For those attending the 52nd annual Bologna Children’s Book Fair, held from March 30 to April 2, there’s plenty happening, in addition to the usual round of rights appointments. The second Digital Masterclass will be held on Sunday, March 29, the day before the fair begins, and will be aimed at publishers and developers of interactive media products for children. During the fair, a special exhibition highlighting the most significant books from throughout Bologna’s history will be on display. Additionally, the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s classic, will be celebrated with a meeting of translators, a film screening, an exhibition, and more. And finally, the guest country at this year’s fair is Croatia, offering attendees an opportunity to learn more about its publishing industry. Read on for some of the books that a selection of U.S. agents are particularly excited to bring to the international stage.
Among Adams Literary’s big books are Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Knopf, Oct.), first in a YA trilogy told through a dossier of classified documents—including military files, emails, IMs, medical reports, and more—about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes (rights sold in Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, Germany, and the U.K.); Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett (Putnam, Sept.), in which a girl follows her mother to a Kansas commune she escaped long ago, where something sinister and ancient awaits, pitched as Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn (rights sold in Turkey); and The Cage by Megan Shepherd (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, May), which launches a YA trilogy in which teens are held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race (rights sold in Brazil, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Thailand).
The Bent Agency
Among the Bent Agency’s touted titles are 20-year-old Francesca Zappia’s Made You Up (Greenwillow, May), about the ultimate unreliable narrator, a schizophrenic teenage girl unable to tell the difference between reality and delusion (rights sold in Brazil, the Czech Republic, Germany, Slovakia, and Turkey); Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not (Soho Teen, June), billed as a YA Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for readers who loved Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which follows a 16-year-old boy growing up in New York City just after the advent of a procedure that erases memories to soften the blow of traumatic experiences (rights sold in Spain); and Robin Stevens’s Murder Is Bad Manners (S&S, Apr.), a mystery is set in the 1930s that is shortlisted for the U.K.’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, pitched as a middle-grade Agatha Christie and featuring 13-year-old Hazel and her best friend Daisy, as they find a body in their boarding school and set about investigating the murder (rights sold in France, Taiwan, and the U.K.).
Curtis Brown Ltd.
Curtis Brown will feature Elizabeth Wein’s Black Dove, White Raven (Hyperion, Mar.), a story of friendship and the strength of the human spirit set in 1930s Ethiopia during the Italian invasion, from the author of Code Name Verity; Gennifer Choldenko’s Chasing Secrets (Random/Lamb, Aug.), the Newbery Honor author’s latest novel set in San Francisco just before the outbreak of the plague, in which a 13-year-old girl attempts to save the people she loves (rights sold in the U.K.); and Printz Honor author K.L. Going’s Pieces of Why (Dial, Sept.), which follows a talented 12-year-old gospel singer unable to sing after tragedy strikes her family.
DeFiore and Company
On DeFiore’s hot list for this year’s fair is Rick Yancey’s The Last Star (Putnam, Sept.), the finale to the 5th Wave trilogy, in which the fate of the main characters, and of the planet itself, is decided (rights sold in 36 languages); the second in Bella Thorne’s Autumn Falls trilogy, Autumn’s Kiss, (Delacorte, Nov.), in which Autumn is given a mysterious map that takes her anywhere she wants to go, and that comes with unexpected consequences (rights sold in Brazil); and Andrew Kolb’s Edmund Unravels (Penguin/Paulsen, Mar.), a debut picture book starring a ball of yarn that can’t resist the tug of adventure, while staying connected to loved ones back home.
Folio Literary Management
Folio will highlight Susane Colasanti’s City Love (HarperCollins/Tegen, Apr.), the first installment in a contemporary YA trilogy about three very different girls—roommates who find love the summer before they start college in New York City; Estelle Laure’s debut YA novel This Raging Light (HMH, Jan. 2016), a BEA Buzz Pick that tells the story of a girl abandoned by her mother to care for her nine-year-old sister (rights sold in Brazil, Catalonia, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, and the U.K.); and Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’ (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Sept.), about a self-proclaimed fat girl whose relationship with a former jock makes her doubt herself, so she sets out to take back her self-confidence by entering her smalltown beauty pageant (rights sold in Australia/New Zealand).
