In the SpotlightAdult Presses Take On Children’s Books
This fall, four indie presses distributed by Consortium are expanding beyond their well-established adult niches by publishing books for young readers. more
In the NewsBibles, Kids' Books Win
The book industry earned a partial victory in its effort to exclude books from the Trump administration’s plan to impose tariffs on up to $300 billion worth of goods imported from China. Tariffs on some children's titles, including picture books and coloring/activity books, have been delayed until December 15. more
ObituariesLee Bennett Hopkins
Lee Bennett Hopkins, passionate educator and prolific children’s poet and anthologist, died on August 8 in Cape Coral, Fla., at the age of 81. Fellow poet and author Rebecca Kai Dotlich said, "He truly believed that poetry worked magic on children, and his life’s work was getting good poetry into their hands." more
Illustrator Charles Santore, widely recognized for the realistically detailed paintings in his interpretations of beloved children’s stories, died on August 11. He was 84. more
Book NewsLouis Sachar’s Wayside School Bell
Will Ring Again
After an extended break, Wayside School will soon be back in session, as Mrs. Jewls’s classroom again springs to life in Wayside School: Beneath the Cloud of Doom, due out next March. Author Louis Sachar said of his return to the series, "Once I was fully immersed in the school, it was a joy to reconnect with the characters, the setting, and the absurd logic that holds it all together." more
YA Community Joins Forces
In Support of Author Beth Revis
More than 150 authors have come together to support one of their own for the “Bid My Soul Farewell Preorder Giveaway,” which offers readers a chance to win one of 40 signed book prize packs by preordering Beth Revis’s new YA novel. more
Q & AStacey Lee
In her new YA novel, The Downstairs Girl, Stacey Lee introduces 17-year-old Jo Kuan, a Chinese immigrant in the New South who secretly dwells beneath the floorboards of a local newspaper printer. By day, Jo is a lady’s maid; but, by night, she secretly pens an advice column, challenging ideas about race and gender. Lee spoke with us about discovering Jo’s story through historical research.
Q: From where did the premise of The Downstairs Girl come?
A: I had always wanted to write a book set in the South. There’s something about it that has always appealed to me. There’s this veneer of gentility over a history of ugly racism; I feel that stories set in the South are really able to explore the complexity of human nature. I didn’t see many stories about Chinese people set in the South, but, as I started learning about the history of Chinese immigration to the United States, I learned that there were Chinese people there. more
Laurel Snyder has published more than a dozen books for children, and has won numerous awards for her work. Snyder’s new middle grade novel, My Jasper June, tells the story of 13-year-old Leah who is struggling with the death of her younger brother. Then she meets Jasper, whose optimism and exuberance slowly help Leah overcome her grief. We spoke with Snyder about her latest work.
Q: In your book, you address some very difficult themes and topics. What would you say to someone who felt that those issues might be too “heavy” for a middle grade novel?
A: I would say that I don’t believe that there is a topic too heavy for middle grade. I think the beautiful thing about books is that we need all of them. The real dangers are when we don’t empower children to make their own choices or when we don’t have books for the kids who need them. more
Four QuestionsJerry Pinkney
PW asked Pinkney about his inspiration for, and the challenge of, creating the art for 'A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation,' written by Barry Wittenstein. more
Celia C. Pérez
Celia C. Pérez’s sophomore novel, Strange Birds, is the fourth novel from Penguin’s just-launched Kokila imprint. Told from the perspectives of four girls, each with distinct personalities and experiences, the book follows them as they create an alternative scout troop and ignite activism and change in their community. Pérez spoke with us about the real-life troop that inspired her novel.
Q: What do you hope readers gain from your stories?
A: The types of stories I write come from my own experiences as a reader growing up and from not seeing varied representation of Latinos in books and, as a parent, still looking for those books for my own son and other children. My hope is that people walk away from my books with whatever they needed, whether that’s a push to be more active in their community, an openness to make connections outside of their immediate community, or even an interest in bird conservation. more
Out Next WeekHot Off the Presses:
Week of August 19, 2019
Among the books hitting shelves next week are a picture book about two stargazing campers, a picture book in which a child takes part in a food-themed pageant, and a coming-of-age YA novel set in contemporary Chicago. more
In Brief: August 15, 2019
This week, Mo Willems plays ball; Penguin Random House and We Need Diverse Books honor teen writers; Allison Crotzer Kimmel sets off on a book tour/family vacation; and DC mentors future comics creators. more
Rights ReportKelsey Horton at Delacorte has acquired, at auction, Maiya Ibrahim's debut YA trilogy The Spice Road, a fantasy set in an Arabian-inspired land where a nation of tribes famous for their spices are attacked by an occupying king after he discovers their secret tea magic. The first book follows a teen girl who must guard the key to the source of her nation's magic, and the orphan-turned-assassin whose future depends on him taking it from her. Publication is slated for spring 2021; Pete Knapp at Park & Fine Literary and Media negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Lauren Smulski at Inkyard Press has bought, for six figures at auction, North American rights to Sing Me Forgotten and a second book by debut author Jessica S. Olson. In this gender-bent, magical YA retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, a young woman born with the ability to manipulate memories through song must fight against both the outside world that fears her and the inner darkness that tempts her in order to save the young man she loves. Publication is scheduled for winter 2021; Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis brokered the deal.
