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Inside the Australian book industry

Twelfth Planet Press launches ‘inclusive’ imprint for pre-teens

Australian genre publisher Twelfth Planet Press has launched a new imprint for pre-teen readers that will specialise in diverse stories, ‘with the aim to reflect the diversity of sexuality, race, gender, ethnicity and religion that we see in the world,’ says the publisher. The first title from the Titania imprint will be the middle-grade illustrated novel Winter’s Tale by Nike Sulway and Shauna O’Meara, published in October. It follows a non-binary foster child who encounters several families that challenge the notion of the traditional nuclear family.

This month we check in on the nonfiction bestsellers chart for children’s and YA books. Reflecting some of the trends identified at this year’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair, new entries include books on Indigenous history (Bruce Pascoe’s Young Dark Emu), body diversity (Jessica Sanders’ Love Your Body) and the environment (Lee Constable’s How to Save the Whole Stinkin’ Planet).

Similar themes are also evident in some of the children’s and YA titles that Australian publishers are bringing to Frankfurt this year. New books from Hardie Grant Egmont, Scribble and Echo Publishing include the first children’s book from renowned author and environmentalist Tim Flannery, Explore Your World: Weird, Wild, Amazing!; Who’s Your Real Mum? by Bernadette Green and Anna Zobel, a picture book that celebrates non-traditional families; and Highway Bodies by Alison Evans, a unique zombie apocalypse story featuring a range of queer and gender non-conforming teens. You can find more information on these titles and their rights availability in our Frankfurt Preview.

This edition of Think Australian Junior is being sent to subscribers of Publishers Weekly ahead of the Frankfurt Book Fair. If you were sent this newsletter as a PW subscriber and would like to continue receiving our free monthly newsletters, sign up here.

Andrea Hanke
Think Australian

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Who’s Your Real Mum?

When Nicholas wants to know which of Elvi’s two mums is her real mum, she gives him lots of clues. Her real mum is a circus performer, and a pirate, and she even teaches spiders the art of web. But Nicholas still can’t work it out! Luckily, Elvi knows just how to explain it to her friend …

A beautifully illustrated story, written with a light and humorous touch, that celebrates nontraditional families and captures exactly what lies at the heart of family life—love.

Who’s Your Real Mum? by Bernadette Green, illustrated by Anna Zobel
Publisher: Scribble
Rights held: World
Frankfurt stand: Hall 6.2, Stand A56


Explore Your World: Weird, Wild, Amazing!

The first book for children from renowned author and environmentalist Professor Tim Flannery, exploring the world’s weirdest and most fascinating animals in all their bizarre glory. Are zombie jellyfish real? What’s it like to wrestle a python? Which animals eat poop? (And more importantly, WHY?!). Bursting with extraordinary facts, packed with vibrant illustrations and guided by one of the world’s greatest living scientists, this deep-dive into the natural world will enthral and enlighten readers. The 250-page book is also a fantastic introduction to the concepts of conservation and evolution for children. North American rights were sold in a contested auction to Norton Young Readers, ahead of the book’s Australian publication.

Explore Your World: Weird, Wild, Amazing! by Tim Flannery, illus by Sam Caldwell
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
Rights held: World excluding US, Canada and Korea
Contact: Joanna Anderson
Frankfurt stand: Hall 6.1, Stand A76


Highway Bodies

Who will you rely on in the zombie apocalypse?

Bodies on the TV, explosions, barriers, and people fleeing. No access to social media. And a dad who’ll suddenly bite your head off—literally.

These teens have to learn a new resilience …

Members of a band wield weapons instead of instruments.

A pair of siblings find there’s only so much you can joke about, when the menace is this strong.

And a couple find depth among the chaos.

Highway Bodies is a unique zombie apocalypse story featuring a range of queer and gender non-conforming teens who have lost their families and friends and can only rely upon each other.

Highway Bodies by Alison Evans
Publisher: Echo Publishing
Rights held: World
Frankfurt stand: Hall 6.1, Stand A120 (Bonnier UK)



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‘Antarctica’ picture book sold to the US

Fremantle Press has sold US rights to Moira Court’s forthcoming picture book Antarctica to Massachusetts-based children’s publisher Charlesbridge. ‘Charlesbridge’s roots are in nature nonfiction, which is what attracted them to Antarctica,’ said Fremantle CEO Jane Fraser. ‘Their associate editor saw the book featured in the Think Australian catalogue when she was at the Bologna Book Fair, picked up a copy and took it back to the US. They wasted no time in making an offer.’ Antarctica introduces facts about the continent’s wildlife and topography in the format of a counting book, with illustrations that have been hand-created using layered wood block prints, screen prints and collage.

