PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
From Newbery-Medal winning author and renowned naturalist Jean Craighead George
In the Spotlight
Children's Books for Fall:
All Our Coverage

Check out our comprehensive A-to-Z listings of publishers’ fall offerings for kids and teens, and more, in our Fall Announcements issue—featuring a cover by Rafael López. Happy reading! more
Ted Lewin
Caldecott Honor author-illustrator Ted Lewin, known for his realistic and richly detailed watercolors, died on July 28 at age 86. In all, he illustrated more than 200 books. more
If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit, Design Your Own
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy comes the first in a brand-new adult series inspired by the classic fairy-tale stories we all know and love, perfect for adult readers who crave contemporary, escapist rom-coms. Cindy meets Prince Charming behind the scenes of a reality-TV dating show, in this meant to be novel. MORE ►
In the News
Dick Robinson's Will Delivers a Surprise to Scholastic
A smooth transition for Scholastic following the death of Dick Robinson was called into question last weekend, when it was revealed that Robinson's will left his stake in the company to Iole Lucchese, a company executive. more
Every Child a Reader Renames,
Revamps Book Awards

Every Child a Reader is reimagining its Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards. Now known as the Kids' Book Choice Awards, the initiative aims to build on the flagship program by inviting readers of all ages to vote for their favorite titles. more
From Newbery-Medal winning author and renowned naturalist Jean Craighead George
Book News
'Twenty-One Steps' Celebrates the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier sits on a hill in the center of Arlington National Cemetery, with a stunning view of Washington, D.C. The Tomb, which honors all unidentified fallen soldiers, marks its 100th anniversary this November. We spoke with author Jeff Gottesfeld and illustrator Matt Tavares about their picture book Twenty-One Steps, which conveys their reverence for the Tomb and for the soldiers who guard it. more
It Doesn't Have to Be Awkward
On the Scene
Authors Guild Diversity Webinar Asks: Can Book Publishing Change?
The Authors Guild's virtual panel "Centering Black Voices: Short-Term Progress or Sustainable Change?," held on July 27, offered a wide-ranging examination of the history and potential of the book industry’s continuing struggle to address diversity. more
Introducing IPG's Top Shelf Titles
Q & A
Jerry Spinelli
The author of more than two dozen books, including Newbery winner Maniac McGee and the bestselling Stargirl novels, Jerry Spinelli is back with a new novel for young readers. In Dead Wednesday, the lives of a shy boy and a deceased, charismatic girl collide during an annual middle-school ritual. Spinelli spoke with us about his latest book and digging up story ideas.

Q: What do you hope that readers take away from the interaction between Worm and Becca in Dead Wednesday?

