Walker Books has signed a two-book deal for a new football fiction series by Matt Oldfield.
Commissioning editor Daisy Jellicoe acquired world rights for the young fiction titles from Nick Walters at David Luxton Associates. Walker Books will publish Johnny Ball: Accidental Football Genius in June 2020, with the second instalment Johnny Ball: Undercover Football Genius, following this autumn. The books will be illustrated by Tim Wesson.
Jellicoe said: "We are so excited to be publishing Matt’s first fiction series. Football is such a brilliant way to inspire a love of reading and the stories will be adored by young fans everywhere, who will get right behind Johnny’s team. These books are just like Johnny himself: big-hearted, funny and definitely a little bit bonkers!"
"Johnny Ball is the perfect new series for football-mad children, following an unlikely hero as he helps his football team through some challenging County Cup games. The Ball family is obsessed with football. However, Johnny’s skills aren’t necessarily as a player, and it’s only when he becomes the team’s assistant manager that he gets his chance to shine," reads the synopsis. "With his genius ideas, Johnny, along with his best friend Tabia, leads Tissbury Primary to some amazing victories. The books are all about working together, playing to your strengths, and finding your place in a team, and the ideal read for children who eat, sleep and breathe football."
Oldfield added: "It really is a dream come true to be working with the wonderful people at Walker Books on my first football fiction series. Johnny is a character who's been kicking around in my mind for a long time now, so I can't wait for the readers to meet him!"