Egmont has snapped up rights to a new middle-grade series by Annabelle Sami with illustrations by FAB Prize finalist, Allen Fatimaharan.
Liz Bankes, commissioning editor, signed the deal for world rights in all languages with Davinia Andrew-Lynch at ANDLYN, with illustration rights acquired from Angharad Kowal Stannus at the Kowal Stannus Agency for Allen Fatimaharan. The first book in the Yasmin and Levi Adventure middle-grade series, Llama Out Loud!, will publish in July 2020, with a second book to follow in 2021.
Llama Out Loud! is an "extraordinary comedy with a serious heart, drawing on Annabelle’s mission to improve representation of funny girls and diverse characters in children’s books", said Egmont. "In laugh-out-loud comedy Llama Out Loud! we meet Yasmin Shah, whose world is turned upside down when Levi, a grubby toy llama, comes crashing out of her wardrobe and into her life. For the shy ten-year-old who barely speaks, discovering the toy not only talks – but is incredibly rude and sassy – is an absolute nightmare. Although Yasmin tries everything she can to escape Levi, life is never boring when he’s around. And could it be that he has a secret plan to help Yasmin find her voice?"
Bankes said: “The brilliant Yasmin Shah and her funny, furry, slightly spitty companion, Levi, had us from the very first page, and we know that middle grade readers everywhere are going to feel the same. Annabelle is a hilarious new voice in middle-grade fiction and we are delighted to team her up with rising star Allen to create some llama drama!”
Sami is a writer, director and performer who currently works in the arts and has a middle-grade mystery series out with Stripes next year. It was whilst reading children’s books when babysitting that she realised there was a lack of representation of funny girls and diverse characters in children’s books – and she decided to do something about it. Growing up mixed-race, she never found her own life reflected in a book and now it’s her mission to make sure that every spirited, witty and adventurous girl has her own special book that she can relate to.
Sami added: “I’m so excited that Llama Out Loud! has found its home with Egmont! This was the first children’s book I ever wrote so it has a special place in my heart. I’m looking forward to hearing what children think of Yasmin and her weird toy Llama Levi. (But most of all I’m hoping it makes them LOL.)”