PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
Best Babysitters Ever
In the News
Jason Reynolds Named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature
Since the 2014 publication of his first YA novel, When I Was the Greatest, Jason Reynolds has produced 15 books. In 2020, he will add a huge new responsibility to his schedule: on Thursday he will be sworn in as the next National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, taking the reins from Jacqueline Woodson. more
Will Spring Ever Come Again?
When Little Mole is feeling sad in his dark, underground home, his mother shows him how to look for hope. He finds that signs of spring are everywhere, from the daffodil bulbs under the soil to the tiny buds on the branches above. Hope can be found—even in the darkest places. MORE ►

Book News
San Diego Zoo Press Fosters Care and Conservation
We take an inside look at San Diego Zoo Global Press, the book publishing division of San Diego Zoo Global, which has introduced young readers to residents of the famous zoo since its founding in 2015—teaching the next generation to care for our planet's most endangered creatures. more
Little Mole Finds Hope
Reading Report
Noteworthy Novel Sequels: January 2020
Noteworthy novel sequels hitting shelves this month include the return to a YA fantasy realm, the further adventures of a Mexican-American middle schooler, a dark contemporary fairy tale, and more. Click through to see our roundup. more
Four Questions
Scott Magoon
PW spoke with the illustrator about his collaborations with author Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who wrote more than 30 children's books before she died in 2017. more
A Green Place to Be
PW KidsCast: Listen Now
Hear our latest podcasts, featuring Robert Repino, Tomi Adeyemi, Kwame Alexander, Jonathan Auxier, Hafsah Faizal, Carlos Hernandez, Brittney Morris, Christopher Myers, Steve Sheinkin, Jason Tharp, Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead – listen to these and other top writers and artists discuss their new books for children and teens in our PW KidsCast podcast.
Click here to listen.

