PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
Someone Builds the Dream
In the Spotlight
Keeping Connections with Young Readers: Bookselling in the Pandemic
Nearly one year into the pandemic, life has not returned to normal, and across the country children's booksellers are finding their own ways to forge, maintain, and strengthen their ties with the kids who turn to them for books. Some of their approaches are temporary and some may last well into the future, but all are geared toward reassuring their communities. more
SPONSORED
Inspire Kids to Celebrate Nature
Once Upon Another Time takes readers through a lyrical exploration of the world as it was before humans made their mark. Contrasting the past with the present, this expansive picture book serves as a warm invitation for children—and all people—to appreciate, explore, and protect the magic and wonder of this planet we call home. MORE ►
In the News
Kid Lit Community Rallies Against Anti-Asian Racism
Outraged by the exponential increase in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of Asian American children's authors, led by Stacey Lee and Kat Cho, has sought to make change through an online auction. more
New Ventures
Anne Schwartz Books to
Set Sail This Summer

In her latest professional venture, Anne Schwartz, who co-helmed Random House’s former Schwartz & Wade Books with Lee Wade from 2005 until last year, will continue to focus on picture books as v-p and publisher of Anne Schwartz Books, which will also release select middle-grade and YA fiction as well as nonfiction titles. more
No! Said Rabbit
Literacy in Action
Highlights from Read Across America Day 2021
This Tuesday marked the National Education Association's landmark event, Read Across America Day, the U.S.'s largest celebration of reading. The annual program features books and resources that are "about everyone, for everyone." Read on to see our selection of highlights from this year’s events. more
Reading Report
Books for Budding Activists: Spring 2021
We've compiled a list of some of the noteworthy new and forthcoming activism-themed books due out this spring for young readers. Click through for books about famous figures who have changed the world; introductions to past and current social, political, and environmental injustices; how-to guides for making a difference; and more. more
Wiggles, Stomps, and Squeezes Calm My Jitters Down
First Person
Reading with Olympia: Olympia Goes Berserk!
Former publisher Betsy Groban reflects on the joys of storytime with her baby granddaughter, Olympia, in our continuing series. "As she approached her first birthday, Olympia reached a new level of understanding, anticipating plot twists and reacting to them," Groban says. "I can tell when she leans forward and smiles or pays extra attention that we’re getting to a part in a book that she particularly enjoys." more
Out Next Week
Hot Off the Presses:
Week of March 8

Among the books hitting shelves next week are a picture book about infinity, an episodic early reader about three silly friends, a YA novel about finding love in a pizza parlor, and more. more
In Brief

In Brief: March 4, 2021
This week, Ruth Forman talks Black board book joy; Phil Stamper has a "far out" launch; and Scholastic celebrates Black History Month. more