A: I like to think that whatever message I deliver I am not aware of. My goal is to write a good story so that readers want to keep turning the pages. Sooner or later the messages will come—I just let it happen. In the case of Dead Wednesday, I started out with a quote by Emily Dickinson that I include at the beginning of the book: “That it will never come again/ Is what makes life so sweet.” I could not say it any better. more
New from Emmy-winning New York Times bestselling author Jill Twiss!
PW KidsCast: Listen Now
Hear our latest podcasts, featuring Jo Watson, Michael G. Long, Tracy Deonn, Hafsah Faizal, Carlos Hernandez, Supriya Kelkar, Brittney Morris, Christopher Myers, 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
Mary Kate Castellani at Bloomsbury has acquired, at auction, She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran. This YA coming-of-age ghost story sets a girl's navigation of her Vietnamese American bisexual identity against both the dark legacy of colonialism and a blossoming summer romance, when she visits her estranged father in Vietnam and learns that the house they share is haunted. Publication is scheduled for winter 2023, and an untitled YA novel is scheduled for winter 2024; Katelyn Detweiler at Jill Grinberg Literary Management negotiated the six-figure deal for world English rights.
Wendy Loggia at Delacorte Press has bought world English rights to The Queen's Cup by Jordyn Taylor (Don't Breathe a Word), pitched as John Tucker Must Die meets Promising Young Woman in a darkly comic YA feminist mystery. A top-secret competition at a private school to see who on campus has the most sexual prowess ends with a popular LAX captain's disappearance, told from the POV of a girl who only wanted to find a boy who liked her but discovered her classmates' dark side. Publication is set for spring 2023; Danielle Burby at Mad Woman Literary Agency represented the author, in the agency’s first deal.
Sarah Barley at Flatiron has acquired world rights, in a preempt, to Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min, a best friends to enemies to lovers story with AAPI leads, celebrating first love and second chances, anime and indie rock, and transitions of all kinds, set against the background of a competitive high school marching band and the Los Angeles music scene. Publication is tentatively planned for summer 2022; Dana Murphy at the Book Group brokered the deal.
Sasha Henriques at Random House has bought world rights to Harley Quinn: Reckoning by Rachael Allen, first in a new trilogy within the DC Icons universe detailing Harley Quinn's origin story from vigilante teenager to supervillainess. Publication is slated for spring 2022; Susan Hawk at Upstart Crow represented the author.
Jonah Heller at Peachtree Teen has acquired world rights to contemporary YA debut The Art of Insanity by Christine Webb. Following a car accident, high school senior Natalie Cordova has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. As she navigates new friendships, romance, and an upcoming art competition, Natalie must overcome her mother's shame, handle her family's hidden past, and acknowledge her mental health needs to fully embrace her life. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Emily Keyes at Fuse Literary represented the author.
Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends has bought, in an exclusive submission, two middle grade novels by Chris Baron (All of Me; The Magical Imperfect). The first, The Gray World, tells the story of city kid Sasha who goes to stay with his aunt in the country while battling fierce anxiety which sends him to a place he calls the "Gray World"; and Forest Heart, in which 12-year-old Oliver and his friend Eve try to save their community, the heart of the forest nearby, and the animals that inhabit it, from both the wildfires that threaten to devour it and the developers that are trying to change the landscape forever. The books are set for spring 2023 and spring 2024, respectively; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency did the two-book deal for North American rights.
Carolina Ortiz at HarperCollins has acquired debut middle grade novel Sincerely Sicily by founder of Es Mi Cultura Tamika Burgess, in a two-book deal. The book features 11-year-old Sicily, who learns to use her voice and take pride in her Black Panamanian heritage while confronting a new school, friendship drama, and prejudice both in the classroom and at home. Publication is planned for winter 2023, with an untitled second book to follow in winter 2024; Regina Brooks at Serendipity Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world English rights.
Annie Berger at Sourcebooks Young Readers has bought North American rights to Come Out, Come Out by Lindsay Currie (Scritch Scratch, What Lives in the Woods). This spooky middle-grade novel features an aspiring girl detective who must decode a series of ominous clues, which may be tied to a century-old tragedy, to find a missing teenager before it's too late. Publication is slated for fall 2023, with an untitled second novel to follow in 2024; Shannon Hassan at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency did the two-book deal.
Britny Brooks at Running Press Kids has acquired Roll for Initiative by Jaime Formato. This middle grade debut follows Riley Henderson as she steps out of her brother’s protective shadow and behind the Dungeon Master's screen, discovering friendship, resourcefulness, and the ability to take initiative on her geeky journey of independence and self-reliance. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Lauren Keller Galit at LKG Agency brokered the deal for North American rights.
Dena Neusner at Apples & Honey Press has bought The Unexpected Adventures of C.A.T., a chapter book by Johanna Hurwitz, in a two-book deal. Chaia Ann Tober takes a tiny taste of cat food and dreams that she has turned into a cat. It felt so real; was it a dream, or did it actually happen? The books are tentatively planned for publication in spring 2023 and fall 2023; Liz Nealon at Great Dog Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Christy Ottaviano at Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano Books has acquired, in an exclusive submission, world rights to Little Red by Will Hillenbrand (Santa's Story). This winter-themed picture book for fans of Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton features a little vehicle determined to help its community during a snowstorm. It’s set for fall 2023; Brenda Bowen at the Book Group handled the deal.
Arthur Levine at Levine Querido has bought, in a preempt, Something Great, a picture book by Jeanette Bradley (Love, Mama) about Quinn, a nonbinary maker kid who uses their creativity and some recyclable materials to craft a versatile invention that can do all sorts of things—including make a friend. Emily Mitchell at Wernick & Pratt did the deal for world rights, with publication expected in spring 2023.
Rachel Matson at Cartwheel has acquired, in a three-book deal, world rights to Not an Egg, Not a Pumpkin, and Not a Heart by Susie Lee Jin, novelty books about shapes that are not what they seem. Publication is scheduled to begin in spring 2023; Rachel Orr at Prospect Agency represented the author-illustrator.
Hilary Van Dusen at MIT Kids/Candlewick has bought world rights to Isabel and the Invisible World by Alan Lightman (l.) (Ada and the Galaxies). When Isabel receives a prism for her birthday, she can suddenly see a whole world of light that was previously invisible. Ramona Kaulitzki will illustrate; publication is set for spring 2023. Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Sydnee Monday at Kokila has acquired Joy Takes Root, a picture book about a girl who learns about the sacred connective practices of plant work and herbal medicine in her Grammy's abundant garden, by Gwendolyn Wallace (l.), illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats Award winner Ashleigh Corrin. The book is slated to publish in summer 2023; Wendi Gu at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates represented the author, and Nicole Geiger at Full Circle Literary represented the illustrator.
Kendra Levin at S&S has bought world rights to Rick the Rock of Room 214, a new picture book from The Great Indoors pair author Julie Falatko (l.) and illustrator Ruth Chan, about a classroom rock specimen who is full of ennui, in a two-book deal. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented Falatko, and Rebecca Sherman at Writers House represented Chan.
Russ Busse at Abrams acquired, and Sara Sproull will edit, Skeleton Stomp: A Haunted Tour of the White House by Jarrett Dapier (l.), illustrated by Lee Gatlin, a picture book about a band of skeleton drummers that take a haunted tour of the White House during a Halloween celebration, discovering the many ghosts that roam its halls. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Elena Giovinazzo at Pippin Properties sold world rights for the author and illustrator.
Karen Boss at Charlesbridge has bought world rights to Forever Cousins, written by Laurel Goodluck (l.) (Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation & Tsimshian), illustrated by Jonathan Nelson (Diné) (First Laugh—Welcome Baby). In this Native American picture book, Kara and Amanda are best-friend cousins, but when Amanda leaves the city to move back to the Rez, will their friendship stay the same? Publication is set for fall 2022; Nicole Geiger at Full Circle Literary represented the author, and the illustrator represented himself.
Kate Farrell at Holt has acquired world rights, in an exclusive submission, to Invaders from Mars: The Truth About Babies, written by Peggy Robbins Janousky (l.), illustrated by Karen Obuhanych. In this picture book, a sonogram misunderstanding leads a boy to believe his baby sister is part of a Martian invasion. And he's right! Publication is slated for spring 2023; Joyce Sweeney at the Seymour Agency represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the artist.
Charlie Ilgunas at Little Bee Books has bought world rights to I'm Not Missing by Kashelle Gourley (l.), illustrated by Skylar Hogan. Sick of the stresses of pet life, one dog escapes to fulfill his true Lone Wolf destiny, but then sees his owner with a new dog and feels unexpectedly jealous. Publication is planned for summer 2022; Christa Heschke at McIntosh & Otis represented the author and the illustrator.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


