Rico is an everyday boy, with an extraordinary story to tell in his debut book - ‘Strong And Tough’.
Originally written during homework club at Manchester City FC in 2020, Hinson-King went on to win the Premier League Young Writer of the Year competition with his powerful short story on the topic "fearless", based on his personal life story.
Strong and Tough tells his story through the character of Charlie. When Charlie’s birth parents were unable to look after him, he and his two sisters were taken into foster care. "At first they were split up. Sometimes Charlie felt alone and confused," the synopsis explains. "Sometimes he wanted to scream and cry, and he did, just a little–but Charlie always tried to stay strong. Strong and Tough is all about how, like Charlie, Rico found hope and resilience along the journey to finding his forever family and played lots of football along the way."
Bloomsbury publishing acquired world rights in the text from Amber Caravéo at Skylark Literary while Sally Beets, commissioning editor for children's non-fiction, acquired world rights in the illustrations from Anthony Goff at David Higham. Strong and Tough publishes simultaneously in hardback and paperback in the second half of 2022, ahead of National Adoption Week in October.
Hinson-King said: "I wrote Strong and Tough because I wanted all other kids to know what it's like being in foster care. I wanted kids to know, it's okay to come from this background and never to give up–even when it gets really tough. It's important those kids in care see their experience in a book, and for kids who haven’t been in care or adopted to understand a bit more about what it’s like. I’m really happy because Bloomsbury and Nick are helping me to share my story in the best way and I can't wait to share the book with everyone!"
Beets said: "When we first came across Rico’s story here at Bloomsbury, we were all struck by how incredibly real, moving and unique it was. This is an important tale that hasn’t been told before, and one that we know will be a really powerful tool in encouraging empathy and understanding, as well helping other children going through similar circumstances feel less alone. Rico’s inspirational words together with Nick’s inimitable, immediate and charming illustrations make for a perfect paring. Nick’s work on the Tracy Beaker series speaks to his track record of illustrating sensitive subjects with care and thoughtfulness and we are hugely excited to be working with him on this book. Rico is a huge talent and an absolute joy to be around – we are beyond pleased that he chose to team up with Bloomsbury."
Sharratt said: "I'm so delighted to be illustrating Rico's book Strong and Tough. It's no wonder that this stirring story, told with such warmth and humour, is an award winner. I'm really looking forward to working on it."
Rico is a football-mad 11-year-old boy who plays for the U11s at Manchester City Football Club.
He lives in Cheshire, with his two sisters and two dads and his little dog Meile. Rico has played for several Premier League Clubs in the past, including Manchester United, Everton and Liverpool FC.
He’s recently made the switch from being an outfield player to a new role as keeper.