Simon & Schuster Children’s UK has bagged two new middle-grade books by acclaimed writer of Boy in the Tower (Corgi) Polly Ho-Yen in a multi-publisher auction.
Jane Griffiths, editorial director for fiction, acquired world English Language rights from Clare Wallace at Darley Anderson Children’s Book Agency. First book How to Survive will publish in April 2021 with a second standalone title to be released the following year.
How to Survive tells the story of Billy, a young boy struggling to live with his wild and unpredictable mother. The synopsis explains: “Billy’s mother Sylvia spends every moment teaching Billy survival skills like finding clean water, building shelters, and lighting fires, and although he loves his mum secretly Billy wishes he had a ‘normal’ family. Then one of Sylvia’s survival lessons goes horribly wrong and Billy is sent to live with a dad he barely knows. But when a mysterious, devastating illness sweeps through the country, suddenly Billy wonders if his mum might have been right all along.”
Griffiths said: “Having long been a fan of Polly’s I’m overjoyed to welcome her to the Simon & Schuster list. I’m in complete awe of her ability to mix real-life issues with a speculative-twist effortlessly and, at the same time, create a cast of characters that completely resonate. How to Survive is an incredible novel that I knew I wanted to publish from the very first page and I can’t wait for a brand new readership to discover Polly’s writing.”
Ho-Yen’s first book Boy in the Tower was nominated for the Carnegie Medal, shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.
She said: “I have, quite simply, been bowled over by Jane's passion, vision and enthusiasm for How To Survive from the word go. I love the way that Simon & Schuster publish their authors and feel incredibly lucky to be working with a team who share my excitement and belief in Billy's story.”