Hachette Children's scoops Fox's 'richly told' debut

Hachette Children's scoops Fox's 'richly told' debut

Hachette Children’s Group has acquired The Sky Over Rebecca,  a "richly told" middle-grade tale of two worlds colliding from debut author and winner of the Bath Children’s Novel Award 2019, Matthew Fox.

The novel is set in Fox's home city of Stockholm and centres on 10-year old Kara, who discovers two refugees from the Second World War, after following footprints in the snow. The footprints "lead Kara to Rebecca, a 13-year-old Jewish girl, and her younger brother Samuel. The synopsis explains: "Rebecca and Samuel are refugees from another time, World War Two, and Kara must help them to find their way home. A breath-taking, high-concept story, The Sky Over Rebecca is perfect for fans of Piers Torday and David Almond."

Anne McNeil, former executive publisher at Hachette Children’s Group, acquired world rights including audio and e-book from Lauren Gardner at Bell Lomax Moreton in a two-book deal, shortly before her retirement earlier this year. The Sky Over Rebecca is aimed at readers aged 9+ and will be published by Hodder as a paperback in early 2022, with a second standalone title to follow in 2023.

Jenna Mackintosh, senior editor at Hachette Children’s Group, said of the novel: “The Sky Over Rebecca is a richly told story with beautifully drawn characters that will truly resonate with readers. Kara is the kind of character I would have loved to read when I was younger: real and fragile, but fierce. Matthew’s writing is taut and full of tension – it transported me entirely, seeing the world through Kara’s eyes. I can’t wait for everyone else to read it too.”

Fox grew up in Wiltshire and now lives in the Swedish capital with his partner and their three-year-old daughter. He has made short films and been an activist for LGBTQ+ and environmental issues, including co-creating the Outsiders LGBTQ+ Film Festival, which ran for five years. 

He said: “I’m delighted, and a little awed, that my first novel, The Sky Over Rebecca, will be published by Hodder Children’s Books – the publishers of David Almond, Malala Yousafzai, and our current Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell – with magical cover artwork by the acclaimed Ben Mantle.

"I was approaching 50 when The Sky Over Rebecca won the Bath Children’s Novel Award. Now I’m the other side of 50 and feeling very grateful. Having your first book published later in life is an unmitigated joy, and boundless thanks are due to my unstoppable agent Lauren Gardner, and to my first editor at Hodder, the legendary Anne McNeil.”