PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
In the Spotlight
An Insider's Guide to the Austin Children’s Book Community
Author, editor, and Austin, Tex., resident Leila Sales offers a tour of the vibrant children's book community in her city—including beloved bookstores, literary organizations, and a supportive network of fellow artists. more
In Conversation
Lucinda Robb and
Rebecca Boggs Roberts

The co-authors of The Suffragist Playbook, a nonfiction guide for young readers, Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts are both related to prominent women in politics. Robb is the granddaughter of First Lady Lady Bird Johnson and daughter of Lynda Robb, who served on the President's Advisory Committee for Women. Roberts is the granddaughter of Lindy Boggs—the first woman elected to Congress from Louisiana—and daughter of pioneering journalist Cokie Roberts. We asked Robb and Roberts to interview each other about their new book and lessons learned from the 19th- and 20th-century feminist movements. more
In the News
A Makeover for Jimmy Patterson Books
Under the reorganization of the Little, Brown children's imprint, Jimmy Patterson Books will focus on books written by James Patterson and all titles by other authors acquired by the imprint to date will be released by LBYR. more
Patrick Picklebottom’s Long Awaited Launch
Video games and electronics are fun—but is there anything better or more creative than a good book? Patrick Picklebottom and the Penny Book is a story about the love of reading. Without being preachy or putting down gadgets, games, and electronics, the story highlights how a child's imagination and creativity can soar by simply reading a great book. Coming Nov. 20. MORE ►
Jill Paton Walsh
Award-winning British author Jill Paton Walsh has died at age 83. As a young mother at home in the early '60s, Walsh wrote in her autobiography that she was “bored frantic,” and pulled out an old typewriter and started writing: “I began to write a book. It was a children’s book. It never occurred to me to write any other kind,” she said. more
On the Scene
Children's Authors Headline Twin Cities Book Festival
Rain Taxi, the Twin Cities-based literary nonprofit that hosts the Twin Cities Book Festival, brought the 20th annual event online this year due to the pandemic. The three-day virtual event took place October 15–17 with plenty of notable children’s authors on hand. more
Book News
Jan Brett Takes New Promotional Tack for 'Cozy'
Historically, Jan Brett has visited bookstores, schools, and libraries to promote each of her new picture books, traveling in her own customized bus with her husband. But in this anything-but-normal pandemic, Brett and her publisher have charted a new course to bring personalized copies of her new release, Cozy, to booksellers. more
Quarantine Stories
Stephanie Lucianovic
Continuing our series on children's authors' stories from the pandemic, picture book author Stephanie Lucianovic shares her experience writing from home while managing her kids' distance learning, and unexpectedly going viral—in the social media sense. more
PW KidsCast: Listen Now
Hear our latest podcasts, featuring Jimmy Dunne, Tomi Adeyemi, Kwame Alexander, Tracy Deonn, Carlos Hernandez, Supriya Kelkar, Brittney Morris, Steve Sheinkin, Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead, and Michael W. Waters – 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
Kate Meltzer at Roaring Brook has acquired, at auction, a YA fantasy duology by Kalyn Josephson, beginning with This Dark Descent. Inspired by Jewish folklore, The Scorpio Races meets Peaky Blinders in this multi-POV story of forbidden magic, dangerous secrets, and equestrian adventure that follows a young woman desperate to save her family, a black market enchantress, and a wealthy, ambitious lord, who join forces to win a deadly cross-country race. Publication is set for winter 2023 and 2024; Carrie Pestritto at Laura Dail Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
David Levithan at Scholastic has bought Things We Couldn't Say, a YA contemporary by Jay Coles (Tyler Johnson Was Here). High school junior Gio's hands are already full between school, family, friends, and a new boyfriend when his world is thrown off its axis by the return of the mother who abandoned him when he was nine. With his mother wanting to rebuild a relationship, he'll have to figure out which risks are worth taking and which hurts can be forgiven. Publication is planned for fall 2021; Lauren Abramo at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret did the deal for North American rights.
Michelle Frey at Knopf has acquired YA narrative nonfiction novel A Most Valuable Spy by Corey Mead, about Marguerite Harrison, a wealthy Baltimore heiress who radically transformed her life when she became a pioneering spy in Russia in the 1920s, and changed the American intelligence community's beliefs about what women could achieve in the field. Publication is scheduled for spring 2023; Wendy Schmalz at Wendy Schmalz Agency brokered the deal for world rights.
Elizabeth Lee at FSG has bought, in a six-figure preempt, The Inevitability of Home by Ciera Burch. Pitched for fans of Nina LaCour and Jesmyn Ward, this debut YA contemporary novel follows a Black girl who is forced to meet her estranged dying grandmother one sweltering summer. Meanwhile, she grapples with ancestral ghosts, a girl who wants to be more than friends, and a trove of secrets. Publication is slated for winter 2023; Patrice Caldwell at New Leaf Literary & Media negotiated the two-book deal for world English rights.
Maggie Rosenthal at Viking has acquired These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall. In this queer supernatural YA novel, a girl inherits her ancestral home, only to discover that a dark presence lurks within it—and within herself. With the help of the young woman called the Witch of Harrow, she must unlock the house's secrets and her own if she wants to survive. Publication is set for 2022; Lauren Spieller at Triada US Literary handled the six-figure, two-book deal for North American rights.
Catherine Wallace at HarperTeen has bought The Song I Sang Uncaring, the second novel by Nita Tyndall (Who I Was with Her). Set during the swingjugend movement in 1930s and 1940s Berlin, the story centers a girl who finds herself swept up in the culture and the resistance, while falling for another girl in the middle of it all. Publication is planned for summer 2022; Eric Smith at P.S. Literary brokered the deal for world English rights.
Susan Van Metre at Walker Books US has acquired, at auction, in a three-book deal, world rights to author Kate Milford (l.) and cartoonist Lucy Bellwood's Seacritters, pitched as Pirates of the Caribbean meets Redwall, about a young badger who joins the crew of a notorious pirate ship as they set out on a new semi-legal career path as privateers. Publication for the first book is slated for 2023; Tina Dubois at ICM Partners represented the author, and Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary represented the artist.
