Penguin Young Readers

PYR To Publish Debut Picture Book By Bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Junot Díaz

Junot Díaz, the New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer prize winning author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This is How You Lose Herwill publish his debut picture book with Penguin Young Readers on March 13, 2018. Illustrated by Leo EspinosaIslandborn celebrates cultural diversity in America and our imagination’s

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boundless ability to connect us–to our families, to our past and to ourselves. Nicole Aragi at Aragi, Inc. brokered the deal for World rights with Namrata Tripathi, Editorial Director, Dial Books for Young Readers. Islandborn will have a first printing of 150,000.

[caption id="attachment_7150" align="alignright" width="233"] ISLANDBORN scheduled for publication March 13, 2018[/caption]

“Every kid in Lola’s school was from somewhere else. Hers was a school of faraway places.” So when Lola’s teacher asks the students to draw a picture of where their families immigrated from, all the kids are excited. Except Lola. She can’t remember The Island–she left when she was just a baby. But with the help of her family and friends, and their memories –joyous, fantastical, heartbreaking, and frightening–Lola’s imagination takes her on an extraordinary journey back to The Island.  As she draws closer to the heart of her family’s story, Lola comes to understand the truth of her abuela’s words: “Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.”

“When my goddaughters were young, they asked me to write a book about kids like them,” said Junot Díaz, “by which I took to mean super-curious kids who loved to read and draw and ask questions, and whose families had crossed continents to get where they are at.  ISLANDBORN is the book promised all those years ago – for my goddaughters and anyone who has ever wondered about their family’s ‘faraway place’.”

Namrata Tripathi added, “All readers deserve to see their stories reflected on the page. Junot Díaz’s debut picture book is a gift to the many readers whose lives cross borders and Leo Espinosa’s exuberant art reflects how ISLANDBORN is truly a celebration of their stories. Dial is incredibly proud to publish this book and I hope it will be cherished across many generations in many families.”

Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of the critically acclaimed DrownThe Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and This Is How You Lose Her, a New York Timesbestseller and National Book Award finalist. A graduate of Rutgers University, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Leo Espinosa is an award winning illustrator and designer from Bogotá, Colombia, whose work has been featured in The New YorkerWiredEsquire, The New York TimesThe Atlantic, and more. Leo’s illustrations have been recognized by American Illustration, Communication Arts, Pictoplasma, 3×3, and the Society of Illustrators. Leo lives with his family in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ruta Sepetys’ SALT TO THE SEA Wins CILIP Carnegie Medal for Best Children’s Writing

salt to the seaPenguin Young Readers author Ruta Sepetys has won the 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal, one of the UK’s most prestigious children’s literary awards, for her novel SALT TO THE SEA (Philomel Books/Puffin), a fictionalized account of the sinking of German ocean liner the Wilhelm Gustloff in 1945.  

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Of SALT TO THE SEA, the judges said that “not one of us knew about this real-life disaster and it shows how history is skewed towards the victor.” They added: “[The book] has been selected because of the powerful, crafted language, the tight, carefully shaped plot and the range of moods evoked throughout.” Ms. Sepetys told The Guardian: “When I interviewed people during my research, some told me not to bother with the book, that the world had forgotten them. The interest in the novel confirms that through characters and story, historical statistics become human and suddenly we care for those we’ve never met. My work sits on the shoulders of nonfiction, memoir and testimony. If a reader is interested in my novels, it’s my hope that they will feel compelled to research the facts behind the fiction.” The CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Carnegie Medal is annually awarded by UK children’s librarians for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people and published in the prior year, Congratulations to Ms. Sepetys as well as her editor and publisher.

New FERDINAND Movie Trailer and Poster Revealed

ferndinandTHE STORY OF FERDINAND by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson, has inspired, enchanted, and provoked readers ever since it was first published in 1936. This timeless classic book, published by Puffin, has been adapted for big screen, with the animated feature film to be released this fall.  20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios have revealed the first official trailer and movie poster. 

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Ferdinand is a giant bull with a big heart.  While all of the other bulls run, jump, and butt their heads together in fights, Ferdinand would rather sit and smell the flowers. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure. Set in Spain, Ferdinand proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover. Watch the trailer: During World War II, Adolf Hitler ordered the book burned in Nazi Germany, while Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, granted it privileged status as the only non-communist children’s book allowed in Poland. The preeminent leader of Indian nationalism and civil rights, Mahatma Gandhi once called THE STORY OF FERDINAND his favorite book. In 1938, the book was first adapted by Walt Disney into a short animated film called Ferdinand the Bull that won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons). The upcoming movie, Ferdinand, will be released by 20th Century Fox in theaters nationwide on December 15.

New Show Based on Who Was? Series Coming to Netflix in 2018

whohqFrom Page to Screen: Netflix has ordered 13 half-hour episodes of The Who Was? Show, a new family variety series based on Penguin Workshop’s bestselling Who Was? series, slated for release in 2018.

