Penguin Young Readers

Our Books on the 2018 Rainbow List

The Rainbow Book List Committee has announced its 2018 Rainbow Book List, recognizing books with significant gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning content, for youth and children 18 and under.  This year’s Rainbow Book List includes five titles published by Penguin Random House imprints, and one title published by a Penguin Random House Publisher Services client: 

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Middle Grade Fiction FELIX YZ by Lisa Bunker (Viking Books for Young Readers) Young Adult Fiction ASHES TO ASHEVILLE by Sarah Dooley (Putnam Books for Young Readers) WE ARE OKAY by Nina LaCour (Dutton Books for Young Readers) 10 THINGS I CAN SEE FROM HERE by Carrie Mac (Knopf Books for Young Readers) PERFECT TEN by L. Phillips (Viking Books for Young Readers) HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME by Adam Silvera (Soho Teen, a PRHPS client publisher) View the complete 2018 Rainbow List here.

Penguin Young Readers to Launch New Imprint Kokila

Jen Loja, President, Penguin Young Readers, announced today the launch of Kokila (pronounced KO-ki-la), a new imprint which will be dedicated to centering stories from the margins with books that add nuance and depth to the way children and young adults see the world and their place in it. Kokila will be

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helmed by Vice President and Publisher Namrata Tripathi, former Associate Publisher and Editorial Director of Dial Books for Young Readers, a Penguin Young Readers imprint. Joining Kokila are Jasmin Rubero, currently Associate Art Director, Dial Books for Young Readers, and Joanna Cárdenas, presently Editor, Viking Children’s Books. Kokila will debut its first list of books in Summer 2019.  The name Kokila comes from the Sanskrit name for the koel bird. The kokila has great significance in Indian poetry and myth, and is celebrated as a harbinger of new beginnings. In the spirit of its name, Kokila aims to make space for storytellers to explore the full range of their experiences in books for young readers. Upcoming Kokila lists will include works by Pablo Cartaya, Sherine Hamdy and Myra El-Mir, Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña, John Corey Whaley, and Calista Brill and Nilah Magruder. Additional authors will be announced later this year. [caption id="attachment_9431" align="alignright" width="286"] Namrata Tripathi[/caption] Namrata Tripathi was born in the USSR, and lived in Afghanistan, India, Canada, Pakistan, Germany, and Poland before moving to New York in 1997. At Dial Books for Young Readers, Tripathi edited many critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling books, including Junot Díaz’s forthcoming debut picture book Islandborn,illustrated by Leo Espinosa; Mama’s Nightingale by Edwidge Danticat; John Corey Whaley’s Highly Illogical Behavior; The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani; and the upcoming picture book Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Vashti Harrison. Prior to joining Penguin, Ms. Tripathi was Executive Editor at Atheneum Books for Young Readers (S&S), where she edited John Corey Whaley’s Printz- and Morris Award-winning Where Things Come Back, as well as works by Ian Falconer, James Howe, Lita Judge, and Judith Viorst. Tripathi is co-chair of the diversity-hiring committee at Penguin Young Readers, started the Penguin Stories program, which aims to build a community conversation around diversity and inclusion through the power of story, serves as a mentor in the Representation Matters Mentorship Program, and was a founding member of the CBC Diversity Committee. Jen Loja says, “Namrata is a spectacular editor, visionary, and connector, and this is the perfect moment for her to launch Kokila and move these very important conversations forward.  She has such an incredible ability to not only find terrific storytellers, but also to bring together talents to create stories in a completely different way.  And her mission and determination to reach as many children as possible is one we both admire and share here at Penguin Young Readers.  Hers is a much-needed voice, and we can’t wait to see where she and Kokila take us all.” Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz adds, “Namrata’s profoundly intelligent, supremely elegant editing, and her extraordinary commitment to my book were absolutely transformational.  The best editors are alchemists — Namrata took my raw materials and helped me make gold.” “The idea exchange resulting from mixing cultures and languages has shaped the way I see the world,” says Namrata Tripathi. “At Kokila, we hope to build a community around authors, illustrators, and readers who believe in the power of sharing stories from across the full spectrum of experiences. And they will be supported by publishing professionals with a deep commitment to that mission.” [caption id="attachment_9435" align="alignright" width="215"] Jasmin Rubero[/caption] Jasmin Rubero started her career teaching art to children in districts without robust arts curricula. In her 17 years at Dial Books for Young Readers, Rubero has designed books by critically-acclaimed and bestselling artists and authors, including the New York Times bestselling Ladybug Girl series by Jacky Davis and David Soman; Pura Belpré Award winner Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes by Juan Felipe Herrera, illustrated by Raul Colón; and Junot Díaz’s debut picture book Islandborn, illustrated by Leo Espinosa. Jasmin is currently working on the newly announced, Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, illustrated by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Vashti Harrison, and Hands Up! by Brianna McDaniel, illustrated by Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award winner, Shane Evans. [caption id="attachment_9436" align="alignleft" width="300"] Joanna Cardenas[/caption] In her time at Viking Books for Young Readers, Joanna Cárdenas has edited such critically-acclaimed award-winning books as The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez and The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya, both PW Flying Starts. She is on the steering committee for Latinx in Publishing, a nonprofit organization committed to supporting and increasing the number of Latino/a/x in the publishing industry, as well as promoting literature by, for, and about Latino/a/x people. Joanna is co-founder of the Representation Matters Mentorship Program, a program that connects people of color interested in editorial with editors across publishing houses. In 2015, Joanna was an honoree at Publishers Weekly’s Star Watch, which celebrates up-and-coming talent in the publishing industry.

