PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
CCBF 2021
In the Spotlight
Asian Author Alliance Announces
AAPI Book Month 2021

On the heels of its successful Kidlit Against Anti-AAPI Racism Fundraiser, which raised more than $53,000 to fight anti-AAPI racism this past February, Asian Authors Alliance has announced its second annual AAPI Book Month, in May, spearheaded by author Kat Cho. more
Beyond Stereotypes:
2021 AAPI Books for
Young Readers

We've collected some of the year’s new and forthcoming titles that celebrate the AAPI experience, strength, and resilience no matter the circumstance—serving as a reminder of joy and belonging. more
Warren to Keynote at U.S. Book Show
Senator Elizabeth Warren opens Children’s Day at the USBS, discussing her forthcoming book, Pinkie Promises, a tale of female empowerment, loyalty and political engagement inspired by the young supporters Warren met during her 2020 Presidential run. Get your tickets HERE ►
The Octopus Escapes
Cover Reveal
'Out of My Heart'
In her 2010 novel Out of My Mind, author Sharon Draper introduced readers to Melody Brooks, an 11-year-old girl with cerebral palsy frustrated by the limitations people have placed on her and desperate to communicate her intelligence and wit as she navigates fifth grade. The book has sold more than four million copies. We spoke with Draper about continuing Melody's story more than a decade later, in Out of My Heart. "She has to take charge of her own life and make some decisions," Draper said of her heroine. more
On the Scene
Compassion, Determination, and Justice:
The 2021 Kweli Color of Children's
Literature Conference

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sixth annual Kweli Color of Children's Literature Conference took place this past weekend on Zoom, featuring a notable lineup of book creators and industry professionals participating in the nation’s largest children’s conference exclusively for Black, Indigenous, and other creators of color. more
First Person
The Awesome Power of Picture Books
Sari Feldman, former executive director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library in Cleveland and a past president of both the Public Library Association and the American Library Association, reflects on how picture books can be the key to a lifelong love of reading. more
News Brief
Milky Way Launches English-Language Publishing Program
Milky Way Picture Books, the children’s book imprint of French-Canadian publisher Comme des géants, has launched an English-language publishing program, with sales and distribution handled by Abrams. MORE
Q & A
Victoria Aveyard
Victoria Aveyard's dystopian fantasy debut, Red Queen, launched a hit series and landed on bestseller lists in its first week of publication. Aveyard is hoping for a repeat performance with Realm Breaker, a YA high fantasy that marks the start of a trilogy. We spoke with Aveyard about her plans for the new series and the pressures of success.

Q: What was it like to conceive a whole new fictional universe after having written multiple books in the world of Red Queen?

A: That was really exciting. I very much wanted to play in a new sandbox and create another world from scratch. Realm Breaker is completely its own thing. It’s in a different time period, it’s high fantasy. It was something I’ve dreamed of doing since I was a kid—definitely when I was a teenager—drawing fantasy maps and coming up with these worlds. And now I’m doing it for real and getting paid for it. more
Out Next Week
Hot Off the Presses:
Week of April 19

Among the books hitting shelves next week are a picture book about a factory where alpacas prepare bags for travelers, a middle grade novel inspired by Russian folklore, a YA novel about two theater-obsessed friends, and more. more