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

Rights Report
Emilia Rhodes at HMH has acquired, at auction, The Ravens by Kass Morgan (l.) and Danielle Paige, first in a series about two girls in a southern sorority where the powerful, seemingly perfect sisters are keeping a secret—they're all witches. Publication is scheduled for January 2021; Lanie Davis and Joelle Hobeika at Alloy Entertainment brokered the two-book deal on behalf of the authors. Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary & Media represents Paige.
Sara Goodman at Wednesday Books has bought Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz (And We're Off). The gothic love story, set against the backdrop of 1830s Edinburgh, is about an aspiring young female surgeon, the resurrection man who brings her bodies to study, and a reclusive aristocrat who tempts them both with immortality. Publication is slated for fall 2021; Dan Mandel at Greenburger Associates negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends has acquired, in a two-book deal, Me (Moth), a YA novel in verse, and an untitled YA novel by debut author Amber McBride. Me (Moth) features Moth, the granddaughter of a Hoodoo root worker, who thinks she is invisible, and a Navajo boy named Sani, who is the only one who really sees her, and what happens when they take a road trip and discover that their families were connected long before they were born. Publication of the first book is set for fall 2021; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency did the deal for North American rights.
Annie Berger at Sourcebooks Fire has bought Murder Castle by Bryce Moore. Pitched as Stalking Jack the Ripper meets a YA Devil in the White City, the book follows 16-year-old Zuretta as she travels to Chicago during the 1893 World's Fair to try and save her sister from a notorious mass murderer and his custom-built death trap. Publication is planned for summer 2021; Eddie Schneider at JABberwocky Literary Agency brokered the two-book deal for world rights.
Jody Corbett at Scholastic has acquired world rights to Speak for Yourself, a second book by Lana Wood Johnson (Technically, You Started It). Told partly through chat transcriptions, the novel reimagines Cyrano de Bergerac for the tech era. Aspiring tech genius Skylar tries to keep her academic competition team together by setting up her most valuable teammate with her archnemesis, only to realize she's falling for him herself. Publication is scheduled for summer 2021; Bridget Smith at JABberwocky Literary Agency handled the deal.
Nancy Mercado at Dial has bought, in a two-book deal, Paul Acampora's middle-grade romantic comedy, Danny Constantino's First Date, featuring the eponymous seventh grader, who lands a Halloween date with Hollywood teen superstar Natalie Flores Griffin. When the date gets tangled up in small-town politics, social media mishaps, overenthusiastic fans, Halloween costume disasters, and a school pep rally that goes wrong, Danny wonders if his first date ever might also be his last. Publication is set for fall 2020; Susan Hawk at Upstart Crow Literary negotiated the deal for world English rights.
Holly Rice at Disney-Hyperion has acquired world rights to the first three books in Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy, an early chapter book series written by Kallie George (l.) and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez Gómez. Young fairy godmothers-in-training go on adventures and attend magical classes at Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy, a reimagining of Disney Park's Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Cinderella's Fairy Godmother. Publication for all three books is slated for fall 2022; Emily van Beek at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management represented the author, and Alex Gehringer at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Jen Besser at Roaring Brook has bought, at auction, in a three-book deal, world rights to Deborah Marcero's graphic novel debut, Haylee and Comet. Pitched as E.T. meets Narwhal and Jelly, the book features a girl who befriends a comet, navigating the ups and downs of interstellar friendship and what it truly means to be a friend. Publication of the first book is planned for winter 2021; Laura Rennert at Andrea Brown Literary Agency brokered the deal.
Arthur A. Levine at Levine Querido has acquired Shy Willow, a picture book debut by author-artist Catherine Min. The book tells the story of a very shy rabbit who ventures out in the world to deliver a birthday wish from a small boy to the moon. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021; Maria Vicente at P.S. Literary Agency sold world rights.
Luana Horry at HarperCollins has bought world rights to A Spoonful of Faith, written and illustrated by Jena Holliday. In this debut rhyming picture book, a mother and daughter create a special treat together that boosts their faith in God, love, and joy to help them conquer each day. Publication is slated for winter 2022; Holliday was unagented.
Joanna Cárdenas and Sydnee Monday at Kokila have acquired world rights to The Cot in the Living Room, a picture book debut by Hilda Eunice Burgos (l.) (Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle). Debut picture book artist Gaby D'Alessandro will illustrate. Based in New York City's Washington Heights, it follows a Dominican-American child's journey from jealousy to empathy as her parents babysit young people from the neighborhood whose families work night shifts. Publication is set for summer 2021. The book was submitted to Kokila's yearly open call for unagented manuscripts. The author represented herself, and Gail Gaynin at Morgan Gaynin represented the illustrator.
Tom Peterson of the Creative Company has bought world rights to Mud Angel by Beth Kephart, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti, a picture book about an artistic boy who navigates the historic 1966 flood in Florence, Italy, inspired by the illustrator's life. Publication is planned for fall 2021; Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary represented the author, and the illustrator represented himself.
Andrea Welch at S&S/Beach Lane has acquired world rights to Mouse Calls by Anne Marie Pace (l.) (Vampirina Ballerina). The call-and-response story begins with Mouse alerting her friends to an impending storm and ends with the grateful friends helping repair Mouse's storm-damaged home. Illustrated by Erin Balzer, the picture book is scheduled for publication in fall 2021. Linda Pratt at Wernick & Pratt represented the author, and Kirsten Hall at Catbird Productions represented the illustrator.
Emily Feinberg at Roaring Brook has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to A History of Underwear (with Chickens) by Hannah Holt, illustrated by Korwin Briggs. This picture book takes a look at underwear throughout the ages, exploring strange underwear materials, uses, and trends—as modeled by chickens. Publication is slated for winter 2022; Jennifer March Soloway at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the author, and Kirsten Hall at Catbird Productions represented the illustrator.
Phoebe Yeh at Crown has acquired world rights to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture's Mae Makes a Way, written by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (l.) and illustrated by Andrea Pippins. The picture book biography is about African-American hatmaker and pioneer entrepreneur Mae Reeves, who designed custom hats for such celebrities as Marian Anderson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lena Horne. Publication is set for summer 2022. Jill Corcoran, director of licensed publishing at Smithsonian, represented the Smithsonian, and Marietta Zacker at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency represented the author; the illustrator is unagented.
Phoebe Yeh at Crown has bought world rights to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture's Sankofa: My Family Reunion, written by Kelly Starling Lyons (l.) and illustrated by Andrea Pippins. The compendium celebrates the roots and cultural importance of family reunions in African-American communities and includes biographical profiles, games, and archival art from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. Publication is set for spring 2023. Jill Corcoran, director of licensed publishing at Smithsonian, represented the Smithsonian, and Caryn Wiseman at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the author; the illustrator is unagented.
Karen Li and Karen Boersma at Owlkids have acquired world rights to Frogness by Sarah Nelson (l.), illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes. The picture book is about Sammy and Chocolate, who hope to catch a frog in the twilight marsh, but end up catching something much better—muddy, magical frogness. Publication is planned for spring 2021; Marietta B. Zacker at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Louise May at Lee & Low has bought world English and Spanish rights to The Turquoise Room by Monica Brown (l.), illustrated by Pura Belpré Award honoree Adriana M. Garcia. This bilingual picture book recounts the artistic lives of three generations of women in the author's family as they pass their creativity from generation to generation for more than 100 years. Publication is scheduled for 2021; Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary represented the author and the illustrator.
Oren Eades at SkyHorse has acquired world rights to The Only Mermaid by Lisa Ann Scott (l.), illustrated by Amberin Huq. In the picture book, a young mermaid is thrilled to be the only one in the sea, but when another mermaid shows up in her lagoon, she's not sure there's room for two. Publication is slated for spring 2021; Jennifer Unter at the Unter Agency represented the author, and Bethany Sparks at Plum Pudding Illustration represented the illustrator.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