Scribe’s children’s imprint Scribble has sold German-language rights to Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys’ picture books All the Ways to be Smart and The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade to Suhrkamp. Scribble publisher Miriam Rosenbloom said, ‘Suhrkamp is one of the publishers we most admire in Germany and we’re delighted to have our first German rights deal with this wonderful house.’ The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade has sold into eight territories across Europe, Asia and North America, while All the Ways to be Smart has sold into six territories, and will publish in North America in September this year as a lead title in Scribble’s North American publishing list.

Hardie Grant Egmont has sold rights in four territories to Welcome to Your Period (Yumi Stynes and Melissa Kang), a ‘frank, funny and age-appropriate guide about getting your period for pre-teens’. North American rights were sold to Walker Books/Candlewick Press in a five-way auction, German-language rights to Carlsen Verlag, simplified Chinese-language rights to Thinkingdom, and Korean-language rights to Studio Dasan.

Exisle Publishing’s children’s imprint EK Books has sold simplified Chinese-language rights to the picture book Saying Goodbye to Barkley (Devon Sillett & Nicky Johnston), the story of a little girl who learns to overcome the sadness of losing her dog.


Hardie Grant Egmont has acquired three new Billie B Brown books by Sally Rippin (illus by Aki Fukuoka) and will publish them in 2020 to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the bestselling series. The Billie B Brown series currently consists of 20 junior-fiction titles published between 2010 and 2012, with over five million copies sold worldwide. Hardie Grant Egmont managing director Troy Lewis said: ‘In the years since we’ve published Billie, she’s become a household name in children’s publishing, so we’re very excited to celebrate such a milestone by extending the series.’

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


Lynette Noni wins Gold Inky Award

Australia’s bestselling YA author Lynette Noni has won the Gold Inky Award for her dystopian novel Whisper (Pantera), the first in a new series by the author of ‘The Medoran Chronicles’. The Inky Awards for YA writing are presented by the State Library of Victoria and selected by a panel of teen judges.

Two children’s/YA books were among the winners of the Davitt Awards for crime books by Australian women. The prize for best children’s novel went to Wakestone Hall by Judith Rossell (ABC Books)—the third and final book in the ‘Stella Montgomery’ mystery series—and best YA novel went to Sarah Epstein’s debut thriller Small Spaces (Walker Books).

Several children’s and YA novels are also in the running for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards.


‘Young Dark Emu’ tops Australian children’s/YA nonfiction bestsellers chart

Since we last checked in on the Australian children’s/YA nonfiction bestsellers in April, there are five new releases in the chart. Young Dark Emu, a younger readers edition of Bruce Pascoe’s landmark adult nonfiction book Dark Emu, has debuted in the top spot. The book asks young people to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation to that conventionally taught in schools. Other new titles cover body positivity and development (Welcome to Your Period and Love Your Body, which have already sold into multiple overseas territories), the environment (How to Save the Whole Stinkin’ Planet) and maths (Adam Spencer’s Mini Book of Numbers).

Australian children’s/YA nonfiction bestsellers: August

  1. Young Dark Emu (Bruce Pascoe, Magabala Books)
  2. Welcome to Your Period (Yumi Stynes & Melissa Kang, Hardie Grant Egmont)
  3. Girl Stuff 8–12 (Kaz Cooke, Viking)
  4. A is for Australia (Frane Lessac, Walker Books)
  5. Love Your Body (Jessica Sanders, Five Mile)
  6. The Amazingly Disorganised Help Dictionary (Georgia Productions, Penguin)
  7. The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made (Fiona Katauskas, ABC Books)
  8. How to Save the Whole Stinkin’ Planet (Lee Constable, Penguin)
  9. Adam Spencer’s Mini Book of Numbers (Adam Spencer, Brio Books)
  10. Girl Stuff 13+ (Kaz Cooke, Viking)

© Nielsen BookScan 2019
Period covered: 431 August
Data supplied by Nielsen BookScan’s book sales monitoring system from 1000 retailers nationwide




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