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

Rights Report
Tiara Kittrell at HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has acquired, at auction, in a six-figure, two-book deal, world English rights to Reject Squad by Alyssa Cole, illustrated by ONeill Jones. In this Sleeping Beauty-inspired YA fantasy romance graphic novel, a perfectionist princess powered by rage is hexed, placing her kingdom and her life in jeopardy, unless her newfound friends (the magical hot messes of the Reject Squad)—and the irritating boy she's betrothed to—can help her save herself. Publication is set for 2024; Lucienne Diver at the Knight Agency represented the author, and Claire Draper at the Bent Agency represented the illustrator.
Rosemary Brosnan and Cynthia Leitch Smith at Heartdrum have bought, in a preempt, The Summer of Bitter & Sweet by Jen Ferguson (Métis/white). In this debut YA novel, a demisexual Métis teen is settling in to spend the summer before college working at her close-knit family's ice cream shack with her best friend, ex-boyfriend, and newly back-in-town crush, when a letter from her white biological father, recently out of prison, threatens to destroy everything she cares about. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022; Patricia Nelson at Marsal Lyon Literary did the two-book deal for world English rights.
Abigail McAden at Scholastic has acquired five middle grade novels by author Sayantani DasGupta. The deal includes a new three-book series following the flying pakkhiraj horses of the Kingdom Beyond, a spin-off to DasGupta's Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series, slated to begin in September 2022; a sequel to DasGupta's forthcoming novel Force of Fire, slated for May 2022; and The Lotus Legacy, DasGupta's first work of realistic fiction for middle graders, which follows the Desi Posse, a crack team of feminist tweens, on a heist to expose a skin-lightening product, slated for summer 2023. Brent Taylor at Triada US handled the six-figure deal for North American rights.
Sally Morgridge at Holiday House has bought world rights to Nothing Is Little by Christopher Award-winning author Carmella Van Vleet (Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Big Fat Quitter) The middle grade novel features Felix, a boy who has always liked being the smallest kid in school, but when he starts getting growth hormone shots, everything changes. Publication is planned for summer 2022; Marie Lamba at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency represented the author.
Taylor Norman at Chronicle has acquired The Callers by Australian author Kiah Thomas in her middle grade debut. In this fantasy world, the ability to summon objects is a crucial skill for sustaining life. But when Quin discovers that the objects Callers summon aren’t conjured at all, but are taken from the other side of the world, where for years people have had their lives slowly summoned away, he must decide whether he should remain loyal to his family or betray them—and save the world. Publication is planned for spring 2022; the author was unagented.
Shelly Romero at Scholastic has bought world rights to Join the Club, Maggie Diaz by Nina Moreno (l.) (Don't Date Rosa Santos), illustrated by Courtney Lovett. The illustrated middle grade novel follows a 12-year-old Cuban American girl who is determined to discover who she is and what her "thing" is, no matter how many activities or clubs it takes. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Laura Crockett at Triada US Literary represented the author, and Jemiscoe Chambers-Black at Andrea Brown Literary represented the illustrator.
Jordan Brown at Walden Pond has acquired Just Harriet by NBA finalist Elana K. Arnold. The first in a young middle grade series of the same name, Just Harriet introduces Harriet Wermer, a quirky girl in the tradition of Ramona and Clementine, who is spending the summer at her grandmother's B&B on a small California coastal island, and sets out to solve a cozy mystery with the help of a basset hound named Moneypenny and a cat named Matzoh Ball. Publication is set for winter 2022; Rubin Pfeffer at Rubin Pfeffer Content brokered the deal for world English rights.
Cecily Kaiser at Rise x Penguin Workshop has bought two untitled picture books by singer-songwriter, political activist, and feminist icon Ani Di Franco. The first is an Ani Di Franco-style lullaby and is slated for publication in fall 2022; the second, an ode to the wisdom that surrounds us, will follow in fall 2023. Both books encapsulate ideas that Di Franco feels strongly about sharing with children: the authority to respect the world around you with love and compassion, and the strength of individual power and collective responsibility. Sarah Lazin at Aevitas Creative Management did the two-book deal for world rights.
Simon Boughton at Norton Young Readers has acquired Only Ants for Andy by PW Flying Starts author Jashar Awan (What a Lucky Day!). The humorous picture book follows a picky anteater named Andy as he tries out new things and learns that different doesn't necessarily mean bad. Publication is planned for October 2021; Erica Rand Silverman at Stimola Literary Studio negotiated the deal for world English rights.
Catherine Laudone at Simon & Schuster has bought world rights to Gilly and the Monster of Mustache Bay by Cyndi Marko (Kung Pow Chicken), a picture book about a spunky, water-loving girl who won't let anything, not even a terrifying monster, keep her from swimming in Mustache Bay. Publication is scheduled for spring 2023; Elizabeth Bennett at Transatlantic brokered the deal for the author.
Courtney Code at Abrams has acquired world rights to How Old Is Mr. Tortoise? written by Dev Petty (l.), and illustrated by Ruth Chan. A tortoise celebrating a big birthday can't remember how old he is, but friends help him solve the mystery with old photographs, stories, and a few unexpected clues. Publication is set for spring 2022; Jennifer Rofé at Andrea Brown Literary represented the author, and Rebecca Sherman at Writers House represented the illustrator.
Jacob Surpin at Parallax has bought A Lotus for You by Minh Lê (Drawn Together). Described as the official authorized biography for young readers of Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, the picture book explores the life, teachings, and legacy of the beloved global spiritual leader. The text is written as if in conversation with a group of children, with Thich Nhat Hanh sharing his experiences, from becoming a novice monk at 16 to being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King Jr. Publication is slated for fall 2021; Stephen Barbara at InkWell Management negotiated the deal for world rights.
