Scholastic UK has teamed up with the Royal British Legion to publish Please Write Soon: An Unforgettable Story of Two Cousins in World War II, written by Michael Rosen and inspired by his own family history.
Linas Alsenas, executive editor at Scholastic, acquired world rights from Charles Walker at United Agents for the text. Please Write Soon will be published in April 2022 and illustrated by Michael Foreman.
Inspired by the true experiences of Rosen’s father’s cousin, Michael Rechnic, who was in the "Anders Army" and fought in the Battle of Monte Cassino, the epistolary story begins in 1939 with young Solly in London exchanging letters with his cousin, Bernie, in Poland. While Solly is evacuated and adjusts to life in the English countryside, Bernie flees Warsaw, is sent to a Russian labour camp, and then joins the "Anders Army" to fight the Axis powers.
Rosen commented: "The history of what happened to people in my family inspired me to write Please Write Soon. There are so many stories to tell of the Second World War, many terrible, some uplifting. I wanted to capture those feelings — and others — through the eyes of two cousins who love each other, both of whom, in very different ways, are desperate to tell each other what they see, hear, think and feel. To write this has brought me closer to what actually happened and I hope the book will lead young people and whoever else reads the book to look further into the events of that time."
Alsenas said: "We are so delighted to be developing this series with the Royal British Legion, in which the most accomplished and most beloved of children’s book creators in the UK share stories related to Remembrance — how conflict affects families. Children have gone through a massive period of change over the past year and a half, and it’s through stories like this one that children can appreciate how historically war has reshaped the expectations and dreams of ordinary people. It’s an honour to be working with such legendary talents, and the Royal British Legion, and I can’t wait for us to share Bernie and Solly’s stories in Please Write Soon with young readers in April."
The book will feature an afterword by the Royal British Legion’s president, Lt General James Bashall, with a £1 donation from every trade hardback sale in the UK going to the charity.
The Royal British Legion said: "For 100 years the RBL has led the nation in Remembrance and our Teaching Remembrance programme will inspire the next generation to understand why we remember not only those from past conflicts, but those who continue to protect us today. In our mission to pass on the torch of Remembrance, we’re delighted to launch Michael Rosen and Michael Foreman’s captivating book in partnership with Scholastic, helping schoolchildren from all different backgrounds to learn about and remember the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community from Britain and the Commonwealth."