The Bookseller announces a sequel to What Happened to You? | By us, James (& Lucy!) Catchpole

  • Screenshot of The Bookseller article
  • The Bookseller article - page 2
  • The Bookseller article - page 3
  • The Bookseller article - page 4
  • Lucy and James Catchpole - a full length photo
  • James Catchpole - holding What Happened to You?

We have an announcement! More details coming soon, but we wanted to share the Bookseller announcement. We’ve written a new picture book – You’re So Amazing! It’s a sequel to What Happened to You? and will be published by Faber in May 2023 in the UK. And this time it’s by both of us.

You can find the full Bookseller article here, in the images above, and below, too. (Hm, overkill?!)

Faber has acquired a second picture book from literary agent turned author James Catchpole, co-written with his wife and fellow literary agent Lucy Catchpole. 

Illustrated by Karen George, You’re So Amazing! is a “funny, whip-smart and pioneering picture book that asks readers to think about the stories and feelings people attach to disability,” the synopsis explains.

Editorial director Alice Swan acquired world rights directly from the author. It will be published in hardback and paperback on 4th May 2023.

Catchpole said: “I’m pleased as punch to be announcing a further adventure for Joe. The brilliant Karen George is illustrating again, and Faber have done a peerless job pulling it all together. And at the risk of sounding #smugmarried, there’s a real sense of satisfaction in having written this one together with Lucy Catchpole, my wife. As a wheelchair-user, disabled from early adulthood, she brings an outside perspective to what is essentially my own childhood experience, while also being very much an insider, understanding social issues around disability in a way that I, having always been an amputee, might never have fathomed on my own.

“In its unassuming way, What Happened to You? sets out to change the world. It makes the urgent argument from disability activism, that disabled people must be afforded the right to privacy and personal boundaries. You’re So Amazing! speaks to another particularity of the disabled experience in the two narratives that are always attached to disability: tragedy and pity on one hand; inspiration and triumph on the other. We see this in media coverage of everything from the Paralympics to Children in Need. 

“As disabled people, these narratives really do inform our daily interactions with strangers. And this is no less true for disabled children – it’s just more confusing, and harder to work out why the sight of us seems to make some adults suck their teeth with pity, and others gaze at us, misty-eyed with adoration! Joe’s second adventure asks: does Joe have to be Amazing Joe or Poor Joe? Can’t he just be… Joe?”

The Catchpoles run The Catchpole Agency from their home in Oxford. Their Instagram profile discusses disability representation in literature, as well as parenthood and family life: James is an amputee and Lucy a wheelchair-user and they have two daughters. James’ debut picture book, What Happened to You? was shortlisted for the UKLA and Little Rebels awards and has sold upwards of 35,000 copies, according to the publisher.

Swan said: “Through their own experience, Lucy and James Catchpole once again reframe the conversation around the treatment of disabled children in a way that seems so obvious and urgent once we see it on the page. Simple, thoughtful, playful and amusing, this book will change lives for the better. All children deserve to be treated as just children, after all. We couldn’t be prouder to publish this vital and wonderful book.”

Ruth Comerford for The Bookseller

Lucy & James Catchpole

Lucy and James Catchpole

[Image description:

Slideshow: a screenshot of a Bookseller article – headline reads “Faber signs ‘pioneering’ picture book from literary agents the Catchpoles”, alongside a photo of Lucy and James Catchpole. We’re a white disabled couple with brown hair. Lucy’s wearing an embroidered top and long green linen skirt, sitting in her wheelchair. James has one leg and black crutches. The full article text is in the subsequent images – and right here in the body of the post above.

Other images: Lucy and James – as in the Bookseller article. In the second image alongside, James sits holding a copy of What Happened to You?]

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