UK & Commonwealth rights to Helen Rutter’s brilliant middle grade novel, The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh, have been snapped up by Scholastic.

As reported in The Bookseller, rights were sold to editorial director Lauren Fortune following a heated auction, who said that the book will “start conversations, promote kindness and empathy and hugely entertain while doing so“.

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh features plucky protagonist Billy Plimpton:

Billy Plimpton wants to be a stand up comedian. He has dreamt of standing on stage, and telling jokes, for as long as he can remember. But there is one thing stopping him from fulfilling his dream. 

Billy has a stammer. 

How will Billy find his voice, when his voice won’t let him speak?

North American rights to the novel have been bought by David Levithan, editorial director of Scholastic US, where the book will be published simultaneously with the UK.

To date, French, Dutch and German rights have also been sold.

Helen Rutter lives in Bamford near Sheffield and has worked as an actress for many years. In recent years, she has written and performed her own work. The idea for The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh came from her son Lenny who has a stammer. She wanted to write the book that he would love to read. She hopes that children will be able to relate to feeling unheard, different from the rest and unable to find their voice.

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh will be published in early 2021.