Eileen Rothschild at Wednesday Books has acquired, in a preempt, Out of Air by Rachel Reiss, a debut YA speculative thriller pitched as Outer Banks meets Wilder Girls, in which five friends travel to a far-flung island to spend one last dive trip together after high school. They make a reeling discovery and learn—the hard way—that some things are better left buried. Publication is set for summer 2025; Katie Shea Boutillier at Donald Maass Literary Agency did the two-book deal for world English rights.
Mary Kate Castellani at Bloomsbury has bought, in a mid-six-figure deal, four titles by Kalynn Bayron. The first is a YA horror novel steeped in necromancy and secret societies, in which a young mortuary assistant is plagued by gruesome nightmares of his mother's death. Publication is scheduled for spring 2025; also included in the deal are two middle grade books, pitched as a new mystery series in the vein of Nancy Drew, scheduled for fall 2025. Jamie Vankirk at Rainbow Nerds Literary sold world rights.
Hannah Hill at Delacorte has acquired While We're Young, a YA rom-com by TikTok sensation K.L. Walther (The Summer of Broken Rules). Inspired by Ferris Bueller's Day Off, it follows four teens on the cusp of high school graduation whose hearts are broken and mended over the course of one epic senior skip day. Publication is slated for spring 2025; Eva Scalzo at Speilburg Literary negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Karen Chaplin at HarperCollins/Quill Tree has bought In Case You Read This by Edward Underhill (Always the Almost), a YA contemporary rom-com about two trans boys who share an epic missed connection while moving cross-country with their families in opposite directions, then enlist the help of their friends and the online queer community to find each other again. Publication is planned for summer 2025; Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency sold world English rights.
Maggie Rosenthal at Viking has acquired Say a Little Prayer by Jenna Voris (Every Time You Hear That Song), a queer YA novel pitched for fans of I Kissed Shara Wheeler and Easy A, in which a teen girl forced to attend church camp decides to commit all seven deadly sins, and might just find love along the way. Publication is scheduled for spring 2025; Claire Friedman at InkWell Management did the deal for North American and Spanish language rights.
Shaina Olmanson at Lerner has bought Fighting Censorship by (clockwise from top l.) Christina Ellis, Renee Ellis, Edha Gupta, Ben Hodge, Patricia A. Jackson, and Olivia Pituch, all members of the Panther Anti-Racist Union in York, Pa., and the 2023 recipients of the Beloved Community Youth Influencer Award from the King Center. The book is a nonfiction YA sharing talking points they've used over two years in dozens of successful protests against book banning as well as personal stories from their journey on the front lines of fighting censorship. Publication is set for fall 2024; Sara Megibow at KT Literary sold world rights.
Amy Cloud at Clarion Books has acquired world rights, at auction, to Miss Liberty, a middle grade novel by educator, bookseller, and debut author Erin Moonyeen Haley, starring 12-year-old Savvy, whose greatest dream is to perform in her small town's Miss Liberty pageant and parade, but when it's finally her turn, her older sister is seemingly out to destroy everything about the annual tradition. Publication is planned for summer 2025; Molly O'Neill at Root Literary handled the deal for world rights.
Carolyn Yoder at Astra/Calkins Creek has bought world rights to Twice Enslaved by Selene Castrovilla (l.), illustrated by Erin Robinson, a middle grade nonfiction account of the tragic but ultimately triumphant life of Henrietta Wood, born enslaved, freed, illegally re-enslaved, and freed again on Juneteenth, who fought back in court and won the largest reparations ever awarded a formerly enslaved person in the history of the U.S. Publication is slated for spring 2026. Bibi Lewis at Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency represented the author, and the Marlena Agency represented the illustrator.
Mabel Hsu at HarperCollins has acquired world rights to three picture books to launch the Everlasting Tales collection, a series focused on publishing multicultural folktales and fairy tales retold for a modern audience. The first, set for fall 2024, is Chang'e on the Moon by (clockwise from top l.) Katrina Moore, illustrated by Cornelia Li, which follows the legend of one of China's most celebrated figures: the Moon Goddess. The next, The Salt Princess by Anoosha Syed, set for winter 2025, tells the tale of a Pakistani princess whose smart mouth leads her into trouble. And The Huntsman and the Witches by debut author Abraham Matias and illustrator Molly Mendoza, set for summer 2025, is a Mexican tale about an overeager hunter who unknowingly enters a cabin full of witches. Andrea Morrison at Writers House represented Moore, Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary represented Li, Taylor Martindale Kean at Full Circle Literary represented Syed, Aliza R. Hoover at the CAT Agency represented Matias, and Hannah Mann at Writers House represented Mendoza.
