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Rights Report
Ben Rosenthal at HarperCollins/Tegen has bought, in a two-book deal, North American rights to a middle-grade series from former NBA All-Star Caron Butler (l.) (Tuff Juice: My Journey from the Streets to the NBA) and Justin A. Reynolds (Opposite of Always and Early Departures). The first book, Shot Clock, is about a boy trying to find his place on an AAU basketball team coached by a former All-Star who had returned to his hometown, and the transformative impact playing basketball has on kids growing up in a community struggling with a lack of resources. Publication is set for 2022 and 2023; Dana Newman at Dana Newman Literary represented Butler, and Beth Phelan at Gallt & Zacker Literary represented Reynolds.
Kelsey Murphy at Philomel has acquired North American rights to Margot Mertz Will Clean Your Filth by Carrie McCrossen and Ian McWethy. Veronica Mars meets Moxie in this YA novel following a girl who runs an internet clean-up business who must take down a secret revenge porn site targeting the girls in her school. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Simon Lipskar at Writers House handled the two-book deal.
Tricia Lin at Random House has acquired, at auction, Katie Zhao's middle grade series, Winnie Zeng, pitched as The Storm Runner meets Pie in the Sky with the heart of Front Desk. The story follows a Chinese American girl navigating middle school; in the first book, Winnie Zeng and the Magic Mooncake, Winnie discovers her deceased grandmother's magic cookbook and learns that she's descended from a long line of shamans that use magic recipes to fight demons, inciting her to take pride in her heritage and become the hero that her classmates and town need. Publication will begin in fall 2022; Penny Moore at Aevitas Creative Management did the three-book deal for world rights.
Allison Cohen at Running Press has bought world rights to author Alison Hughes's Over the Top, a middle grade novel about a girl adapting to a new (pink!) home and school while making friends and facing off with the school's mean girls. Publication is planned for summer 2021; Hilary McMahon at Westwood Creative Artists brokered the deal.
Nancy Mercado at Dial has acquired world rights to The Book of Radical Answers (That I Know You Already Know) by author, educator, and activist Sonya Renee Taylor (The Body Is Not an Apology). This inclusive middle grade nonfiction book will provide honest guidance on some of life's biggest dilemmas, sourced with questions from young readers themselves. Publication is slated for spring 2022; Monica Odom at Odom Media Management negotiated the deal.
Margaret Raymo and Kwame Alexander at Versify have bought, at auction, I WILL! A Book of Pledges, I AM! A Book of Reminders, and I FEEL! A Book of Feelings, a picture book series by Pura Belpré Award winner Juana Medina. These three picture books pair illustrations with simple text about moods, declarations of worth, and commitments to ourselves and others. Publication is set for fall 2021, spring 2022, and fall 2022, respectively. Gillian MacKenzie at MacKenzie Wolf brokered the three-book deal for North American rights.
Tara Walker at Tundra has acquired, in an exclusive submission, Bumblebee, the author-illustrator debut of Dena Seiferling (illustrator of King Mouse). The picture book follows a baby bee who is taught to deliver secret messages to flowers. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Jackie Kaiser at Westwood Creative Artists handled the deal for world rights.
Anne Schwartz at Random House/Schwartz has bought Something on the Hill by Jane Kohuth (l.) (Duck Sock Hop), illustrated by Sonia Sanchez (The Little Red Fort). In this picture book, a group of woodland animals journeys up a hill and finds the very first sign of spring—a seedling peeking through the earth. Publication is planned for spring 2023; Teresa Kietlinski at Bookmark Literary negotiated world rights for the author and illustrator.
Jessica Garrison at Dial has acquired world rights to Bearplane by Deborah Underwood (l.) (The Panda Problem), illustrated by Sam Wedelich (Chicken Little: The Real & Totally True Tale). The rhyming, bear-pun-filled picture book prepares young readers for the airport and plane riding experience. Publication is slated for spring 2022; Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary represented the author, and Molly O'Neill at Root Literary represented the illustrator.
Christian Trimmer at Holt has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to That's Betty! The Story of Betty White by Gregory Bonsignore, illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter. The book follows a boy tasked with doing a presentation on a trailblazing woman, and for him, there's only one choice: Betty White. He gets a helping hand from a certain pioneer and icon who happens to be in the library on the same day. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Ryan Nord at the Nord Group represented the author, and Susan McCabe at Lilla Rogers represented the illustrator.
Rebecca Davis at Boyds Mills & Kane has acquired If You Want to Knit Some Mittens by Laura Purdie Salas (l.) (In the Middle of the Night) and illustrated by Angela Matteson (Grumbles from the Town). This picture book describes 18 steps for knitting mittens—beginning with getting a sheep. Publication is set for fall 2021; Fiona Kenshole at Transatlantic Literary represented the author, and Marcia Wernick at Wernick & Pratt represented the illustrator.
Christina Pulles at Albert Whitman has bought world rights to The Star Festival, a picture book by debut author Moni Ritchie Hadley (l.) and illustrated by Mizuho Fujisawa. Keiko, her mama, and her Obaasan attend the Japanese festival of Tanabata Matsuri and relive the events of the folktale it celebrates. Publication is planned for spring 2021; the author and illustrator represented themselves.
Kallie George at Greystone has acquired world rights to A Garden of Grenades and Other Stories by Canadian children's book author Rina Singh (l.), illustrated by Iranian cut-paper artist Hoda Hadadi. The collection of poems is about love, courage, and compassion, celebrating everyday heroes working to empower their communities around the world. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Essie White at Storm Literary represented the author, and the illustrator was unagented.
Cecily Kaiser at Rise x Penguin Workshop has bought Toni Buzzeo's Caution! Road Signs Ahead, a board book for the youngest backseat passengers decoding 35 common road signs, to be illustrated by Chi Birmingham. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary represented the author, and Nancy Moore at Rapp Art represented the illustrator in the deal for world rights.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


