Hachette Children’s Group has secured the rights to astronaut Tim Peake's first children's titles: two middle-grade novels written with Steve Cole and two non-fiction books to be solo-authored by Peake.
Megan Larkin, publishing director for series and IP, signed the contract for world rights with Philippa Milnes-Smith at The Soho Agency for both Peake and Cole.
Peake and Cole's first fiction title, Swarm Rising, will be published in October 2021 on the Hodder Children’s Books imprint. The synopsis reads: "When Danny and Jamila meet Adi—named for Alien Digital Intelligence—in the guise of a girl their age, she is scouting the Earth on behalf of the Swarm, a super-advanced hive-mind with a watching brief over the universe. But after existing for millions of years as a formless intelligence, no one is ready for what the Swarm can do—or how far Adi will go to hold onto her newfound human form."
A second fiction title from the duo, Swarm Enemy, will follow in autumn 2022.
Peake's non-fiction titles, The Cosmic Diary of Our Incredible Universe and The Cosmic Diary of a Space Explorer, will be published under the Wren & Rook imprint in October 2022 and autumn 2023 respectively.
Larkin commented: "We’re absolutely over the moon to be bringing Tim Peake’s voice to the world of children’s books. As an inspirational astronaut, science communicator, leader and dad, Tim has many exciting stories to tell, and a wealth of first-hand experiences and fascinating knowledge that will entertain and enthuse a whole generation of young readers and adventurers everywhere."
Peake said: "I’m delighted to be working with Hachette Children’s Group and to continue the legacy of my mission in bringing the fascination of space to a young audience. It’s a privilege to be writing with Steve Cole in such an exciting way. I hope these books will inspire people to look up to stars and wonder where we came from, how we got here... and what else might be out there!"
Cole added: "Tim is not only an expert on space and technology, he is able to use these themes as imaginative launch pads for his own incredible concepts and ideas. We are having so much fun on every page."
Peake was the first British ESA astronaut to visit the International Space Station in 2015. He has authored adult titles with Century: Hello, is this planet Earth? (2016), Ask An Astronaut (2017) and his memoir Limitless (Century, 2020).
Cole has written over 200 books for children, including the Astrosaurs series (Red Foc), the Z Rex trilogy (Philomel Books) and Tin Boy (Barrington Stoke, 2019).