PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
CCBF 2021
The Octopus Escapes
2021’s Must-Read YA Fantasy
From Australia’s #1 bestselling YA author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy about Kiva, a girl forced to heal prisoners of war who must wager her life in a series of deadly elemental trials, all to save the rebel force's queen. Perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Sabaa Tahir. MORE ►
Reading Report

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Rights Report
Emilia Rhodes and Nicole Sclama at HMH have acquired, in a preempt, The Darkening by debut author Sunya Mara. In this YA fantasy duology, the only hope for a city trapped in the eye of a cursed storm lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a prince terrified of his throne. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022 and spring 2023 for books 1 and 2, respectively; Tracey Adams at Adams Literary negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Kieran Viola and Rachel Stark at Disney-Hyperion have bought world rights to Twelfth Grade Night and King Cheer, the first two books in the Arden High series by Molly Horton Booth (l.) and Stephanie Kate Strohm (c.), illustrated by debut graphic novelist Jamie Green (r.). Shakespeare's tales get an update in this YA graphic novel series set at a modern-day high school where magic and fairies are real, the LGBTQ themes of the original plays are more than subtext, and the drama is quite literally Shakespearean. Publication for Twelfth Grade Night is set for fall 2022; Alex Slater at Trident Media Group represented Booth, Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency represented Strohm, and Chad W. Beckerman at the CAT Agency represented Green.
Hannah Hill at Delacorte has acquired Not Here to Stay Friends by Love from Scratch author Kaitlyn Hill (no relation). Pitched as The Bachelor meets The Rest of the Story, this YA romance follows Sloane and Liam, two childhood friends who reunite in L.A. for the summer after five years apart. But when Liam's producer dad ropes him into working for a teen reality dating show and Sloane becomes a contestant, their lives take a turn for the unreal. Publication is planned for spring 2023; Laura Crockett at TriadaUS Literary did the deal for world rights.
Amy Fitzgerald at Carolrhoda has bought North American rights to The Deep Blue Between by Ayesha Harruna Attah. Set in 19th-century Brazil, Ghana, and Nigeria, this dual narrative YA novel follows the journeys of two sisters who try to find their way back to each other after being separated—even as they remain connected through dreams. Publication is slated for spring 2022; Allison Hellegers at Stimola Literary Studio brokered the deal on behalf of Sarah Odedina at Pushkin Children's Books.
Kat Brzozowski at Feiwel and Friends has acquired, in an exclusive submission, It Ends with December by Joan F. Smith (The Half-Orphan's Handbook). Pitched as They Both Die at the End meets The Butterfly Effect, the YA novel features 17-year-old December, who uses her gift of foreknowledge to help lifeguard Nick save a drowning man—only to discover that her actions have put Nick's life at risk. Publication is set for winter 2023; Kerry D'Agostino at Curtis Brown Ltd. negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Maya Marlette at Scholastic has bought Why Would I Lie? by Adi Rule, a YA psychological thriller about a high school senior and class valedictorian who becomes obsessed with proving that a charismatic classmate is not all that he seems. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary handled the deal for world rights.
Nancy Paulsen at Penguin/Paulsen has acquired Omar Rising by Aisha Saeed (Amal Unbound). Her next middle grade novel is about a scholarship student who navigates the challenges of his new boarding school, class prejudices, and his drive to reach his dreams. Publication is planned for spring 2022; Taylor Martindale Kean at Full Circle Literary brokered the deal for world rights.
Mallory Kass at Scholastic has bought North American rights to Duppy Island by Shakirah Bourne, a middle grade adventure about an aspiring filmmaker who follows her family to a silent retreat, only to find the island haunted by soulless children. Kass also bought Josephine Against the Heartman, the middle grade sequel to Josephine Against the Sea. Publication is slated for 2022 and 2023, respectively; Marietta B. Zacker at Gallt and Zacker Literary negotiated the deal.
Krestyna Lypen at Algonquin has acquired world rights to Camp QUILTBAG* by Nicole Melleby (l.) (Hurricane Season) and A.J. Sass (Ana on the Edge), in which 12-year-old Abigail and 13-year-old Kai attend a queer summer camp for very different reasons and make a pact to help one another find their footing at camp, all while navigating crushes, their queer identities, and a competition pitting cabin against cabin. Publication is set for spring 2023; Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret represented Melleby, and Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary represented Sass.
Martha Mihalick at Greenwillow has bought Camp Famous, and another middle grade novel by Jennifer Blecher (Stick with Me). This contemporary story follows shy but determined Abby as she sneaks away to an overnight camp for the most famous kids in the world, where she learns that fitting in means being your true self. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022; Alexander Slater at Trident Media Group did the two-book deal for North American rights.
Beverly Horowitz at Delacorte has acquired Kay's Anatomy by former doctor and bestselling author Adam Kay, illustrated by Henry Paker; Alison Romig will edit. The book offers a complete guide to the human body for middle grade readers. Publication is planned for summer 2022; Alice Grigg at Penguin Random House UK on behalf of Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown UK negotiated the deal for U.S., Canada, and open market rights.
