholastic)
  8. The Very Sleepy Bear (Nick Bland, Scholastic)
  9. Pig the Fibber (Aaron Blabey, Scholastic)
  10. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes board book (Mem Fox, Puffin).

© Nielsen BookScan 2017
Period covered: 28 May 2017 to 1 July 2017
Data supplied by Nielsen BookScan’s book sales monitoring system from 1000 retailers nationwide




Contact us


Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

Editorial assistant
Anthea Yang

Classifieds, jobs and notices

Display advertising

Select newsletters

Select which newsletters you’d like to receive here.
Unsubscribe from individual newsletters here.
Or unsubscribe from all newsletters here.

View articles

Purchase a subscription to Books+Publishing to view all articles on the website.

If you need help with your subscription, please email the Subscriptions team.