PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
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In the Spotlight
While the book publishing industry is responding daily to the coronavirus outbreak, we will provide continuing coverage on efforts by publishers, authors, booksellers, and more.
More Mondays with
Michelle Obama

The weekly read-aloud series "Mondays with Michelle Obama," which launched on April 20 by the former First Lady, Penguin Young Readers, Random House Children's Books, and PBS Kids, has been such a hit, it's expanding to include four more stories—featuring some special guests. more
'James and the Giant Peach' Reading
Raises Funds for Global Health Initiative

Roald Dahl's children's classic novel 'James and the Giant Peach' is heading from the page to the screen in support of a global health initiative's work to combat the new coronavirus. The Roald Dahl Story Company has tapped 'Jojo Rabbit' director Taika Waititi to create a 10-episode YouTube reading of the book featuring dozens of actors, musicians, and designers, including Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong'o, and Ryan Reynolds. more
Christian Robinson:
Creating Art That Matters

Author-illustrator Christian Robinson spoke with us about the genesis of his latest picture book, 'You Matter,' and his new video series, called 'Making Space.' The series was prompted by Robinson's desire to provide comfort to families that are sheltering in place due to Covid-19. more
Free 'Bad Kitty' Coloring Book
Teaches Readers to Wash Their Paws

As schools were starting to close across the country in response to Covid-19 in March, publicists at Macmillan sent a request to the company's authors, asking them to do online read-alouds. Bad Kitty creator Nick Bruel was happy to help, but wondered if there was more he could do. Just a short few weeks later, that idea is a full book: the Bad Kitty: Wash Your Paws coloring book is now available for free download on Bruel's website. more
Nowhere Boy
In the News
Schrank Named to Head Astra Publishing House; Russo to Join Minedition
Backed by Thinkingdom Media Group, Astra Publishing House has launched a new adult division, which will join children's publishing divisions Boyds Mills & Kane and minedition in the new company. Former Holt head Ben Schrank is publisher and COO of Astra, and Maria Russo, former New York Times children’s books editor, has been named editorial director of mineditionUS. more
Obituary
Thomas Low
Thomas Low, cofounder and CEO of multicultural children's publishing house Lee & Low Books, has died of cancer. He was 78. more
Soapbox
When It Comes to Online Events,
It's Time for Bookstores to Go Wild