The show is described as “a mixture of comedy and history [that] will feature key leaders, innovators and creative trendsetters while placing historical figures into context for today’s children”

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and will “showcase an assortment of live-action, animated shorts, improvisations, sketches, musical performances and guest appearances.” The Who Was? Show is being developed by Penguin Workshop and producers FremantleMedia Kids & Family Entertainment (FMK), with Matador Content (Lip Sync Battle) co-producing, and Bento Box Entertainment (Bob’s Burgers) signed on as the animation studio. Comedy producer Rich Korson (Those Who Can’tGreat Minds with Dan Harmon) has been tapped as the showrunner and executive producer. Bob Higgins, Jay Peterson, and Penguin Workshop President & Publisher Francesco Sedita will also executive produce. The series has an all-star lineup of comedy writers attached, including Conan O’Brien veteran Brian McCann, head writer Elliott Kalan (The Daily Show), Eric Gilliland (Roseanne), Delaney Yeager (The Daily Show) and Tami Sagher (Inside Amy Schumer). Launched in 2002, the New York Times bestselling Who Was? series tells the amazing stories of trailblazers, legends, innovators, and creators from throughout history and today. One of the leading biography series in the marketplace, the success of Who Was? led to two spin-off series, What Was? and Where Is?; all three series are now published under the Who HQ brand. With over 185 titles published to date, and over 20 million copies sold, Who HQ is the ultimate destination for all things Who? What? and Where?

How Jill Santopolo, Philomel Editorial Director and Putnam Author, Does It All

Jill SantopoloTHE LIGHT WE LOST, Jill Santopolo’s debut novel, is being published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons on Tuesday, May 9. The book unfolds in a series of vignettes over a decade and a half, as a young woman navigates the turbulent emotional waters of her first love.  With foreign rights already sold in 30 countries, striking a global chord, THE LIGHT WE LOST is a

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testament to the lengths we go to pursue our dreams, the sacrifices we make for love, and the all-too-realistic facets of life that can suddenly and completely change our course. In addition to being an author (including three successful children’s and young adult series as well her new novel), Jill is the Editorial Director of Philomel Books, a Penguin Young Readers imprint. She is also an adjunct professor in The New School’s MFA program, and travels the world to speak about writing and storytelling.  Here Jill offers insights into how she makes it all happen as a multi-talented member of the Penguin Random House family. As an editor, author and teacher, how do you make and balance the time for all of your creative endeavors? The best time balancing tip I have is one I learned from a Penguin author, Jacqueline Woodson, who gave a talk about how she balances her writing with the rest of her life. She told the room that she literally schedules writing time into her calendar as if it were a party or a meeting, and then doesn’t ever cancel it. So I’ve taken that tip and used it, scheduling writing time, editing time, teaching time–and then scheduling running time and family time and friend time, too. It means I’ve often got a lot of on my calendar, but it has also helped me to figure out exactly how much time I need for any given task. And when things get especially busy, I employ what my father used to call The Suspension of the Unnecessary–where I put aside getting things done that don’t have to happen so that I can focus on whatever project needs to be completed by a certain deadline. 9780735212756What was the genesis of the idea behind THE LIGHT WE LOST and how did you find the voice of Lucy, the primary character in your book? THE LIGHT WE LOST was actually born out of a horrible break-up—the kind the turns your world upside down and makes you re-imagine your entire future—and I was trying to figure out a way to handle that experience. I ended up doing it by writing vignettes about another woman who was going through a different break-up, but whose thoughts and feelings were similar to mine. Lucy’s story is not my story, but the emotions she experiences are the same, and that’s how her voice emerged. I wanted to write someone who was wounded, but strong enough to overcome heartbreak–probably in the hope that I would be, too What are the most rewarding aspects of being part of the Penguin Random House family? I think just that–that it really does feel like a family, or a phamily as we call it a Philomel. I’ve been amazed by the support and love all of my Penguin Young Readers colleagues have shown for this book, and how wonderful it feels to be a PRH author. When my agent sent The Light We Lost out into the world on submission, I really hoped that it would end up here, and was absolutely thrilled that Putnam wanted my book on their list. (Thank you!) As THE LIGHT WE LOST goes on sale, media and fellow authors post words of praise: “[Jill] Santopolo explores passion, fate, love, and what it means to truly be a good person. She raises questions readers will find themselves pondering long after they’ve turned the last page: are our lives shaped by our own choices or by forces outside our control? Are first loves forever? And is it worth risking stability and comfort for a love that is unpredictable and explosive? A beautiful and devastating story that will captivate readers.” —Kirkus, Starred Review ”Jill Santopolo’s extraordinary debut novel is a love story–an emotional roller coaster–that follows the lives of Lucy and Gabe who meet in New York City on September 11, 2001. The event transforms and shadows their lives. How do they reconcile passion and security, dreams and reality? As The Light We Lost enchanted and compelled me, I found myself reconsidering my own choices, and wondering at the choices of my friends and the people around me–how did their dreams match their realities? And what if that dream can’t include the person you love the most?”  —Delia Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of Siracusa “What can be more devastating than love? In her adult debut, Santopolo explores thirteen tumultuous years in the lives of two unique lovers, the difference between what’s forever and what’s finite, and how what seems fated might not be fact. Gorgeously written and absolutely unforgettable, Santopolo’s novel has a beating heart all its own.”  —Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of YouIs This Tomorrow, and Cruel Beautiful World
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How Seeing “Hamilton” on Broadway Inspired Melissa de la Cruz to Write ALEX & ELIZA

