Piccadilly Press, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, has acquired two titles from Donna Barba Higuera, including the Newbery Medal and the Pura Belpré Award-winning The Last Cuentista.
English language rights for the UK and Commonwealth, excluding Canada, were acquired by Ruth Bennett, senior commissioning editor, from Charlotte Bodman at Rights People on behalf of Allison Remcheck at Stimola Literary Agency.
The Last Cuentista, a stunning middle grade title that blends sci-fi with Mexican folklore, was described by the New York Times as ‘truly a beautiful cuento’. Now set to be published as The Last Storyteller in the UK, it is an unforgettable journey through the stars, to the very heart of what makes us human.
Petra Peña wanted nothing more than to be a storyteller, like her abuelita. But when they find out that Earth will soon be destroyed by a comet, Petra and her family are among the chosen few who will journey to a new planet. But when Petra wakes, she discovers that she is the only person who remembers Earth. A sinister Collective has taken over the ship during its journey, bent on erasing the sins of humanity’s past. Can Petra bring them hope again?
Donna Barba Higuera commented on the acquisition: “I’m thrilled that The Last Cuentista will now reach readers in the UK and around the world. It’s beyond my wildest dreams that kids around the globe will travel with Petra to another planet hundreds of years into the future and read her tale of bravery, hope, and the unifying power of stories.”
Ruth Bennett added: “When this submission landed in my Inbox, I started reading and couldn’t stop. Donna Barba Higuera has created an unforgettable and genre-defying novel that explores the past and the future, fact and fiction, fear and – most importantly – hope. Its many accolades are more than deserved, and I know it will stay with readers long after they turn the final page. I truly believe it will be a future classic.”
Donna Barba Higuera grew up in Central California and now lives in the Pacific Northwest. She has spent her entire life blending folklore with her own experiences into stories that fill her imagination. Now she weaves them to write picture books and novels. Donna’s first book, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance, won a Sid Fleischman Award for Humor and a Pura Belpré Honor. Her second novel, The Last Cuentista, received the John Newbery Medal and the Pura Belpré Award. It was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Wall Street Journal, and TIME.
Piccadilly Press will publish The Last Storyteller in paperback and ebook in the UK in September 2022, and the book will publish as The Last Cuentista in international markets.