Stephanie Stein at HarperTeen has acquired, at auction, Rena Barron's debut, The Last Witchdoctor. Set in a West African-inspired fantasy kingdom, the novel follows a girl who is descended from a long line of powerful witchdoctors, yet fails at magic, fails to call upon the ancestors, and can't cast the simplest curse. When her mother performs a ritual to conjure a better daughter, one who can wake a great and terrible Demon King, she must find a way to stop them from destroying the world. Voyager will publish in the U.K. with Vicky Leech editing. Publication is set for fall 2019; Suzie Townsend negotiated the three-book deal for world English rights.
Orlando Dos Reis at Scholastic Press has bought world rights to Tarnished Are the Stars, a debut YA science fiction novel by Rosiee Thor, in which a queer outlaw mechanic must team up with her worst enemies—the son of the man responsible for a sweeping epidemic of deadly heart disorders, and the alluring spy posing as his betrothed—to save her village and the planet. Publication is slated for 2019; Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services brokered the deal.
Brian Geffen at Henry Holt has acquired world rights to Blackwater, a debut YA graphic novel by Jeannette Arroyo and Ren Graham. When Tony, a restless star athlete, and Eli, a quiet outsider, form an unlikely friendship in their small Maine town, they find themselves tracking down the source of a werewolf curse and heeding the warnings of ghosts, all while exploring their budding feelings for each other and dealing with typical high school drama. Publication is scheduled for 2020; the author-illustrators were unagented.
Julie Matysik at Running Press has bought world English rights to The Edge of Anything, a YA debut by Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA grad Nora Carpenter. The dual narrative of Sage and Len, teens from very different worlds, explores the transformative power of friendship and how it can help you find yourself and the goodness in life, even when everything feels broken. The book is planned for spring 2020 publication; Victoria Wells Arms at Wells Arms Literary/HSG Agency represented the author.
Jennifer Ung at Simon Pulse has acquired The Summer I Learned Chinese, a contemporary YA novel by Lindsay Wong. Pitched as Anna and the French Kiss meets The Joy Luck Club, it tells the story of a Chinese-American teen who takes a trip to Beijing to reconnect with her roots and find herself, after being dumped by her boyfriend and rejected from every college she applied to. Publication is set for summer 2020; Carly Watters at P.S. Literary did the deal for world rights.
Lauren Smulski at Inkyard Press has bought debut author Laura Taylor Namey's YA novel, Paperback Midnight, pitched as Amber Smith meets Hoarders, about a young woman striving to find a balance between the ordinary life she wants and the reality of living with her hoarding mother. Publication is slated for fall 2019; Natascha Morris at BookEnds Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
Ashley Hearn at Page Street has acquired world rights to Candice Montgomery's By Any Means Necessary. Torrey learns on the day he moves into his college dorm that the apiary his uncle willed him is about to be seized. As he balances the beauty—and the burden—of his past with the promises of his future, Torrey will have to battle against the forces of gentrification while hundreds of miles from his L.A. home. Publication is scheduled for fall 2019; Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich and Bourret negotiated the deal.
Sonali Fry at Little Bee/Buzz Pop has bought Twitter celebrity and author of Only Dead on the Inside and Bare Minimum Parenting James Breakwell's two untitled interactive/guided journals. The first book is a mix of tweets and web comics, in which readers can complete or add images. The book will also include some of Breakwell's Unfridgeworthy comics, where kids either add the speech bubble text or draw the pictures. The second book contains ideas for activities that parents can do with their kids, or that kids can do with other kids, such as “How to Prepare for a Zombie Battle” and “Indoor Camping.” Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group brokered the deal for world rights.
Krista Vitola at Simon & Schuster has acquired The Dirt Diary author Anna Staniszewski's standalone middle grade novel, The Wonder of Wildflowers. The book tells the story of 10-year-old Mira, a Polish immigrant who lives in an alternate America where magical Amber is a natural resource that not everyone is permitted to use, as she struggles to fit in and find her place. The book will be published in spring 2020; Ammi-Joan Paquette handled the deal for world English rights.
Lisa Yoskowitz at Little, Brown has bought North American rights, at auction, to Ele Fountain's Refugee 87 (titled Boy 87 in the U.K.). The debut middle grade novel follows a boy's cross-continent journey towards survival, and the friendships and hardships he experiences along the way. Publication is planned for spring 2019; Allison Hellegers at Rights People negotiated the deal on behalf of Sarah Odedina and Adam Freudenheim at Pushkin Press.
