PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
BookLife Prize Nonfiction 2021
In the Spotlight
Dav Pilkey to Ring in the New Year with Next 'Cat Kid' Book
Dav Pilkey is back in his familiar perch atop the bestseller list this week with the November 30 release of 'Cat Kid Comic Club: Perspectives.' Meanwhile, Scholastic has announced the title for book three in the popular series, which will drop on April 5, 2022. more
In the News
Teacher Created Materials Buys Free Spirit
Teacher Created Materials has acquired Minneapolis-based Free Spirit Publishing for an undisclosed price. The purchase involves approximately 300 titles, most focused on social and emotional learning for young people. more
Malinda Lo’s National Book Award Winner
This national bestseller tells the story of Lily and Kathleen, two teenage girls who fall in love against the backdrop of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. But America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, with Red-Scare paranoia threatening everyone including Chinese Americans like Lily. This slow burn love story gives a nuanced depiction of Chinese-American history not often seen in YA. MORE ►
Book News
Peloton's Robin Arzón Makes Her Children's Book Debut
We spoke with Peloton head instructor Robin Arzón about her debut picture book, 'Strong Mama,' due out in January, which documents her pregnancy and becoming a mother to her daughter Athena. more
Reading Roundup
Get Backlist: Beatlemania for Young Readers
In honor of Peter Jackson's new documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, which sheds light on the group's collaborative process and the long and winding road leading to their legendary 1969 rooftop concert, we’ve gathered a selection of recent backlist books for young fans ages (Fab) four and up. more
I Love You Because
Out Next Week
Hot Off the Presses:
Weeks of November 29
and December 6

Among the books currently hitting shelves are a graphic novel about a super-heroic boy, a picture book in which a girl with Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome looks forward to a dance, a YA novel about budding love in a boy band, and more. more
Timothy Titus Terrance OToole and the Dragon
In Brief

In Brief: December 2, 2021
Last month ended not with a bang but with an acoustic rooster song; authors celebrated the Asian Pacific American Experience; writers held a panel to tickle the funny bone; and a con commemorated the launch of the third installment in a YA series. more

For more about these and other great jobs, visit the new PW JobZone, now with resume hosting and more!

