Author Sarah Lean will move from HarperCollins to Simon & Schuster UK with middle-grade novel The Good Bear, to be illustrated by Fiona Woodcock.
Rachel Denwood, m.d. of S&S UK's children’s division, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Julia Churchill at AM Heath.
Fiona Woodcock, illustrator of Simon & Schuster’s children’s title The Snow Dragon, is set to illustrate the novel in her first middle grade fiction project with "beautiful, distinctive black and white art," S&S UK said. She is represented by Arabella Stein at The Bright Agency. The Good Bear will be published in November 2020 in a hardback edition.
The title is set at Christmas, and tells the story of Thea who forms an extraordinary and life-defining bond with a brown bear while on a trip to Norway to visit her estranged father and his new family. “Atmospheric, adventurous and deeply moving, The Good Bear is a children’s classic-in-the-making,” S&S UK said.
Lean who broke on to the children’s fiction scene with her debut aimed at nine to 12-year-olds, A Dog Called Homeless, published by HarperCollins in 2012 with Denwood, then at HarperCollins, as her first editor.
She said: “I am over the moon to be working with Rachel again, and thrilled to share the story with readers alongside Fiona's sensational illustrations.”
Woodcock said: “I’m so excited to be illustrating this very special story. The Good Bear feels like the perfect fit for my first adventure into middle grade fiction.”
Denwood said: “I remember how I felt when I read the first line of Sarah Lean’s debut, and I had the same surge of excitement when I read The Good Bear. The story packs a big emotional punch, with Sarah exploring ideas around family, togetherness and the relationship between humans and the natural world with great sensitivity. The connection between Thea and Bear will stay in readers’ hearts forever, and Fiona Woodcock’s exquisite illustrations will create a book to be treasured for its beauty as well as its exceptional storytelling.”