Simon & Schuster Children's UK has scored Alex English’s first middle-grade series, which promises “a world bursting with imagination and wonder”.
Lucy Rogers, senior commissioning editor, acquired World English rights to the two books from Thérèse Coen at Hardman & Swainson. Sky Pirates: Echo and the Great Beyond will publish in July 2020 with the second novel in the deal to follow in 2021.
According to the synopsis: “11 year-old Echo Quickthorn has grown up believing that nothing exists outside the Kingdom of Albion, but everything changes when an eccentric professor parks his airship outside her window armed with a map that shows all the magical places that exist beyond the city walls. Together with her pet lizard, Gilbert, Echo sets off on an incredible adventure to find her missing mother; an adventure that will take her to unimaginable places.”
Rogers said: “Carnivorous plants, giant butterflies, mechanical dragons and, of course, sky pirates! Alex has created a world bursting with imagination and wonder. It’s a world I would have adored to visit as a child and I know readers are going to be utterly enchanted by Echo Quickthorn’s adventures.”
English added: “I couldn’t be happier that Sky Pirates has found such a fabulous home with Simon & Schuster. Echo and the Great Beyond has been brilliant fun to write, and I can’t wait for young readers to meet Echo and discover her adventures for themselves.”
English is a picture book author, a graduate of the Bath Spa University MA Writing for Young People and a Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators volunteer. Her first three books Yuck Said The Yak, Pirates Don’t Drive Diggers and Mine Mine Mine Said The Porcupine were published in picture book and early reader formats by Maverick Children’s Books.