What I Am
Divya Srinivasan. Viking, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-20401-6

Based on a scenario that Srinivasan’s sister once faced, the author-illustrator offers an empowering, accessible response to the often racially motivated question, “What are you?” This volume succeeds in restoring the dignity and nuance to identity that an all-too-common microaggression often condenses. more

Dream Street
Tricia Elam Walker, illus. by Ekua Holmes. Random/Schwartz, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-58110-9

Each spread in this powerful evocation of a warm, closely knit Black neighborhood offers a short sketch-in-language of one of its inhabitants by Elam Walker and a vivid, brilliant collage portrait by Holmes. A buoyant celebration of community nourishment, extolling the virtues of supporting children in dreaming freely and fully. more

Karla Arenas Valenti, illus. by Dana Sanmar. Knopf, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-17696-2

From the first line of this philosophical debut, Arenas Valenti demonstrates a gift for interweaving immersive, sensory-rich storytelling with a thoughtful discussion of fate vs. determinism. Fans of Coco will savor this tale and Sanmar’s occasional illustrations, which visualize Clara and Esteban’s journeys and the Lotería cards as the game progresses. more

Rainbow in the Dark
Sean McGinty. Clarion, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-358-38037-5

McGinty plays with storytelling and the subconscious as gender- and ethnically-unspecified Rainbow struggles to reconcile memories of teenage life with their current existence in the Wilds. Relayed chiefly through an enthralling second-person perspective, this dark yet hopeful tale, ideal for fans of A.S. King or the Shustermans’ Challenger Deep, balances humor and existentialism with great aplomb. more

Dark and Shallow Lies
Ginny Myers Sain. Razorbill, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-5934-0396-9

Grey returns every summer to La Cachette, La., to help run her grandmother’s spiritualist bookstore. Infused with Creole and Cajun legends and language, Myers Sain’s dreamy prose conjures a mythical Southern Gothic atmosphere, mixing violence with a Byronic characterization of Elora’s stepbrother Hart. Taut pacing builds sustained terror on the page with each successive suspect in this formidable debut. more

August 3, 2021
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Fluffy McWhiskers
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Right Now!
BookEnds Jr. has two promotions. Tracy Marchini has been promoted to senior literary agent, from literary agent. Emily Forney has been promoted to literary agent, from associate agent.
Random House Children's Books has a promotion and a new hire. Kristopher Kam has been promoted to publicity manager, from senior publicist. Brennam Bond has joined as a production assistant.
For a look at July's job moves, including new hires and promotions, click here.
On-Sale Calendar

It’s back to school for publishers as August stuffs backpacks with plenty of new titles for young readers, including Black Boy Joy, edited by Kwame Mbalia, How Moon Fuentez Fell in Love with the Universe by Rachel Vasquez Gilliland, and How We Fall Apart by Katie Zhao, among many others. Animal lovers can add to their Cat Problems by Jory John, illustrated by Lane Smith, and Alyssa Satin Capucilli’s Hello, Biscuit! Hello, Friends!, illustrated by Pat Schories. Comic fans can look forward to a new team in Pizza and Taco: Super-Awesome Comic by Stephen Shaskan. And picture book readers can find their inner strength in Be Strong by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Jen Hill, and Chez Bob by Bob Shea. For more titles releasing this month, check out PW's On Sale Calendar.
Children's Frontlist Fiction
#1 Wave of the Sea Dragon (Dragon Masters #19) by Tracey West, illus. by Matt Loveridge. Click here
Picture Books
#1 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Click here
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