Diversifying: A Useful Concept
for Fairytales and Finance
Sandhya Menon is the bestselling author of several YA romance novels; her Dimpleverse series was adapted into a popular TV show with Netflix India. Here, Menon reflects on the fairy tales that captured her imagination as a young reader, and her commitment to giving diverse characters happily-ever-afters. "If the old princesses had closed ranks around me, then I’d just invent new princesses," she says. "I’d retell those beloved tales so they had no choice but to include people who were, for so long, completely ignored." more
Lee & Low Launches Kickstarter
to Promote Graphic Novel
A Kickstarter campaign launched by Lee & Low Books to expand the print run for a graphic retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein set in colonial Mexico, Clockwork Curandera, Volume 1, The Witch Owl Parliament, quickly exceeded its initial goal. The additional funds raised will be used to host a virtual launch party for donors, to provide a bonus to author David Bowles and illustrator Raúl the Third, and to allow Bowles to visit an underfunded school on the U.S./Mexico border. more
Longtime Sales Exec Paul Von Drasek Dies at 71
Paul Von Drasek, who worked in the sales departments at a number of publishing companies over the course of his 40-year career in books and was a beloved fixture on the Twin Cities literary scene, died on May 16 at 71. Scholastic's Lori Benton said, "He was an absolute champion of books, especially children’s books and poetry. He had an uncanny ability to gently put the right book in your path at just the right moment." more
PW Editors' Picks Panels for Children's and YA
The first U.S. Book Show, a three-day virtual conference produced and hosted by Publishers Weekly to serve the bookselling, library, and publishing industry, will be held virtually from May 25–27. PW's editors have selected some of the biggest forthcoming fall titles for young readers, which will be presented during the U.S. Book Show's Picture Books, Middle Grade, and Young Adult Editors' Picks Panels. more
For a more complete look at the buzz books, panel discussions, and special appearances taking place during next week’s event, click here to see our extensive U.S. Book Show Preview, as featured in the May 17 issue of Publishers Weekly. And click here to see the full U.S Book Show schedule.
April showers bring May flowers, and we bring a roundup of the next installments of several popular children's and YA titles. Sequels hitting shelves this month include more comic adventures for a pig and his animal friends, a high-stakes race for riches, the second installment in Maggie Stiefvater's the Dreamer trilogy, and much more. more
Camryn Garrett made waves with her first YA novel, Full Disclosure, about an HIV-positive teen navigating love and lust, which was sold when Garrett was 16. In her second novel, Off the Record, Garrett responds to the #MeToo movement while addressing mental health issues and fatphobia. Garrett spoke with us about drawing on her own experiences to inform the story, her advice for young writers, and creating a sense of community in the virtual world.
Q: What was the genesis of your sophomore novel?
A: I wrote the first draft in 2019, which is when there were a lot of #MeToo stories in the news. I was thinking a lot about my own experiences and reframing them. I wanted to process that through a character because I think it makes things easier, but I didn’t want the story to be super sad or heavy, so I decided to combine it with my experiences of being a teen journalist. more
Australian author and illustrator Remy Lai has previously published two illustrated novels, Pie in the Sky and Fly on the Wall. Her first graphic novel, Pawcasso, is about an inquisitive girl who decides to follow a photogenic dog carrying a basket into town and is mistaken for the dog's owner, setting off a series of misunderstandings. We spoke with Lai about writing relatable young characters, and the inspiration behind the titular canine.
Q: What’s your secret to writing such fleshed-out characters?
A: It’s easy for me to get into the mindset of a kid. I can remember very vividly the feelings and thoughts I had as a child. Maybe because I was a rather introspective child, and I kept journals from time to time, writing something down helps to imprint it in my mind. Years later, I still remember many things my childhood friends have long forgotten. more
Christy Ottaviano at Little, Brown/Ottaviano has bought, in an exclusive submission, The Dam Builders: The Colorado River, The Great Depression, and the Construction of the Hoover Dam by Simon Boughton. This YA narrative nonfiction debut explores the building of the Hoover Dam, revealing the causes, effects, and lasting legacies of one of America's most recognizable landmarks, and its place in the story of the American West. Publication is planned for 2024; the author represented himself.
