Rights Roundup: Bologna Names Its Cross-Media Awards Winner

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

The road to Bologna is paved with awards programs, of course, and a French book-and-film project has just been named a winner.

‘Les quatre nouvelles saisons d’en sortant de l’école’ from the producer Tant Mieux Prod, is an animated film based on the book from publisher Thierry Magnier. The film is the winner of the 2022 Bologna Children’s Book Fair Cross-Media Award

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

Bologna-Bound Works for Children

As we prepare our pre-Bologna Children’s Book Fair (March 21 to 24) Rights Roundup—a collection of works for younger readers provided to us by our rights professionals—the trade show has just announced today (March 11) the winner of the second edition of its Cross-Media Award, created to honor “editorial projects that have best known how to expand their narrative universe toward other media.”

Les quatre nouvelles saisons d’en sortant de l’école in its original book form is a collection of 52 poems and 52 graphical treatments, using work of a quartet of French-language giants: Claude Roy, Paul Verlaine, Andree Chedid, and Jean Tardieu.

Known simply as Sortant de l’école, or Leaving School, the piece was created by Éditions Thierry Magnier in association with the production house Tant Mieux Prod, and you can get a feel for it in the trailer we’ll embed just below. (Give it a spin for the music alone, a jaunty brightener for your office.) And there’s more news: the film has been selected for the Young Audience competition of the 44th Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival.

A still from the Bologna Cross-Media Award-winning ‘Leaving School’ animated film. Image: Thierry Magnier

In its rationale, the Bologna jury writes, “Les quatre nouvelles saisons d’en sortant de l’école is a fascinating project that brilliantly manages to bring the poetry of four great authors closer to the younger audience.

“The starting point is the power of the poetic texts, which have been skillfully transposed into an illustrated book, itself inspired by a collection of animated shorts. The particularly interesting aspect of the project is the fact that the execution of the shorts has been entrusted to young graduates of French animation schools.

“Poetry and animation intertwine in an inspired work, masterfully executed, made with bold illustration techniques and adapted in each episode to the individual poem. The attention to the images, together with the details of the soundtrack is impeccable.

“The risk was that the work might reduce the sensitivity and spirit of the 52 shorts inspired by the words of de Roy, Tardieu, Verlaine and Chedid to a simple portfolio. Instead, the variety of emotions and illustrative techniques also emerges from the printed pages, making them a precious insight that reaches the heart of the project. In fact, the book manages to capture the nuances, the essence and the sensitivity with which every young filmmaker has responded in an imaginative and exciting way to the poem.”

The choice of this grand prize and four special mentions comes from more than 80 projects presented to the jury. They’d first cut things down to a 10-title shortlist.

You can review the winner and those special mentions on the award’s page here.

And we start our roundup today with a book that seems to catch, maybe a bit painfully, the terrors of the moment, Arne Svingen’s When Rabbits are Scared, which is about being a child in wartime. We’d like to commend to you the statement from the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) on the Russian assault on Ukraine. We have that for you today as part of our ongoing Ukraine coverage here.

When Rabbits Are Scared

By Arne Svingen

  • Publisher: Cappelen Damm, Oslo
  • Rights contact: Ingvild Haugland Blatt, Cappelen Damm Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

No reported rights sales to date.

Arne Svingen

“A stark and beautiful picture book about being a child in a world at war.

“What’s it like to be little when even your own mother cannot guarantee everything will be alright?

“Mom says Noah can run faster than bullets, and that’s a good thing, because sometimes bullets hit their apartment block. It’s going to be ok, says Mom. Mom looks after Noah and Noah looks after Wild Rabbit.

“But one day their apartment block is hit by a bomb, and both Mom and Wild Rabbit are gone.”

Arne Svingen is a Batchelder honored author (2017) who writes for adults as well as children. He has also written several radio plays for NRK and graphic novels. A number of Arne Svingens’s books have been sold abroad, and he reportedly has been translated into 14 languages, most heavily for his book The Ballad of a Broken Nose (2012).

Heirs to Empire

By Oskar Källner
Illustrated by Karl Johnsson

  • Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren, Stockholm
  • Rights contact: Jenni Brunn at the Grand Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – North America: Mad Cave
  • Denmark: Gyldendal
  • Faroe Islands: Bókadeildin Føroya Læraraferlags
  • Finland: Otava
  • Norway: Gyldendal

Oskar Källner, left, and Karl Johnsson

“A middle grade sci-fi adventure packed with action, with likeable characters. It’s a colorful universe teeming with intelligent species, all with distinctive characteristics, culture, biology, and technology, a galaxy with both miracles and shadowy mysteries in fast-paced adventures into the unknown. The chapters are short and easy to read with a lot of dialogue, and the book is filled with four-color images including a foldable illustration.”

In the series, “12-year-old Alice and 10-year-old Elias live with their parents in the suburbs. One evening their mom disappears, and their dad is arrested by the police, suspected of being involved. Alice and Elias decide to save their parents and head for the forest to search for Mom. But they find something completely different. In the same forest, Brock, captain of spaceship The Eye, searches for a long-lost crewman. Brock and the siblings will soon realize that they have a common enemy.”

Källner and Johnsson, in a joint quote provided to us by Jenni Brunn at the Grand Agency, say, “We grew up with video games, comics, science-fiction books and anime films.

