Bloomsbury Children's acquires Atinuke history in 'hotly contested' auction

Bloomsbury Children's acquires Atinuke history in 'hotly contested' auction

Bloomsbury Children’s Books has acquired Atinuke's The Brilliant Black History of Britain, a "spectacular new narrative for primary schoolchildren," which will be illustrated by Kingsley Nebechi.

Saskia Gwinn, head of children's non-fiction, acquired world rights from Nancy Miles at the Miles Stott Children's Literary Agency, in a "hotly contested" auction earlier this year. Nebechi’s artwork was acquired by Isobel Doster, commissioning editor for children’s non-fiction, from Karlie McCulloch at Bernstein & Andriulli.

The synopsis reads: "The groundbreaking The Brilliant Black History of Britain will give all children in Britain access to a shared history that starts with the arrival of the very first people on these shores, communicating that British prosperity would not have been possible without the contribution of millions of Black people in a history that dates back to end of the Ice Age."

Publication is scheduled for 2022, and will be supported by a "comprehensive and wide-reaching sales, marketing and publicity strategy to ensure that copies of this important book find their way into every school, library and home in Britain," says the publisher. 

Gwinn said: "The second we opened Atinuke's proposal back in August, we instantly fell in love with this momentous, historic tale. We then embarked on a quest to find the perfect illustrator to bring it to life and we could not be more proud to welcome Kingsley to our list. Every child – and adult – in Britain should have access to the story of their shared past on these shores. It is wonderful to be able to help deliver this to generations of readers."

Atinuke commented: "Earlier this year I was looking for children's books on Black British history to recommend to primary schools—and I could not find a single one that was comprehensive. My shock turned into excitement as I thought — this means I get to write one!

"The book I am writing would have been a shield against the racism I encountered as a child when I moved to Britain — and the people who voiced that racism might not have done so if they had grown up knowing the information in it."

Nebechi added: "When I was approached by Bloomsbury to work on this book, I knew from the beginning that the project would evolve into something special. The book has given me a chance to explore a lot of historic figures many of us may not be familiar with. I want each page to be a journey the viewers can embark on, as they learn and revisit history in a fun and colourful way."

Atinuke is the author of over 20 children's books. Her debut, Anna Hibiscus. was published by Walker Books in 2007.