Macmillan Children's Books scoops two from Nguyen

Macmillan Children's Books scoops two from Nguyen

Macmillan Children’s Books has scooped two non-fiction books by award-winning Vietnamese wildlife conservationist, activist and writer Trang Nguyen.

Russell McLean, publisher at Kingfisher, bought world rights excluding Vietnam, and in all languages excluding Vietnamese, from Kim Dong Publishing House. Both books will be illustrated in graphic novel style by Jeet Zdung, who fuses traditional Vietnamese art with manga.

Macmillan has already sold rights in the US at auction to PRH Dial, while rights have also gone in Korea, China, Norway and Turkey.

Nguyen was named on the BBC’s 100 Women of 2019 list alongside Greta Thunberg, on the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2020 and as an Eco Warrior at Elle Style Awards for her contribution to global wildlife conservation. She also featured in the documentary film “Stroop: Journey into the Rhino Horn War” with Jane Goodall and was immortalised as an online game character to continue to raise awareness on rhino conservation. She will donate all her royalties to conservation organisation Free The Bears and her own charity WildAct Vietnam.

First book, Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear, will publish in September 2021 and is based on the true story of how Nguyen became a conservationist after witnessing a moon bear being tortured. Chang succeeds, against the odds, in releasing the bear into the wild.

The second book, Saving H’non: Chang and the Elephants, will be released in 2022. Again based on real events, this will follow an older Chang as she saves an elephant which was forced to work in the logging and tourism industries for 50 years.

Nguyen said: “Everyone likes bears: Paddington, Teddy, Winnie the Pooh... We love our cuddly soft-toy bears but we are pushing the real bears to extinction in silence. This book tells a story of a young girl in a tiny town in Vietnam, with a huge dream of becoming a wildlife conservationist, and her quest to bring Sorya – a female sun bear – back to the forest. This story is inspired by real efforts to save bears in Asia told in an appropriate way for young children. I hope it inspires others to take action!”

McLean commented: “I am thrilled to have acquired these books by Trang Nguyen and Jeet Zdung. They promise to be Born Free for a new generation and I know that children of all ages will feel empowered by Nguyen’s life. The books are heart-tugging animal stories with real facts and a truly inspiring and determined lead character. With breath-taking art and STEM facts galore, Chang’s daring story is for any young reader, animal lover, and intrepid explorer who’s ready for adventure.”