Peter Phillips at Penguin Teen Canada has acquired two books in a YA duology by debut author Xiran Jay Zhao, pitched as Pacific Rim meets The Handmaid's Tale, and inspired by East Asian myth. The first book, Iron Widow, follows 18-year-old Wu Zetian as she avenges her sister's murder in a patriarchal military system where male pilots of giant magical mecha are treated like celebrities, while female pilots must serve as their concubines. Publication is slated for fall 2021 and fall 2022; Rachel Brooks at BookEnds Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Anne Heltzel and Emily Daluga at Amulet have bought An Island Without You, a YA debut by Malulani Moreno. Set in contemporary Hawaii, this #OwnVoices novel features two boys struggling with identity and loss in their community after other boys in their town go missing. Publication is planned for spring 2021; Allison Hellegers at Stimola Literary Studio did the deal for North American rights.
Jerome Pohlen at Chicago Review Press has acquired, at auction, world rights to Ants for Dinner by children's author and entomophage Mary Boone. This middle-grade nonfiction book explores why dining on insects is more environmentally friendly than eating traditional protein sources, and how making small dietary changes could help ensure that no one goes hungry. Publication is tentatively set for fall 2021; Stacey Kondla at the Rights Factory represented the author.
Aneeka Kalia at Viking has bought What Will My Story Be? and a second untitled project by Nidhi Chanani (Pashmina). Chanani's picture book debut follows a girl who is inspired to create her own imaginative stories after listening to her aunties tell their tales. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Jodi Reamer at Writers House brokered the deal for world rights.
Lee Wade at Random House Studio has acquired world rights to My Brother Is Away by Caroline Starr Rose (l.), writing as Sara Greenwood, and illustrated by Luisa Uribe. In this picture book inspired by the author's childhood, a girl navigates her various, and sometimes complicated, feelings toward her incarcerated brother. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Tracey Adams at Adams Literary represented the author, and James Burns at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Jessica Anderson at Holt has bought North American rights to All That Is You, written by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (l.) (the Biscuit series) and illustrated by Devon Holzwarth. The book is a poetic celebration of intergenerational love between child and caregiver, hinged on moments of everyday magic. Publication is planned for 2022; Liza Voges at Eden Street Literary represented the author, and Nicole Tugeau at Tugeau 2 represented the artist.
Charlie Ilgunas at Little Bee has acquired world rights to Rajani LaRocca's The Secret Code Inside You, illustrated by Steven Salerno, a rhyming picture book introduction to DNA that explains the idea of genetics, but also touches on the limits of genes and how our choices also determine who we become. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Brent Taylor at TriadaUS represented the author, and the illustrator represented himself.
Donna Bray at HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has acquired, in a two-book deal, Anne Wynter's (l.) One Big Day and Hands On!, board books that celebrate baby milestones, illustrated by Alea Marley. Publication is slated for winter 2022; Steven Malk at Writers House represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator in the deal for world rights.
Rebecca Glaser at Amicus Ink has bought world rights to One Blue Gnu by Danna Smith (l.). The picture book is a colorful counting romp at the zoo, where a box of misplaced cell phones leads one blue gnu to call two white sheep, who plan a party—beep beep beep! Ana Zurita will illustrate. Publication is set for spring 2021; Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary represented the author, and Chiara Patsias at IMC Literary Agency represented the illustrator.
Susan Van Metre at Walker Books US has acquired world rights to Alexandra Leigh Young's debut novel Idol Gossip in an exclusive submission. Pitched as Gossip Girl meets K-pop, the YA novel follows the daughter of an American diplomat who is recruited into a K-pop group after her family moves to Seoul, only to find her path to stardom threatened by an influential gossip blogger intent on bringing her down. Publication is planned for spring 2021; Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency represented the author.
Joy Peskin at FSG has bought, in a preempt, world rights to Corey Egbert's debut YA graphic novel Visitations. The story features teenage Corey and his younger sister, Sarah, as they struggle with visits to see their father, their mother's extreme religious interpretations, and their own faith. Their mother's visions lead them on a journey into the Nevada desert where nights become surreal adventures for Corey. It’s based on true events from the author's life, combined with an element of magical realism. Publication is set for winter 2022; Nicole Tugeau at Tugeau 2 brokered the deal.
Allison Moore at Bloomsbury has acquired, in a preempt, world rights to Once More with Chutzpah by debut author Haley Neil. Pitched as “Becky Albertalli meets Birthright,” the YA novel explores cultural, religious, and sexual identity as an anxious high school senior and her twin set off on a whirlwind trip through Israel. Publication is slated for fall 2021; Lauren Spieller at Triada did the two-book deal for world rights.
Britny Brooks at Running Press Kids has bought Eleanor Amplified by John Sheehan, a radio-drama inspired middle grade novel that is based on the WHYY children's podcast Eleanor Amplified. It follows a tenacious investigative reporter on a new adventure to get the whole story and save Union City from evil. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Kyra McGrath at WHYY represented the author for world rights.
Clarissa Wong at HarperCollins has acquired, at auction, music journalist Kara Bodegon's middle grade graphic novel debut, Squalo & Mage. Inspired by Filipino folklore, Squalo & Mage follows the story of best friends—a two-legged shark and a young sorceress—as they travel Mundo to free the mystical Bakunawa from its rage before darkness and corruption take over and all magic is wiped out. Publication is planned for winter 2023; Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties negotiated the two-book deal for North American rights.
Kate Harrison at Dial has bought, at auction, Turtle in a Tree and an untitled picture book by Neesha Hudson. This author-illustrator debut, inspired by her son's out-of-the-blue assertion, “There's a turtle in that tree,” is about friends, Bulldog and Greyhound, who have different points of view and ultimately understand that right and wrong are not cut and dry. Publication for the first book is set for summer 2021; Rebecca Sherman at Writers House did the two-book deal for world rights.
Alyson Day at HarperCollins has acquired world rights to Anna Redding's (l.) The Gravity Tree: The True Story of a Tree That Inspired the World, a picture book following the tree that inspired Newton's groundbreaking discovery throughout its many incarnations. Yas Imamura will illustrate; publication is slated for spring 2021; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and Frederica Dawson at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Rob Valois at Penguin Workshop has bought world rights to John Micklos Jr.'s Raindrops to Rainbow. The story is about a girl who experiences a thunderstorm and learns that only with a little rain can we see the beauty of a rainbow. Charlene Chua will illustrate; publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary represented the author, and Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary represented the illustrator.
Rebecca Glaser at Amicus Ink/Creative Company has acquired world rights to Everything a Drum by Sarah Warren (l.), illustrated by Lisa Rush. The picture book has a beat that celebrates a toddler's innate love of rhythm. Publication is planned for spring 2021; Abigail Samoun at Red Fox Literary represented the author, and Essie White at Storm Literary Agency represented the illustrator.
Kristine Enderle at Magination Press has acquired world rights to That Missing Feeling by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (l.), illustrated by Morena Forza. The picture book is about Mia's struggle with “that missing” feeling in the wake of her parents' divorce as she adjusts to two separate homes, until her Grandpa is able to help by sharing his own experiences and giving her a notebook for her feelings. Publication is slated for January 2021; Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown represented the author, and Sam Groff at Advocate Art represented the illustrator.