Cynthia Compton
Unpacking from Winter Institute

One bookseller’s final reflections from Winter Institute.

more »

Meghan Dietsche Goel
Did Gene Luen Yang Make Me Love Basketball?

A sports averse bookseller finds a lot to love in ‘Dragon Hoops.’

more »

Kenny Brechner
Some Hurried Snippets from Baltimore

Some early Winter Institute highs and lows.

more »

Cynthia Compton
Bookseller Buzz from Baltimore

The first day of ABA’s Winter Institute in Baltimore is abuzz with bookseller conversations.

more »

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat
Raúl the Third. Versify, $14.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-328-55704-9

Now that he has a bicycle with a sidecar in addition to his wagon, Little Lobo, the young wolf who starred in Raúl the Third’s first bilingual ¡Vamos! story, is really in business: “Now we can make our deliveries faster,” he tells his dog, Bernabé. The vital images, the dazzling colors and light, and the devotion to Mexican food and eating make this story utterly distinctive—and delicious. more

Under the Lilacs
E.B. Goodale. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-358-15393-1

Feeling ignored by her busy mother and older sister, Kate leaves a note and runs away. She doesn’t go far, just outdoors to a lilac bush, where she constructs a house for herself out of cardboard, sticks, and tape, and decides, with industrious confidence, that she “could live here, under the lilacs.” Goodale's solo debut offers a gentle glimpse at a child’s newfound independence and impulse to escape, “at least for a little while.” more

Show Me a Sign
Ann Clare LeZotte. Scholastic Press, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-338-25581-2

Set in 1805, LeZotte’s engrossing historical novel explores prejudice and racism through the eyes of 11-year-old Mary Lambert, who is deaf. Mary lives with her parents in a Martha’s Vineyard town made up of both English and Wampanoag members. So many of the residents are deaf that the island has its own sign language, a fact that attracts a young scientist. LeZotte, who is deaf, deftly connects the islanders’ prejudice against the Wampanoag to the mainlanders’ view of deaf individuals as lesser. more

Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1)
Rin Chupeco. Sourcebooks Fire, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4926-7266-1

Tala Warnock is a Makiling, a spellbreaker, living with her Scottish and Filipino family in the Royal States of America, where ICE hunts refugees from other magical lands. Combining legends, myths, fairy tales, and classic children’s literature from Oz to Neverland, Chupeco creates an enchanting story that is both a feast for the senses and a unique spin on the hero’s journey. more

January 23, 2020
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Prairie Lotus
See you at Wi15! Meet author Ruth Spiro at the Author Reception
PW KidsCast: A Conversation with Robert Repino
Lisa Donovan, v-p and executive managing editor at Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, will retire on March 20, after 20 years with the company.
Jennifer Baker has joined Random House Children's Books as managing editor; previously she was production editor at Teachers College Press.
HarperCollins Children's Books has one new hire and one promotion. Audrey Steuerwald will join the company on January 13 as art director for the ad/promo design group; most recently she was at assistant art director for marketing at Random House Children's Books. Xander Hollenbeck has been promoted to senior designer, from designer.
At Penguin Young Readers, Vanessa DeJesús has been promoted to senior publicist, from publicist.
At Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Savannah Kennelly has been promoted to digital marketing associate, from digital marketing assistant.
Children's Frontlist Fiction
#1 Fetch-22 (Dog Man #8) by Dav Pilkey. Click here
Picture Books
#1 The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illus. by Christian Birmingham. Click here
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