alex and eliza book buzzIn this week’s Igloo Book Buzz selection, ALEX & ELIZA: A Love Story, on sale from G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers on April 11,  #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz brings to life the romance of young Alexander Hamilton and Elizabeth Schuyler. “It is set when Alexander Hamilton is about 19 years old and Elizabeth

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Schuyler is 17, around 1777, until their marriage in 1780,” says Ms. de la Cruz. “I thought of my book as very much a Jane Austen retelling of Alex and Eliza’s story.” Ms. de la Cruz was inspired to write her book after seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway show, Hamilton: An American Musical, which was based on Ron Chernow’s New York Times-bestselling book, ALEXANDER HAMILTON (Penguin Press/Penguin Books).   As she told Entertainment Weekly: “I am a sucker for the popular girl-poor boy love story trope, from Reality Bites to Moulin Rouge. And I had always had a soft spot for Elizabeth Schuyler, whom I used in my Blue Bloods vampire books as well: my heroine Schuyler Van Alen is named after her. After we saw Hamilton, my 10-year-old daughter was obsessed with Eliza, and it was her keen interest in Alex and Eliza’s story that led me to thinking that there was something more I wanted to discover more about the subject. I was originally just doing the research to answer my daughter’s questions, but I got caught up in it as well. [caption id="attachment_5791" align="alignright" width="200"]Melissa de la Cruz Melissa de la Cruz[/caption] “After we saw Hamilton, I sobbed for a good 10 minutes. I had never realized how much of an outsider I had felt to American history until we (brown people) were suddenly thrust in the center of it. It was such a profound moment for me, and I am tearing up just thinking of it. Hamilton made this bold statement that you – yes you, Puerto Rican, African American, Asian — are part of the founding father’s story too. The story of America is also our story. I had never felt entitled to that before. I had never felt so embraced by American history. It was shocking how deeply I craved it, how I didn’t even know how much I needed to feel that way. I’m in awe of what Lin-Manuel Miranda has done, not just as a work of art, but as a work of citizenship for all of us immigrants and people of color to be part of the greatest story of the founding of our country.” The publication of ALEX & ELIZA has generated widespread advance buzz across many national media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly, Teen Vogue, GoodReads.com, EpicReads.com, Brit + Co, Bustle, Broadway World and PopSugar, among a host of others. The author’s upcoming appearances include the LA Times Festival of Books  (April 23), YALLWest (April 29) and BookCon (June 3-4).

Chelsea Clinton Pens Children’s Picture Book About Thirteen Inspirational Women

chelsea clintonPenguin Young Readers will publish SHE PERSISTED, a new picture book written by Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger, that celebrates strong, inspirational women who have embodied the spirit of persistence throughout American history. The book will be published on May 30, 2017 by Philomel Books.  

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Inspired by Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate, SHE PERSISTED introduces tiny feminists, mini-activists, and kids ready to take on the world to thirteen American women who never took no for an answer, including: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, and Sonia Sotomayor–and a special cameo by one more. ShePersisted_cover copyChelsea Clinton said, “I wrote this book for everyone who’s ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down—for everyone who’s ever been made to feel less than. The thirteen women in She Persisted all overcame adversity to help shape our country—sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. With this book, I want to send a message to young readers around the country—and the world—that persistence is power.” Ms. Clinton is the author of the New York Times bestselling IT’S YOUR WORLD: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going! and, with Devi Sridhar, Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? She is also the Vice Chair of the Clinton Foundation, where she works on many initiatives including those that help to empower the next generation of leaders. You can follow her on Twitter at @ChelseaClinton or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/chelseaclinton. Alexandra Boiger grew up in Munich, Germany, and studied graphic design before working as an animator in England and then at Dreamworks SKG in the United States. She is the author and illustrator of Max and Marla, and the illustrator of more than twenty picture books including the Tallulah series, and When Jackie Saved Grand Central. She has received the Parents’ Choice Award and has been featured on numerous state reading lists.