The Bear and the Moon
Matthew Burgess, illus. by Catia Chien. Chronicle, $18.99 (52p) ISBN 978-1-4521-7191-3

Burgess (Drawing on Walls: A Life of Keith Haring) and Chien (The Town of Turtle) add savor to a simple story with visceral writing and elemental artwork. A red balloon floats toward a young black bear: "It was red as a berry and round like the moon with a long silver string drifting brightly in the breeze." The bear’s roly-poly body provides a cozy counterpoint to the balloon’s smooth surface. more

Skunk and Badger
Amy Timberlake, illus. by Jon Klassen. Algonquin, $18.95 (136p) ISBN 978-1-64375-005-7

When Skunk barges into Badger’s quiet brownstone, readers sympathize with the scholarly, solitary Badger, who spends his days doing "Important Rock Work." Skunk toys idly with Badger’s treasured tools, and he seems bent on staying—but why? A letter from Badger’s Aunt Luna, the building’s owner, answers the question: "What would you think of Skunk moving into the brownstone?" more

The Way Back
Gavriel Savit. Knopf, $18.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-9848-9462-5

At once historical and tenderly intimate in scope, Savit’s (Anna and the Swallow Man) ambitious novel begins in the Eastern European shtetl of Tupnik in the 19th century, where the arrival of the Messenger of Death sets two Jewish youths on intersecting paths. The boy, Yehuda Leib, is desperate to recover a soul from Death; the girl, Bluma, eight days his junior, seeks to escape Death’s angel after accidentally acquiring its instrument: a seemingly innocuous but powerful spoon. more

Punching the Air
Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-299648-0

Zoboi (Pride) and Salaam (one of the Exonerated Five) together craft a powerful indictment of institutional racism and mass incarceration through the imagined experience of Amal, a Black, Muslim 16-year-old facing imprisonment. Amal, a gifted artist and poet attending a prestigious fine arts high school, has his life turned upside down when a nighttime park confrontation leaves a white kid from the other side "of that invisible line/ we weren’t supposed to cross" in a coma, and Amal and his four friends on the hook for assault and battery they did not commit. more

August 6, 2020
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