Penguin Young Readers and Framebridge Announce Exclusive Custom Framed Art Collection

Framebridge , the simple way to custom frame everything you love, and Penguin Young Readers, are bringing book illustrations off the pages and onto your wall for the first time with the launch of Penguin Print House, a new collection of limited edition framed artwork from beloved children’s books. Featuring vibrant art from timeless classics, celebrated award-winners and current bestsellers, the collection offers bright, fun and playful décor options for every nursery and children’s bedroom.

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Starting today, customers can choose from ten different Penguin Young Readers art prints on Framebridge.com/penguin to have custom framed by the experts at Framebridge. The Penguin Print House collection features framed art from childhood favorites, including CORDUROY by Don Freeman, LLAMA LLAMA RED PAJAMA by Anna Dewdney, DRAGONS LOVE TACOS written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, MITFORD AT THE FASHION ZOO by Donald Robertson, THE NOT SO QUIET LIBRARY by Zachariah OHora, WONDER BEAR by Tao Nyeu, and MY ABC BOOK and THE ANIMALS' VACATION from the Grosset & Dunlap Vintage line. The art prints are available in four different frame styles and will be fully custom framed and shipped nationwide, arriving within days. Each custom framed limited edition print will arrive completely ready to hang with a signed certificate of authenticity from the illustrator. “We were excited to work with Penguin Young Readers and their amazing artists because the stories and imagery from these iconic books provide such lasting, magical and happy experiences for young kids and their families,” says Susan Tynan, Framebridge founder and CEO. “It’s a natural fit to take these cherished artist works and place them on the wall where they can inspire fun and creativity in a new generation of readers while bringing back special memories for so many of us.” “We are delighted to partner with Framebridge on this unique line of collectible prints,” says Jen Loja, President, Penguin Young Readers, “and we look forward to introducing new books and illustrators to the collection over the next year. In just over two years, Framebridge has redefined the traditional custom framing experience by making it easy and affordable for consumers to custom frame their favorite art, mementos and photos. The experts at the Framebridge factories in Maryland and Kentucky have custom framed hundreds of thousands of items from customers around the U.S. Each frame is handcrafted in the United States using the highest quality materials, and with a serious attention to detail. Prices for these limited edition framed works range from $150 to $300. Consumers can visit www.framebridge.com/penguin for more information and to view the collection. Framebridge launched in late 2014 to make it easy and affordable for consumers to custom frame the things they love. Customers can choose from a curated selection of on-trend frame styles, then upload their photos on the Framebridge website, or ship their items directly to Framebridge in prepaid packaging. The expert team at Framebridge will receive their items and handcraft beautiful custom frames to the customer’s exact specifications. The finished pieces ship directly to consumers, arriving in days. Framebridge’s transparent pricing, which is determined by the size of each item, begins at $39 and includes free shipping. Framebridge is based in Washington D.C. Read our related Igloo feature: Q&A with PYR’s Sara Dayton on the Launch of Penguin Print House

Q&A with PYR’s Sara Dayton on the Launch of Penguin Print House

This week, Penguin Young Readers and Framebridge are bringing book illustrations off the pages and onto your wall for the first time with the launch of Penguin Print House, a new collection of limited edition framed artwork from beloved children’s books. Featuring vibrant art from timeless classics, celebrated award-winners, and current bestsellers, the collection offers bright, fun, and playful décor options for every nursery and children’s bedroom. Visit Framebridge for more information and to view the collection.

