Civil Rights, Graphically

Mark Siegel at First Second took world rights to a coming-of-age graphic novel called The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long and Jim Demonakos, with illustrations by Nate Powell. Agent Judy Hansen brokered the deal, and the book, set in 1967 Houston against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, is, she says, in the tradition of To Kill a Mockingbird; in the novel, based on an actual event, a white family from a notoriously racist neighborhood crosses the color barrier to help five black college students unjustly charged with murdering a police officer. Powell won the Ignatz for Outstanding Debut for his 2008 graphic novel, Swallow Me Whole.

SMP Pre-empts 'Crashers'

Keith Kahla at St. Martin's Press pre-empted world rights, in a two-book deal, to journalist Dana Haynes's thriller, Crashers. The title refers to the team of experts dispatched to investigate a plane crash caused by a terrorist group; the catch is that the first disaster is only a test run and, if the crashers don't find the culprits, another plane is set to go down. Janet Reid at Fine Print brokered the deal for Haynes, who's written for various Oregon newspapers, and SMP is planning to pub in summer 2010. In-house SMP is calling the book a cross between CSI and 24.

'Prairie' Survivor

Laura Dail, of Laura Dail Literary, sold world English rights to a memoir by Little House on the Prairie alum, Melissa Anderson, to Erin Turner at Globe Pequot. Anderson, who landed the role of Mary Ingalls at age 11, spent eight seasons on the long-running series. In the book, which Dail described as “nostalgic but never maudlin,” Anderson discusses highlights from her time on set, including working with Michael Landon and various guest stars, ranging from Johnny Cash to Sean Penn.

HMH Closes Duo

Two new deals from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Jenna Johnson took U.S. rights, from Jennifer Shepard at RH Canada, to Rosalind Brackenbury's Becoming George Sand, a novel about a teacher who, in the midst of a passionate affair, turns to the letters of George Sand (the pseudonymous French novelist known for her romantic flings); HMH is planning to pub in fall 2010. Andrea Schulz took U.S. rights to two books—a novel called Solo and a second, untitled work—by Indian novelist Rana Dasgupta (Tokyo Cancelled). Sarah Chalfant of the Wylie Agency brokered the deal and HMH plans to pub Solo in fall 2010.

Da Capo Gets 'Environmental'

Merloyd Lawrence, for her eponymous imprint at Da Capo, acquired North American rights to The Environmental Life of Children by Sandra Steingraber. Charlotte Sheedy brokered the deal and Da Capo plans to pub in spring 2011. The book will, per Da Capo, argue that the “contaminated” food children eat is a human rights issue more than merely a call made by parents in the grocery store.

Philomel Gets 'Shady'

Richard Pine and Charlie Olsen of Inkwell sold North American rights to the first book in a new supernatural series by debut author Andrea Cremer. Michael Green and Jill Santopolo at Philomel pre-empted Nightshade and plan on publishing the book, about a female teen wolf, in fall 2010. According to Inkwell, the book blends “supernatural action, drama, and a subtle dose of dangerous magic.” Cremer, who has a Ph.D. in history, lives in Minneapolis and teaches at Macalester College.