Penguin Young Readers Donates 100K Books to National Diaper Bank

PYRPenguin Young Readers is donating 100,000 books to the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) this fall. The donation is in partnership with the Clinton Foundation initiative, Too Small to Fail. These books will be distributed to 33,000 households – 3 books per family – in 20 diaper bank communities across America. Too Small to Fail announced the partnership at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference on Monday, June 13, in Atlanta.

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NDBN-300x129Studies show that in some low-income communities, there is only one book per 300 children, while in middle-income neighborhoods, there are thirteen books per child. NDBN works to meet the basic needs of all American children and families, by focusing on diaper need. The Penguin Young Readers donation promotes early literacy by providing families in the diaper bank communities with board books for their children. TooSmallToFail-300x111As part of the partnership with Too Small to Fail, those receiving books will be invited to pledge to join the “Talk, Read, Sing for Change” program, which encourages parents to do all three of those activities with their children daily. Too Small to Fail’s public awareness and action campaign raises awareness among parents and caregivers about the critical importance of talking, reading, and singing during everyday moments. The Clinton Foundation initiative provides parents with tools to engage in these language-rich interactions. Huggies-300x69In addition to the above commitments, leading diaper brand and NDBN’s founding sponsor, Huggies, will also partner to amplify this campaign on their social media platforms.

Publisher Nancy Paulsen on Her Career and Penguin Young Readers Imprint

NancyPaulsenThumbnailAs part of our Publisher Profile series, Nancy Paulsen, president and publisher of her eponymous Penguin Young Readers imprint, shares personal insights into her outstanding career in book publishing, her bestselling, award-winning authors – Jacqueline Woodson, Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Maira Kalman, among them – as well as new books and authors she is looking forward to publishing in the coming year.

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What initially attracted you to the world of book publishing and the editor/publisher role in particular? Like most people in publishing, it was the love of books. I was an avid reader as a child and loved how reading transported me to new places and allowed me to understand how it felt to stand in someone else’s shoes. When I brought my résumé to Viking Penguin (as it was called back then), the job opening was in Children’s Editorial. I saw so many favorite books on the shelves when I walked into the offices—MADELINETHE SNOWY DAYPIPPI LONGSTOCKINGTHE OUTSIDERS—that I knew I had arrived at my new home. From then on I wanted to work with authors and artists and help them make books forever. nancy paulson logo2What have been some of your most rewarding achievements over the course of your career as a publisher? Right from the beginning I wanted to publish books that made kids feel good and that made all kinds of kids feel represented. One of my early books at Viking was a picture book called I LIKE ME! by Nancy Carlson, about a confident pig, and I adored its message. When I became the publisher of Putnam in the mid-1990s, I signed up Jacqueline Woodson because I loved her extraordinary, lyrical voice, and I was thrilled when so many of her books won major awards. Her most recent picture book with E. B. Lewis, EACH KINDNESS, won the Jane Addams Peace Prize and shows kids in such a stunning way that actions have consequences. Maira Kalman’s picture books have also been thrilling to publish, as her viewpoint is so unique and eye-opening. It’s exciting that I get to work on both picture books and novels that speak to so many kids and make a difference in their lives. When you started your own imprint, how did you envision what your emphasis would be as well as the breadth of your authors and character of your lists? From the start I planned to focus on diverse and distinctive voices and books that offered kids hope, because life can be so hard. Having Jacqueline Woodson’s stunning memoir,BROWN GIRL DREAMING, win the National Book Award and become a huge bestseller has been so gratifying to us both, as we’ve worked together for twenty years and it was a fabulous culmination of all the things we’ve dreamed about happening. When I published Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s first book, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS, about a foster child and everyday heroes, the word of mouth among kids was incredible and propelled the book onto state award lists all over the country. Lynda’s new book, FISH IN A TREE, is a bestseller that is being read in classrooms all over the world, and it’s a beautifully told story that reminds us not to judge people by their learning styles (“Great minds don’t think alike!”) and shows how a good teacher makes such a difference in a child’s life. WoodsonMKalmanTnailWhat have been some of the most satisfying aspects of having your own imprint and what excites you most about its future? It is super-satisfying to work with people who amaze me with their talents. On the picture book side, I get to work with some industry greats like the inimitable Tomie dePaola, and to also discover new talent like Lori Nichols and Eliza Wheeler. And on the fiction side I am thrilled that I have lots more coming from Jacqueline Woodson and Lynda Mullaly Hunt. I also have novels from Brenda Woods, Aisha Saeed, and Padma Venkatraman—all who are powerful diverse voices. It is so rewarding when fabulous books reach readers and excite them and help expand their worldview, and it’s magical when a book becomes a child’s favorite. That’s what excites me about the future—more books and more stories to be told and the ability to connect with kids in such a meaningful way.