Alessandra Balzer at Balzer + Bray has acquired, in a two-book deal, National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi's Nigeria Jones, about the 16-year-old daughter of a radical separatist movement leader who inadvertently travels back through time to the west coast of Africa in the early 1800s, to inhabit the body of her young ancestor on the brink of being sold into slavery. The first book will be published in spring 2021; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency did the deal for world English rights.
Jen Besser at Roaring Brook has bought Adam Rex's Pinch, a YA novel that centers on Zelda, who can't seem to wake herself up from the dream she's living in. When she decides to enlist others in the dream to help, she learns that waking up means ending their lives, including her actual “dream guy” Langston's. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021; Steven Malk at Writers House brokered the deal for world English rights.
Audrey Ingerson at Delacorte has acquired Jessica Etting (l.) and Alyssa Schwartz's Fade into the Bright, a YA contemporary novel pitched as Five Feet Apart meets Tell Me Three Things. The story is about two sisters, one summer, and a diagnosis that changes everything—because while both sisters are at risk of inheriting a fatal genetic disorder, only one tests positive. Publication is slated for spring 2021; Holly Root at Root Literary negotiated the deal for world English rights.
Calista Brill at First Second has bought Pinball, Jon Chad's graphic novel history of the iconic arcade machines, exploring their narrow escape—via a single lucky shot—from a decades-long citywide ban in New York, and their place as the last bastion of true randomness in the world of gaming. Publication is planned for 2021; Stephen Barr at Writers House brokered the deal for world rights.
Phoebe Yeh at Crown has acquired Ellen Oh's middle grade novel The Colliding Worlds of Mina Lee plus a second untitled YA novel. In the books, Asian-American Mina Lee is transported into her own webcomic only to find that none of her characters are doing what they're supposed to. Each novel includes interstitials of Mina's comics. Publication of the first book is set for summer 2021; Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary handled the deal for world English rights.
Asia Citro at Innovation Press has bought, in an exclusive submission, Hex Allen and the Clanksmiths, a middle grade adventure by MIT graduate and mechanical engineer Jasmine Florentine (l.). Considered a misfit by her society because she can't cast even the simplest of spells, Hex Allen sets out after a legendary dragon who grants a single wish every century. Along the way, she meets a pair of Clanksmiths whose secret STEM-based skills challenge her dream of a "normal" life. Ebony Glenn will illustrate; publication is slated for fall 2020. The author represented herself, Alex Gehringer at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator in the deal for world rights.
Liza Kaplan at Philomel has acquired the debut picture book Rectangle Time by Pamela Paul (l.), editor of the New York Times Book Review, and author of several books for adults including My Life with Bob. The book tells the story of a boy learning to read, and a cat who thinks he is essential to the process, even as he inadvertently undermines it. British artist Becky Cameronwill illustrate; publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Lydia Wills at Lydia Wills represented the author, and Claire Cartey at Holroyde Cartey Ltd. represented the illustrator in the deal for world rights, all languages.
Emma Ledbetter at Abrams has bought world rights to The People's Painter by Cynthia Levinson, illustrated by Evan Turk. The picture book tells the story of Jewish artist, immigrant, and activist Ben Shahn, whose daring work changed the artistic and political landscape of the 20th century. Publication is planned for spring 2021; Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and Brenda Bowen at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates represented the illustrator.
Andrea Welch at S&S/Beach Lane has acquired world rights to Meg Fleming's Wondering Around, a picture book that shows how wondering about little things can lead to big discoveries. Richard Jones will illustrate; publication is set for spring 2022. Emily van Beek at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management represented the author, and Arabella Stein at the Bright Group represented the illustrator.
Jessica Anderson at Holt has bought world rights to John Deere, That's Who! author Tracy Nelson Maurer's (l.) picture book biography, Lady Bird Johnson, That's Who!: The Story of a Cleaner and Greener America, illustrated by Ginnie Hsu. Publication is scheduled for winter 2021; Kendra Marcus at BookStop Literary Agency represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Kelsey Skea at Amazon/Two Lions has acquired Anitra Rowe Schulte's (l.) debut picture book, Dancing with Daddy, inspired by the author's daughter, in which a girl named Elsie, who uses a wheelchair and a PODD communication book, gets ready for her first father-daughter dance. Ziyue Chen will illustrate; publication is planned for fall 2020. Stephanie Hansen at Metamorphosis Literary Agency represented the author, and Mela Bolinao at MB Artists represented the illustrator in the deal for world rights.
Alice Jerman at HarperTeen has acquired Ciannon Smart's YA debut, Witches Steeped in Gold, and a sequel, at auction. A Caribbean-inspired fantasy, the novel follows two witches from enemy castes—one seeking power, and one seeking revenge—who will stop at nothing to overthrow the Witch Queen, even if it means forming an alliance with each other and unleashing chaos on their island nation. Publication is slated for winter 2021; Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary negotiated the two-book deal for North American rights.
Jeffrey West at Scholastic has bought The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver, author of I Wish You All the Best. In the YA novel, Liam Cooper is already navigating anxiety, complicated feelings about their gender, and a crush on their best friend, when their brother's sudden death in a car accident caused by a classmate flips their whole world on its axis. Publication is planned for late 2020; Lauren Abramo at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret did the deal for North American rights.
David Linker at HarperCollins has acquired Adam Cesare's YA debut, Clown in a Cornfield, a horror novel about a group of teenagers struggling to escape from a murderous clown in a small midwestern town that refuses to let go of its outdated ideals—no matter how high the cost. Cesare runs the popular horror-centric YouTube channel Project: Black T-Shirt. Publication is set for summer 2020; Alec Shane at Writers House handled the deal for world rights.