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Penguin Print House evolved from a pitch by Sara Dayton, Digital Product Manager, Penguin Young Readers, in an early cohort of InkTank (see below for  details). Here Sara offers insights into how Penguin Print House went from idea to reality. How did the idea of Penguin Print House come about? I worked at the Museum of Modern Art before starting at Penguin—I was surrounded by beautiful artwork in both offices, and always wondered why Penguin didn’t sell high quality prints of their artwork the way MoMA does. My pitch was inspired by that observation, and over the twelve weeks of InkTank I refined the idea to work within the constraints of our business. Why partner with Framebridge? We have incredible art, but to make this idea happen we definitely needed help with the logistics of selling prints. I identified Framebridge as a potential partner early in the process, and when I reached out to them they were immediately enthusiastic about the idea. We took a trip to their offices in Washington, D.C. late last year, and after meeting the team and seeing their products in person it felt like a very natural fit. They’ve been able to facilitate many elements that would’ve been problematic for us, and have been the perfect partner to get our illustrators’ art out into the world in a very different way. When did you know Penguin Print House was going to become a reality? It took a long time to feel like it would definitely happen! There was a lot to figure out, from big picture questions like the structure of contracts and how we would process payments, to small details like working with the illustrators and Framebridge to have the prints color-matched perfectly to the books. But as soon as we started getting the illustrators’ signed certificates (each print includes a signed Certificate of Authenticity in a custom pocket on the back of the frame), it felt like the real deal. What prints will be available as part of the Penguin Print House Launch collection? The launch collection includes 12 prints with art from CORDUROY by Don Freeman, LLAMA LLAMA RED PAJAMA by Anna Dewdney, DRAGONS LOVE TACOS written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, MITFORD AT THE FASHION ZOO by Donald Robertson, MAX AND MARLA by Alexandra Boiger, THE NOT SO QUIET LIBRARY by Zachariah OHora, WONDER BEAR by Tao Nyeu, and MY ABC BOOK and THE ANIMALS' VACATION from the Grosset & Dunlap Vintage line. We plan to introduce new books and illustrators to the collection, so stay tuned to see what we add next. What are others saying about Penguin Print House? “We were excited to work with Penguin Young Readers and their amazing artists because the stories and imagery from these iconic books provide such lasting, magical and happy experiences for young kids and their families. It’s a natural fit to take these cherished artist works and place them on the wall where they can inspire fun and creativity in a new generation of readers while bringing back special memories for so many of us.” Susan Tynan, Framebridge founder and CEO “I am very proud Penguin Young Readers is the first to launch a project like this. It was an awesome idea we knew we needed to make a reality. Each time Sara presented Penguin Print House to internal stakeholders, the typical response was either “this is a no-brainer” or “why didn’t I think of this?” This is very special and a truly unique way to showcase the work of our many talented illustrators. I can’t wait for the prints to be out in the world. Adam Royce, VP Digital Content, Penguin Young Readers “We are so excited we’ve been able to bring this idea to life and we look forward to introducing new books and illustrators to the collection over the next year. Our goal is always to extend the Penguin brand and the life of our books, whether that be on the page or off. Penguin Print House allows us to do exactly that in an exciting and innovative way, while also giving our illustrators the opportunity to earn additional revenue from their beautiful work.” Jen Loja, President, Penguin Young Readers “Penguin Print House embodies the spirit of InkTank, which was designed to harness the creativity, ingenuity and passion of our employees to develop new ways to drive reach and revenue for our books and authors. Sara participated in a three-month pilot program last year and has worked tirelessly with the support of PYR since then to make this concept a reality. It’s so exciting to be bringing these iconic illustrations off the page and into readers’ homes to be experienced in an entirely new way.” Alison Rich, VP, Publishing Innovation Development, Penguin Random House Read the Penguin Print House Launch Announcement.

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.

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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

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).