HC Kids Throws Down For Lai
HarperCollins Children’s Books editor Tara Weikum bought North American rights, for six figures, to two new middle-grade novels by award-winning author Thanhha Lai. Agent Rosemary Stimola at Stimola Literary Studio represented Lai, who has won both a Newbery Honor and a National Book Award. The first book in the deal, Listen Slowly, about a 12-year-old Southern California girl who reluctantly takes a summer trip to Vietnam, is set for winter 2015. Stimola said the trip allows the novel’s protagonist to make a “surprising connection to the land of her ancestors.”

Perigee Scores Poetry Hunk
The man known as the “Ryan Gosling of Poetry,” Tyler Knott Gregson, sold a book to Perigee based on the popular Tumblr he created. Meg Leder bought world rights to Typewriter Series, which, like the Web version, will feature, Perigee said, “simple, yet insightful poems capturing the realities of things we often can’t articulate.” Waxman Leavell agent Rachel Vogel handled the world-rights sale.

Hawkins Closes Double With Putnam
Arianne Lewin at G.P. Putnam’s Sons bought world English rights to two middle-grade novels by bestselling YA author Rachel Hawkins. Holly Root at Waxman Leavell represented Hawkins, who is making her middle-grade fiction debut. The first title, Journey’s End, follows two friends solving a supernatural mystery in the Scottish Highlands. Journey’s End is slated for 2015.

John’s ‘Imposter’ Goes to Dial
Antony John, author of the Elemental series, sold a new novel called Imposter to Liz Waniewski at Dial. Ted Malawer, at Upstart Crow Literary, who handled the sale, said Imposter is a thriller set in Hollywood about an 18-year-old who “gets swept up in a world of movies, glamour, and lies.” Malawer noted that the book, which is scheduled for winter 2015, was pitched as “Gossip Girl meets John Grisham.”

Crown Biz Gets Old-School ‘Skills’
Nicholas Wyman sold his book Skilling Up to Talia Krohn at Crown Business. Agent Lynn Johnston, at Lynn Johnston Literary, brokered the world-rights deal (excluding Japan and Russia), and the book is slated for 2014. Johnston said the title will open readers’ eyes to “the brave new world of vocational work” and the best way to pursue it. Noting that many companies today want employees with so-called shop-class skills—i.e., mechanics, chefs, etc.—Johnston explained that this training will be essential in the changing economy. Krohn won the book at auction, beating out three other bidders.

Venturini’s ‘Heart’ Goes On at Picador
Picador’s Peter J. Horoszko acquired North American rights to Fred Venturini’s debut novel, The Heart Does Not Grow Back, from William Morris Endeavor agent Kirby Kim. The novel, about an impossible high school student who gains the ability to regenerate his organs, was originally published by Blank State Press, and Venturini will be expanding on the original for Picador. Kim said the novel’s hero must “decide how to use his newfound power to redeem himself and those he loves.”

Bloomsbury’s Nancy Miller took world rights to Donna Seaman’s nonfiction work Identity Unknown, which profiles 12 female artists the publisher described as “forgotten and neglected.” Seaman is a senior editor at Booklist.