Egmont scoops picture book of Roberts' hit pandemic poem

Egmont scoops picture book of Roberts' hit pandemic poem

Egmont has snapped up a picture book of "The Great Realisation", Tomos Roberts' poem in response to Covid-19 that has been viewed more than 60 million times since it was posted online in April.

Melissa Fairley, publishing director at Egmont Books, and David Linker, executive editor at HarperCollins US, signed the deal for world English Language rights with Creative Artists Agency. The Great Realisation will also be published simultaneously by HarperCollins India, and by HarperCollins Australia in Australia and New Zealand. Aimed at ages four and above, the book is out on 3rd September.

Written for his younger brother and sister, the poem's “message of positivity and resilience has captured the hearts of children and adults all over the globe”, Egmont said. The poem will be brought to life by Kate Greenaway Medal nominee Nomoco.

The synopsis explains: “Written in the form of a bedtime story, The Great Realisation is a celebration of the things – from simple acts of kindness and finding joy in everyday activities, to the heroic efforts of our key workers – that have brought us together during lockdown and given us hope in this time of global crisis. It is a profound work, at once striking and reassuring, a way to remind readers young and old that in the face of adversity there are still dreams to be dreamt and kindnesses to be shared and hope. There is still hope.”

Cally Poplak, m.d. of Egmont Books, said: “Joining the HarperCollins family has given free rein to Egmont’s big ambitions to grow the business. I am delighted that Melissa Fairley has been able to join forces with our new colleagues across the HarperCollins Group to lead the acquisition of this hugely uplifting book for our times.”

Roberts is a spoken word poet, performer and filmmaker, who was born in New Zealand and brought up in London. He launched his YouTube platform on 22nd March 2020 and, just five weeks later, uploaded a performance of "The Great Realisation", featuring a cameo from his seven-year-old brother. He has since made headlines around the world and stars including Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and Jake Gyllenhaal have praised his work.

He said: “I am so grateful to be able to share the story of The Great Realisation with readers around the world. I hope it can be useful to people and serve as a reminder of the time and an encouragement to any who believe improvement is possible. Thank you to all the people who have made this possible.”

David Linker, executive editor of HarperCollins US, added: “In these difficult times, Tomos Roberts has given voice to what many of us have been so desperately searching for – a vision of hope. I’m so thrilled to partner with him, and with the award-winning illustrator Nomoco, to translate his words of inspiration into picture book form.”