Foundry Literary + Media
Foundry will bring The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith (spring 2016), a debut YA in which a rape survivor goes through four years of high school, revealing the effect of the trauma on her life and how she overcomes it (rights sold in Brazil); The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin (Sept.), a middle-grade novel about a girl haunted by the loss of her former best friend (rights sold in Germany, the U.K., and Taiwan); and Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman (Sept.), an historical fantasy saga based on the young life of Alexander the Great, full of dark magic and political maneuvering (rights have sold in France, Germany, and Spain).
Nancy Gallt Literary
Nancy Gallt will be touting Dana Alison Levy’s The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher (Delacorte, 2014), a story about a thoroughly modern family that includes four boys, three pets, and two dads, and about what occurs when they deal with a new school year and a curmudgeonly neighbor (rights sold in Germany; a sequel will be released in spring 2016); Megan Jean Sovern’s The Meaning of Maggie (Chronicle, 2014), in which 12-year-old Maggie’s father’s legs permanently fall asleep, and Maggie is forced out of her shell and into a relationship with her family that she never expected (rights sold in Brazil); and Ben Clanton’s Something Extraordinary (S&S, June), an autobiographical picture book that explores the world, wishes, and ingenuity of an imaginative boy.
Barry Goldblatt Literary
Barry Goldblatt is featuring Christopher Barzak’s Wonders of the Invisible World (Knopf, Sept.), the story of a teen who must unravel the mysteries of a generations-old family curse before it destroys those he loves; Bruce Coville’s Diary of a Mad Brownie (Random House, June), first in a quartet about Jamie, the messiest girl in Abbot’s Cove, and the ancient fairy tasked with caring for the eldest living member of her family (rights sold in Germany and the Netherlands); and Kate Milford’s The Left-Handed Fate (Holt, spring 2016), a nautical fantasy set in 1813, in which three kids from different sides of a conflict join forces to find a device they believe will stop an escalating war at sea.
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
Sanford J. Greenburger is highlighting four early reader titles starring Julianne Moore’s Freckleface Strawberry character (Random House, July and Oct.); Jasmine Warga’s My Heart and Other Black Holes (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Feb.), a debut novel about two teenagers who want to end their lives—until they meet each other (rights sold into 15 territories); and Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Oct.), book two of the Dark Caravan Cycle, which goes deeper into the world of an empress-jinni pitted against two magnetic adversaries, both of whom want her—and need her to make their wishes come true (rights sold in the U.K.).
Greenhouse Literary Agency
For this year’s fair, Greenhouse Literary is showing Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Feb. 2016), a YA genre mash-up that follows the daughter of a local inventor as she pursues her family’s killers through a gold rush–era California riddled with fantastical creatures, dark magic, and cannibals; A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz (Chronicle, Aug.), a YA novel in the format of a “scrapbook” of events that chronicles the lives of three fairies after war comes to their city; and Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar (Candlewick, Mar. 2016), the middle-grade story of a girl who begins to see her aged grandfather differently as his tales of a healing tree, a beautiful lake, and the imminent return of bees to the desert of New Mexico start to come true.
Jill Grinberg Literary Management
Jill Grinberg will be touting Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deb Biancotti (S&S, Sept.), in which six teens, who were born in the year 2000 with abilities that make them anything but heroes, face a high-stakes crisis (rights sold in Australia, France, and the U.K.); Immaculate, a debut from literary agent Katelyn Detweiler (Viking, May) about a teen claiming to be a pregnant virgin, with some calling her a liar and others believing her unborn child could be a miracle; and Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier (Soho Teen, Mar.), the story of a gangster’s moll and a street urchin who can see ghosts, as they attempt to tip the balance in a bloody underworld power struggle over the course of one day in 1932 (rights sold in Australia/New Zealand).
