Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Favourite New Zealand Young Adult Title Included in Prestigious Collection

UK publisher Quintessence plans to include I Am Not Esther by Fleur Beale, one of New Zealand’s most popular books for young adults, in the latest book in their 1001 series.

1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up lists 1001 of the most ground-breaking, influential, popular, and beautiful children’s books ever published in the world, ranging from Gulliver’s Travels to The Cat in the Hat and from Kate Greenaway to J. K. Rowling.

First published by Dunedin’s Longacre Press in 1998, I Am Not Esther is the story of a young woman abandoned by her family to relatives who are members of a religious cult. Beale, a former high school teacher, was inspired to write I Am Not Esther by her experience with a student’s expulsion from his family. The boy’s decision to attend University was against their religious beliefs.

In 1999 I Am Not Esther won an Honour Award at the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards. Since then the book has been reprinted several times (most recently in 2008); bought by a subsidiary of Disney in the US; and with more than 15,000 copies sold it has proved itself to be a hot favourite with teenage readers. In January 2009 it won the Gaelyn Gordon Award in New Zealand for a much-loved book.

1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up (due for publication October 2009) will be the definitive guide for both parents and children, and help ensure that I Am Not Esther will go on to enthral many more teenage readers, and their parents and teachers.’


Julie at Jabberwocky said...

a big yeeha for 'I am not esther' - one of the most truly brilliant NZ YA novels published and I am totally thrilled Fleur is gaining international recognition.
Jabberwocky Children's Bookshop

Anonymous said...

There will be about 15 New Zealand books in this publication. I helped with sourcing the first edition book covers. said...

Yes, yeeha for Fleur,who is so modest and hard-working.

John McIntyre said...

We agree with Julie. This is one of the most compelling teenage reads ever, and its inclusion is proof of international quality.
Make sure your children read it,and then read it yourself. You won't put it down.
I recently had a grandmother beg for a book that would get her grand-daughter reading again. Two weeks later she emailed to tell me the grand-daughter had rung and enthused non-stop for 5 minutes about I Am Not Esther.
My 16 year old daughter loved it, as a class study last year, and adds that analyzing it didn't kill it. High praise from a student.
Interestingly the subject of I Am Not Esther (written in 1999) is close to a fictionalized version of her current adult best-seller on the Cooperites, Sins of our Fathers. Spooky.

John and Ruth McIntyre
The Children's Bookshop