Karen Boss at Charlesbridge has bought middle grade verse novel The Hope of Elephants by Amanda Rawson Hill. Just before Cass turns 12, her family finds out Dad needs chemo again and that Cass has a 50/50 chance of having the same genetic syndrome he does. There's only one thing for Cass to do: get them both to one last World Series game. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown Ltd. brokered the deal for world rights.
Katie Scott at Kids Can Press has acquired, in an exclusive submission, Puffin vs. Penguin by Helaine Becker (Counting on Katherine) and illustrated by Kevin Sylvester (The Fabulous Zed Watson!), a middle grade graphic novel about friendship and collaboration. Publication is scheduled for fall 2023; Susan Schulman at Susan Schulman Literary represented the author, and Michael Levine at Westwood Creative Artists represented the illustrator for world English rights.
Kate O'Sullivan at HMH has acquired, in an exclusive submission, The Moon Remembers by Ezra Jack Keats Honor winner E.B. Goodale. This picture book assures young readers that no matter the moment or milestone, the moon remembers everyone when they were just babies, and will always be a benevolent constant for all creatures, great and small. Publication is set for spring 2023; Lori Kilkelly at LK Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Alyson Day at HarperCollins has bought world rights to Major Makes History: From the Shelter to the White House by Jill Twiss (l.) (Everyone Gets a Say), illustrated by Maribel Lechuga. This story of Major, one of the Biden family's German shepherds, focuses on the former shelter dog's journey and adjustment to the White House, and his urgent calling in life—to support and care for the president. Publication is planned for fall 2021; Brenda Bowen represented the author, and Aurora Barlam at Astound US represented the artist.
Trisha de Guzman at FSG has acquired, at auction, world rights to Boys Don't Fry and an untitled picture book by Kimberly Lee (l.), illustrated by Charlene Chua. A Malaysian boy enthusiastically helps his grandmother prepare their family's New Year's dinner, all the while learning about the history of their traditional cuisine. Publication is slated for spring 2023; Emily Forney at BookEnds Literary represented the author, and Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary represented the illustrator.
Mary-Kate Gaudet at Little, Brown has acquired world rights to How Dinosaurs Went Extinct: A Safety Guide, written by Ame Dyckman (l.) and illustrated by Jenn Harney. This tongue-in-cheek cautionary tale "reveals," in rhyme, how nearly 30 species of dinosaurs went extinct by doing the very things parents repeatedly warn about. Publication is set for winter 2023. Scott Treimel at STNY represented the author, and Rachel Orr at Prospect Agency represented the illustrator.
Andrea Welch at S&S/Beach Lane Books bought world rights to Just You and Me by Jennifer Ward and illustrated by Alexander Vidal, a picture book about unlikely pairs—like zebras and ostriches, hippos and egrets, and bees and flowers—that help each other survive in the wild. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel represented the author and the illustrator.
Anne Hoppe at Clarion has acquired world rights to Unflappable by Matt Ward (l.), illustrated by Scott Magoon. In the author's picture book debut, resilient flightless birds use ingenuity in their persistent quest to fly, leading to outrageous results in a celebration of unconventional problem-solving and determination. Publication is slated for spring 2023; Laura Rennert and Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary represented the author, and Paul Rodeen at Rodeen Literary Management represented the illustrator.
Paula Wiseman at S&S/Wiseman has bought world rights to Beginning by Shelley Moore Thomas (l.) (From Tree to Sea), illustrated by Melissa Casatrillon. This picture book answers the question, "What does something become when it isn't itself anymore?" and shows the wonder of what happens at the end of something that causes something else to begin. Publication is planned for spring 2022; Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Cheryl Eissing at Philomel has acquired world rights to How to Get Your Octopus to School by Becky Scharnhorst (l.), illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett. This back-to-school story shows readers how to safely deliver your shy and anxious octopus to his first day of school, thwarting his camouflage, ink, and all eight tentacles along the way. Publication is planned for summer 2023; James McGowan at BookEnds represented the author, and Christy Ewers at the CAT Agency represented the illustrator.
Asia Citro at Innovation Press has bought world rights to Locs, Not Dreads, written by Tonya Abari (l.) and illustrated by Chasity Hampton about a girl and her family who celebrate and take pride in wearing locs, because there is nothing "dreadful" about their hair. Publication is scheduled for fall 2023; Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Meredith Mundy at Abrams Appleseed has acquired world rights to Squeak-a-Boo! by Natasha Wing (l.), illustrated by Grace Habib, a lift-the-flap board book of rhyming riddles in which different animals, including a mouse and a chicken, play peek-a-boo with the reader. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Andrea Cascardi at Transatlantic Agency represented the author and Aurora Barlam at Astound US represented the illustrator.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


