Knopf Books for Young Readers will publish three new books and an e-original by R.J. Palacio, author of the bestselling Wonder, a debut novel about Auggie, a fifth-grade boy born with a facial deformity who attends a mainstream school for the first time. A companion book, 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts will be published on August 26 in hardcover, and The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story is due out as an e-original on May 26. Two additional, untitled novels by Palacio were also acquired by Erin Clarke, executive editor at Knopf, in a deal for North American rights brokered by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media. Clarke will edit the four titles.
R.J. Palacio wrote Wonder while working as children’s book director at Workman Publishing, where she is now editor-at-large; it has sold more than one million copies since its February 2012 release. The novel introduced Mr. Browne, an English teacher with a fondness for precepts – or principles to live by. 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts, which will have a 350,000-copy first printing, presents a precept for each day of the year and includes enlightening words from such notables as Confucius, Anne Frank, and Nelson Mandela.
The compilation also features precepts penned by more than 100 Wonder readers, selected from more than 1,200 quotes submitted for inclusion in the book. 365 Days of Wonder also features letters and e-mails from characters who appear in Wonder. “While there are many books full of inspirational quotes and sayings, precepts, as defined by Mr. Browne, are a little different,” Palacio said in a statement. “Their themes of kindness, strength of character, overcoming adversity, or simply doing good in the world teach those kinds of elemental virtues that parents strive to impart to their kids.”
The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story is written from the perspective of the antagonist from Wonder, whose actual voice was not included in the original novel. “I had always thought Julian was an interesting character worthy of further exploration, but I didn’t give him a voice in Wonder because he had nothing to add to Auggie’s narrative over the course of this one very important year,” Palacio explained. “Outside of the context of Wonder, however, I’m able to explore the character much further. I think a lot of children identify with Julian – the bully – whether they admit it or not, and they struggle with whether he has any chance for redemption. I think The Julian Chapter will bring some closure for this character who has sparked so much discussion among my readers.”
Random House U.K. will publish 365 Days of Wonder and The Julian Chapter simultaneously with the Knopf editions. In addition, Knopf will release a boxed set of Wonder and 365 Days of Wonder, also due on August 26.
Announcing the new Palacio acquisitions this morning, Barbara Marcus, RHCB president and publisher, said, “Publishing a new work by R.J. Palacio is a special event, and 365 Days of Wonder is the perfect companion book for every fan, young and old, who was moved by the magic of Wonder.”