Maggie Tokuda-Hall, debut YA author of 'The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea,' urges indie booksellers to think big when planning online events amid the pandemic. more
Interview
Kate Messner
Children’s book author Kate Messner will publish a dozen new books, and launch a new series, this year alone—all in spite of the current strain the industry is under. “It was going to be a wild year, even before the world turned upside down,” Messner said. more
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Rights Report
Andrew Eliopulos at HarperCollins/Quill Tree has acquired, in an exclusive submission, Act Cool by Tobly McSmith. In the YA novel, a transgender teen is accepted into a prestigious performing arts high school in New York, but when he is cast in a role that hits too close to home—the part of a trans teen whose family is intent on conversion therapy—he must learn how to be true to himself, apart from any role. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Tina Dubois at ICM Partners brokered the two-book deal for world rights.
Miriam Weinberg at Tor Teen has bought Charlie Jane Anders's debut YA sci-fi novel, Victories Greater Than Death, first in a trilogy. Tina has always known her destiny is outside the norm—after all, she is the human clone of the most brilliant alien commander in all the galaxies. But she is tired of waiting for her life to begin. And then it does—and maybe Tina should have been more prepared. Publication is set for spring 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively; Russell Galen at Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency did the deal for North American rights.
T.S. Ferguson at Little, Brown/Patterson has signed Valeria Wicker (author-illustrator of The Ugly Doodles) to illustrate Eleanor Rigby, a YA graphic novel written by James Patterson, in which a teen girl runs away to Seattle to find her missing sister and must tell stories on the street to survive. Publication is slated for fall 2021; Adria Goetz at Martin Literary Management negotiated the deal for world rights.
Rose Pleuler at HarperAlley has acquired world rights to debut author-illustrator Cait May and debut author Trevor Bream's Another Kind, a YA graphic novel, plus a second untitled graphic novel. While six cryptid kids search for a new place to call home, something sinister lurks in the shadows. Publication is planned for fall 2021; Claire Draper at the Bent Agency negotiated the deal.
Jessica Garrison at Dial has acquired, in a preempt, world rights to Zack Loran Clark's solo debut, The Lock-Eater. In the vein of Diana Wynne Jones, this middle-grade adventure brings together a girl with an uncanny talent and a "gearling" who yearns for greater things on a dangerous journey that will take all they have just to survive, and explores questions of friendship, sexual identity, and moral ambiguity. Publication is planned for fall 2021; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency brokered the deal.
Mary Kate Castellani at Bloomsbury has bought The Somewhere Else by Megan Frazer Blakemore (Water Castle) in her fantasy debut. This feminist middle grade retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" features a princess who, when she discovers that her curse allows her to call a boy from our world into hers, takes control of her own destiny and challenges the definitions of heroism. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties did the deal for world rights.
Bethany Buck at Pixel+Ink has acquired Erin Soderberg Downing's When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie—as well as another in the Great Peach Experiment series—a middle grade novel about a family reconnecting as they take a road trip in a newly acquired food truck. Publication is slated for spring 2021; Michael Bourret at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret negotiated the deal for world rights.
Janine O'Malley at FSG has bought Between the Lighthouse and You, a debut middle grade novel by Michelle Lee, about a girl who goes looking for answers about her missing mother on an island that receives yearly messages from the dead, and a boy whose family maintains the island's lighthouse, fighting to protect his town's traditions. Publication is set for fall 2021; Taylor Martindale Kean at Full Circle Literary brokered the deal for world English rights.
Alex Arnold at Quirk has acquired world rights to The Wild World Handbook by Andrea Debbink (Spark and Think for Yourself), an illustrated middle grade guide to nature exploration and environmental stewardship. With creative activities to engage with the natural world, ways to protect it, and stories of both famous and little-known adventurers, scientists, and artists who did just that, the book aims to empower the next generation of young activists and nature lovers. Publication is planned for April 2021, to tie in with Earth Day; Reiko Davis at DeFiore and Company handled the two-book deal.
While at Simon & Schuster, Liz Kossnar bought Dragons Are the Worst, a picture book by Alex Willan; Kendra Levin will edit. Gilbert the goblin does not understand why everyone is so afraid of dragons; after all, goblins are scary too—they know spells, and can fly, sort of. Surely they deserve a quest or two of their own, don't they? Publication is set for fall 2021; Lori Kilkelly at LK Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
Kate O'Sullivan at HMH has acquired world rights to Ancestory by Hannah Salyer. Focusing on ancient wall art from around the world, the nonfiction picture book asks who created it and why—while the exact answers may be out of reach, the investigation is half the fun. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Kirsten Hall at Catbird Productions brokered the deal.
Antonia Markiet at HarperCollins has bought, at auction, What Would You Do in a Book About You?, written by Jean Reidy and illustrated by Joey Chou, and two additional picture books by the author-illustrator team. What Would You Do in a Book About You? empowers children to be the authors of their own stories, embracing all the possibilities that life—or imagination—puts in front of them. Publication is slated to begin in spring 2021; Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and Kirsten Hall at Catbird Productions represented the illustrator in the deal for world rights.
Neal Porter at Holiday House/Porter has acquired world rights to I Don't Care by Julie Fogliano (l.), a picture book about two friends comparing all of the things that do (and do not) matter when it comes to true friendship. It will be jointly illustrated by Caldecott Honorees Molly Idle (c.) and Juana Martinez-Neal (r.). Publication is set for fall 2022; Steven Malk at Writers House represented Fogliano and Idle, and Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary represented Martinez-Neal.
Sydnee Monday at Kokila has bought world rights to A Blue Kind of Day, a picture book debut by Australian psychologist Rachel Tomlinson (l.). The story follows a boy who is learning how to navigate the physical symptoms of depression, and his family who is learning how best to hold space for him. Tori-Jay Mordey will illustrate. Publication is planned for spring 2022; Stacey Glick at Dystel, Goderich and Bourret represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Courtney Code at Abrams has bought world rights to Before Music by Annette Bay Pimentel (l.), which explores how people have, throughout time and across the world, used natural materials they find around them to make music. Madison Safer will illustrate in her debut; publication is scheduled for spring 2022. Kathleen Rushall at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the author, and Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the illustrator.
Megan Ilnitzki at HarperCollins has acquired world rights to One Wish by M.O. Yuksel (l.), a picture book biography about Fatima al-Fihri, the ninth-century Muslim woman who pioneered the world's oldest university—which is still operating today. Mariam Quraishi will illustrate; publication is set for winter 2022. Jenna Pocius at Red Fox Literary represented the author, and Lilly Ghahremani at Full Circle Literary represented the artist.
Courtney Burke at Page Street Kids has bought Sita's Hurly Burly Hullabaloo, a picture book by Tina Athaide (l.), illustrated by Asa Gilland, which centers on a girl whose endless energy helps her have fun but whose inability to sit still gets her in trouble—until her grandfather reveals he has his own "hurly-burly hullabaloo" and they work together to help Sita find her balance. Publication is slated for fall 2021; Andrea Cascardi at Transatlantic Agency represented the author, and Susan McCabe at Lilla Rogers represented the artist.
Wendy McClure at Albert Whitman has bought world rights to Dylan's Dragon by Annie Silvestro, which follows overscheduled Dylan and his new friend Dragon as they try to play together. But it's tough to find time in between baseball practice, piano lessons, karate class, homework… The picture book is a reminder that sometimes it's better to cut back, and do less to live more. Ben Whitehouse will illustrate; publication is set for April 2021. Liza Pulitzer Voges at Eden Street represented the author, and Frederica Dawson at the Bright Agency represented the artist.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.