Carolina Ortiz at HarperCollins has acquired The Quiet You Carry author Nikki Barthelmess's Everything Within and in Between, an #OwnVoices contemporary YA novel about the convergence of family, identity, and assimilation. In the novel, Ri Fernandez, a biracial Mexican-American teenager, fights to reclaim her Latinx heritage and her connection with her absent mother from her strict immigrant grandmother, who has kept her from both. Publication is set for fall 2021; Sarah Gerton at Curtis Brown did the deal for world English and world Spanish rights.
Monica Jean at Delacorte has bought All the Pretty Things author Emily Arsenault's The Shadow Season, a psychological suspense novel for teens about one girl's investigation into her friend's sudden death and the unsettling possibility that “The Winter Girl” is not only real but to blame, proving the old school legend of a vengeful ghost that haunts the senior dorm hall the same time every year. Publication is planned for summer 2021; Laura Langlie negotiated the deal for world English rights.
Simon Boughton at Norton Young Readers has acquired North American rights, in a two-book deal, to The Hatmakers, a middle-grade fantasy adventure novel and debut from actress Tamzin Merchant. Set in 18th-century London where magic is real, the book follows Cordelia Hatmaker and her family of milliners who weave enchantments into every hat they make. When Cordelia's father and his ship are lost at sea, Cordelia is determined to find him. But someone begins using her family's magic and creations—along with those of their rivals—for dark purposes. The novel is slated to publish simultaneously in the U.S. and U.K. in winter 2021; rights were handled by Zosia Knopp on behalf of Merchant's U.K. publisher, Penguin Random House, who acquired world rights from Claire Wilson at RCW.
Jenne Abramowitz at Scholastic has bought Jasmine Toguchi author Debbi Michiko Florence's middle grade debut, Keep it Together, Keiko Carter. In the novel, billed as To All the Boys I've Loved Before for tweens, Keiko navigates hope and heartache as she chooses between saving a splintering friendship and going after her first real crush. Publication is scheduled for summer 2020; Tricia Lawrence at Erin Murphy Literary Agency brokered the deal for North American rights.
Jessica Smith at Simon Pulse has acquired Ann LaBar's Prom Theory, about a neurodiverse heroine who thinks love is just a series of chemical reactions to external stimuli and hormones, and sets out to prove it by getting the newly single mega-hottie to fall for her and ask her to prom. Publication is planned for spring 2021; Lisa Rodgers at JABberwocky Literary Agency handled the deal for North American rights.
Olivia Valcarce at Scholastic Press has bought a middle grade historical novel by Jenni L. Walsh, author of the She Dared series. As tensions escalate in 1940s Germany and anti-Nazi pamphlets arrive in the mail, 12-year-old Brigitte, a member of the Hitler Youth, begins to question all she's ever known, including the safety of her disabled sister, who may be part of the White Rose resistance. Publication is set for 2021; Shannon Hassan at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
Keith Garton at Red Chair Press/One Elm Books has acquired world English-language rights to Superstar and Me, a middle grade novel by Mary Bleckwehl. The story features 12-year-old Zach and the challenges he faces coping with middle school, girls, and an autistic older brother. Publication is slated for Autism Awareness Month, April 2021; the author represented herself.
Calista Brill at First Second has bought Bad Sister, Charise Mericle Harper and Rory Lucey's middle grade graphic novel memoir, in which Harper comes to realize that she is a "bad sister," and experiences a crisis of conscience. Publication is scheduled for 2021; Linda Pratt at Wernick & Pratt Agency represented Harper, and Charlie Olsen at Inkwell Management represented Lucey in the deal for world rights.
David Saylor at Scholastic has acquired author Jaimal Yogis and artist Vivian Truong's middle grade graphic novel City of Dragons, kicking off a series of the same name with shades of Amulet, American Born Chinese and Avatar: The Last Airbender. The fantastical coming-of-age adventure shows that monster-sized problems can be solved if you have friendship, courage, compassion (and maybe a friendly dragon). Publication is tentatively set for fall 2021; Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group brokered the deal for world rights.
Alyson Heller and Anna Parsons have bought world rights to the Invincible Girls Club: Home Sweet Furever Home, first in a chapter book series by Rachele Alpine about third graders Ruby, Lauren, Myka, and Emelyn, founders of the Invincible Girls Club, whose mission is to make a difference and solve community problems through creativity, teamwork, and smarts. Publication will begin in summer 2021; Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary Agency did the four-book deal.
Samantha Gentry at Little, Brown has acquired world rights to Erin Hourigan's author-illustrator debut, In the Blue. The emotional picture book follows a girl and her feather as they learn to navigate life lived in and around depression. But with each new wave of change, love bonds them together. Publication is planned for summer 2022; Jenna Pocius at Red Fox Literary negotiated the deal.
