PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
The Arctic Incident: The Graphic Novel
Cover Reveal
'The Hawthorne Legacy'
We spoke with author Jennifer Lynn Barnes about the sequel to her bestselling YA thriller The Inheritance Games—starring a teen girl who is named heir to a billionaire she’s never met. Barnes said, "The Inheritance Games was my 21st book, so to have it find the kind of support it has is both wonderful and surreal." Click through for our exclusive first look at her new novel, The Hawthorne Legacy, due out in September. more
In the News
Christian Trimmer to Head
Relaunch of MTV Books

MTV Entertainment Group has announced that publishing industry veteran Christian Trimmer will steer the relaunch of MTV Books in partnership with Simon & Schuster. The move coincides with the ramp-up of MTV Entertainment's Book to TV/Film pipeline. more
Inkyard Announces Middle Grade Publishing Program
Inkyard Press, Harlequin’s YA commercial fiction imprint, is launching a line of middle grade books beginning in 2022. The focus will be on action-driven novels, including humor and fantasy, with an eye toward series and brand development. more
Book News
Aladdin to Publish Gayle Forman's
Debut Middle-Grade Novel

Bestselling YA author Gayle Forman ('If I Stay') will make her first foray into middle-grade fiction in October with 'Frankie & Bug,' due from Simon & Schuster's Aladdin imprint. Forman said, “The sustaining power of friendship is so important in my life, and it keeps showing up in my novels." more
J.D. and the Great Barber Battle
Kid Lit in the Wild
21 Across: Laurie Keller's Crossword Surprise
Author-illustrator Laurie Keller was having a pretty normal weekend at home on January 9 when she received some exciting news: one of Keller's book characters, Arnie the Doughnut, was a clue in the New York Times Sunday crossword. "You just never know sometimes where your book might show up," she marveled. more
Blue, Barry & Pancakes
Giving Back
Holiday Toy Drive Becomes
Pandemic Book Drive

In large part due to the pandemic, the office of California Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris tweaked an annual holiday tradition: instead of sponsoring a toy drive in California's 74th Assembly District as the office usually does, it organized a book drive. more
Virtual & In-Person Learning Tools
Four Questions
Andrew Arnold
During a 2017 visit to his parents, Andrew Arnold drew a doodle of a boy with black scribbles over his head, and the idea for What's the Matter, Marlo? was born. It’s the story of a boy who is overwhelmed by grief and rebuffs his friend's attempts to help. Arnold, who is editorial director of the graphic novel imprint HarperAlley, is currently prepping for a new set of arrivals: a follow-up picture book, and, in March, his first child.

Q: So, it all started with a doodle—what else can you tell us about it and the book’s backstory?

A: I liked the juxtaposition of the scribble over his head—there was something about it that said so much. I started thinking about what it was like being a kid and talking about my feelings, how it’s hard to do. And I thought about the friendships in the past that helped me through. more
#OwnVoices Novel Reimagines 'Romeo
and Juliet'

Hamilton meets Geekerella in Roman and Jewel, a witty, YA rom-com centered on a Romeo and Juliet-inspired Broadway hip-hopera. Author and actor Dana L. Davis joined PW to discuss her new novel, its inclusive representation and how her performance background informed the characters. Watch the interview and enter to win a copy! WATCH NOW ►