Anne Schwartz at Random House/Schwartz & Wade has acquired Barry Wittenstein's (l.) Oscar's American Dream, illustrated by Kevinand Kristen Howdeshell, the story of a small corner store's evolution over 100 years, and how its different occupants reflect the changing face of America. Publication is slated for summer 2020; the author was unagented, and Deborah Wolfe at Deborah Wolfe Ltd. represented the illustrators in the deal for world rights.
Susan Rich at Little, Brown has bought Encounter by Brittany Luby (Anishinaabe) (l.), illustrated by Michaela Goade (Tlingit). Based on notes kept by French explorer Jacques Cartier, Encounter imagines a first meeting between a French sailor and a Stadaconan fisher as they observe their differences, while the natural world around them offers evidence of their commonality. Publication is set for fall 2019; Jackie Kaiser at Westwood Creative Artists represented the author in the deal for world rights excluding Canada, and Kirsten Hall at Catbird Agency represented the illustrator. Canadian rights were acquired by Tara Walker at Tundra.
Howard Reeves at Abrams has acquired world rights to a picture book by One Shadow on the Wall author Leah Henderson. A Day for Rememberin' tells the story of a community of newly freed slaves and loyalists in Charleston, S.C., who came together in 1865 to remember and honor the lives of fallen soldiers after the civil war, an event considered to be one of the first celebrations of what is now called Memorial Day. Publication is scheduled for 2020; Clelia Gore at Martin Literary & Media Management represented the author.
Andrew Wooldridge at Orca has bought world rights to the picture book Grandmother School by Rina Singh (l.), illustrated by Renné Benoit. The book tells the true story of a community of grandmothers in India, courageously fighting the shame of illiteracy and subsequently affirming the life-changing power of education. Publication is slated for spring 2020; Essie White at Storm Literary Agency represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Marilyn Brigham at Amazon/Two Lions has acquired world rights to Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Make Waves by Lauren H. Kerstein, illustrated by Nate Wragg. Chaos ensues at the neighborhood pool as Charlie teaches his pet dragon Rosie how to swim. The book is planned for summer 2019; Deborah Warren at East West Literary Agency represented the author, and Rebecca Sherman at Writers House represented the illustrator.
Johnny Temple at Akashic/Black Sheep has acquired world English rights to Party: A Mystery, the first picture book by Antiguan novelist Jamaica Kincaid, to be illustrated by Ricardo Cortés. Initially published in the New Yorkerin 1980, the story tells of three children flitting about an extravagant anniversary party for the Nancy Drew novels, until they see something scary that can't be unseen. Publication is set for spring 2019; Jeffrey Posternak at Wylie Agency represented the author, and Stephen Barbara at InkWell Management represented the illustrator.
Lauren Smulski at Inkyard Press has bought Eric Smith's YA novel, Reclaim the Sun, pitched as Ready Player One and Warcross meet GamerGate, in which two teen gamers find their virtual worlds—and blossoming romance—invaded by the real-world issues of trolling and doxing in the gaming community. Publication is scheduled for winter 2020; Dawn Frederick at Red Sofa Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Arianne Lewin at Putnam has acquired, at auction, The Last Confession of Autumn Casterly by Meredith Tate, a feminist, genre-bending contemporary YA novel pitched as If I Stay meets One of Us Is Lying. Autumn and Ivy Casterly are closer to being strangers than sisters until Autumn mysteriously disappears, and Ivy has three days to enter her troubled sister's world and find her dying body before losing her forever. Publication is slated for 2020; Sarah Landis at Sterling Lord Literistic brokered the two-book deal for world rights.
Jennifer Ung at Simon Pulse has bought 500 Words or Less author Juleah del Rosario's Turtle Under Ice, a YA novel-in-verse, which follows the relationship between two teen sisters after one of them goes missing during a snowstorm. Publication is planned for spring 2020; Brent Taylor at TriadaUS sold world English rights.