Samantha Palazzi at Scholastic has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to author K. Ibura's middle grade debut, When the World Turned Upside Down. In this tale set against the onset of Covid-19, four young residents of an apartment complex grapple with their individual home struggles, navigating issues of race and social justice to find the power of friendship and community. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Lilly Ghahremani at Full Circle Literary negotiated the deal.
Annie Berger at Sourcebooks has acquired world English rights to Juliana Brandt's middle grade novel The Phantom Island, about a boy who moves into a lighthouse on a mysterious island not found on any maps and must figure out why those who visit are never heard from again, before he and his family fall victim to the island's curse. Publication is set for spring 2022; Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary did the deal.
Kiara Valdez at First Second has bought world rights to Maddie Gallegos's Match Point!, a middle grade graphic novel following the growing friendship of two girls who play racquetball. Publication is planned for 2023; the author is unagented.
Kate Harrison at Dial has acquired The Stack plus an untitled picture book by author-illustrator Vanessa Roeder (The Box Turtle). Pitched as Audrey and Don Wood's The Napping House meets Shel Silverstein, The Stack follows Luna, who piles the likes of a bathtub, a station wagon, and an elephant to reach something way up high... a star. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Rebecca Sherman at Writers House handled the two-book deal for world rights.
David Linker at HarperCollins has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to Stanley the Dog and His First Day of School by Bobby Bones, author, radio host, and TV personality, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis. Featuring Bones's real-life dog, Stanley, this picture book follows Stanley as he faces down his fears about his first day at Doggy Day Care. Publication is slated for summer 2022; CAA represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Tamar Mays at HarperCollins has acquired world rights to To Boldly Go by Angela Dalton (l.), illustrated by Lauren Semmer. In this nonfiction picture book, actress Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Lt. Uhura on Star Trek, becomes disheartened by acts of prejudice on the set and decides to leave the show, until fan Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. convinces her she's making a difference. Publication is planned for winter 2023; Mary Cummings at Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Julia McCarthy at Atheneum has bought, at auction, Holding On by Sophia N. Lee (l.), illustrated by Isabel Roxas. This picture book follows a girl's visits to her music-loving Lola in the Philippines, and the song-filled summers she shares with her grandmother. But when Lola starts to forget, the girl helps her hold on with music and the joyful memories these songs bring. Publication is set for summer 2022, with a second untitled picture book to follow. Wendi Gu at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates represented the author, and Elena Giovinazzo at Pippin Properties represented the illustrator.
Meredith Mundy at Abrams Appleseed has acquired world rights to I Like/You Like, a rhyming picture book by Linda Ashman (l.) in two voices about children who are opposites in every way, but don't let their differences get in the way of friendship. Eve Coy will illustrate; publication is scheduled for spring 2022. Jennifer Mattson at Andrea Brown Literary represented the author, and Charlie Bowden at Pickled Ink Ltd. represented the illustrator.
Ann Kelley at Random House Studio has bought world rights to nonfiction picture book Whale Fall by Melissa Stewart, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey. When a whale is about 70 years old, it dies and drops to the bottom of the sea—and, for about 50 years, as it decomposes, it supports a rich assortment of sea life. Publication is slated for spring 2023; Tricia Lawrence at Erin Murphy Literary represented the author, and Ashley Valentine on behalf of Elena Giovinazzo at Pippin Properties represented the illustrator.
Christina Pulles at Albert Whitman has acquired world rights to King Sejong Invents an Alphabet, by debut author Carol Kim (l.). In this nonfiction picture book, a compassionate king invents a Korean alphabet to bring literacy to the underprivileged masses in 15th-century Korea. Cindy Kang will illustrate; publication is planned for fall 2021. Charlotte Wenger at Prospect Agency represented the author, and Helen Biles at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Kathy Landwehr at Peachtree has bought, at auction, Sandra Salsbury's author-illustrator debut, Best Friend in the Whole World, a picture book about a lonely rabbit named Roland and his new best friend, a pinecone named Milton. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021; Lindsay Auld at Writers House negotiated the deal for world rights.
Marilyn Brigham at Amazon Crossing Kids has acquired Magic Candies, written and illustrated by 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner Baek Heena (l.), and translated from Korean by Sophie Bowman. The picture book follows a boy who eats magical candy and can suddenly hear the thoughts of everyone around him, even his deceased grandmother. Publication is set for August 2021; Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors on behalf of Arui Shin Agency did the deal for North American English rights.
Christianne Jones at Capstone has bought world rights to So You Want to Build a Library? by Lindsay Leslie, a picture book that puts readers in the driver's seat as architects and designers of a new library of their dreams. Aviel Basil will illustrate; publication is slated for fall 2021. Stephanie Fretwell-Hill at Red Fox Literary represented the author, and Naima Danawi at Illozoo represented the illustrator.
Alyssa Mito Pusey at Charlesbridge has acquired world rights to The Gardener of Alcatraz, written by Emma Bland Smith (l.), illustrated by Jenn Ely. This nonfiction picture book features Alcatraz inmate Elliot Michener, who finds purpose and salvation in gardening on the rocky, windswept island. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022. Essie White at Storm Literary represented the author, and Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary represented the illustrator.
Feeding Minds Press has bought world rights to I Love Strawberries by Shannon Anderson (l.), illustrated by Jaclyn Sinquett, about a girl and her determination to grow and harvest her own strawberry plants. This diary-format picture book contains strawberry fun facts and follows the actual growing season of strawberries. Emma Dryden will edit; publication is planned for spring 2022. Cyle Young at Literary Elite represented the author, and Christy Ewers at the CAT Agency represented the illustrator.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