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

Rights Report
Bria Ragin at Joy Revolution has acquired Queen Bee by bestselling romance author Amalie Howard. Pitched as a YA Bridgerton meets The Count of Monte Cristo, this historical romance with anti-historical elements features a teen girl who returns to London, under a fake identity, at the start of the glittering social season to exact revenge on the childhood best friend who betrayed her over a boy—a handsome marquess—now considered to be the town's most eligible bachelor. Publication is set for fall 2022; Thao Le at Sandra Dijkstra Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Maggie Lehrman at Amulet has bought, in an exclusive submission, world English rights to YA contemporary novel No Boy Summer by Amy Spalding. Lydia and her sister have had too much boy drama ever since—well, ever since they discovered boys. So this summer they're making a pledge: no boys. Lydia isn't expecting to fall for a girl, but she's not technically breaking her promise to her sister. What could go wrong? Publication is scheduled for spring 2023; Kate Testerman at KT Literary brokered the deal.
Lisa Sandell at Scholastic has acquired Beneath the Wide Silk Sky by debut author Emily Inouye Huey. Set on an island in Washington state in the days leading up to the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II, the YA novel features a 15-year-old Japanese American girl who uses her passion for photography to document what is happening to her family and her town, as she fights to save her family's farm with the help of the boy next door. Publication is slated for spring 2023; Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary did the deal for North American rights.
Wendy Loggia at Underlined has bought Girl Overboard by thriller writer Sandra Block; Hannah Hill will edit. Pitched as Ruth Ware's The Woman in Cabin 10 for teens, the author's YA debut follows Izzy, who's reaching peak boredom on a cruise with her parents until she meets thrilling new friend Jade. When Jade goes missing in the middle of the night, leaving a cryptic note, Izzy must unravel the mystery of what happened to her—but someone doesn't want Izzy to make it off the ship alive. Publication is planned for summer 2022; Rachel Ekstrom at Folio Literary Management negotiated the deal for world rights.
Trisha de Guzman at FSG has acquired, in a preempt, world English rights to Something Like Right and an untitled YA novel by H.D. Hunter. Something Like Right follows a Black boy sent to an alternative school where he finds himself experiencing the highs and lows of first love, all while contending with his complicated feelings about the reunion of his estranged mother and previously incarcerated father. Publication is scheduled for spring 2023; Leah Pierre at Ladderbird Literary represented the author.
Annie Berger at Sourcebooks Fire has acquired, at auction, world English rights to Monsters Born and Made by Tanvi Berwah (Foreshadow), a YA novel about a girl from a family of sea-monster trainers who will stop at nothing to be the first of her caste to compete in a monstrous chariot race. Winning means saving her family and losing will cost her everything. Publication is slated for summer 2022; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency brokered the two-book deal.
Hannah Hill at Underlined has bought Bad at Love by Gabriela Martins (Like a Love Song). This YA romance follows Brazilian teen rocker Daniel, who has a bad boy reputation with the tabloids, and aspiring journalist Sasha, who's determined to dig up dirt on Daniel—and finds herself falling for him along the way. But when she uncovers Daniel’s biggest secret, Sasha must decide if she'll follow her heart or deliver the hottest story of the summer. Publication is set for summer 2022; Chelsea Eberly at Greenhouse Literary handled the deal for world rights.
Justin Krasner at Odd Dot has bought Be Smarter Now and Be Happier Now by Jacob Sager Weinstein, which consist of 100 quick and easy steps for teens to attain their goals in a practical and accessible way. Publication for both books is planned for spring 2023; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Liesa Abrams, in her first acquisition for Labyrinth Road, preempted world English rights for two books in the middle grade fantasy series Heroes of Havensong by debut author Megan Reyes. The tale follows four children—a boy-turned-dragon, his reluctant dragon rider, a witch whose magic rebels against her, and a young soldier carrying the weight of family secrets—bound together by the Fates themselves as they find the will to trust one another before the world is torn apart and magic, as they know it, disappears forever. Publication for the first book is set for fall 2022; Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media represented the author.
Laura Godwin at Godwin Books preempted North American rights to Seed and an untitled second novel by award-winning Welsh author Caryl Lewis. Lewis's first English-language middle grade novel follows a boy named Marty, who doesn't have much, until his eccentric grandfather gifts him with a very special seed, and soon everything changes. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022; Allison Hellegers at Stimola Literary Studio did the deal on behalf of Anwen Hooson at Bird Literary in the U.K.
Clarissa Wong at HarperCollins has acquired world rights to Unhappy Camper by Lily LaMotte (l.), illustrated by Anne Wu. This middle grade graphic story follows two sisters who rebuild their bond and learn more about their culture after going to a Taiwanese American summer camp. Publication is slated for summer 2022; Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary represented the author, and Susan Graham at Einstein Literary Management represented the illustrator.
Jonathan Eaton at Tilbury House has bought world rights to Elephants Remember: The Story of Lawrence Anthony and Nana the Matriarch, written and illustrated by Jennifer O'Connell (Ten Timid Ghosts). The picture book follows the true story of Lawrence Anthony saving Nana the elephant and her herd, forming a bond so deep that the elephants knew of his death and returned to his house to mourn him. Publication is planned for September 2022; Marie Lamba at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency represented the author-illustrator.
Megan Tingley and Alexandra Hightower at Little, Brown have acquired world rights to the I Love My… series by Natasha Tarpley (l.), illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow. This series of four picture books stars spunky and determined seven-year-old Keyana, a girl full of big ideas that don't always go as planned, and the family, friends, and community she adores. Publication is set for fall 2022; Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon Literary represented the author for book one, and Jesseca Salky at Salky Literary Management for books 2–4, and Lori Nowicki at Painted Words represented the illustrator.
Joanna Cárdenas at Kokila has bought world rights, at auction, in the two-book deal, to Angelica and La Guira by Angie Cruz (l.) (Dominicana), illustrated by Disney Television Animation story artist Luz Batista. The picture book debut follows a girl in Washington Heights who has been given a guira by her grandfather in the Dominican Republic and finds her musical voice—a power so strong that it brings her entire community together. Publication is scheduled for fall 2023; Dara Hyde at Hill Nadell Literary represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Alvina Ling at Little, Brown has acquired, in an exclusive submission, How to Send a Hug by husband-and-wife team Hayley Rocco and Caldecott Honoree John Rocco, a picture book about the journey of hugs across miles in the form of handwritten letters and their power to keep us all connected. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Rob Weisbach at Rob Weisbach Creative Management negotiated the deal for world rights.
Cheryl Klein at Lee & Low Books has bought Tenacious: Fifteen Adventures Alongside Disabled Athletes by Patty Cisneros Prevo, illustrated by Dion MBD. Using rhyme and prose, the picture book biography compilation profiles 15 athletes who compete in sports ranging from sled hockey to waveskiing to wheelchair motocross, focusing not only on the athletes' accomplishments, but their daily challenges and joys as disabled individuals. The #OwnVoices manuscript won the publisher's New Voices Award Honor. Publication is slated for spring 2022; the author was unagented, and Chad Beckerman at the CAT Agency represented the artist.
Meredith Mundy at Abrams Appleseed has acquired bought world rights to Measuring a Year: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Linda Elovitz Marshall (l.), illustrated by Zara González Hoang. Through verse, this tale encourages a child to thoughtfully look back over their past year. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis represented the author, and Andrea Morrison at Writers House represented the illustrator.
Georgia Amson-Bradshaw at Quarto/Ivy Kids has bought world rights to My Friend Tree by Dawn Casey (l.), illustrated by Geneviève Godbout, about two children who connect to each other through their shared gratitude of a tree in their garden. Publication is set for fall 2022, as part of Quarto's sustainably printed Ivy Kids list; James Catchpole at the Catchpole Agency represented the author, and Emily van Beek at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management represented the illustrator.
Marilyn Brigham at Amazon Crossing Kids has acquired I Am You: A Book About Ubuntu by Refiloe Moahloli (l.), illustrated by Zinelda McDonald. First published in South Africa under the title We Are One, the picture book is a celebration of friendship, kindness, and the South African concept of ubuntu—the connectedness of all people. Publication is slated for winter 2022; Aoife Lennon-Ritchie at the Lennon-Ritchie Agency and Bieke Van Aggelen at African Literary did the deal for world English rights minus Southern Africa.
Naomi Krueger at Beaming Books has bought world rights to Rosalind Looked Closer: The Story of Scientist Rosalind Franklin by debut author Lisa Gerin (l.), illustrated by Chiara Fedele. This picture book biography tells the story of Rosalind Franklin, who took the first photo of the DNA double-helix and whose study of the molecular structure of viruses contributed to the development of the polio vaccine. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency represented the author, and Kate Kendrick at Astound represented the illustrator.
Amy Novesky at Cameron Kids has acquired world rights to two picture books written and illustrated by Mirelle Ortega. The first, Magic, is a story inspired by the author's magical childhood growing up on a pineapple farm in Veracruz, Mexico. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022, and the second untitled book is scheduled for fall 2023; James Burns at the Bright Agency represented the author.
Maria Dismondy and Adam Blackman at Cardinal Rule Press have bought world rights to This Could Be You by Cindy Williams Schrauben (l.), illustrated by Julia Seal, a picture book debut to empower readers to believe in themselves, identify their value, and persevere. Publication is set for spring 2022; Hannah Mann at Writers House represented the author, and Erin Tisdel at Advocate Art represented the artist.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