Stephanie Stein at HarperTeen has acquired debut YA novel A Study in Drowning by Ava Reid (The Wolf & the Woodsman), a feminist literary thriller and romantic fantasy pitched as The Hazel Wood meets Possession. When architecture student Effy Sayre wins a contest to design her favorite author's family manor, she finds herself on a remote, crumbling estate filled with disturbing secrets. With the help of a rival student, Effy must unravel a decades-old mystery, but there are dark forces, both mortal and magical, conspiring against them, and the truth may bring them both to ruin. Publication is set for winter 2023; Sarah Landis at Sterling Lord Literistic did the deal for North American rights.
Polo Orozco at Random House has bought On the Subject of Unmentionable Things, a contemporary YA novel by Julia Walton (Words on Bathroom Walls). Pitched as Judy Blume's Forever meets social media, the novel follows 17-year-old, research-obsessed Phoebe who, under the guise of a pen name, is rewriting sex education as her infamous blog goes viral—all while a vicious mayoral candidate threatens to expose her. Publication is slated for summer 2022; Jodi Reamer at Writers House brokered the deal for world rights.
Claire Stetzer at Inkyard Press has acquired The Long Run by screenwriter James Acker, pitched as Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe meets Friday Night Lights. This YA #OwnVoices debut follows two boys' track and field athletes, Bash and Sandro, as they fall in love during their senior year; their story touches on themes of identity, independence, and toxic masculinity in South Jersey. Publication is scheduled for winter 2023; Carlisle K. Webber at Fuse Literary negotiated the two-book deal for North American rights.
Rachel Del Grosso at Wise Wolf Books has bought two YA suspense novels, The Liars Beneath and Midnight and Bex, by Heather Powell. The first follows one teen as she seeks the truth about her best friend's death but soon realizes that some lies should stay buried; the second centers on a boy who narrowly escapes a mass cult death to start over in a new town with a new girlfriend, only for the man who haunts his dreams to hunt them down. Publication is set for spring 2022 and fall 2022; Jemiscoe Chambers-Black at Andrea Brown Literary negotiated the two-book deal for North American rights.
Kieran Viola and Cassidy Leyendecker at Disney Hyperion have acquired at auction debut middle grade fantasy Ravenous Things by Derrick Chow. This creepy re-envisioning of "The Pied Piper" is set in modern times, featuring a subway labyrinth, changeling-rats, and a mysterious stranger who makes improbable promises. Publication is planned for summer 2022; Thao Le at the Dijkstra Agency handled the deal for world rights.
Tracey Keevan at Sterling has bought, in a five-house auction, Rare Birds by Jeff Miller, author of the Nerdy Dozen series. This contemporary middle-grade novel follows Graham, a 12-year-old reluctant bird watcher, who sets out to find an endangered snail kite in the Florida Everglades while his mother waits for a life-saving heart transplant. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Laura Barbiea and Sara Shandler at Alloy Entertainment brokered the two-book deal for world rights.
Ben Rosenthal at HarperCollins/Tegen has acquired The Decomposition of Jack, a new middle-grade novel by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb. It tells the story of 12-year-old Jack Acosta, whose mother is a roadkill researcher, and shows how relationships change as family dynamics change, and how healing often happens in nature. It's pitched as part Ted Lasso, part Wednesday Addams, and is filled with roadkill research. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Josh Adams at Adams Literary negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Maria Modugno at Random House Studio has bought English-language world rights rights to Knitting for Dogs by Laurel Molk. The picture book is about a girl's unsuccessful knitting projects that turn out to be perfect coats for all the dogs in the dog park. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown represented the author-illustrator.
Erin Siu at Feiwel and Friends has acquired debut picture book The New Favorite Thing by author-illustrator Olga Herrera, about an anxious dog whose daily routine is disrupted when he encounters a monstrous new thing in the living room. Publication is slated for winter 2023; Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.
