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Roger Tagholm


Hachette Children’s Group will be talking to Arab publishers about two titles by the British journalist and expert on ‘high performance’ Matthew Syed at this year’s Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF).  The first is his debut children’s book You Are Awesome: Find your confidence to become brilliant at (almost) anything which takes some of the author’s ideas on confidence and resilience and adapts them for a 9-plus audience, and the second is an accompanying journal The You Are Awesome Journal: Dare to find your confidence (and maybe even change the world), which the publisher has just bought from agent Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown in London.

Both titles are – or will be – published by Hachette Children’s non-fiction imprint Wren & Rook.  The first book has already sold more than 42,000 in the UK.

Speaking in 2017 about You Are Awesome, the author, who is a columnist for the Times and also represented the UK at table tennis at two Olympic Games, said: “Parents often ask: how can I get my child to be more curious? To have the courage to try new things? To show resilience when facing setbacks and challenges? To lose that terrible fear of failure? I have always wanted to write a book for a younger audience, to give them the tools they need to be the best that they can be. I hope this book can make a real difference to the mindsets of young people.”

Debbie Foy, Publishing Director for Wren & Rook who bought the new book, said this week: “The response to You Are Awesome from readers, parents, teachers and librarians has been phenomenal – children are feeling empowered, trying new things and overcoming their fear of failure. So I couldn’t be more excited to be publishing Matthew’s game-changing follow-up The You Are Awesome Journal, which really puts kids in the driving seat and gets them planning their own path to Awesome.”

Andy Sharp, Group Rights Director for Hachette Children’s, will be among international publishers meeting publishers from the Arab World and beyond at the SIBF’s famous ‘match-making’ sessions at the city’s Chamber of Commerce, sometimes described as a ‘rights souk’.  According to Geller, Arabic rights to Syed’s adult title Black Box Thinking were bought by Manjul Publishing House of Bhopal, India.