David Gale at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers has bought world English rights to a middle-grade series by Tim Federle, author of Better Nate Than Ever and the forthcoming Five, Six, Seven, Nate! The new series, Theater Kid Chronicles, is loosely based on the author's own diaries at a sleepaway theater camp, where he wore a bald cap to play Daddy Warbucks at the age of 12. The first book will launch in spring 2014, with new titles to follow every six months. Brenda Bowen at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates brokered the three-book deal.
Kristin Rens at Balzer + Bray has acquired North American rights to a new middle-grade action/adventure series from Diana Peterfreund, author of Rampant and For Darkness Shows the Stars. The new series, called Omega City, was pitched as Goonies meets City of Ember; it follows a group of children as they venture into an abandoned underground fortress filled with technological marvels of the Cold War in order to clear the name of an innocent man. The first book in the series will be published in spring 2015. Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management did the deal.
Ingrid Selberg of Simon and Schuster U.K. has acquired world rights to a picture book edition of Ringo Starr's Beatles hit, Octopus's Garden, 45 years after the song was written. The hardcover book will be packaged with a CD, which will include an original, previously unheard music track from Starr and a reading of the story. Starr composed Octopus's Garden on holiday in Sardinia on Peter Sellers's yacht. The boat's captain, after offering Starr an octopus lunch (which he turned down), explained how octopuses trawl the sea bed for shiny stones and objects to put in front of their caves, like something of a garden, which inspired the lyrics for the song that appeared on Abbey Road in 1969. Ben Cort, illustrator of Aliens Love Underpants and a lifelong Beatles fan, has been signed to illustrate. Octopus's Garden will be published in the U.K. on October 24; U.S. publication is scheduled for January 2014. Alex Ianev at Universal Music Publishing did the deal.
Sharyn November at Viking has acquired two books from Susan Juby, author of six YA novels, including the Alice MacLeod trilogy, which served as the basis for the Canadian TV series Alice, I Think. The first novel in the deal, The Truth Commission, follows a girl who begins asking her classmates probing questions while denying what's been happening to her famous sister. Truth is slated for publication in late 2014. Hilary McMahon at Westwood Creative Artists brokered the deal for world rights excluding Canada.
Allyn Johnston and Andrea Welch of S&S's Beach Lane Books have bought a debut middle-grade novel by Liz Garton Scanlon, author of the Caldecott Honor-winning All the World and several other picture books. Her novel, The Great Good Summer, features 12-year-old Ivy Green, whose faith is flagging since her mother ran off with a preacher, and her new friend Paul, whose dream of being an astronaut feels futile now that the space shuttle program is ending. Publication is planned for spring 2015; Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency was the agent.