Over the Shop
JonArno Lawson, illus. by Qin Leng. Candlewick, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0147-5

A child helps create community in this wordless tale by Lawson. She lives with a grumpy, wild-haired grandparent, the proprietor of a run-down corner store with a dingy second-floor apartment that puts prospective renters off, until a new couple moves in. It’s a story about warmth, hospitality, and the way human beings can learn to change at any age. more

Seven Golden Rings:
A Tale of Music and Math

Rajani LaRocca, illus. by Archana Sreenivasan. Lee & Low, $19.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-885008-97-8

When Bhagat leaves his village in India to seek his fortune as the rajah’s musician, his mother gives him one rupee, a chain with seven tiny gold rings, and some invaluable advice: “Remember, Bhagat, you are a fine singer. But you are an even finer thinker.” LaRocca’s story, cast in the cadence of classic folktales, is enlivened by the contrast of Sreenivasan’s cartoon illustrations. more

Willa the Wisp (The Fabled Stables #1)
Jonathan Auxier, illus. by Olga Demidova. Amulet, $12.99 (96p) ISBN 978-1-4197-4269-9

Young Auggie has a job that many children will covet: he cares for the magical, mysterious, and “just plain weird” creatures at the Fabled Stables, located on an island at the top of the world. Auggie loves his work, but he has a problem: he longs for a friend. Words and pictures partner to create a captivating, promising series starter that boasts quirky secondary characters and a sympathetic hero. more

The Magic Fish
Trung Le Nguyen. Random House Graphic, $23.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-9848-5159-8

Tiến Phong, 12, who “speak[s] mostly English,” and his mother, Hiến, a refugee who “speak[s] mostly Vietnamese,” have long read fairy tales together to bolster Hiến’s English. Tiến cherishes this bonding activity, as his mother works long hours as a seamstress. Meanwhile, Tiến struggles to discuss his sexuality with his parents and navigate his feelings for male best friend. Nguyen’s poignant debut captures the bond between a parent and child, proving that language—and love—can transcend words. more

Super Fake Love Song
David Yoon. Putnam, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-9848-1223-0

Yoon’s (Frankly in Love) endearingly winning coming-of-age novel begins when 17-year-old self-described nerd Sunny Dae, who is Korean American, meets the girl of his dreams: Korean American Cirrus Soh. Tongue-tied Sunny doesn’t correct Cirrus when she mistakes his older brother Gray’s room for his, leading Cirrus to believe that Sunny is a budding rock star. Yoon challenges stereotypes and tackles the age-old theme of being true to oneself. more

October 22, 2020
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PW KidsCast: A Conversation with Michael W. Waters
HarperCollins Children's Books has a number of promotions. Maria Barbo has been promoted to executive editor, Harper Group, from senior editor. Stephanie Stein has been promoted to senior editor, Harper Group, from editor. Elizabeth Lynch has been promoted to editor, Harper Group, from associate editor. Megan Ilnitzki has been promoted to editor, Harper Group, from associate editor. Courtney Stevenson has been promoted to associate editor, Quill Tree Books, from assistant editor. Tiara Kittrell has been promoted to associate editor, Balzer + Bray, from assistant editor. Caitlin Johnson has been promoted to assistant editor, Balzer + Bray, from editorial assistant. Louisa Currigan has been promoted to assistant editor, Harper Group, from editorial assistant. And Clare Vaughn has been promoted to assistant editor, Harper Group, from editorial assistant.
Jonathan Morris at Random House Children's Books has been promoted to production coordinator, from production assistant.
#1 The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan. Click here
Picture Books
#1 Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illus. by Axel Scheffler. Click here
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