Alyson Day at HarperCollins has acquired two new novels by Ali Standish, author of The Ethan I Was Before. The first, Bad Bella, is a younger middle-grade novel about a lovable dog and her journey to find a new family and a true home after being left at the pound at Christmastime. The second, How to Disappear Completely, is a middle grade story about a girl who develops vitiligo after her beloved grandmother dies, but who rediscovers hope—and maybe even some magic—when she finds a mysterious journal. Publication is set for fall 2019 and winter 2020 respectively; Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary did the deal for North American rights.
Cassandra Pelham Fulton at Scholastic/Graphix has bought Adorable Empire, the second middle-grade graphic novel by Graveyard Shakes author Laura Terry, in which a grouchy teenage girl is plagued by a magical band of woodland creatures until she can help them find their way home. Publication is scheduled for 2020; Bernadette Baker-Baughman at Victoria Sanders & Associates negotiated the deal for world rights.
Kristen Pettit at HarperCollins has acquired Camp Murderface by Edgar nominees Josh Berk and Saundra Mitchell, a middle grade horror comedy about super-nerd Tez and daredevil Corryn as they try to survive one terrifying season at a haunted summer camp. Publication is slated for spring 2020; Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret represented Mitchell, and Ted Malawer at Upstart Crow represented Berk in the deal for world rights.
Andrea Davis Pinkney at Scholastic has bought world rights to Paula Young Shelton's Just Like Jesse Owens, a story from the life of Andrew Young, civil rights activist, former mayor of Atlanta, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and Paula's father. Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Honor medalist Gordon James will illustrate; publication is planned for spring 2020. Tina Dubois at ICM Partners represented the author, and Regina Brooks at Serendipity Literary Agency represented the artist.
Ann Kelley at Random House/Schwartz & Wade has acquired world rights to Tiffany Stone's Silli's Sheep, illustrated by Louis Thomas, about a man named Silli who resourcefully arranges his sturdy sheep (actually rocks) into a little hut, and is finally sheltered from the wind. Publication is scheduled for summer 2020; Hilary McMahon at Westwood Creative Agency represented the author, and Kirsten Hall at Catbird Productions represented the illustrator.
Alessandra Preziosi at HMH has bought world rights to Hooray for Babies by Everywhere Babies author Susan Meyers (l.), illustrated by Sue Cornelison. The picture book, told from the babies' point of view, celebrates the many joys and wonders of being a baby. Publication is set for spring 2019; Susan Cohen at Writers House represented the author, and Claire Easton at Painted Words represented the illustrator.
Rebecca Davis at Boyds Mills has acquired North American rights to poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins's picture book, Construction People, illustrated by Ellen Shi. The book explores the various kinds of workers at a construction site for a high-rise building. Publication is slated for spring 2020; Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown Ltd. represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Jennifer Greene at Clarion has bought Audrey Vernick's Larry Doby, a picture book biography about the first African-American to play major league baseball after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Cannaday Chapmanwill illustrate; publication is planned for spring 2021. Erin Murphy at the Erin Murphy Literary Agency sold North American rights for the author, and Patricia Lindgren at Lindgren & Smith sold world rights for the illustrator.
Alyssa Pusey at Charlesbridge has acquired world rights to Kristen Botts-Nordstrom's debut picture book, Mimic Makers: Amazing Inventors Inspired by Nature, illustrated by Paul Boston. How can a diving bird help quiet a bullet train? How can a tiny termite help a tall building stay cool? This picture book presents inventors who study nature's great ideas and adapt them for human use. Publication is scheduled for spring 2020; Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary represented the author, and Claire Meiklejohn at Meiklejohn Illustration represented the illustrator.
Christina Pulles at Sterling has bought world rights to If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon by Joyce Lapin (l.), illustrated by Simona Ceccarelli. The book follows a group of friends as they blast off for the moon to celebrate a birthday party like no other, complete with a lunar scavenger hunt, a zero-gravity piñata, and fun facts for space enthusiasts. Publication is set for spring 2019; John Rudolph at Dystel, Goderich and Bourret represented the author, and Andrea Cascardi at Transatlantic Agency represented the illustrator.
Kristen Nobles at Page Street Kids has acquired world rights to the rhyming picture book Numenia by Fiona Halliday. The book tells the story of a little whimbrel who gets separated from her sisters in a hurricane, on her first migration from the Arctic to the Caribbean. Publication is planned for winter 2020; Essie White at Storm Literary Agency brokered the deal.