Puffin is to publish a picture book edition of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species, retold by qualified molecular biologist Sabina Radeva, after the book raised more than £49,000 through a Kickstarter campaign.
Radeva, who is also a graphic designer and will illustrate the title, was inspired to create something which would explain the theory of evolution to children (and adults) in an accessible, engaging way after re-reading Darwin’s influential original.
Despite only wanting to initially hit a target of £1,900, the book went on to raise £49,000 after it had a positive reception on social media and featured as ‘project of the day’ on Kickstarter’s social media channels.
When interviewed by The Bookseller in October, Radeva said she was not interested in getting a traditional publishing deal, explaining, “I have my own graphic design company and I am used to doing things independently. Self-publishing is something I have wanted to try for a long time.”
However, she has since changed her mind and her agent Veronique Baxter at David Higham Associates has now struck a deal for world language rights through Puffin commissioning editor Anna Barnes.
Radeva said: “I’m passionate about two things – science and art, and to have a project which incorporates both is a dream come true. Darwin’s original On The Origin of Species is challenging to many people due to its length, or the old-fashioned language. I’m a firm believer in the power of picture books to convey complex issues in accessible, engaging ways.”
She added: “The response to my Kickstarter campaign has been overwhelming. It confirmed my view that this book is wanted and needed, and I am absolutely thrilled that Anna Barnes and all at Puffin share my vision.”
All the people who helped to fund the Kickstarter campaign will receive their exclusive first edition this Autumn, with the trade edition coming to the mass market months later in February 2018.
Barnes added: “From the moment I first spotted Sabina’s Kickstarter page I knew I wanted to publish her incredible and important book. Sabina’s skills both as a scientist and as an artist make her perfectly placed to create this book which I am sure parents and children will find both informative and inspiring.”