Penguin Random House Children’s imprint Puffin will next year publish a graphic novel about kindness and courage by R J Palacio, the author of Wonder.
White Bird focuses on Julian, Auggie Pullman’s bully in Wonder and whose story was told in The Julian Chapter, and the book reveals the story of his grandmother, who as a young jewish woman was hidden from the Nazis in occupied France.
Palacio said: “‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it’. I’m reminded of that George Santayana quote, which is the epigraph of my book, every time I turn the news on. I am truly alarmed and saddened by what’s happening—deportations, roundups, bans—and I worry about the impact this is having on our children, who are witnessing these events without the historical context needed to process them.
“After The Julian Chapter was published, I started hearing from teachers and parents who said that Grandmère’s story was the perfect age-appropriate introduction to the themes of the Holocaust for their children. I wrote White Bird because I believe that now more than ever we need to teach our children about the past—the good, the bad, and the ugly—so that they can protect their own futures.”
Natalie Doherty, editorial director at Penguin Random House Children’s, bought the UK and Commonwealth rights from Nicola DeRobertis-Theye at Trident Media and will publish in hardback and e-book on 5th September.
“We’re incredibly proud to publish Wonder – a life-changing read and a true publishing phenomenon, which continues to be a word-of-mouth bestseller almost seven years after first publication,” she said. “In White Bird, readers will be introduced to a powerful new part of the Wonder story: a heartwrenching graphic novel set in wartime France. R J Palacio is a skilled storyteller and artist who weaves kindness, strength and acceptance into everything she writes and creates, and we know old fans and new will not be disappointed.”
Wonder has achieved sales of £2.9m in the UK through Nielsen BookScan and was the UK’s biggest selling debut hardback of 2012. It has been published in 50 languages and won numerous awards including the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for younger fiction and the Independent Bookseller Book of the Year Award, and was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and for a Specsavers National Book Award.
The story has also been turned into a film, starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson.