George, by Alex Gino, will be published Sept 3 and has received 4 starred reviews.
Gino hopes George will help some kids know they’re also not the only ones. Meanwhile, Scholastic believes the book is for everyone. The company is known for publishing the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series, massively popular books that sell millions of copies. With George, it settled on an initial press run of 50,000 copies. Editorial director David Levithan puts that number in perspective.”Fifty thousand is pretty amazing for a debut author writing a middle grade book that isn’t part of a series,” he says. “No wizards, no Greek myths, no action adventure. It’s just one girl’s story.”Selling this particular girl’s story to a mass market meant employed a similar strategy the company used with The Hunger Games. It’s kind of crazy to remember now, but that book was initially seen as a potentially difficult sell. After all, it’s about kids killing each other. But Leviathan said that The Hunger Games is like George in that people may relate to the story more than they might think. “Once you read the book, you understand the book,” he said. The trick was getting George into as many readers’ hands as possible. The company sent it to 10,000 teachers, to children’s librarians and took Gino around to major book fairs, including Winter Institute, run by the American Booksellers Association.