Jessica Garrison at Dial has acquired, at auction, world rights to picture book When Santa Came to Stay by Billy Sharff, illustrated by Eda Kaban. Pitched as the offspring of The Grinch and Snowmen at Christmas, it tells the story of a family who learns the true meaning of Christmas when Santa (and sundry other holiday characters) outstay their welcome in an attempt to prolong the holiday magic. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Katelyn Detweiler at Jill Grinberg Literary Management represented the author, and Shannon Associates represented the artist.
Megan Tingley at Little, Brown has bought world rights to Away with Words! Wise and Witty Poems for Language Lovers by former Children's Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by her son, artist Perry Hoberman, in his children's book debut. This poetry collection celebrates the playfulness of the English language. Publication is scheduled for winter 2022; Gina Maccoby at Gina Maccoby Literary represented the author and artist.
Maria Russo at mineditionUS has acquired world rights to A Pair of Shoes by Robie H. Harris (It's Perfectly Normal), illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Freedom in Congo Square). This picture book is narrated by a child who, accompanied by a loving grandmother, regularly encounters a homeless man, and wants to help him. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Dan Mandel at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates represented the author, and the artist represented himself.
Courtney Fahy at Little Bee Books has bought world rights to Fridge-O-Polis by debut author Melissa Coffey, illustrated by Josh Cleland. In this pun-filled picture book that touches on the problem of food waste, a city packed with old food and souring leftovers must be saved from rancid ruin. Publication is set for fall 2022; Charlotte Wenger at Prospect Agency represented the author, and the illustrator represented himself.
Emily Easton at Crown has acquired world rights to One Turtle's Last Straw: The Rescue That Sparked a Sea Change by Elisa Boxer, illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens. A turtle discovered with a plastic straw stuck in its nostril is saved—shedding light on the global ocean pollution problem. Publication is set for summer 2022; Steven Chudney at the Chudney Agency represented the author, and Kate Kendrick at Astound US represented the illustrator.
Nancy Paulsen at Penguin/Paulsen has bought world rights to Goat Is the Goat by I Will Be Fierce author Bea Birdsong (l.) and illustrated by Kelly Murphy, about a goat who thinks he must be the G.O.A.T, the greatest of all time, though all evidence seems to be to the contrary. Publication is planned for fall 2023; Melissa Edwards at Stonesong represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Karen Smith at Knopf has acquired Gift & Box by Ellen Mayer (l.), illustrated by Brizida Magro. The picture book follows the adventures of a special gift inside a box that makes its way from Grandma's house to its exciting destination. Publication is scheduled for fall 2023; Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator for world rights.
Cindy Loh, while at Bloomsbury, preempted world rights to Sunday Before Sundown by Patricia Hruby Powell (l.) and Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James Ransome. This picture book is based on the true story of Joe Ernst, a teenager who welcomed Ella Fitzgerald and her band into the café where he worked and defied his small-town Illinois community's racism against African Americans in the 1940s; Sarah Shumway will edit. Publication is set for spring 2023; Anna Olswanger at Olswanger Literary represented Powell, Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio represented Cline-Ransome, and Ransome represented himself.
Christianne Jones at Capstone has bought world rights to My Pet Cloud by Amanda Hill (l.), a picture book that follows a boy as he adopts a pet balloon, highlighting the importance of responsibility, problem-solving, and friendship; Laia Arriols will illustrate. Publication is slated for January 2022; Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown represented the author, and Chloë Morgan at Plum Pudding represented the illustrator.
Courtney Code at Abrams has acquired world rights to The Museum of Lost Teeth by Elyssa Friedland (l.) (The Floating Feldmans), illustrated by Gladys Jose. The author's picture book debut follows first-lost-tooth, Toothy, on his journey from Liam Taylor's mouth to life beyond the gumline. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Louise Fury at the Bent Agency represented the author, and Christy Ewers at the CAT Agency represented the illustrator.
Ariel Richardson at Chronicle has bought world rights, at auction, to The River of Dust: Africa to the Amazon by debut author Jilanne Hoffmann (l.), illustrated by Eugenia Mello. Celebrating the power and wonder of Earth's ecosystems, this nonfiction picture book follows Dust across the globe as it revels in the beauty of its journey and the vital role it plays in nurturing life. Publication is set for spring 2023; Lori Steel at Raven Quill Literary represented the author, and Elena Giovinazzo at Pippin Properties represented the illustrator.
Carolyn Yoder at Calkins Creek has acquired Becoming Deborah Sampson by Beth Anderson (l.), illustrated by Anne Lambelet, a picture book on the iconic Revolutionary War soldier. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Stephanie Fretwell-Hill at Red Fox Literary represented the author and the illustrator in the deal for world rights.
Meredith Mundy at Abrams/Appleseed has bought world rights to Odd Beasts: Meet Nature's Weirdest Animals and Odd Birds: Meet Nature's Weirdest Flock by Laura Gehl (Happy Llamakkah!), illustrated by Gareth Lucas. These board books will introduce babies and toddlers to some of the strangest creatures in the world. Publication is slated for fall 2021 and spring 2022 for Beasts and Birds, respectively; Erzsi Deak at Hen&ink Literary studio represented the author, and Claire Meiklejohn at Meiklejohn Illustration represented the illustrator.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.