Rights Report
Alexandra Cooper at Quill Tree has acquired, in an exclusive submission, The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera, a prequel to They Both Die at the End. In the story, new star-crossed lovers are put to the test on the first day of Death-Cast's fateful calls. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Jodi Reamer at Writers House sold North American rights in a two-book deal.
Janine O'Malley at FSG has bought, at auction, world English rights to An Improbable Season by Rosalyn Eves, a YA historical romance inspired by Georgette Heyer's Regency romances with appeal for Bridgerton fans. When sisters Thalia and Kalliope and their cousin Charis set off to Regency London for their first season, they each have clear goals—few of which include matrimony. But even the best-laid plans of young ladies can go awry, and with so much at stake, can any of these young women find their increasingly improbable happy ending? Publication is set for winter 2023, followed by a sequel, An Unlikely Proposition, the following year. Josh Adams at Adams Literary did the two-book deal.
Eileen Rothschild at Wednesday Books has acquired, in a preempt, Iris at the Front, the start of a new fantasy duology by Rebecca Ross. The Lovely War meets You've Got Mail, in this World War I-inspired fantasy world where a teenage journalist desperate to find her missing brother writes him letters only for them to be magically delivered to her swoonworthy rival at the newspaper. Together they might be the only ones who can uncover the truth not only about what happened to her brother but about the real causes of the war itself. Publication is planned for winter 2023; Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media handled the deal for world English rights.
Bria Ragin at Underlined has bought debut author Sher Lee's Fake Dates and Mooncakes, a contemporary YA rom-com pitched as Crazy Rich Asians meets What If It's Us, in which an aspiring teen chef enters a mooncake-making contest to bring publicity to his aunt’s struggling Chinese takeout restaurant, but discovers the recipe for love is more complicated when a new customer—the attractive son of a business magnate—asks him to be his fake date for a glitzy wedding. Publication is slated for summer 2023; Jess Regel at Helm Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Ben Rosenthal at HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books has acquired Kyrie McCauley's All the Dead Lie Down, a YA Gothic romance pitched as The Turn of the Screw meets Taylor Swift's Ivy, following a teenage girl, who accepts a position as a summertime nanny at a Maine estate, watching two children while their mother, an acclaimed horror writer, finishes her latest novel. But once there, the children grow more feral, the family dog keeps bringing her dead things, and when her charges' compelling older sister returns from boarding school, she learns that Lovelace House possesses a dark secret. Publication is set for summer 2023; Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media did the two-book deal for world English rights.
Lydia Gregovic at Delacorte has bought debut author Amy Goldsmith's Ocean Dark, a YA speculative horror novel in which a teen girl attending a semester-at-sea program grows suspicious when her best friend and fellow student disappears their first night on board, leading her to wonder if the ship may contain something sinister at its core. Publication is scheduled for summer 2023; Claire Friedman at Inkwell Literary Management brokered the deal for North American rights.
Amy Fitzgerald at Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab has acquired world rights to Marcia Argueta Mickelson's (Where I Belong) next YA novel, The Weight of Everything. Sarah leaves boarding school to care for her grieving father and younger brother after her mother's death. Finding solace in painting, she researches her mother's Guatemalan and Mexican roots and begins to understand how art is one way to have a voice. Publication is planned for spring 2023; Kathryn Green at Kathryn Green Literary handled the deal.
Brian Geffen at Henry Holt has bought world rights to middle-grade contemporary fantasy graphic novel Ghost Book by Remy Lai, in which 11-year-old July Chen befriends the wandering soul of a boy only to find out that their fates are intertwined, and in order for the boy to live, she has to die. Publication is slated for spring 2023; Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret negotiated the deal.
Hannah Milton while at Little, Brown acquired Cookie Monsters by Erika Kendrick (Squad Goals), a contemporary middle grade novel in which 12-year-old Brooklyn goes up against her biggest rival in a cookie-selling competition, while her friends help her deal with grief, learn to accept life's difficulties, and plot her big win for the cookie crown. Caitlyn Averett will edit, with publication scheduled for winter 2023. Marcy Posner at Folio Literary Management brokered the deal for world rights.
Connie Hsu at Roaring Brook has bought, at auction, Ruth Chan's debut middle grade graphic novel Uprooted. This memoir follows eighth grader Ruth as her family moves from Canada to Hong Kong, where Dad has a new job, Mom is closer to family, and Ruth feels lonelier than ever. Amid struggles with rusty Cantonese and hangouts with new friends, Ruth's story is interspersed with the story of her father's miraculous birth in exile during the Sino-Japanese War, weaving a tapestry of perseverance, triumph, and love. Publication is set for fall 2023; Rebecca Sherman at Writers House did the two-book deal for world rights.
Christy Ottaviano at Little, Brown/Ottaviano has acquired, in an exclusive submission, world rights to Abandon Ship!: A True Story of Disaster and Survival in WWII by Michael J. Tougias (l.) and Alison O'Leary (Attacked at Sea). This nonfiction middle grade account explores the Laconia incident, a previously hidden and enigmatic maritime attack off the West African coast during WWII. Publication is planned for winter 2023; the authors represented themselves.
Julia Sooy, while at Godwin Books, bought world rights to Total Garbage by Rebecca Donnelly (l.), illustrated by John Hendrix; Rachel Murray will edit. The middle-grade nonfiction title looks at how we make so much trash and what we can do about it. Publication is expected in fall 2022; Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency represented the author, and Rebecca Sherman at Writers House represented the illustrator.
Hilary Van Dusen and Olivia Swomley at Candlewick/MIT Kids Press have acquired How to Be a Color Wizard: Secret Recipes, Backyard Magic, and Kitchen Alchemy to Blow Everyone's Mind by Jason S. Logan (Make Ink), founder of the Toronto Ink Company, an illustrated, interactive middle grade guide to foraging and color-making. Publication is slated for spring 2024; Jesseca Salky at Salky Literary Management in association with Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency handled the deal for world rights.
Erica Finkel at Abrams has bought, in a two-book deal, The Good Sports League by Tommy Greenwald (Game Changer). This sports-themed illustrated chapter-book series will help young readers remember that it's not whether you win or lose, but how much fun you have while playing the game. Publication of the first book is scheduled for spring 2023; Amy Thrall Flynn of Rubin Pfeffer Content negotiated the deal for world rights.
Sue Tarsky at Albert Whitman has acquired world rights to Jack, the Library Cat by debut author-illustrator Marietta Apollonio. A stray cat, Jack, loves nothing more than to sneak inside for storytime even though cats aren't allowed in the library. But when a new boy moves to town and needs a reading buddy, Jack finds more than a new friendship—he finds a home. Publication is set for spring 2023; Jemiscoe Chambers-Black at Andrea Brown Literary Agency did the deal.
Nick Thomas at Levine Querido has acquired Dadaji's Paintbrush by Rashmi Sirdeshpande (l.) and illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane. The picture book follows a boy who uses the love for painting that he and his dadaji shared to explore his grief and continue his grandfather's legacy. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Liz White at Andersen Press brokered the deal for North American English and world Dutch rights.
Barb McNally at Sleeping Bear Press has bought world rights to Toby Tootles, a debut picture book written by Stephanie Gibeault (l.) and illustrated by Mary Sullivan, about a gassy lad who learns self-acceptance, farts and all, by spending a day with his equally flatulent grandmother. Publication is planned for spring 2023; Jacqui Lipton at Raven Quill Literary represented the author, and Tamara Shannon at Shannon Associates represented the artist.
Marilyn Brigham at Amazon Crossing Kids has acquired A Dream of Birds by Shenaz Patel (l.), illustrated by Emmanuelle Tchoukriel (c.), and translated from the French by Edwige-Renée Dro (r.). The picture book tells the story of a Mauritian girl who gets in trouble for releasing the birds from a neighbor's birdhouse. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022; Pauline Clement at Cat on a Book Agency sold world English rights, excluding France and Mauritius.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


