Scieszka Goes to Amulet
Jon Scieszka has sold a new middle-grade series to Amulet Books. At the Abrams imprint, Charles Kochman and Susan Van Metre bought six books in the new series, beating out five other publishers in a multihouse auction, to take world English rights from Steven Malk at Writers House. The series is called Frank Einstein and will be illustrated by Brian Biggs; it follows a young scientist who, the publisher explained, “battles an evil genius with the help of two well-meaning, but imperfect, robots that he invents.” Book one is scheduled for fall 2014. Scieszka is the author of such bestselling series as the Time Warp Trio and Trucktown. In 2008 he was named the first national ambassador of young people’s literature by the Library of Congress and Children’s Book Council.

Lurie Lured to Delphinium
Joseph Olsham at Delphinium Books bought North American rights to Alison Lurie’s The Language of Houses. Lurie is the poet laureate of New York State (and a Pulitzer winner), and the book, an essay collection, is a “provocative and yet somehow whimsical meditation on how the architecture of, and spaces within, houses and buildings come to reflect the attitudes and purposes of the people and organizations that inhabit them,” Olsham said. Melanie Jackson, who has an eponymous shingle, represented Lurie in the deal, and the collection is slated for winter/spring 2014.

Kreider Shows the ‘Love’ for S&S
Molly Lindley at Simon & Schuster bought world rights to a new essay collection by Tim Kreider, I Wrote This Book Because I Love You. Meg Thompson at the Einstein Thompson Agency brokered the deal for Kreider, who writes the comic strip “The Pain—When Will it End?” which runs in the Baltimore City Paper, and did the lauded 2012 essay collection, We Learn Nothing (also published by S&S).

Thomas Dunne Heads to the ‘Grindhouse’
Brendan Deneen at Thomas Dunne Books took North American rights to Grindhouse Girls: Cinema’s Hardest Working Women by journalist Lianne Spiderbaby. William Morris Endeavor agent Tracy Fisher represented Spiderbaby. The book, which Quentin Tarantino is penning the foreword to, is a collection of profiles that Deneen said paint a picture of the women “who took great risks to get ahead in their career, stripped naked for the cameras, had their hair matted with stage blood, and took chances on directors who didn’t have much money or means to create their outrageous visions.” The term “grindhouse” refers to the theaters that showed exploitation films (especially in the 1970s), and the book will focus on actresses working in the ’70s and ’80s, such as Pam Grier and Sybil Danning.

HMH Lands Merchant, Aumiller
In some of its first cookbook acquisitions after buying Wiley’s culinary publishing program, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt bought two new titles: one by food blogger Jessica Merchant, and the other by cake designer Emily Lael Aumiller. Justin Schwartz, who moved to HMH from Wiley, bought both books. In the first purchase, Schwartz took world rights to Merchant’s Seriously Delish from agent Stacey Glick at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Merchant runs the popular blog How Sweet It Is ( and her cookbook is set for fall 2014.

In the second deal, Schwartz took world rights to Aumiller’s Lael Style: Beautiful Gluten-Free and Vegan Cakes from Carla Glasser at the Betsy Nolan Agency. Aumiller owns the boutique vegan/gluten-free bakery Lael Cakes in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Lael Style is scheduled for fall 2014.