Feather Flores at Atheneum has bought, in a preempt, world rights to Emeka, Eat Egusi! by NBA finalist and Printz Honoree Candice Iloh (l.) (Every Body Looking), illustrated by Bea Jackson (Parker Looks Up), a picture book about a Nigerian-American boy on the autism spectrum who insists on eating his Mama's homemade Jollof rice for dinner every night, until an afternoon in the kitchen helping Mama cook Egusi shows him that sometimes different can be good. Publication is scheduled for spring 2026; Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency represented the author, and Lori Nowicki at Painted Words represented the illustrator.
Anne Schwartz at Random House/Anne Schwartz Books has acquired world rights for The Naked Streak by Kim Howard (l.), illustrated by Jaime Kim, a picture book about a toddler who refuses to wear clothing until gradually, and on their own terms, the toddler tries on a few new stylish—and surprising—items. Publication is slated for spring 2026; Jennifer Weltz at Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency represented the author, and Lori Nowicki at Painted Words represented the illustrator.
Megan Nicolay at Workman has bought Just a Banana by Barney Saltzberg (Beautiful Oops!), a lift-the-flap book that explores creativity and imagination, with each spread revealing a banana reimagined as something new, unexpected, and silly. It's planned for winter 2025; Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio sold world rights.
Stephanie Pitts at Putnam has acquired world rights, in an exclusive submission, to The Great Escape by author-illustrator Deborah Marcero, a fantasy adventure picture book, pitched as Journey meets Where the Wild Things Are. A girl finds that her tricks to escape her three clingy and noisy siblings do not work, and takes another approach, resulting in a wild ride of wonder, excitement, rescue, and triumph. Publication is set for spring 2026; Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary Agency brokered the deal.
Rick Rinehart at Globe Pequot/Muddy Boots has bought Quail Trail, a picture book by Bonnie Kelso. Roxy, an independent quail chick, can't remember the special call that will reunite her with her brood, learning the hard way that a little listening can go a long way. Publication is scheduled for fall 2024; Liz Nealon at Great Dog Literary sold U.S. and Canadian rights.
Charlie Ilgunas at Little Bee Books has acquired world rights to The Witch's Table by Melinda Beatty (l.), illustrated by Stefano Tambellini, a picture book about a cantankerous family heirloom that a witch seeks to outwit before learning that compassion for it will go further than cleverness. Publication is planned for spring 2025; Jen Linnan at Linnan Literary Management represented the author, and the illustrator represented himself.
Wiley Blevins at Reycraft Books has bought world rights to Babies Are Not Bears by Linda Ravin Lodding (l.), illustrated by Lara Dombret, a picture book that shows the tongue-in-cheek similarities between babies and bears. Publication is slated for spring 2025; Jennifer Unter at the Unter Agency represented the author, and Naima Danawi at illiozoo represented the illustrator.
Barb McNally at Sleeping Bear Press has acquired world rights to The Girl Who Loved Poutine by Lorna Schultz Nicholson (l.), illustrated by Rachel Qiuqi, about a girl celebrating her birthday with her father and family members from across Canada who each bring their regions' unique twists to her favorite dish. Publication is set for spring 2024; Amy Tompkins at Transatlantic Agency represented the author, and Natalie Lakosil at Looking Glass Literary & Media represented the illustrator.
Debra Wolf Goldstein at The Little Press has acquired world rights to Dark Skies by Lindsey Hobson (l.), illustrated by Makenzie McCarthy, a picture book about a girl who helps her constellation-loving grandpa rediscover what he loves most—his family and the stars. Publication is scheduled for spring 2025; the author represented herself, and Emily Fernandez at the Bright Group represented the illustrator.
Mabel Hsu at HarperCollins has won, in a five-house auction, Arvin Ahmadi's If You're Reading This, I'm Dead and The Comment Section. In the first YA novel, a teen boy obsessed with preparing for his eventual death is caught unaware when a near-death experience triggers the accidental release of his "death capsule"—love letters, vengeful notes, funeral plans and all. The second novel is a dual POV murder mystery with two teens searching for a missing friend by following a digital trail that leads them abroad. Publication is set for summer 2025 and summer 2026; Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency sold world English rights.
Grace Kendall at FSG has acquired world rights, at auction, in a six-figure deal, Michelle Jing Chan's debut graphic novel, Somewhere in the Gray, which follows a girl who is dating the most popular girl at school, and what seems easy for her friends—being intimate in any way with their partners—doesn't feel quite right to her as she learns it's more than okay to live somewhere in the gray of asexuality. Publication is scheduled for fall 2026; Jemiscoe Chambers-Black at Andrea Brown Literary Agency negotiated the deal.