Justin Chanda at Simon & Schuster has bought I Love My Fangs by Kelly Leigh Miller, author of I Am a Wolf, about a young vampire who prides himself on his dental hygiene. But when one of his precious fangs fall out, he goes to extreme means to save it. Publication is scheduled for summer 2020; Thao Le at Sandra Dijkstra & Associates brokered the deal for world English rights.
Christopher Robbins at Familius has acquired two picture books from the author of How the Finch Got His Colors and Why Evergreens Keep Their Leaves, Annemarie Riley Guertin. The first title, Finding Mr. Trunks, is a reunion story about a stuffed animal lost in the airport and his worldwide journey to find his girl with the help of social media. The second, Thundermaestro, is about a child learning that thunderstorms are nothing to fear when you can conduct a symphony and swirl, twirl, and turn to the beat of Mother Nature's summertime song. Publication is slated for 2021; Rebecca Angus at Golden Wheat Literary did the two-book deal for world English rights.
Caitlyn Dlouhy at S&S/Dlouhy has bought author Barbara Bottner's (l.) The Crankypants Tea Party, illustrated by Ale Barba, in which stuffed animals at an imaginary tea party revolt against their owner. Publication is set for 2020; Rick Richter at Aevitas Creative Management represented the author, and Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary represented the illustrator in the deal for world rights.
Tamar Mays at HarperCollins has acquired world rights, in a preempt, to a picture book by Shelli R. Johannes (l.), co-author of the Cece Loves Science series. How to Be a Unicorn is a tongue-in-cheek guide to becoming a unicorn by embracing your unique self. The book will be illustrated by Maddie Frost. Publication is scheduled for summer 2021; Lara Perkins at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Sue Tarsky at Albert Whitman has bought, in a two-book deal, world rights to author-illustrator Charles Beyl's Tug Tug Tugboat, a picture book about a tugboat who spends her days working hard to keep the big ships moving in and out of port, and My Friend Ben, a tale about the friendship between two beaver buddies. Publication is slated for fall 2020 and spring 2021, respectively; Elizabeth Bennett at Transatlantic Agency negotiated the deal.
Jessica Echeverria at Lee & Low has acquired world rights to Marvelous Mabel by Crystal Hubbard (l.), a picture book biography about Mabel Fairbanks, who overcame a difficult childhood and taught herself how to ice-skate in a homemade rink, and later became the first African-American woman inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Alleanna Harris will illustrate; publication is planned for fall 2020. The author represented herself, and James Burns at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Jaime Schwalb at Sounds True has bought world rights to BabyLit author Jennifer Adams's (l.) picture book, I Am a Kindness Hero, about a boy who learns about power and leadership through kindness. Trees and Birds author-illustrator Carme Lemniscates will illustrate; publication is set for fall 2020. Steven Malk at Writers House represented the author, and Adriana Dominguez at Full Circle Literary represented the illustrator.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.
Meghan Dietsche Goel
The Next Generation of Booksellers?
Booksellers’ kids talk about the ups and downs of hours spent at the bookstore.more »
The 2019 First Among First Day of School Books
Chris Van Dusen’s Jack and Mo Willems’s Pigeon duel it out for the top honor.more »
Dear Bookstore Owner
Advice from a children’s bookseller to self-published authors.more »
She Knows What She Likes
An avid young reader shares her helpful reading record of likes and dislikes.more »
The Moon Is a Silver Pond
A Map into the World
Maybe He Just Likes You
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
TALES FROM THE SLUSH PILE
August 15, 2019
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To Our ReadersChildren's Bookshelf is on a summer schedule for the rest of August. We'll be publishing once a week, on Thursdays, and will resume our regular twice-weekly schedule after Labor Day.
PeopleOlivia Russo will join Penguin Young Readers as senior director, publicity on September 3. She was formerly publicity director at HarperCollins Children's Books. Candace Finn has been promoted to subsidiary rights director at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, from associate director. Wendi Gu has joined Sanford J. Greenburger Associates as agent; she was previously associate agent at Janklow & Nesbit.
Mark Your Calendar
The 2020 Children’s Institute will take place June 22–24, at the Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Ariz. Next year’s event will include three days of keynotes, educational sessions, featured talks, and special events, as well as evergreen features such as the Author Reception, Consultation Station, and Galley Room. For more information on Ci8, click here.
BestsellersChildren's Frontlist Fiction
#1 The Poison Jungle (Wings of Fire #13) by Tui T. Sutherland. Click here
#1 We Don't Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. HIggins. Click here
ICYMIChildren's Books for Fall: All Our Coverage
Greta Thunberg's Call for Action Fast-Tracks a Picture Book Bio
Scholastic Shelves Tim Tingle Book
Thomas Taylor Dives into Seaside Intrigue in 'Malamander'
Take a look ahead at some of the big titles for children and teens due out in spring 2020, from picture books to YA novels, in our exclusive roundup. more
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