“We’re passionate about this project. ‘Heirs to Empire’ are the books we’d have absolutely loved as kids. Now as parents, with a considerable number of works behind us, we still cherish that sense of wonder. We want to share that feeling, and this abundant universe we’ve created, with readers everywhere.”

Here’s a short trailer for the new series.

Nelson Tigerpaw
(Nelson Tigertass)

By Lena Frölander-Ulf

  • Publisher: Förlaget M, a publisher of books in Swedish from Finland
  • Rights contact: Malin Karlsson at Rights & Brands
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – World Italian: Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore Srl.
  • German: Atrium Verlag AG (WooW Books)

Lena Frölander-Ulf

“Nelson Mareng stands alone in the train station in Deludenstad, a city in which most are in too much of a hurry to help a stranger.

“But not everyone. Suddenly, Nelson is involved in a world full of dangerous secrets, fake news, and grand adventures.

“The reader embarks on a trip beyond Deludenstad’s tidy facades in Lena Frölander-Ulf’s tender and humorous book about friendship and daring to stand up for what feels right.”

Frölander-Ulf is a Helsinki-based author and illustrator who writes in both Swedish and Finnish. She has been nominated for numerous awards, including the prestigious Finlandia Junior twice.

Epic Adventures

By Sam Sedgman

  • Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books, London
  • Rights contact: Asia Mabboni, Macmillan Children’s Books
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – Greek: Minoas
  • Swedish: Opal
  • Korean: BIR Publishing
  • Turkish: Ayrinti
  • Russian: AST
  • Chinese, Simple and Complex: Beijing Yutian Hanfeng Books CO., LTD
  • Czech: Omega/Dobrovsky
  • Italian: Il Castello

Sam Sedgman

“Climb onboard and travel across six continents, 34 countries, and through numerous cities via 12 of the world’s most amazing train journeys.

“Sam Sedgman’ text about train journeys includes the Orient Express, the first Transcontinental Railroad, and the Rejuvenation Express. Each locomotive adventure reveals some of the rich history, culture, landscape and wildlife of the countries traveled.”

Regular readers of our Rights Roundups will recall that we last heard about Sedgman’s book last July, at which point the title had three sales (into Czech, Chinese, and Russian). It’s interesting to see that Macmillan has almost tripled those sales at this point.

Why Nobody Strokes Hedgehogs

By Tania Goryushina
Illustrated by Andrej Kurkow

  • Publisher: Diogenes Verlag AG, Zurich
  • Rights contact: Susanne Bauknecht, Diogenes Verlag AG
  • Book info: Read more here

Reported rights sales:

  • Newest – French: Borealia
  • Croatian: Božičević
  • German (Diogenes)
  • Russian (Bohdan)Swedish (Tyanachu)

Tania Goryushina and Andrej Kurkow

“The little hedgehog is sad. The other animals are constantly being petted: the dogs, the cats, the hares, and the horses. He’s the only one that no one strokes.

“But one day he meets a clever field mouse who shows him that we’re all lovable just as we are. And that sometimes it’s a wonderful thing to be wild and free.

“A story about true friendship and the joy of accepting yourself as you are.”

That Won’t Do!

By Aslı Tohumcu

  • Publisher: Can Çocuk, Istanbul
  • Rights contact: Burcu Ünsal, Kalem Agency
  • Book info: Read more here

No reported rights sales to date.

“All fairy-tale characters have gathered to protest against the storyteller.

“Snow White does not want to be awakened by the kiss of a prince.

Aslı Tohumcu

“The damsels in distress don’t want to be saved, but instead want to defend their rights.

“So they’re all in search of a new storyteller who will rewrite the classic fairytales.

“This story was written for a project named Awake Not Sleeping: Reimagining Fairy Tales for a New Generation organized by UN Women, a project of the United Nations “dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

“A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.”

‘The Shrew Saga’ Series

By Tomasz Samojlik

No reported rights sales to date.

Tomasz Samojlik

The “Shrew Saga” is described as “a fantasy series about the world of shrews and other forest animals.

“Being a shrew is not easy. Dangers lurk everywhere. Once the ancient prophecy of doom has begun to come true, the minks have invaded the peaceful Shrew Valley. And fire threatens the forest.

“To make matters worse, Dobrzyk, the worst candidate for a hero, turns out to be the ‘chosen one’ to save everyone. Intricate ecological processes, predictions of dubious efficiency, a lot of chases and daring escapes.”

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 47th awards report published in the 50 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

Submitting Rights Deals to Publishing Perspectives

Do you have rights deals to report? Agents and rights directors can use our rights deal submission form to send us the information we need. If you have questions, please send them to Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com

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Categories. We get more submissions in children’s books than in others, and while we enjoy children’s books in the industry as much as anyone–please do keep sending them–we’d also like to see more of the following to help us balance our roundups:

  • Adult Fiction
  • Adult Nonfiction – particularly narrative nonfiction, political, historical, biographical, memoir, and philosophical categories
  • Young Adult

Repeat submissions. We receive great submissions from many parts of the world and once we’ve carried a title, we’d like to give other work a chance to be featured rather than repeating that title–unless there’s major news developing around that previously used title that makes it a good candidate for a second listing. If one of your titles has previously appeared in our Rights Roundups but there’s a good reason you think it should be listed again, please be sure to drop us an email and let us know (Porter@PublishingPerspectives.com).

We look forward to hearing from you.

More of Publishing Perspectives‘ rights roundups are here, and more from us on international rights trading is here.

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.

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 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.