Kristin Rens at HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has bought, at auction, Linsey Miller's dark academia fantasy That Devil, Ambition, exploring the traumas of higher education. When three friends enroll in their university's honors class to earn its prized tuition waiver, they are given one assignment—kill the demon summoned to teach the course before graduation. However, as the professor kills more and more students who have failed to assassinate him, the friends' magical talents and loyalties are tested. Publication is planned for summer 2025; Rachel Brooks at BookEnds sold world English rights.
Kelsey Horton at Delacorte has acquired, in an auction, Josh Silver's debut dystopian duology, Happyhead, about an experimental mental health retreat center for young adults where everything is not as it seems and one boy who begins to question the true nature of the challenges until it is clear there may be no escape. Book one, Happyhead, is slated for fall 2024 and book two, Deadhappy, for spring 2025. Alexandra Devlin at Rights People brokered the two-book deal for USCOM rights on behalf of Becky Bagnell at Lindsay Literary Agency.
Mark Podesta at Henry Holt has bought Puzzleheart by Jenn Reese, in which a science-obsessed tween wants to cheer up their dad by reuniting him with his estranged mother, only to end up facing off against their grandmother's mysterious sentient "puzzle house," which has a dangerous agenda all its own. Publication is scheduled for spring 2024; Holly Root at Root Literary handled the deal for world English rights.
Jessica Anderson at Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano Books has acquired world rights to Athlete Is Agender: True Stories of LGBTQ People in Sports, co-edited by Nicole Melleby (l.) and Katherine Locke. This illustrated middle grade nonfiction work will feature contributions from professional athletes as well as acclaimed authors, including Adam Rippon, Schuyler Bailar, AJ Sass, Marieke Nijkamp, Em Dickson, Karina Manta, Cory McCarthy, Vincent Tirado, Erik Brown, Isaac Fitzsimmons, Karleigh Webb, and Quince Mountain. Publication is set for summer 2025; Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented Locke, and Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich and Bourret represented Melleby.
Frances Gilbert at Doubleday has bought North American rights to The Elephant and the Sea by Ed Vere (The Artist). In the picture book, a young elephant is determined to achieve his dream of joining a brave lifeboat crew in this picture book about never giving up. Publication is scheduled for summer 2024; Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency negotiated the deal for North American rights, and Andrea MacDonald at Puffin U.K. simultaneously acquired world rights outside of North America.
Mabel Hsu at HarperCollins has acquired world rights to Mungo on His Own by Matthew Burgess (l.), illustrated by Julie Benbassat. This picture book tells the tale of a young fox named Mungo who must leave the safety of his mother's den to forage for food during his first winter, only to discover a forest full of fear, magic, and wonder. Publication is slated for winter 2026; Erica Rand Silverman at Stimola Literary Studio represented the author, and Rebecca Sherman at Writers House represented the illustrator.
Karen Wojtyla at McElderry Books has bought world rights to Are We There Yet: The First Road Trip Across the USA by Stacy McAnulty (l.), illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, a nonfiction picture book about a foolhardy bet that turned into a multi-car race and became the record-setting first cross-country road trip. Publication is set for spring 2025; Lori Kilkelly at LK Literary Agency represented the author, and Alexandra Penfold at Upstart Crow Literary represented the illustrator.
Andrea Spooner at Little, Brown has acquired world rights to How Jackson Found His Joy Again, a picture book by Patrice Karst (l.) (the Invisible String series), illustrated by Kristina Jones, about a boy whose sadness is resolved and his joy returned through the use of colors as a metaphor for joy. Publication is scheduled for summer 2025; Mary Cummings at Great River Literary represented the author, and Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary Agency represented the illustrator.
Carolyn Yoder at Astra/Calkins Creek has bought world rights to Piece by Piece: How Stephen Sondheim Made Musical Puzzles Come Alive by Erin Frankel (l.), illustrated by Stacy Innerst, a picture book biography that showcases the musical theater composer's gifts and how he developed them. Susan Cohen at Writers House represented the author and illustrator, with publication planned for spring 2026.
Barb McNally at Sleeping Bear Press has acquired world rights to When Night Comes a Calling by Cynthia Schumerth (l.), illustrated by Sheryl Murray. Through rhyming text, this picture book chronicles a night hike shared between a child and their older sibling, where they share in the wonders of nature that only happen at night. Publication is slated for spring 2025; the author represented herself, and Christy Ewers at the CAT Agency represented the artist.
Tilbury House, with Sarah Rockett editing, has bought world rights to Inside the Compost Bin, the debut picture book by master composter Melody Sumaoang Plan (I.), illustrated by Rong Pham (c.) and Vinh Nguyen (r.), a nonfiction work about the science of composting and the benefits to critters and plants. Publication is set for summer 2024; Dan Cramer at Page Turner Literary Agency represented the author, and Tina Doffing at Astound US represented the illustrators.