Nel Walks ‘Cat’ to OUP

Biographer and children’s literature scholar Philip Nel (Dr. Seuss: American Icon) sold Was the Cat in the Hat Black? to Brendan O’Neill at Oxford University Press. The book, which is subtitled The Hidden Racism in Children’s Literature, and Why We Need Diverse Books, was represented by Stephen Barbara at Inkwell Management; he sold North American rights in the deal. Barbara said the book looks at structural racism in children’s literature as well as within the publishing industry itself; he added that the book is “attempting to do for children’s books what The New Jim Crow does for the justice system.” Nel teaches English at Kansas State University.

Putnam Takes the ‘Wheel’ from Anderson

Putnam’s Stacey Barney won North American rights, at auction, to Natalie Anderson’s debut YA novel, The Breaking Wheel. Faye Bender at the Book Group represented Anderson in the deal. The novel follows a Congolese refugee, Tina, who is nursing visions of revenge after seeing her mother murdered. Living in a fictional Kenyan city, Tina becomes a skilled thief and, after breaking into one of the most heavily guarded local homes, Bender explained, sets in motion “an unstoppable cascade of events that teach her that the danger we face is not always as perilous as that which creeps up from behind.” Anderson has worked for NGOs and the UN on refugee relief in Africa.

Boudreaux Partakes in Van Reet’s ‘Spoils’

For her eponymous imprint at Little, Brown, Lee Boudreaux took North American rights to Brian Van Reet’s novel, Spoils. The book, which LB called a “high-stakes read on modern warfare,” is set in Fallujah, after the U.S. invasion of the Iraqi city. It follows an American soldier, and a jihadist fighter “whose authority is being eroded by the next wave of super-radicalized jihadists.” Van Reet, a veteran who joined the Army after dropping out of the University of Virginia in the wake of the September 11 attacks, was awarded the Bronze Star for valor. He went on to attend the University of Missouri and the University of Texas, and his writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Iowa Review, and the Washington Post. Spoils has also sold in a number of foreign sales to publishers in, among other countries, Germany, France, and the U.K. Peter Straus at Rogers, Coleridge & White represented Van Reet in the deal.

Green Inked to Four at Berkley

Jane Green inked a four-book deal with Leslie Gelbman at Berkley to write three novels and a lifestyle/cooking title. Gelbman took U.S., Canadian, and open-market rights from Christy Fletcher at Fletcher & Co. The first novel in the deal, a contemporary called Falling, is set for July; it follows a high-powered New York executive who, after quitting her job and relocating to coastal Connecticut, falls for the single father living next door. Berkley added that “as their lives become more deeply entangled, she and his young son will have to forge an unlikely alliance. Will they be able to find the happy ending they all deserve?” Green, a bestseller who’s published 17 novels including The Beach House and Tempting Fate, has, according to Berkley, more than 10 million copies of her books in print. A former journalist in the U.K., Green is a graduate of New York’s French Culinary Institute.

Avery Goes ‘Minimalist’ in the Kitchen

Lucia Watson at Avery acquired world rights, for high six figures, to the debut cookbook by Dana and John Shultz, the married couple behind the popular food blog the Minimalist Baker. The site was created in 2012 and, per Avery, is one of the most-trafficked food sites on the Internet. It specializes in easy, mostly vegan, recipes. The couple did not use an agent in the deal, and the book, called Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking, is set for spring 2016.


In a five-book backlist deal, Navah Wolfe at Saga took world English rights to Cassandra Rose Clarke’s The Assassin’s Curse, The Pirate’s Wish, The Wizard’s Promise, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, and The Nobleman’s Revenge. Stacia J.N. Decker at Donald Maass Literary brokered the sale.