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

Rights Report
Jennifer Ung at Simon & Schuster has acquired North American rights to The Jump by Brittney Morris (SLAY; The Cost of Knowing), along with another, untitled YA novel. The contemporary YA follows a group of Seattle teens who enter a cryptology contest run by a mysterious entity called The Order, which will offer the winner high-tech resources that the teens plan on using to stop the placement of an oil refinery in their neighborhood. Publication for The Jump is slated for spring 2023, with the other book to follow in 2024; Quressa Robinson at Nelson Literary negotiated the six-figure deal.
Wendy Loggia at Underlined has bought world rights to Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach; Alison Romig will edit. Pitched as The Conjuring meets The Vow, this #OwnVoices Latinx horror story follows the daughter of demonologists and her crush, who face off against evil forces inspired by both American and Latin American folklore. Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Lane Heymont at Tobias Literary brokered the deal.
Emily Meehan at Disney-Hyperion has acquired Britney S. Lewis's YA debut, The Undead Truth of Us, with Britt Rubiano and Christine Collins to edit. Pitched as a mix of Sadie, The Astonishing Color of After, and Warm Bodies, the contemporary novel with a speculative twist follows a young Black dancer who, after her mother's sudden death, has been seeing zombies. But when she meets an undead boy, he helps her unravel the truth about how love can change someone—for good or for dead. Publication is set for summer 2022; Katelyn Detweiler at Jill Grinberg Literary Management did the two-book deal for world rights.
Sarah Shumway at Bloomsbury has bought, in an exclusive submission, Don't Call Me a Hurricane by Ellen Hagan (Reckless, Glorious, Girl). The YA novel-in-verse follows 18-year-old Eliza Murphy, an environmental activist especially concerned with protecting her coastal community, who navigates the after-effects of a hurricane that devastated her town, while falling for a boy at the center of a redevelopment that could put their community in serious danger—again. Publication is planned for spring 2022; Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio negotiated the two-book deal for world English rights.
Margaret Raymo at HMH/Versify has acquired, in a preempt, Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk. This YA novel-in-verse features a tumultuous romance between two girls in nonlinear chapters, anchored by a single day where they set a fire and their relationship spirals out of control. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Beth Phelan at Gallt and Zacker Literary brokered the deal for world rights.
Jerry Pohlen at Chicago Review Press has bought SCOOP: Memoir of a 13-Year-Old Investigative Crime Journalist by Hilde Lysiak (author of the Hilde Cracks the Case series). Lysiak is the real-life inspiration for the new Apple TV+ series, Home Before Dark, and serves as a creative consultant for the show. Publication of the middle grade memoir is slated for 2022; Sharlene Martin at Martin Literary & Media Management handled the deal for world English rights.
Kendra Levin at Simon & Schuster has acquired, in an exclusive submission, Eden's Everdark and an untitled middle grade novel by Karen Strong (Just South of Home). Twelve-year-old Eden Leopold, on a visit to her late mother's birthplace of Safina Island, Ga., discovers a creepy sketchbook that leads her to Everdark—a spirit world ruled by an evil witch who Eden must defeat in order to make it back home. Publication is set for fall 2022; Patrice Caldwell at New Leaf Literary & Media did the two-book deal for world English rights.
Kathleen Merz at Eerdmans has bought world English rights to Borsch by Yevgenia Nayberg, which offers a glimpse into the mind of an immigrant child encountering typical American foods for the first time. Publication is planned for spring 2022; Anna Olswanger at Olswanger Literary represented the author-illustrator.
Luana Kay Horry at HarperCollins has acquired, in a two-book deal, world rights to The McClure Twins, a picture book series written by YouTube influencers Ava McClure (c.) and Alexis McClure (l.), illustrated by Courtney Dawson (r.). In the first book, The McClure Twins: Make It Fashion, the sisters start to wonder if "real" twins can wear mismatched clothing when they don't agree on their fashion show wardrobe; in the end, they learn to embrace their differences. Publication for the first book is slated for summer 2021; Regina Brooks at Serendipity Literary and David Doerr at A3 Artists Agency represented the authors, and Nicole Tugeau at Tugeau 2 represented the illustrator.
Namrata Tripathi at Kokila has bought world English rights to Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series by Cherokee author Traci Sorell (l.) (We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga and At the Mountain's Base), illustrated by Kickapoo artist Arigon Starr (Super Indian; Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers). This nonfiction picture book profiles Native professional baseball players Charles "Al" Bender (Ojibwe) and John "Jack" Meyers (Cahuilla), who faced significant discrimination and hardship in their journeys to athletic success, culminating in their faceoff at the 1911 World Series. Publication is set for spring 2023. Emily Mitchell at Wernick & Pratt represented the author, and Janet Miner at Wacky Productions Unlimited represented the artist.
Donna Bray at HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has acquired world rights to Small Places, Close to Home by Deborah Hopkinson (l.), with illustrations by Kate Gardiner. The picture book is inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that Eleanor Roosevelt helped draft after WWII—and which served as the first bill of human rights in history. Publication is scheduled for fall 2023, the 75th anniversary of the declaration's adoption by the U.N.; Steven Malk at Writers House did the deal for both author and illustrator.
Mary Lee Donovan at Candlewick has bought world rights to We Are One: How the World Adds Up by E.B. White Award Honoree Susan Hood (l.), an exploration of the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, using the numbers 1–10 to illuminate. Fine artist Linda Yan will illustrate. Publication is planned for fall 2021; Brenda Bowen at the Book Group represented the author, and the illustrator represented herself.
Elizabeth Lazowski at Chronicle has acquired, at auction, world rights to Valerie Bolling's (l.) Together We Ride and a sequel, Together We Swim. Both stories follow a pair of siblings as they learn to bike or swim on their own, with the help and support of their parents. Kaylani Juanita will illustrate; publication is scheduled for spring 2022 and spring 2023, respectively. James McGowan at BookEnds Literary represented the author, and Charlotte Sheedy at Charlotte Sheedy Literary represented the illustrator.
Joy Bean at Boyds Mills & Kane has bought world rights to Before the Wright Brothers: Otto Lilienthal, the World's First Pilot by Mike Downs (l.), illustrated by David Hohn. This picture book biography follows Lilienthal's attempts at flight, becoming the first person to fly by building a glider and inspiring the Wright Brothers, who used Lilienthal's method before attempting the first powered flight. Publication is set for fall 2022. Tracy Marchini at BookEnds represented the author; Natascha Morris, when she was at BookEnds, and James McGowan at BookEnds represented the illustrator.
Carolyn Yoder at Calkins Creek has acquired world rights to picture book Dazzlin' Dolly: Songwriter, Singer, and Guitar Picker, written by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. The book will follow the path of Dolly Parton at the start of her remarkable musical career. Publication is slated for fall 2022; the author and illustrator were unagented.
Jordan Nielsen at POW! Kids has bought world rights to I Am Today, a picture book by Matt Forrest Esenwine. Told in rhyming verse, the story follows a girl who, when encountering an injustice, realizes that she doesn't have to wait to grow up in order to fight for what's right. Patricia Pessoa will illustrate; publication is planned for fall 2021. The author represented himself, and Atlanta Japp at Advocate Art represented the illustrator.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


