More children’s books sales in January

January was busy busy busy regarding foreign rights sales: foreign publishers clearly had the time to read during the holidays, and offers started pouring immediately after the new year.

A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large (2022)

The big hot title of the month of January was, of course, the Finlandia Junior winner, illustrated children’s novel A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large, by Sofia and Amanda Chanfreau. Foreign rights have now been sold to 5 territories, and 3 more offers (from China, Korea and Italy) are still on the table.

Another big success of the agency, children’s novel Radio Popov by Anja Portin, which won Finlandia Junior in 2020, is getting near to reaching 30 foreign rights territories, as another deal was closed in January: Shtëpia Botuese “Jakup Ceraja” acquired Albanian rights for the novel.

A Princess Who Did A Runner (2022)

A humorous and dynamic picture book A Princess Who Did A Runner, written by Saara Kekäläinen and illustrated by Netta Lehtola, has now been sold to Hiša Knjig in Slovenia.  The book tells a story about a princess called Leona, who is not having any of the traditional princess life. When her parents announce she is supposed to get married to a prince, Leona does a runner. Jumping from one fairytale to another, not only Leona meets many funny characters, but also questions the roles in traditional fairytales and alters them to be much more to her liking. The title was recently sold to Denmark (Straarup & Co.)

Last but not least, a beautiful picture book series about A Dog Called Cat, written by Tomi Kontio and illustrated by Elina Warsta, continues to be published in Hungary, as the publisher Koinonia acquired the fourth and the last book in the series, A Dog Called Cat and the Wonder of Christmas (2021).

The Rat Saint and Heavensong now sold to Hungary

We are happy to share that two wonderful fiction titles have now found publishers in Hungary: Anneli Kanto’s 2021 sensation, novel The Rat Saint, was acquired by Metropolis Media, while Pauliina Rauhala’s bestselling novel Heavensong (2013) was sold to Luther.

The Rat Saint (2021)

Metropolis is a publisher of strong literary fiction, and has in the recent years acquired several titles from Finland, including Finlandia Prize nominee Matara by Matias Riikonen; the bestselling Fishing for the Little Pike by Juhani Karila; To My Brother by E. L. Karhu; and thriller Apogee by Piia Leino.

The Rat Saint was published in 2021, to overwhelming reception from critics and readers alike: the book sold over 25,000 copies in Finland altogether, and was among the most borrowed books in Helsinki Metropolitan Libraries for months. The novel was also nominated for the prestigious Runeberg Prize.

This Künstlerroman, set in the 16th century, is a lively plot-driven emancipation story of a young orphaned girl Peliina. When, by a sheer accident, Peliina is called in to help master painters to work on church frescoes, her journey as an artist – a profession unheard of in a small village, especially for a woman – begins. As the history of the world from Paradise and the Fall to the Final Judgment takes shape on the walls of the church, romance, envy, treachery, and crime occur, and a life reaches a turning point.

Luther Publishing House is the official organization of the Evangelical Church of Hungary that publishes fiction for adult and children, theology-related books, magazines, as well as provides media services.

Heavensong (2013)

Heavensong was a debut novel by Pauliina Rauhala which gained phenomenal commercial success upon its publication in 2013. Over 70,000 copies have been sold in Finland altogether, holding the distinction of being its publisher’s (Gummerus) best-selling debut novel. It was also chosen by literature bloggers as the best book of Finnish fiction in 2013.

The book tells a story about a loving couple, Vilja and Aleksi, who dreams about a brood of children. 9 years and four childbirths later, Vilja, however, feels exhausted and starts questioning the beliefs that have been so firmly embedded in both of them.

With its tangible details, Heavensong allows the reader to see the life of the religious community from inside. Its poetic language, which elevates the story to a new level, is deepened by the big themes: what is the ethical ground of parenthood, what are the good and bad sides of a religious community and how can you live with all the myths and expectations surrounding motherhood?

Congratulations to the authors for the deals!

4-book deal for Bordertown series in Poland

Lovely news from lovely Poland! Virtualo has now acquired the right to all four parts in J. M. Ilves’s crime series Bordertown.

Poster of TV series Bordertown

Virtualo is a digital books platform which belongs to Empik, the biggest commercial chain selling books, international press and media products in Poland. They will be primarily focusing on releasing the series in audio and e-book formats.

Bordertown series, consisting of four books – Doll’s House; Endgame; Five Finger Exercise; and The Man-Beast – are written by two Finnish professional authors behind the pseudonym J. M. Ilves. The novels are based on the internationally successful television series Bordertown that has been sold to over 180 countries. In the series, detective Inspector Kari Sorjonen has moved close to the eastern border of Finland with his family in order to escape his taxing work in the capital. The plan doesn’t seem to work, however: even though his new home town is small, the crimes committed there are not.

The first two books in the series has previously been published in Poland by Marginesy.

We thank our partners Book/Lab Agency for the deal!

Slovenian and Danish rights sold for A Giraffe’s Heart is Unbelievably Large; 5 more offers on the table

More more more lovely foreign rights news for our lovely children’s books: A Giraffe’s Heart Is Unbelievably Large, a children’s novel written by Sofia Chanfreau and illustrated by Amanda Chanfreau, has been sold to Slovenia (KUD Sodobnost) and Denmark (Straarup & Co.)

Moreover, offers from China, Spanish World, Korea, Italy and Estonia are now on the table!

A Giraffe’s Heart won the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Prize, in the category of children’s and YA books. It is now also nominated for Runeberg Junior Prize.

A Giraffe’s Heart is Unbelievably Large (2022)

This illustrated novel for the middle grade readers is a tale of longing to be part of a family, to find one’s place in the world, and to be loved as one is; a story of childlessness and dreams that fade or morph into nightmares. Page by page, it swells with inevitable force into a horror story that firmly holds the reader in its agonizing grip. 

Whenever a ten-year-old Vega, who has always lived with her father, tries to ask about her mother, the only answer she gets is mysteries. Once a not-so-nice girlfriend starts dating her father, and Vega gets an unexpected pen pal, she decides to set out on an adventure to find out more about her mother. The book is a superb read for a child alone or for parents and children together.

The book has already sold close to 10,000 copies in Finland altogether.

Congratulations to the authors!

We’ll Just Ride Past Sold to Korea

Wonderful news for our books for young readers continue! YA novel We’ll Just Ride Past, by the awarded Ellen Strömberg, has been sold to Bluemoose Books in Korea!

We’ll Just Ride Past (2022)

Bluemoose Books is a children’s publisher for all age groups, with a list of children’s and YA novels, as well as picture books. We thank Amo Agency for the Korean deal.

This is second foreign rights sale for Strömberg’s book, as Italian rights were acquired by Terre di Mezzo just before the end of last year.

Published jointly by Schildts & Söderströms in Finland and Rabén & Sjögren in Sweden, We’ll Just Ride Past has been both readers’ and critics’ favourite since day one: in November, it was awarded the most prestigious literary award in Sweden, Augustpriset (August Prize), and it was also a nominee for the most prestigious literary award in Finland, Finlandia Junior Prize.

Don’t forget to check out our Literature from Finland podcast episode YOUTH, where Strömberg discusses writing for young adults. A short interview with the author will give you a better picture of her previous work.

Congratulations to the author!