ICM (foreign rights handled by Curtis Brown U.K.)
ICM’s highlights include Jennifer Gilmore’s We Were Never Here (Harper, June 2016), about the relationship that develops between a 16-year-old girl in the hospital with acute, undiagnosed abdominal pain and a 17-year-old volunteer who has reasons for preferring the wards to the world outside; Audrey Coulthurst’s A Hidden Affinity (Balzer + Bray, fall 2016), the first in a two-book deal in which a future queen falls in love with her fiancé’s sister; and Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson (S&S, Jan. 2016), in which a teen partners up with a runaway to move his late father’s ashes according to his wishes.
Among the major titles for InkWell are The Galaxy Pirates: The Hunt for Pyxis by Zoë Ferraris (Crown, Aug.), in which Emma’s parents are kidnapped, and she and her best friend must leave Earth and set sail on the Strands—the intergalactic seas that connect the stars—to find them; Juniors by Kaui Hart Hemmings (Putnam, Sept.), in which a 17-year-old must navigate a complex web of relationships after she and her mother move from San Francisco to Honolulu; and Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (Knopf, Mar. 2016), set in Krakow in 1939, in which Anna, after her father is taken by the Germans, is rescued by the Swallow Man, who has a gift for languages (rights sold in Brazil, Catalonia, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, and the U.K.).
Harvey Klinger’s big titles for the fair include Carrie Firestone’s The Loose Ends List (Little, Brown, summer 2016), a debut novel about a teen’s whirlwind summer of first loves, last wishes, and letting go, which she spends traveling around the world with her grandmother on a cruise ship for the terminally ill; Dan Wells’s Bluescreen (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Feb. 2016), the first book in a series in which the friend of a teen hacker overdoses on an illicit digital drug, leading the hacker to uncover a mystery with roots deep in a local L.A. crime syndicate (rights sold in Germany); and former screenwriter Stephanie Tromly’s debut, Trouble Is a Friend of Mine (Penguin/Dawson, Aug.), first in a YA crime series featuring a sarcastic girl who moves to a new town, and the brilliant and oddly compelling boy who pulls her into one dangerous (and humorous) situation after another (rights sold in the Brazil, Germany, Sweden, and the U.K.).
KT Literary will highlight Underwater by Marisa Reichardt (FSG, Jan. 2016), a debut novel about redemption, recovery, and finding the strength it takes to face your past and move on (rights sold in the U.K.); Sound by Alexandra Duncan (Greenwillow, fall 2015), the standalone companion to Salvage, for fans of Firefly, Beth Revis, and Battlestar Galactica; and Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen, illustrated by Amy June Bates (S&S, Feb.), a debut middle-grade novel in verse about a girl who is trying to decide which path her life will take.
Erin Murphy Literary
Erin Murphy will be shopping Kevan Atteberry’s Bunnies!!! (HarperCollins/Tegen, Jan.), in which a friendly monster meets adorable bunnies in a picture book meant to mirror toddlers’ emotional lives; Switched at First Kiss by Anna Staniszewski (Sourcebooks, July), in which a supernatural matchmaker and a soul collector—both 13—kiss at a party on a dare and their powers swap; and The Entirely True Story of the Unbelievable Fib, a debut from Adam Shaughnessy (Algonquin, Sept.), which is billed as Rick Riordan meets Diana Wynne Jones, set in a quiet New England town where old myths still live, Viking gods lurk just out of sight, and belief can open doors to the seemingly impossible.
Jean V. Naggar Literary
Jean V. Naggar will feature Alexander Vance’s Behind the Canvas (Feiwel and Friends, winter 2016), a middle-grade novel that illuminates the world behind an artist’s canvas; Ellen Potter’s Piper Green and the Fairy Tree, illustrated by Qin Leng (Knopf, Aug.), first in a series of early chapter books in which a girl who always says what’s on her mind discovers a fairy tree in her front yard, and tries to find out if it will fix her problems; and The Word for Yes by Claire Needell (HarperTeen, winter 2016), a YA novel in which three siblings navigate the hazy world of partying, drinking, and sex, in the wake of their parents’ divorce.
