Rights Watch: An Israeli Agency’s International Picks for Young Readers

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Literary agent Stephanie Barrouillet is preparing her rights list of French, Spanish and international children’s books to showcase at the Bologna Book Fair.

An illustration by Laure du Faÿ from ‘That’s Not Normal,’ a book about diversity, tolerance, and friendship by Mar Pavón, one of the titles of Spain’s Nube Ocho represented by Israel-based Stephanie Barrouillet. Image: Nube Ocho

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘Willing To Share’

Particularly reflective of their times, children’s books can bring to light the pressures that current affairs and world conditions have on young people.

Tel Aviv-based literary agent and children’s books specialist Stephanie Barrouillet of S.B Rights Agency points us to two titles she says “reflect current trends in children’s book publishing—books on wars/conflicts/immigration on one hand and books on emotions, on the other.”

These are two of the most important books, Barrouillet says, that she’s representing this spring as she prepares for Bologna Children’s Book Fair (April 3-6).

Sin agua sin pan from Nube Ocho for childrenSin Agua y Sin Pan (Without Water and Without Bread), the author of which, Luis Amavisca is also the founder of Ediciones Nube Ocho (Cloud Eight). The press characterizes itself as “a publishing house committed to values and diversity.”

This new title, which has illustrations by Raul Guridi, is a collaboration between Nube Ocho and Amnesty International.

“It’s a powerful book,” Barrouillet says, “about immigration and how different groups interact with each other. And it’s told from the point of view of children.

“One group has bread, the other group has water and between them there’s a fence. While the adults aren’t willing to share, the children naturally swap bread for water and even start playing ball over the fence.”

Amavisca, Barrouillet tells Publishing Perspectives, “has written several books about equality, solidarity, environment, and non-violence. “

Author Luis Amavisca of Nube Ocho

Luis Amavisca

Amavisca’s imprint was established in Spain, in 2011, and exhibited at Bologna for the first time in 2015. Its representatives also regularly are at BookExpo in New York City and Mexico’s Guadalajara International Book Fair.

In material about the publishing house and its content, the company writes, “Our books promote respectful attitudes towards all types of diversity. They are also a playful medium to make it easier to engage in first experiences and feelings that the little ones may not easily understand.”

Some of Nube Ocho’s most recent releases include Candy Pink, which is about stereotypical expectations of “how girls should look and act” and Bang Bang I Hurt the Moon, which has to do with gun violence.

Illustrator Guridi’s books have been published in the US, France, Germany, Italy, and Lebanon. And Amavisca, in speaking with Alba Moraleda for El Pais, talks of how differently he sees the reactions of children to displacement and adversity: “”Children are shocked how their parents act,” he says. “They understand reality in a different way, they see everything simpler and maybe things are that way, easier.”

At this writing, Barrouillet lists Korean, Italian, and UK/US English rights being already sold for Sin Agua y Sin Pan.

An illustration by Raul Guridi from Luis Amavisca’s ‘Sin Agua y Sin Pan’. Image: SB Rights Agency

To ‘Understand and Then Control Emotions’

'Les Emotions' by Cecile Langonnet and SoufieThe second book bound for Bologna mentioned to Publishing Perspectives by Barrouillet is Les Emotions from Editions les P’tits Bérets.

“It’s a wonderful and spot-on guide to emotions,” says Barrouillet, “that intends to help children—and parents—identify, understand and then control emotions.

“Each spread focuses on a specific emotion and a specific event that would cause this emotion.

Cécile Langonnet

“For example, the little girl feels disappointed, having been looking forward to going swimming, only to find that today there’s a ‘No Swimming Allowed’ sign.

“The book was edited with the support of psychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik.”

Author Cécile Langonnet is a clinical psychologist for children and teenagers.

She was born in Provence in 1975 and was attracted to words from a young age. She studied literature and then after teaching for a while she decided to focus on people’s development in their psychic dimensions.

Illustrator Soufie Régani is a graphic designer and is passionate about the universe of children’s literature and, Barrouillet says, feels that she never really left childhood.

At this writing, the SB Agency catalogue reports that Italian Rights to Les Emotions have been sold.

An illustration by Soufie Régani from Cécile Langonnet’s ‘Les Emotions.’ Image: SB Rights Agency

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He is also co-owner and editor with Jane Friedman of The Hot Sheet, the newsletter for trade and indie authors. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.