Orion Children’s Books has acquired the UK and Commonweath rights to The Bone Sparrow, a book about Rohingya refugees in Australia, by Zana Fraillon.
The story is told through the eyes of Subhi, a young refugee who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre after his mother fled her homeland, and was inspired by the stories Australia-based Fraillon heard about real-life refugees in Australia.
Helen Thomas, editorial director at Orion Children’s Books and Indigo, acquired the novel in a two-book deal from Claire Wilson at Rogers Coleridge & White.
“We couldn’t be prouder to be welcoming Zana to Orion Children’s Books,” said Thomas. “The Bone Sparrow is a vitally important book that will resonate with readers on very deep levels. It’s also a poignant example of how a single voice has the potential to help us find compassion for the countless people who have ever struggled to find a safe home.”
Rights have also sold in Italy (to Corbaccio) and Greece (Psichogios), and auctions are underway in the US and Germany. Hachette Australia will publish in the ANZ market.
Orion Children’s Books will be seeking a charity to work with to put a book into the hands of a refugee child for every copy of The Bone Sparrow sold, and will publish in July 2016 in hardback (£12.99).
Fraillon previously worked as a primary school teacher and has had picture books and middle grade fiction published by Egmont Australia and Allen & Unwin. She has not previously been published in English outside Australia.