Among Nelson’s top titles are Shanna Swendson’s Rebel Mechanics (FSG/Ferguson, July), a YA debut in which a young governess becomes a spy, set in a world where the British control the American colonies through magic; Ally Carter’s All Fall Down (Scholastic Press, Jan.), which introduces Grace Blakely, who is certain of three things: one, she is not crazy; two, her mother was murdered; and three, someday she is going to find the killer and exact revenge (rights sold in Australia/New Zealand, Brazil, and the U.K.); and Rhiannon Thomas’s A Wicked Thing (HarperTeen, Feb.), a debut in which, thanks to the kiss of a handsome prince, Princess Aurora wakes 100 years after falling asleep and finds a broken kingdom that has dreamed of her return—but nothing ends up like the fairy tale.
New Leaf Literary & Media
New Leaf has Grisha Trilogy author Leigh Bardugo’s latest, Six of Crows (Holt, Oct.), which kicks off a fantasy series in which a misfit crew tries to break into one of the most guarded places in the world (rights sold in Brazil, Sweden, and Turkey); Kody Keplinger’s Lying Out Loud (Scholastic, Apr.), the latest from the author of The DUFF, in which a 17-year-old girl accidentally catfishes a boy from school, and eventually forms feelings for him (rights sold in Hungary and Italy); and A Snicker of Magic author Natalie Lloyd’s The Key to Extraordinary (Scholastic, spring 2016), about a 12-year-old girl who is meant to follow in the extraordinary footsteps of the women in her family, but destiny might have other plans for her that could destroy her family legacy.
Pippin will be singing the praises of Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley (Dial, June), a debut novel in which a boy learns that the stories of a magical circus his grandfather always told him are in fact true (rights sold in Croatia, Italy, and the U.K.); Crenshaw, Katherine Applegate’s first novel since her Newbery win, about a boy whose family has fallen on hard times and his feline imaginary friend who comes along to help them through (Feiwel and Friends, Sept.); and Firefly Hollow by Alison McGhee (Atheneum, Aug.), a story written in the spirit of The Wind in the Willows, in which four friends help one another find their way in the world (rights sold in Germany).
Sterling Lord Literistic
Sterling Lord Literistic will tout The Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick’s latest YA novel, Every Exquisite Thing (Little, Brown, spring 2016), in which an unassuming teen rebels after reading a mysterious cult classic, but pays a high price when she befriends the reclusive local author and meets a young Bukowski-quoting poet (rights sold in the Netherlands and the U.K.; film rights sold to Weinstein & Co.); the first book in Kevin Emerson’s new Starbenders trilogy, The Last Day on Mars (HarperCollins/Walden Pond Press, May 2016), in which 13-year-old Liam Saunders-Chang flees Mars in the year 2241 and pilots a starship with his friends, whose parents can’t wake from hypersleep; and Mirrored by Alex Flinn (HarperTeen, Sept.), a generation-spanning retelling of “Snow White” that deals with beauty, love, loss, and how far a girl will go to be the fairest of them all.
Stimola Literary Studio
Among Rosemary Stimola’s notable titles are a debut from producer and actress Adriana Mather (descendent of Cotton Mather) called How to Hang a Witch (Knopf, July 2016), in which a teen moves to Salem, Mass., 300 years after her family hanged witches there, and she unravels the lost secrets of her family and the hangings (rights sold in Italy); Lisa Papademetriou’s A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic (HarperCollins, Oct.), in which two girls on opposite sides of the world each find a mostly blank book that, when written in, connects the girls to each other (rights sold in Brazil); and Aimee Carter’s Simon Thorn and the Wolf’s Den (Bloomsbury USA, Feb. 2016), the first in a middle-grade series about a bullied 12-year-old boy who discovers that he’s part of a secret race of humans born with the ability to turn into animals, and who may be the key to peace among five rival animal kingdoms (rights sold in France, Germany, and the U.K.).
