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Inside the Australian book industry

Kindness, environmental themes popular at Bologna

Australian publishers have reported an ‘upbeat’ Bologna Children’s Book Fair, with middle-grade books continuing to dominate the market, and kindness and environmental themes emerging as new trends. Books with a focus on feminism and diversity, which were popular at last year’s fair, also continued to attract interest.

It was a particularly successful fair for Scribe’s picture-book list Scribble, which won the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year in the Oceania category and was profiled in one of the Bookseller’s Bologna editions. Scribble recently announced that it will begin publishing titles directly into North America in September—it already does so in the UK through Scribe’s London office—following the international success of its picture book All the Ways to Be Smart.

Andrea Hanke
Think Australian

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Hardie Grant Egmont acquires pre-teen period guide

Hardie Grant Egmont has acquired world rights to a guide for pre-teens about getting their period, written by journalist Yumi Stynes and Melissa Kang, the longest-serving expert behind the ‘Dolly Doctor’ segment in Australian teen magazine Dolly. Welcome to Your Period: Your Easy, No-Dumb-Questions Guide to Handling it Like a Boss (illus by Jennifer Latham) is pitched as a ‘frank, funny and age-appropriate guide for pre-teens about getting your period’.

MidnightSun Publishing has acquired world rights to Beverly McWilliams’ first picture book Born to Fly (illus by Timothy Ide), which follows the life of Australian farmer and pioneer aviator Harry Butler. MidnightSun publisher Anna Solding said McWilliams has ‘the incredible ability to take an important Australian story and present it in such a way that children and adults from around the globe can delight in it’.

NewSouth has acquired Richard Tulloch’s playscript The 13-Storey Treehouse, which ‘brings to life all the imaginative wonders’ of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s internationally bestselling ‘Treehouse’ series.


Black Inc. has sold traditional Chinese-language rights to How to Win a Nobel Prize (Barry Marshall with Lorna Hendry)—a time-travel adventure for budding scientists—to Rye Field Publications.

Harbour Publishing has sold Spanish-language rights to POWman: Unleash the Hero Within (Dave Tabain & Nadia Worland), the story of a young boy who stands up to his friend’s bullies, illustrated with comic-style artwork.


ALC Agency has sold broadcast rights to the picture book Is it the Way You Giggle? (Nicola Connelly, illus by Annie White, New Frontier Publishing) to the BBC for broadcast on CBeebies Bedtime Stories.

Black Inc. has sold the film and television option to the children’s book The Amazing Adventures of Grover McBane, Rescue Dog (Claire Garth, illus by Johannes Leak, Piccolo Nero) to producers Laura Clelland and Sandra Makaresz.

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


CBCA awards shortlists announced

The shortlists for the prestigious Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards have been announced.

Carly Nugent’s middle-grade novel The Peacock Detectives (Text) has won the Readings Children’s Book Prize. The book ‘touches on issues such as bullying, family break-ups, mental illness, child carers, adoption, death, friendship, trust and belonging, but in such a gentle, thoughtfully crafted way as to not once feel overwhelming, didactic or judgemental’, said guest judge and author Zana Fraillon.

Karen Foxlee’s middle-grade novel Lenny’s Book of Everything (Allen & Unwin) and Barry Jonsberg’s YA novel A Song Only I Can Hear (Allen & Unwin) have won the children’s categories at the independent bookseller-voted Indie Book Awards.

Author Libby Gleeson and illustrator Ann James have been nominated by IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) Australia as the Australian candidates for the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Awards.


‘Storm Boy’ tops Australian YA bestsellers chart

A film adaptation of Colin Thiele’s classic children’s book Storm Boy—about a boy who rescues three pelican chicks after their mother is shot—has sent the title to the top of the Australian YA bestsellers chart for March. The movie was released in Australia earlier this year and is currently screening in the US. It is joined in the top three by Vardaesia, the fifth and final book in Lynette Noni’s bestselling ‘Medoran Chronicles’ series, and Astrid Scholte’s debut fantasy Four Dead Queens.

Australian young adult bestsellers: March

  1. Storm Boy (Colin Thiele, New Holland)
  2. Vardaesia: Medoran Chronicles Book Five (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  3. Four Dead Queens (Astrid Scholte, Allen & Unwin)
  4. Akarnae: Medoran Chronicles Book One (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  5. Raelia: Medoran Chronicles Book Two (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  6. Whisper (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  7. Draekora: Medoran Chronicles Book Three (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  8. Graevale: Medoran Chronicles Book Four (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press)
  9. Underdog: #LoveOZYA Short Stories (ed by Tobias Madden, Nero)
  10. We Three Heroes (Lynette Noni, Pantera Press).

© Nielsen BookScan 2019
Period covered: 3 to 30 March 2019
Data supplied by Nielsen BookScan’s book sales monitoring system from 1000 retailers nationwide




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