NEW YORK, March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- HarperCollins Publishers announced today that it has acquired world rights to The Happiest Hippo in the World, a children's picture book by international bestselling author Danielle Steel. The new book, by the author of 88 adult novels, including Honor Thyself, Sisters, and the "Max and Martha" series for children, tells the story of a baby hippo who happens to be born green instead of gray and learns with the help of a little boy to love himself despite being different. Both delightful and heartwarming, the book was written by Ms. Steel for her son Nicholas Traina when he was little and is expected to be published in Fall 2009. Illustrations will be by celebrated artist Margaret Spengler. The deal was negotiated by Kate Jackson, SVP/Associate Publisher, Editor-in-Chief of HarperCollins Children's Books, with agent Kate Schafter of Janklow & Nesbit Associates. "We are delighted to welcome Danielle Steel to our list," said Kate Jackson. "She is a wonderful author and we know that this charming project will be embraced by young readers all over the world." Danielle Steel said, "The message of the book is that it's okay to be different. Most of us try to fit in to what's expected of us, and be like everyone else, and sometimes the pieces just don't fit. I wanted to reassure children (and even grown-ups) that it's wonderful to be different sometimes, and sometimes being different is the best thing of all!" ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Since 1981, Ms. Steel has been a permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestsellers list. Twenty-one of Ms. Steel's novels have been adapted for television, each earning high ratings and critical acclaim, including two Golden Globe nominations for Jewels, a four-hour miniseries that starred Anthony Andrews. Ms. Steel is also the author of several children's books, including "Max and Martha," a ten-book series of books for young readers, and four "Freddy" books. Her nonfiction work His Bright Light, about the life and death of her son Nicholas Traina, released by Delacorte Press in September 1998, immediately jumped to the New York Times Nonfiction bestseller list. Her books are published in 28 languages in 47 countries. With nine children of her own, family, children, and young people are the central focus of her life, and her passion, which frequently shows in her writing. She deals with the themes that address the most pressing issues of real life, which makes her books universal, and touch so many people. She is fascinated by the pressing life situations that affect us all, how people handle them and are often transformed as a result. And her novels have explored subjects such as kidnapping, incest, mental illness, suicide, death, divorce, adoption, marriage, loss, cancer, war, among others. She also frequently writes about historical themes, shedding new light on familiar historical events with meticulously accurate research. She also founded and runs two charitable foundations, dedicated to the support of hands-on treatment of mental illness, and the prevention of child abuse and suicide. She had a contemporary art gallery in San Francisco for several years, and is an avid supporter of emerging artists. She is now a guest curator at a gallery in San Francisco. In 2002, Ms. Steel was decorated by the French government as an "Officier" of the distinguished Order of Arts and Letters, for her lifetime contribution to world culture. Despite her varied interests and activities, Ms. Steel leads an extremely private family-centered life. She lives in San Francisco and Paris. ABOUT HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS: HarperCollins Children's Books is one of the leading publishers of children's books. Respected worldwide for its tradition of publishing quality, award-winning books for young readers, HarperCollins is home to many timeless treasures -- including Charlotte's Web, The Chronicles of Narnia, Goodnight Moon, Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Where the Wild Things Are; and popular new classics -- including A Series of Unfortunate Events, Warriors, and Fancy Nancy. HarperCollins Children's Books is a division of HarperCollins Publishers, one of the leading English language publishers in the world and a subsidiary of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NCP, NCPDP). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australasia. You can visit HarperCollins Children's Books at http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com and HarperCollins Publishers at http://www.harpercollins.com.
SOURCE HarperCollins Publishers