FEATURED REVIEWS

And Then Came Hope
Stephen Savage. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4518-9

The harbor boats are in need of a little TLC: “First Barge got bonked,” writes Savage, as readers see Barge’s deck hit with owie-making force. Aircraft Carrier’s planes send out a skywritten SOS, and into the harbor steams the hospital ship HOPE and her tugboat team. “I’m here to help,” she says. This story’s power is in the reassurance that a source of comfort and caring is never far away. more

The Force of Fire (Kingdom Beyond)
Sayantani DasGupta. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-338-63664-2

Deemed a “solitary diva-loner type” by other students, Pinki focuses on controlling her fire-breathing powers. Unlike the rest of her family, she disapproves of the rakkosh—demon—resistance against the Empire of Serpent Overlords. Her unconventional first meeting with Prince Sesha, son of the Serpentine Governor, does not inspire hope, but he offers her a deal: if she helps him in quashing the resistance, he will help her learn to control her fire. DasGupta brings to life concepts from Bengali folklore through Pinki. more

Jelly
Clare Rees. Amulet, $18.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4556-0

In this darkly funny testament to human ingenuity, teen narrator Martha, along with peers Kate, Lana, and James, is stranded atop a gargantuan jellyfish alongside a group of adults. The kids strategize escape—past the creature’s tentacles, and onto a dangerous coastline. After a string of failed attempts, a sudden revelation pushes the increasingly desperate crew to realize the existence of further lurking horrors. more

She Drives Me Crazy
Kelly Quindlen. Roaring Brook, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-20915-3

Certain things are clear in Scottie Zajac’s world: one, her basketball team doesn’t matter, since they have no real coach, no budget, and no cheerleaders. And two, her town, Grandma Earl, Ga., is the object of mockery for richer, hipper Candlehawk. So it hurts all the more when Tally Gibson, “the first and only person [Scottie] ever loved,” dumps her, transfers to Candlehawk to play basketball, and beats Scottie’s team. Out for revenge, Scottie persuades popular Irene Abraham to pretend to be her girlfriend, but things are never easy when love is involved. more

March 4, 2021
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Moody Judy
A Teacher Like You
People
Diane Mangan has been named children's marketing director at Andrews McMeel; she was formerly director of product management at Follett.
Susan Dobinick has joined Boyds Mills & Kane as senior editor; she was formerly senior editor at Bloomsbury Children's Books.
At First Second, Sunny Lee has been promoted to senior designer, from designer. Molly Johanson has been promoted to designer, from junior designer.
Octavia Saenz has joined mineditionUS as assistant editor; previously she was an editorial intern at Celadon Books and Azantian Literary Agency.
ICYMI
Sneak Peek at
Brian Selznick's 'Kaleidoscopic' New Novel

more
'Firekeeper’s Daughter': PW Talks with Debut Novelist Angeline Boulley
more
'Eyes That Kiss in the Corners': A Bestseller with an Empowering Focus
more
Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman on ‘Big Feelings’
more
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