The Ramble Shamble Children
Christina Soontornvat, illus. by Lauren Castillo. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17632-6

Reading a book they find in the attic, five children with varying skin tones living together in a “ramble shamble” house discover a picture that gives them pause: “Oh, that’s what a proper house looks like.” They decide to “proper up” their home, but the improvements bring their own trouble. Sweet-tempered writing by Soontornvat and affectionate spreads by Caldecott Honoree Castillo make it clear that the ramble shamble house is perfect the way it is. more

The Floating Field: How a Group of Thai Boys Built Their Own Soccer Field
Scott Riley, illus. by Nguyen Quang and Kim Lien. Millbrook, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5415-7915-6

This real-life celebration of resourcefulness by debut author Riley follows Prasit Hemmin, a boy who, with his friends, found space for a soccer field on the Thai island of Koh Panyee and founded one of the most successful youth soccer clubs in Southern Thailand. Working around the field’s limitations, they go on to play in a mainland tournament. Illustrations by Vietnamese team Quang and Lien emphasize light, movement, and perspective, making for a transportive read. more

Angel of Greenwood
Randi Pink. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-250-76847-6

A harrowing fictional account of Black community action centering on the eve of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. Angel Hill, 16, is a quiet churchgoing dancer with a love for Booker T. Washington. Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Wilson is a poet who admires W.E.B. Du Bois. Paired together for a summer job, the two immediately begin debating the philosophies of “tolerant” Washington and more “active” Du Bois. They also instantly fall in love. more

Mary H.K. Choi. Simon & Schuster, 18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5344-4600-7

Ambitious older sister June and impulsive Jayne had a love-hate relationship throughout their childhood; they've now become fully estranged. The silence between the two ends, however, when June reveals that she has cancer. For the first time, Jayne, always protected by her older sibling, plays the supportive role. Choi's novel told from a younger sibling's point of view provides a tender look at the Korean American sisters' layered bond in this reflective, deliberately paced novel. more

January 21, 2021
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Girl Stuff
Enter to Win Ten Beautiful Things
Penguin Young Readers has three promotions. Jennifer Kelly has been promoted to art director at Dial Books for Young Readers, from associate art director. Samira Iravani has been promoted to senior designer at PYR, from designer. Ashley Spruill has been promoted to associate publicist at PYR, from publicity assistant.
Miriam Miller has been promoted to director, subsidiary rights at Holiday House, from senior rights manager.
Children's Frontlist Fiction
#1 The Dark Secret (Wings of Fire Graphic Novel #4) by Tui T. Sutherland. Click here
Picture Books
#1 The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore, illus. by Christian Birmingham. Click here
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