Love in the Library
Maggie Tokuda-Hall, illus. by Yas Imamura. Candlewick, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0430-8

Love blooms in the Idaho desert at the Japanese prison camp called Minidoka in this stirring, compassionate narrative inspired by the experiences of Tokuda-Hall’s Japanese American maternal grandparents. Fluid, dynamic gouache and watercolor illustrations by Imamura spotlight the expressive internees’ individualism amid a bleak landscape, immersing readers via era-specific wardrobes and hues. more

Because Claudette
Tracey Baptiste, illus. by Tonya Engel. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-32640-4

Emphasizing cause and effect, Baptiste follows activist Claudette Colvin (b. 1939), who, at age 15, refused to relinquish her bus seat for a white person. “Because she had studied Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass at school, she learned how they worked hard and caused trouble so Black people would be treated fairly,” one spread reads, richly enlivened by Engel’s portraits, rendered in acrylic underpainting and oils on textured vellum paper. more

When the Schools Shut Down: A Young Girl’s Story of Virginia’s “Lost Generation” and the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Decision
Yolanda Gladden, as told to Tamara Pizzoli, illus. by Keisha Morris. HarperCollins, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-301116-8

Acknowledging the importance of oral history in African diasporic traditions, this nonfiction account by Gladden (b. 1954), transcribed by Pizzoli, offers an engaging, community care–centered examination of segregation in the Virginia school system before and after Brown v. Board of Education. more

Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler
Ibi Zoboi. Dutton, $16.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-399-18738-4

Alternating between verse forms, prose interludes, and direct quotations, Zoboi recounts the life and career of legendary speculative fiction writer Octavia Butler (1947–2006), emphasizing her beginnings as a “star child” (her middle name, Estelle, means “star”). more

A.L. Graziadei. Holt, $18.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-77711-9

Mickey James III, who’s white, loves hockey, but the steep expectations—he’s starting college at the school where his father and grandfather were hockey stars, and he’s a projected top-two pick for the next NHL hockey draft—weigh on him, amplifying his depression and anxiety. Plus, he’s bisexual, which he worries won’t go over well in “notoriously homophobic” hockey circles and with the media, even if the school’s athletic department has a zero-tolerance bigotry policy. more

December 2, 2021
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White House Cat
NPD Book Market 2
Red Comet Spring Preview
Random House Children's Books has one promotion and two new hires. Elena Meuse has been promoted to manager, communications and analytics from associate, publicity and corporate communications. Juliet Goodman has joined as a designer; she was previously a legal graphic designer at Immersion Legal. Keifer Ludwig has joined as subsidiary rights and proprietary publishing assistant.
For a look at November’s job moves, including new hires and promotions, click here.
Children's Starred Reviews 2021
Heartland Children's Publishers Think About Tomorrow
PRH Education Promotes Inclusive Curriculum via #DisruptTexts Partnership
New York City Reads in Color with Little Free Libraries
Best Books
Best Children's and YA Books 2021
Our selections for the top 50 books of the year, for readers of all ages. MORE
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