Chronicle Books signs two picture books from Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt

News - Children Friday, 24 May 2019

'Fairy tale retellings with strong, smart girls as main characters,' says author Underwood

Chronicle Books, which is distributed in the UK and Europe by Abrams & Chronicle Books, has acquired two new picture books from Interstellar Cinderella author Deborah Underwood and artist Meg Hunt.

World rights were by acquired by editor, Melissa Manlove, from Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary for author Deborah Underwood and Scott Hull at Scott Hull Associates for artist Meg Hunt. Both new titles are classic retellings with a modern twist.

Manlove said: "The fairy tales that children grow up with tend to offer them girl characters who wait patiently for a rescuer and their happily-ever-after. The books that we are making here deliberately recast these old stories to tell an important truth: a princess is really just someone to whom good things happen, but a heroine is someone who changes her own story."

According to the acquisition statement: 'The first book Reading Beauty (September 2019), was inspired by Sleeping Beauty. When a fairy's curse, a deathlike sleep via paper cut, threatens to make her kingdom barren of books, it's up to space princess Lex to break the spell and bring books back to her people. Set in the universe of the acclaimed Interstellar Cinderella, this irrepressible fairy tale retelling will charm young readers with its brave heroine, star-studded setting and hilarious, heartwarming happy ending.'

The second title Snow Bright and the Seven Bots, inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is scheduled for 2021.

Underwood said: "It’s been so gratifying to see Interstellar Cinderella get such an enthusiastic response from kids and adults alike. I dreamed of having a trilogy of fairy tale retellings with strong, smart girls as main characters, and with the publication of Reading Beauty and Snow Bright and the Seven Bots, my dream is coming true! I’m thrilled that Meg Hunt will be bringing these characters to life. I can’t wait for readers to meet them."

Hunt said: "I've loved bringing Deborah's words to life in this series. Not only is each planetoid a sheer delight to explore visually, but I love that the girls in these stories aren't afraid to show their strength, kindness, and resourcefulness to work through any situation they're presented with.”

Underwood’s previous book for Chronicle Books, Interstellar Cinderella (May, 2015) featured on CBeebies Bedtime Stories read by actress Pearl Mackie, best known for playing Bill Potts, the companion to the Twelfth Doctor Who.

Underwood has wirtten other books for children, including the New York Times bestsellers Here Comes the Easter Cat, The Quiet Book and The Loud Book. She lives in San Francisco.

Hunt is the illustrator of Interstellar Cinderella and a printmaker and educator. She was also the recipient of the 2015 Society of Illustrators Gold Medal Award for her contribution to the Illustrators 58 exhibition. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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