Hannah Smith at Owl Hollow Press has bought screenwriter Maryanne Melloan Woods's debut novel, Lazarus, about 16-year-old Margo who tries to solve a murder in her small Nebraska town, aided by her late boyfriend Hank, who can spy on suspects unseen. Publication is scheduled for summer 2020; Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Literary brokered the deal for world English rights.
Jennifer Ung at Aladdin has acquired Supriya Kelkar's That Thing About Bollywood, a contemporary middle grade novel with a dash of magic, about a Bollywood-loving girl whose parents are going through a separation. She thinks she's handling it fine (by not talking about it); but when she starts to involuntarily burst into glamorous song and dance routines in which she shows her true emotions, she realizes she has to find her voice before it's too late. Publication is slated for summer 2021; Kathleen Rushall at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency did the deal for world rights.
Carolina Ortiz at HarperCollins has bought world rights to Eisner-nominated author and illustrator Amparo Ortiz (l.) and Ronnie Garcia's Saving Chupie, a middle grade graphic novel adventure about Violeta Rubio and her friends' mission to protect their local Chupacabra, set in a recovering town in Puerto Rico. Publication is planned for winter 2022; Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency represented the author, and Peter Ryan at Stimola Literary Studio represented the illustrator.
Megan Abbate at Roaring Brook has acquired, at auction, North American rights to Andrea Williams's middle grade biography of Effa Manley, The Lady and the Diamond: The True Story of Effa Manley, the Negro Leagues and the Integration of Major League Baseball, about the pioneering owner/business manager of the Negro National League's Newark Eagles and the only woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. This is the first biography of Manley for young readers. Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties negotiated the deal; publication is set for fall 2020.
Margaret Ferguson at Holiday House has bought The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe, a middle-grade novel by Tricia Springstubb. Eleven-year-old Loah, daughter of a noted ornithologist, finds her life falling apart when her mother goes missing while bird-spotting in the Arctic tundra. Loah, who is always happiest in the safety of home, realizes she must step into the unknown to save everything, and everyone, she loves most. Publication is slated for summer 2021; Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world English rights.
Eliza Leahy at Capstone has acquired Rating Your Bunkmates and Other Camp Crimes, a debut middle-grade novel by Jennifer Orr. Tween genius Abigail is hoping that a week at Camp Hollyhock is the answer to finally making a friend. But just when it seems that Abigail is off to a good start, her bunkmate's phone is stolen, and Abigail is the main suspect. Publication is scheduled for February 2020; the author represented herself in the deal for world rights.
Sheila Keenan at Viking has bought Peanut, Butter & Crackers, a full-color graphic novel series for early readers by Paige Braddock. Braddock's adult works include the nationally syndicated comic strip Jane's World, and the anthology Love Letters to Jane's World. She is also the creator of the middle-grade Stinky Cecil graphic novels and works as the chief creative officer at Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. The first book in the Peanut, Butter & Crackers series is set for fall 2020; Braddock represented herself in the three-book deal for world rights.
Mabel Hsu at HarperCollins/Tegen has acquired, in a preempt, C.G. Esperanza's Boogie Boogie, Y'all. When two kids stop to admire the vibrant graffiti tucked into every corner of their city, the art begins to leap off the wall to boogie with them, in this celebratory ode to graffiti and the Bronx community. Publication is planned for winter 2021; Marietta B. Zacker at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency brokered the deal for North American rights.
Alexis Orgera and Chad Reynolds at Penny Candy have signed a deal with visual artist Skip Hill to illustrate the poem "How to Tie a Shoe" as a picture book. The poem, the first by Penny Candy's internal development team, explores and unravels the complexity of one of a child's first essential lessons. This will be Hill's third picture book with the publisher, after A Gift from Greensboro and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy. The book will be published in spring 2020; Hill was unagented.
Sylvie Frank at S&S/Wiseman has bought world rights to Strictly No Elephants author Lisa Mantchev's new picture book, Twisty Turn House. In this book that examines preconceptions and prejudice, the upstairs cats and downstairs dogs are kept apart because their humans assume they won't get along. But when the door is left open, it turns out that the cats and dogs become friends. E.G. Keller, the illustrator of A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, will illustrate; publication is slated for fall 2021. Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the author, and Lori Nowicki at Painted Words represented the illustrator.
Melissa Manlove at Chronicle has acquired world rights to Kirsten W. Larson's (l.) Cecilia Payne: Making of a Star (Scientist), a nonfiction picture book biography of the groundbreaking female astronomer who discovered the composition of stars, and whose story mirrors the process of star formation. Katherine Roy will illustrate; publication is scheduled for fall 2021. Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the author, and Stephen Barr at Writers House represented the illustrator.
Charlotte Wenger at Page Street Kids has bought world rights to I Am the Wind by Michael Karg, illustrated by Google doodler Sophie Diao. In the picture book debut, the wind blows around the globe and encounters local geography, animals, and climates. Publication is planned for fall 2020; Courtney Burke will edit. The author represented himself, and Alexandra Penfold at Upstart Crow Literary represented the illustrator.
Joni Sussman at Kar-Ben has acquired world rights to Hard Hat Cat! by Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh(l.). In the book, a stray cat in a Jerusalem neighborhood is befriended by a boy and finds a surprising new home. Maxine Lee will illustrate; publication is slated for spring 2020. The author represented herself, and Robbin Brosterman at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.