Philomel Books

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.  

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.

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

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

Philomel’s Jill Santopolo on the Creation of Chelsea Clinton’s IT’S YOUR WORLD

Igloo-earth-thumb3In this new installment of our Climate Change series, Jill Santopolo, Editorial Director, Philomel Books, tells us about her key role in the creation of Chelsea Clinton’s IT’S YOUR WORLD: Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going. Climate Change is one of the big issues covered in the book, including a detailed “Weather Report” section. Young readers are

shown how “small actions can make a big difference” in helping to protect the environment. In addition to her duties at Philomel, where she has also edited books by other bestselling, award-winning authors such as Andrea Cremer, Amy Ephron, Lisa Graff, and Mayim Bialik, Jill is also an author. Her upcoming novel, THE LIGHT WE LOST, will be published by Putnam on May 9. Here, Jill offers insights into her editorial work on and inspiration behind IT’S YOUR WORLD as well as steps readers of the book can take to make a difference. What was the genesis of Chelsea Clinton’s book IT’S YOUR WORLD and the resulting process of mapping out the structure and creating the content – particularly the “Weather Report” section? [caption id="attachment_5898" align="alignright" width="300"] Jill Santopolo
Jill Santopolo[/caption] IT’S YOUR WORLD actually came to be because of television. Chelsea had appeared on The Daily Show  with Jon Stewart to talk about global health, and I happened to be sitting on my couch watching TV that night. I was so impressed with the way in which Chelsea was able to explain complicated subjects in ways that were easy to understand that I reached out and asked her if she might be interested in writing a book for young readers that talked to them about the biggest issues facing our world today. It turned out that Chelsea had already been thinking about doing just that. And, of course, when you’re talking about big issues facing our world, climate change is one of them. We decided that the book would be divided into four sections focusing on the economy, rights, health, and the environment. Within those sections, there are smaller chapters in which Chelsea included explanations, features on kids (and some adults) who are working to make a difference in those areas, and then Get Going! lists of actions readers can take to make a difference themselves. That same structure is in the Weather Report section. How would you describe the experience of working with Ms. Clinton as her editor on this project and what was involved in establishing a narrative voice that would grab and hold the interest of young readers? It’s was truly a pleasure to work with Chelsea on IT’S YOUR WORLD. She’s such a thoughtful, intelligent person, and I think those qualities are reflected in her writing. As far as tweaking her narrative voice for young readers, we talked about the idea of writing as if she were having a conversation with one of her nieces or nephews, which is why I think her voice in the book sounds so natural and so much like her. its your worldClimate Change is of urgent relevance to us all today.  How did you and Ms. Clinton address this environmental crisis in IT’S YOUR WORLD, sharing insights and details, in a way that would not only inform but inspire action? I think Chelsea did a remarkable job of explaining exactly what climate change is and the reasons it’s happening—both the large ones and the small ones. Because of the ways she’s able to break down this issue into bite-sized pieces, I think it’s easy for young readers to see how they, personally can make a difference by doing small things like recycling, bringing reusable bags on shopping trips, taking short showers instead of baths, turning off the water while brushing teeth, riding a bike instead of taking a car, and so much more. One of the themes of IT’S YOUR WORLD is that every bit count, and that a ton of small actions can make a big difference. That’s one of the messages I think is the most empowering about the book. What do you feel will be the primary environmental-related takeaways from IT’S YOUR WORLD that young readers will be able to integrate into their everyday lives? What I hope young readers will take away from IT’S YOUR WORLD is that you’re never too young (or too old, for that matter!) to make a difference. Whether it’s one of the smaller actions I mentioned above or starting something larger, like the incredible kids Chelsea features in her books have done, it takes all of us, working together, to create a better future for our planet and ourselves. As part of Penguin Random House’s ongoing commitment to social responsibility and business practices that minimize our impact on the environment, our Climate Change series is meant to further the discussion. 

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.  

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 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.