Commissioning editor Katie Jennings bought world rights in a three-book deal from Hannah Sheppard at D H H Literary Agency. There will be illustrations throughout from Navya Raju. Rock the Boat will publish the first title in the series, Rani Reports on the Missing Millions, in paperback in June 2023.
The book sees junior journalist Rani and her mischievous Nani join forces to unravel a string of newsworthy mysteries. The synopsis explains: “What do a priceless painting, a minotaur, a lighthouse and a glass eye have in common? They’re all part of a treasure trail set by an eccentric millionaire. For 10-year-old aspiring journalist Rani it couldn’t be more perfect. A chance for adventure and also a shot at getting the perfect scoop for a story competition in the local newspaper.
“Teaming up with her Nani, who is visiting from Mauritius, she sets out to get to the bottom of the mystery. But solving the clues isn’t so simple…and neither is outwitting rival wannabe journalist Lexi. Can Rani and Nani crack the code and avoid a dangerous nemesis determined to take the prize at any cost?”
Jennings said: “Rani Reports is Rock the Boat’s first foray into publishing for lower middle grade readers, and Gabrielle and Satish’s series has all the ingredients I was looking for. Mystery and adventure, humour by the bucketload, and vivid characters from a background that is still under-represented in children’s fiction. The curious and determined Rani is the perfect inspiration for any budding journalist, while with Nani and parrot Cookie around, things don’t always go quite as planned…”
Gabrielle Shewhorak, who also writes middle grade under the name Gabrielle Kent, added: “We’re so happy that our Rani Reports series has found a nurturing home with Rock the Boat. With so many ways that children absorb news today, it can be hard for them to know what to trust. Hopefully Rani’s love of story hunting will raise an army of truth-hunting junior journalists, while teaching them about the importance of fact checking as Rani explores print, online and video journalism.”
Satish Shewhorak said: “Growing up, I rarely saw anyone who looked like me in books, film and TV, and never anyone from Mauritius, where my parents were born. With our daughter now looking for characters that resemble her family I’m delighted that our publisher, Rock the Boat, is among the few taking action on South Asian representation. In this series we hope that all children will enjoy discovering more about the vibrant cultures of Mauritius while laughing at Rani and Nani’s adventures, and cooking up some of Nani’s favourite recipes!”
From the Bookseller article