Sunday 17 June 2012

Book Zone Visits Random House Children's Publishers

Yesterday I was lucky enough to spend the morning in the company of the team from Random House Children's Publishers at their Bloggers' Brunch. I have been to several similar events at RHCP in the past, and then spend months looking forward to the next one as they have such a fantastic team there. Once we had been greeted and plied with tea, coffee and cakes we were sat down and the team gave us a presentation of some of the books they have coming out later this year and early 2013. As usual RHCP have a broad mix of titles on their lists, and there are some great sounding boy-friendly books that I want to share with you. So here are a handful of them, in no particular order (and obviously, all dates and cover images could be subject to change):

Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick (published August 2012)

Eleven-year-old Arn is walking through the countryside in Cambodia. His whole town is walking with him. They're walking into one of the most tragic moments of history: the Killing Fields.

Music will save him. Hope, luck and kindness will save him. This is his story.

Based on the true story of Arn Chorn-Pond, this is an achingly raw and powerful novel about a child of war who becomes a man of peace.

The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket (published August 2012)

This latest book from the award-winning author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Noah Barleywater Runs Away sounds fab. It was described at the brunch as being very Dahl-esque, and I can't wait to read it.

There's nothing unusual about the Brockets. Normal, respectable, and proud of it, they turn up their noses at anyone strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it's clear he's anything but ordinary. To his parents' horror, Barnaby defies the laws of gravity - and floats.

Desperate to please his parents, Barnaby does his best to keep both feet on the ground - but he just can't do it. One fateful day, the Brockets decide enough is enough. They never asked for a weird, abnormal, floating child. Barnaby has to go . . .

Betrayed, frightened and alone, Barnaby floats into the path of a very special hot air balloon - and so begins a magical journey around the world, with a cast of extraordinary new friends.

Dodger by Terry Pratchett (published September 2012)

I have already mentioned how much I am looking forward to reading this one. Terry Pratchett + Artful Dodger = WIN!

Dodger is a tosher - a sewer scavenger living in the squalor of Dickensian London.

Everyone who is nobody knows Dodger. Anyone who is anybody doesn't.

But when he rescues a young girl from a beating, suddenly everybody wants to know him.

And Dodger's tale of skulduggery, dark plans and even darker deeds begins . . .

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost (published September 2012)

I think the blurb alone is enough to explain just how much I am looking forward to reading this one. Add to this that Mark Frost worked with David Lynch to create Twin Peaks and I was practically wiping drool off my chin.

Will West is careful to live life under the radar. At his parents' insistence, he's made sure to get mediocre grades and to stay in the middle of the pack on his cross-country team. Then Will slips up, accidentally scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam.

Now Will is being courted by an exclusive prep school . . . and followed by men driving black sedans. When Will suddenly loses his parents, he must flee to the school. There he begins to explore all that he's capable of--physical and mental feats that should be impossible--and learns that his abilities are connected to a struggle between titanic forces that has lasted for millennia.

Red Rain by R.L. Stine (published October 2012)

Yes, that R.L. Stine. The legendary writer of some many children's books, and now he has a new horror story due out in October. Unusually, RHCP are marketing this at adults as it is supposedly pants-wettingly scary, although I imagine there will be a huge number of horror-loving older teens who will be just as keen to read it. Words cannot describe how much I want to read this book.

When Lea Sutter visits the Caribbean island of Chat Noir and witnesses a devastating earthquake, she is moved to adopt two beautiful, blue-eyed orphan twins, Daniel and Samuel, and take them home to America. But Lea's own children sense something strange and wrong about the boys and their innocent, oddly old-fashioned ways - and soon after they arrive, a terrible accident takes place on their doorstep.

As more grisly and suspicious events take place, the boys' true origins - and their evil intentions - become terrifyingly clear.

Crusher by Niall Leonard (published September 2012)

To catch a killer, Finn Maguire may have to become one...

Everything changed the day Finn found his father in a pool of blood, bludgeoned to death. His dull, dreary life is turned upside down as he becomes the prime suspect - how can he clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him?

Facing danger at every turn, uncovering dark family secrets and braving the seedy London underworld, Finn is about to discover that only the people you trust can really hurt you...

The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch (published spring 2013)

For fifteen years Raim has worn a single blue string tied with a small knot around his wrist. Raim barely thinks about it at all; not since becoming the most promising young archer ever to train for the elite Yun guard and not since his best friend (and the future Khan) Khareh asked him to become his sole Protector. But on the most important day of his life, when he binds his life to Khareh’s, suddenly that string on his wrist is all he can think about – it bursts into flames and sears a blood-red mark into his skin. The knot contained a promise of its own – and now that promise is broken.

Scarred now as an oath-breaker, Raim has two options: run, or be killed.

Raim flees deep into the vast desert to live in Lazar: the colony of exiled oath-breakers. It is there he hopes to learn how to clear his name and return home to keep his promise to Khareh. Except in Lazar, he discovers that his scar from the burnt thread marks the first step on the path to becoming a sage, with the ability to perform feats of magic straight out of legend. The trade-off: he will remain tarnished as an oath-breaker for the rest of his life. Can he forgo his honour for immense power? And even if he did want to clear his name, how can he keep a promise he never even knew he made in the first place?


After the presentation on forthcoming titles we were introduced to two members of the Random House design team who gave us a fascinating insight into the process they go through when they are designing book covers, often producing scores of different designs for each book until the get one that everyone likes.

We were then introduced to two of the team from Vintage Classics, another imprint of Random House. Later this year Vintage are launching a range of children's classics to sit alongside their long list of adult classics. I will write more about this in another post as it is something I am very excited about.

At each of the previous Random House brunches I have attended we have been treated to an appearance from one of their authors, and yesterday was no exception as we were then introduced to Laura Dockrill.

Photograph: Katherine Rose
Laura has made a name for herself as a performance poet and author, and her first children's book, Darcy Burdock, is scheduled to be published by Random House in the spring of 2013. Laura proceeded to treat us to one of the best author readings that I have ever heard, and I predict huge things for Laura and Darcy in the future. If you get the chance to listen to Laura at a book festival next year then snap it up - you will not be disappointed.

Huge thanks must go to the Random House team and Laura for giving up their Saturday morning to talk to us. As ever, it was a thoroughly enjoyable morning and I am already looking forward to the next one.

1 comment:

  1. Fab write up - I completely agree with you about Laura's reading. I so want the audio book when it comes out :D