A Boy Named Isamu:
A Story of Isamu Noguchi

James Yang. Viking, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-20344-6

Miniature, toy-like images by Geisel Medalist Yang follow a solitary boy, based on the sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904–1988), who’s drawn to nature’s elemental forms. Wandering beyond a group of children, Isamu walks, asking questions: “Why does cloth feel soft? Who made the path with stone?" An attentive study of an artist’s sensibility, this story ends with an author’s note about Noguchi, who believed that “when an artist stopped being a child, he would stop being an artist.” more

Faraway Things
Dave Eggers, illus. by Kelly Murphy. Little, Brown, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-49219-5

When pale-skinned Lucian brings home a magnificent cutlass he’s found on the beach, his mother has doubts. “Is it a faraway thing?” she asks, using his father’s phrase for treasures washed up on the beach. “Yup,” he assures her. The next day, a bald, brown-skinned captain appears by rowboat and approaches Lucian with an offer: in exchange for the cutlass, Lucian can pick one of his own treasures to keep. more

Carpenter’s Helper
Sybil Rosen, illus. by Camille Garoche. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-12320-1

Renata, an Afro-Latinx child, is helping her Papi complete the construction of their new bathroom. But their work comes to a halt one morning when they discover an unexpected visitor: “It’s a little bird—a wren!" Rosen's observant prose and Garoche's soft color palette make for a gentle story to lift readers' spirits. more

Someone Builds the Dream
Lisa Wheeler, illus. by Loren Long. Dial, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-984814-33-3

Utilizing bouncy rhymes (“Someone works to mine the ore,/ smelt the iron,/ pour the beam.// Someone needs to weld the steel./ Someone has to build the dream”), Wheeler highlights the often-underappreciated physical labor that goes into making just about anything: houses, amusement parks—even books. more

Ace of Spades
Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé. Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-80081-7

On the first day of senior year, Devon Richards, an unpopular scholarship student from “the side of town... where people can’t afford food or health care,” is stunned to suddenly be named a Niveus Academy Senior Prefect. Less surprising is the Head Prefect selection: popular, wealthy queen bee Chiamaka Adebayo. But their lives are disrupted when the anonymous Aces begins to reveal secrets about the two in this bracing debut that hauntingly explores systemic oppression in predominantly white institutions. more

April 13, 2021
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Baby and Solo
Children's Frontlist Fiction
#1 Mothering Heights (Dog Man #10) by Dav Pilkey. Click here
Picture Books
#1 Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Click here
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