SHELFTALKER

Kenny Brechner
‘Our Friend Hedgehog’

Lauren Castillo’s Hedgehog is a friend indeed.

more »

Elizabeth Bluemle
The Flying Pig Games

Promoting the fourth book in the Hunger Games series during COVID-19 invited a little video intervention.

more »

Elizabeth Bluemle
When the Mail Makes You Cry Happy

The best batch of mail we’ve ever had.

more »

Kenny Brechner
Two Twos

Two things I’m pretty sure are true and two things we’re doing at DDG to work around the closure of our selling floor.

more »
FEATURED REVIEWS

All the Birds in the World
David Opie. Peter Pauper, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4413-3329-2

A quizzical kiwi follows readers through Opie’s vibrantly illustrated exploration of bird types and attributes. Fantastical compilations of birds common and rare, depicted with great care and painterly realism, are shown roosting, nesting, wading, and flying, interleaved with spreads showing arrays of eggs, beaks, and bird feet. It’s a captivating display of diversity. more

Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe
Carlos Hernandez. Disney/Riordan, $16.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-368-02283-5

In this heartwarming follow-up to 2019’s Sal & Gabi Break the Universe, the titular duo is faced with a new set of challenges when a Gabi from a parallel dimension appears, claiming that Sal’s father’s efforts to close wormholes will actually destroy the universe. While Hernandez incorporates a genuine threat to his characters in this rousing adventure, the true focus is on friendship, family, and honesty. more

Agnes at the End of the World
Kelly McWilliams. Little, Brown, $17.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-3164-8733-7

The Red Creek compound is the only life Agnes, 16, has known. Adhering to the belief that “perfect obedience produces perfect faith,” she and her siblings have been taught by Red Creek’s prophet that women are inferior to men and that outsiders are not to be trusted. Devout though she is, Agnes secretly seeks outside help to save her brother, who has type 1 diabetes. When a viral pandemic encroaches, Agnes uncovers an aural realm long forgotten. more

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin
Roseanne A. Brown. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-289149-5

Magic creates a centuries-long divide between peoples in this stunning debut novel inspired by North African and West African folklore. Malik and his sisters, refugees from the Eshra Mountains, have spent the last two months traveling the Odjubai Desert to find work in the city-state of Ziran. When his younger sister is taken by an evil spirit as payment for a magical gift, Malik strikes a deal to kill Princess Karina Alahari, 17, in order to save his sister. more

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
Suzanne Collins. Scholastic Press, $27.99 (528p) ISBN 978-1-338-63517-1

Collins continues her unflinching exploration of power and morality in this prequel set 64 years prior to the events of the Hunger Games trilogy. In a challenging move that considers the journey from complicity to what lies beyond, the story centers on Coriolanus Snow, archvillain of the Katniss Everdeen era. A gripping mix of whipsaw plot twists and propulsive writing make this story's complex issues vivid and personal. more

May 21, 2020
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Choo-Choo School
The Chicken Who Couldn't
npd - Industry Expertise: Books
Of Note

We Need Diverse Books has announced that the 2020 Walter Dean Myers Grants for writers from diverse communities are open for applications on May 31 and will accept submissions until June 30. Originated in 2015 by WNDB, the Walter Dean Myers program provides 16 grants of $2,000 to support writers from diverse communities. Past recipients include such writers as Jennifer de Leon (Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From), Yamile Saied Méndez (Where Are You From?), and Angie Thomas (The Hate U Give). For more information, click here.
Bestsellers
Children's Frontlist Fiction
#1 The One and Only Bob by Katherine Applegate. Click here
Picture Books
#1 Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss. Click here
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