Raymond Antrobus, this year’s Poet of the Fair at London Book Fair, has signed his first picture book deal with Walker Books.
Can Bears Ski? is about a father and son journey where Boy Bear struggles to fit into the hearing world. After a visit to the audiologist, Boy Bear suddenly realises just how loud life can be and Dad Bear discovers how he can better adapt to his son’s needs.
The book was inspired by Antrobus’ own experience of deafness, which wasn’t discovered until he was six, and will be illustrated by Polly Dunbar, who also has hearing loss.
Walker’s senior commissioning editor Maria Tunney signed world rights for the text from Niki Chang of the Good Literary Agency, in the agency’s very first children’s book deal. James Catchpole of The Catchpole Agency represented Polly Dunbar.
Tunney said: “Being in a room with Polly and Raymond, reading aloud the words and talking through the images, is a remarkable experience. They are both exceptional bookmakers with a unique ability to convey complicated emotion in a way that’s accessible to little children. This is the book they were always meant to make; a story that belongs to them both. Children with hearing loss will recognize themselves here on these pages and will find the words to voice their experience, and this book will also help all children, and grown-ups, better understand the challenges of deafness as well as showing that there are many different ways to communicate love.”
Can Bears Ski? will be published in September 2020.