Stonesong via the Fielding Agency
Highlights at the fair will include the first in a new YA fantasy trilogy by Amy Tintera, Ruined (Harper, 2016), in which a girl who kills a princess to take her identity as revenge against the ruling kingdom (rights sold in Australia); The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett (Greenwillow, Sept.), a debut stand-alone YA science fiction/psychological thriller about a girl who has been training all of her life to replace a duplicate of herself on a parallel Earth; and Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army, by Georg Rauch (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Feb.), a YA memoir about a 17-year-old Viennese boy drafted into the German Army, while at home his mother hides Jewish refugees (rights sold in Italy and Poland).
Trident Media Group
Trident will feature Colleen Houck’s Reawakened (Delacorte, Aug.), the first in a series about a teenage girl entangled in an epic Egyptian quest filled with romance, adventure, and mythology (rights sold in Brazil and the U.K.); Kathryn Holmes’s second YA novel, Everything’s Beautiful (HarperTeen, summer 2016), pitched as Girl Interrupted meets Black Swan, which follows a 16-year-old ballet dancer who struggles with body-image issues and is sent to a camp for elite teen artists and athletes suffering from anxiety; and Christine Seifert’s Whoppers: History’s Most Outrageous Lies and Liars (Zest, Sept.), which includes stories about history’s biggest hoaxers, scam artists, pretenders, and tall-tale tellers.
Upstart Crow Literary
Upstart Crow Literary will be showing The Eye of Midnight by Andrew Brumbach (Delacorte, Mar. 2016), a debut middle-grade adventure set in 1920s New York City, in which two cousins seek an ancient talisman that will save their grandfather from a group of mysterious villains; Leah Konen’s The Last Time We Were Us (HarperCollins/Tegen, May 2016), a contemporary YA novel about privilege and perception, in which 17-year-old Liz falls for a boy from the wrong side of the tracks—only to learn that he’s the right boy after all; and Anthony John’s Imposter (Dial, Sept.), a thriller set on the blurred line between Hollywood’s glamor and a sinister reality in which newcomer Seth Crane is offered the lead role in a major movie—only to realize it’s not fame he has to worry about: it’s his life.
Wernick & Pratt Agency
Wernick & Pratt is highlighting illustrator Alexandra Boiger’s debut as an author, Max and Marla (Putnam, Nov.), a picture book in which readers meet two great friends with Olympic-size dreams; Mo Willems’s newest picture book, The Story of Diva and Flea, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi (Hyperion, Oct.), about an unexpected friendship; and a new middle-grade series by N. Griffin, author of the YA novel The Whole Stupid Way We Are, which kicks off with Smashie McPerter and the Mystery of Room 11 (Candlewick, Feb.), featuring a classroom sleuth and her “Watson-esque” best friend.
Notable titles from Writers House include The Doldrums by Nicholas Gannon (Greenwillow, Sept.), a debut illustrated middle-grade novel in which friends Archer, Adelaide, and Oliver long for adventures akin to the kind Archer’s explorer grandparents had before disappearing on an Antarctic iceberg (rights sold in Brazil, Germany, and Italy); The Nest by Kenneth Oppel, illustrated by Jon Klassen (S&S, Oct.), a gothic tale that explores fears, dreams, and what ultimately makes a family (rights sold in Canada and the U.K.); and Xander Miyamoto and the Lost Island of Monsters by Margaret Dilloway (Hyperion, spring 2016), a middle-grade debut reminiscent of Percy Jackson and Miyazaki’s films, in which Xander Miyamoto realizes that his family’s myths are reality, and that he has to become the hero everyone has been waiting for.