Darling Baby
Maira Kalman. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-33062-6

This picture book by Kalman records moments of beauty and mystery for a new grandchild. Some experiences are shared with the child, including naptimes and parties with “cheery cherry pie.” Everything is fair game, even the dead turtle that the narrator finds on the beach: “One minute I was so happy. The next, so sad.” Though “darling baby” is still young, the book hints that it is never too early to teach a child how to see. more

Sister Wish
Giselle Potter. Abrams, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4671-0

Two white-skinned sisters work through their thoughts on the complicated dimensions of sisterhood. Little sisters, the younger child posits, have it rough: “I have to wear your hand-me-downs.” But so do older sisters, says the other: “I grow out of all my favorite things and have to give them to you.” Potter works out the privileges and drawbacks of age in an intimately observed distillation of two siblings’ experience. more

The Ship of Stolen Words
Fran Wilde. Amulet, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4950-6

When a word-stealing goblin renders 11-and-a-half-year-old Sam Culver incapable of apologizing, he begins to understand language’s power. His attempts to recover the missing phrase lead him to the marshlands, where carelessly used and misplaced words are mined from Earth. Now Sam must work with Tolver, the goblin who took his regrets, to stop a ruthless cabal of word prospectors before they swipe every empty utterance from his home. more

You’re So Dead
Ash Parsons. Philomel, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-593-20512-9

When Alabama teen Plum Winter receives an invitation to the inaugural Pyre Festival, she believes it’s a sign. She persuades her best friends, Marlowe Blake and Sofia Torres, to come along only to find the private Caribbean island deserted but for eight D-list internet personalities. There's no Wifi, no way to leave, and the only accommodation is a crumbling villa. The group assumes they’re being trolled—until someone dies during dinner, and a poem appears suggesting that more murders will follow. more

That Weekend
Kara Thomas. Delacorte, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5247-1836-7

Claire Keough, 17, does not remember the 36 hours between settling into a Catskills cabin with best friend Kat Marcotte and Kat’s boyfriend, Jesse Salpietro, and being left for dead on a mountainside trail. As rescuers search for Kat and Jesse, Claire—with the help of Kat’s cousin Amos—looks for clues to explain what happened. But classmates and a tawdry journalist suspect what Claire has feared all along—that Claire’s jealousy of Kat’s perfect life drove her to kill her friends. more

April 20, 2021
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