'The Emerald Atlas' most talked-about title at Bologna fair

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The Independent Culture

The Bologna Children's Book Fair, the most significant in the world for the children's book market, is underway from March 23 through March 26. According to reports, a "Narnia-like" novel by US screenwriter John Stephens is causing the biggest buzz at this year's fair.

On March 24, US trade publication Publisher's Weekly called The Emerald Atlas the "most talked-about title at the Fair," news that UK trade magazine The Bookseller echoed a day later.

The novel is the first in a trilogy, called Books of the Beginning, by Stephens, who is the executive producer of the US television series Gossip Girl and also wrote and directed several episodes of The O.C.

According to Publishers Weekly ( PW), The Emerald Atlas is a "tale of three siblings, taken from their parents as infants to protect them from a terrible power." Deadline reports that the books are set in "an alternative upstate New York where there is a realm to a different world, and orphans have to find their way through it to locate a lost book of time."

The Bookseller calls Atlas a "middle-grade" title, intended for children aged 8 to 12, and notes that "middle-grade" titles are hot at the 2010 fair. According to PW, the young adult market is especially vibrant, likely driven by the success of the Twilight series.

The Emerald Atlas will be published by Knopf in spring 2011.