Book publishers in hot pursuit of Pablo rights

Pablo creator and Paper Owl Films director Grainne McGuinness
Pablo creator and Paper Owl Films director Grainne McGuinness

PAPER Owl Films, creators of the ground-breaking Northern Ireland-made children’s TV series Pablo, is in discussions with several major publishers to bring the animated phenomenon into print.

Earlier this year the Belfast-based production company appointed Ingrid Selberg to explore a range of new licensing and publishing opportunities to expand the brand reach of Pablo - the first-ever TV programme to feature an all-autistic core cast - into new markets.

Launched in the UK and Ireland on CBeebies and RTÉJr last autumn, the successful series has taken the world by storm, headlining children’s TV schedules on international networks including NBC Universal Kids, Canada’s CBC, Australia’s ABC, and Discovery Latin America.

Pablo tells the story of a smart and resourceful five-year-old boy with autism who uses magic crayons to create an imaginary ‘Art World’ populated by animal characters who help him handle everyday situations in a novel way.

The series is also broadcasting in China, Korea, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden, the Middle East and Africa, and will soon be available worldwide on Netflix.

Series two of Pablo is currently in production, with 104 all-new episodes due to air from autumn 2019.

The announcement comes as Pablo creator and director of Paper Owl Films Grainne McGuinness addressed The Bookseller Children’s Conference in London, and event which attracts some of the world’s biggest names in publishing and licensing including Penguin, Andersen Press, Nielsen and Harper Collins.

Highlighting that the series has introduced a completely new voice to the autism conversation, she said: “This wholly unique series aims to open the autism dialogue up, to stimulate new thinking and greater understanding among mainstream audiences of what it means to be a child with autism. Ultimately, Pablo is about creating a higher level of empathy amongst children for those who see the world in different ways.

“The originality of the stories and approach of the series has not only won the hearts of the public but evoked significant interest from publishers. In an increasingly tough world where children face greater challenges than ever before, we are delighted to be in discussions with several international publishers who can maximize Pablo as a force for good by bringing the series from the small screen to life in a new form.

“Pablo is going to be a major part of the future of children’s television and learning. It’s an authentic narrative which has grown out of real experience and need and we are excited to see how that longevity can be enhanced through a publishing partnership.”