Mallory Loehr at Random House has acquired four middle-grade novels by Philip Reeve (the Hungry City Chronicles), illustrated by Sarah McIntyre. The first book, Oliver and the Seawigs, follows a boy's adventures on the high seas as he teams up with a living island, a near-sided mermaid, and a grumpy albatross, to rescue his missing parents. It's slated for fall 2014, with companion novels follow. Anne-Marie Hansen at Oxford University Press brokered the deal for North American rights.
Connie Hsu at Little, Brown has bought a three-book middle-grade nonfiction series by badassoftheweek.com creator Ben Thompson, called Guts & Glory. It's billed as a "no-holds-barred, in-your-face, and totally real series featuring the most hardcore periods in history," and will begin with the Civil War. The series launches in fall 2014; Farley Chase at Chase Literary Agency did the deal for North American rights.
Liesa Abrams at Simon Pulse has acquired Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten (Wherever Nina Lies) in a two-book, six-figure auction. In this YA suspense novel, pitched as Gone Girl meets Thirteen Reasons Why, June has barely has time to mourn the death of her best friend Delia, before Delia's ex-boyfriend convinces her Delia was murdered, and June is swept into a tangle of lies, deceit, and conspiracy. Publication is scheduled for spring 2015; Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency brokered the deal.
Christian Trimmer at Simon & Schuster has bought world English rights to Red Butterfly by debut author A.L. Sonnichsen. The middle-grade novel in verse tells of a Chinese girl raised in solitude by her American mother, who must navigate China's strict adoption system when she is torn away from the only family she has ever known. Publication is set for winter 2015; Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary was the agent.
Nancy Siscoe at Knopf has acquired a debut middle-grade novel called Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer, written by former bookseller and librarian Kelly Jones. The story, about some very unusual chickens and the out-of-her-depth farm girl determined to protect them, is told via letters, lists, postcards, and journal entries. Publication is slated for spring 2015; Mandy Hubbard at D4EO Literary Agency did the deal for world English rights.
Erin Clarke at Knopf has acquired a memoir by 18-year-old ballet star Michaela DePrince. The as-yet-untitled book will be co-written with DePrince's adoptive mother, Elaine DePrince, and will be published in fall 2014, along with a Step into Reading chapter book called Ballerina Dreams: The Story of Michaela DePrince. In the books DePrince will describe her experiences growing up as an orphan in war-torn Sierra Leone and her journey to becoming a professional ballet dancer. Adriana Dominguez of Full Circle Literary negotiated the deal.
Michael Green at Philomel has bought three middle-grade nonfiction books by Howard Bryant, senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine, and sports correspondent for National Public Radio's Weekend Edition, which will celebrate the greatest moments of baseball, football, and basketball. The deal also includes a picture book to be written by Bryant. The first book is scheduled for March 2015; Deirdre Mullane of Mullane Literary Associates did the deal for world rights.
David Gale at Simon & Schuster has acquired the first two books in a debut middle-grade series by Rot & Ruin author Jonathan Maberry. In the series, called The Nightsiders, human and monster teens work together to defend the earth from alien invaders. Book #1 pubs in summer 2015; Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger brokered the deal for world rights.
Connie Hsu at Little, Brown has bought world rights at auction to Wherever You Go by Sophie's Squash author Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. The picture book is meant to celebrate life, adventure, and all the possibilities the world holds; publication is set for spring 2015. Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author and Jen Rofe of Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the illustrator.
Maria Modugno at Random House has bought Outer Space, Bedtime Race by Rob Sanders and Brian Won, a picture book about space kids from each planet, racing to get ready for bed. Publication is planned for spring 2015; Rubin Pfeffer of East West Literary did the deal for world rights.