Mekisha Telfer at Roaring Brook has bought, at auction, world rights to Autumn Peltier, Water Warrior by Carole Lindstrom (l.), author of the Caldecott-winning We Are Water Protectors; Bridget George will illustrate. This picture book biography told through water's (nibi's) perspective is about environmental activist Autumn Peltier, who has followed in the footsteps of her great-aunt Josephine Mandamin to become the youngest Chief Water Commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation. Publication is set for fall 2022; Kathleen Rushall at Andrea Brown Literary represented the author, and the illustrator is unagented.
Denene Millner at S&S/Denene Millner Books has acquired world rights to Impossible Moon by Hands Up! author Breanna J. McDaniel (l.), illustrated by Tonya Engel. In the picture book, a girl named Mabel goes on a joyous journey across the sky because she knows she can achieve anything—including healing her sick grandmother—if she can figure out how to touch the moon. The book is scheduled for summer 2022; the author was unagented, and Gail Gaynin at Morgan Gaynin Agency represented the illustrator.
Nancy Paulsen at Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books has bought world rights to picture book You And Me, Baby by Aisha Saeed (l.), about the love between a new mother and baby as they lean on each other to learn from each other. Ebony Glenn will illustrate; publication is planned for spring 2023. Taylor Martindale Kean at Full Circle Literary represented the author, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Cheryl Klein at Lee & Low has acquired North American rights to Stacey Abrams: Lift Every Voice by Sarah Warren (l.) (Beyoncé: Shine Your Light), illustrated by Monica Mikai. The picture book biography follows the life of the lawyer, author, politician, and voting rights advocate from her parents' time in the civil rights movement through her activism at Spelman College to the election of 2020. Publication is set for summer 2022; Abigail Samoun at Red Fox Literary sold the manuscript as part of a two-book deal, and Christy Ewers at the CAT Agency represented the illustrator.
Andrea Hall at Albert Whitman has bought world rights to Santiago's Dinosaurios by debut author Mariana Ríos Ramírez (l.), illustrated by Udayana Lugo. When Santiago moves from Mexico to the United States, he doesn't understand English. On his first day in his new school, how will he communicate with his peers? While they all may not speak the same language, they do all speak dinosaur! Publication is slated for fall 2022; the author was unagented, and Christina Doffing at Astound US represented the illustrator.
Cheryl Eissing at Philomel has acquired A Family Looks Like Love by Kaitlyn Wells (l.), illustrated by Sawyer Cloud, a picture book about a young pup who looks different from her siblings but ultimately learns that love, rather than how you look, is what makes a family. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022; Jane Startz at Jane Startz Productions represented the author, and Atlanta Japp at Advocate Art represented the illustrator.
Kayla Tostevin at Page Street Kids has bought rights to Watch Out for the Lion, an interactive picture book where claws, teeth, tail, and snout suggest there's definitely a lion in this book, but things may not be what they seem, by Brooke Hartman (l.) (Dream Flights for Arctic Nights), illustrated by Anna Süßbauer (Rock-a-bye Tree Sloth). Publication is planned for winter 2023; Clelia Gore at Martin Literary & Media Management represented the author, and Bethany Sparks at Plum Pudding Illustration Agency represented the illustrator.
Ivan Bercholz at Bala Kids has acquired world rights to Sophie Learns to Be Brave by Joan Halifax (l.), illustrated by Kiersten Egan, a story about a girl and her encounters with a dog who teaches her friendship, presence, loss, and bravery. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Robbin Brosterman at the Bright Agency represented the author and illustrator.
Julia Recko at Feeding Minds Press has bought world rights to Farm Boots by Lisl H. Detlefsen (l.), illustrated by Renée Kurilla; Emma D. Dryden will edit. The picture book follows farm families as they work and play in a variety of boots throughout the year; against the backdrop of the four seasons, the boots form a metaphor for growth and change. Publication is set for spring 2023; Jennifer Mattson represented the author and Jennifer Rofé represented the illustrator, both at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Anna Sargeant at B&H Kids has acquired Innis and Ernest by debut author-illustrator Carissa Shillito. In this picture book about caregiving and multigenerational households, Innis discovers the responsibility, hilarity, and heartache of being a "big brother" when 90-year-old Ernest moves in with his family. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Keely Boeving at WordServe Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.
The Night Walk
The Kids of Cattywampus Street
Better with Butter
Summer in the City of Roses
May 18, 2021
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