Hachette Children’s Group has signed Simon Sebag Montefiore to write a children’s edition of his bestselling book Jerusalem: The Biography, which it will publish in October 2024.
Following the original publication of the book by W&N in 2011, Jerusalem: City of Stories will be a collection of stories and a chronology of characters and epic events that have shaped Jerusalem’s past, but highly illustrated throughout and "magically retold" for children aged 10+.
Biblical and historical figures whose stories it will showcase will include David and Solomon, Cyrus the Great and Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Caesar, Augustus, Nero and Caligula, Cleopatra, Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammed, Constantine the Great, Saladin and Richard the Lionheart, Suleiman the Magnificent to Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill, up to modern times.
Debbie Foy, publishing director at Wren & Rook, struck the deal for world rights in the work with Georgina Capel at Georgina Capel Associates, welcoming Sebag Montefiore to the Wren & Rook list as "a compelling storyteller, uniquely qualified to bring the story of Jerusalem brilliantly to life for children".
"Studying the past can help us to explain the present, and Jerusalem remains such a focal point for world affairs," said Foy, adding, "This book will have an essential place in every household, school and library."
Sebag Montefiore said: "Jerusalem is the universal city, the holy city for three faiths, the only city that exists on heaven and earth: it is a golden name that means something to people all over the world and I want to write a version of its history and stories for children all over the world. My aim is that it will be readable by all ages, with beautiful illustrations. I am very excited to be doing this."
Through Nielsen BookScan the 2012 paperback of Jerusalem: The Biography has sold 103,307 copies while the 2011 hardback has sold 50,123 copies.