2020 Children's Bestsellers: Graphic Novel Powerhouses, Beloved Picture Books, and More
Our 2020 Facts and Figures compilation of children's bestsellers includes a wide variety of titles, dominated by contemporary graphic novel series and their spinoffs, illustrated middle grade novels, and classic picture books. We’ve compiled the books that sold more than 100,000 copies last year; check out our extensive listing. more
#DVPit Founder Launches Nonprofit to Better Serve Diverse Authors, Illustrators
Five years after founding #DVPit, a semi-annual Twitter event that has helped launch scores of diverse authors' careers since 2016, literary agent Beth Phelan has announced the formation of DiverseVoices Inc., a nonprofit with the mission of "empowering and advocating for book creators from marginalized communities." more
AAPI Authors, Bookstagrammers Organize Support Campaign
Asian American and Pacific Islander members of the book business have launched a social media campaign, #StandUpforAAPI, intended to raise awareness of the ongoing violence and hate incidents targeting AAPI communities. more
Lerner Publishing Group has joined forces with Read Woke nonprofit founder Cicely Lewis to develop the Read Woke Books brand, providing librarians and educators with tools to help teens engage in thoughtful conversations about gun violence, immigration, and other timely subjects. more
New and Noteworthy
Kids' and YA Books
What better way to celebrate the spring than with some of the biggest books of the season? This month we've got meditations on nature, a middle grade novel about body acceptance, a YA tale of sisterhood, and more. more
When Ambreen Tariq was eight years old—not long after she and her family emigrated from Hyderabad, India to Minnesota—her father announced that they were going camping. That trip sparked a lifelong love of the outdoors. To encourage more people of color to join her in hiking and camping, Tariq launched a digital storytelling project on Instagram, @BrownPeopleCamping. Her first picture book, Fatima's Great Outdoors, publishes later this month. We spoke with Tariq about her debut and her activism.
Q: What was it like making the transition to writing a children’s book?
A: I still have the first journal from when I was 10 years old—writing has been a love of my life. Still, I had never written for children, and it was daunting. It was an incredible collaborative process to help me find my voice to speak to kids. My fantastic editor, Joanna Cardenas, said, “You’d be surprised how much kids understand.” more
Kelsey Murphy at Philomel has bought, at auction, in a six-figure deal, North American rights to The 99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers plus an untitled second book by Surrender Your Sons author Adam Sass. The contemporary YA rom-com follows Micah, who posts sketches of his imaginary boyfriends to Instagram while dreaming of having the courage to one day ask someone out. So, when a meet cute with the much-anticipated Boy 100 goes wrong, Micah embarks on a Prince Charming-like quest throughout Chicago to find true love. Publication is set for fall 2022 and fall 2023, respectively; Chelsea Eberly at Greenhouse Literary did the deal on behalf of Dovetail Fiction/Working Partners, and Eric Smith at P.S. Literary represented the author.
Jessica Anderson at Little, Brown/Ottaviano has acquired Dead End Girls by Wendy Heard (She's Too Pretty to Burn). Pitched as Thelma & Louise meets The Twin, this queer YA psychological thriller stars two desperate teens who fake their own deaths, to murderous consequences. The book is planned for summer 2022; Lauren Spieller at TriadaUS Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.
Julia McCarthy at Atheneum has bought the young readers' edition of I Have Something to Tell You by Chasten Buttigieg, a middle grade memoir by the husband of former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg about growing up gay in a small Midwestern town, the challenges of coming out, and Chasten's journey to finding acceptance and advocating for inclusion while encouraging young people to do the same. Publication is slated for spring 2022; CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners handled the deal for world rights.
Sara Schonfeld at HarperCollins/Tegen has bought This Appearing House by Ghost Girl author Ally Malinenko. Pitched as A Monster Calls-esque story navigating the effects of trauma and illness, the novel follows a girl and her best friend who get trapped inside a haunted house that turns out to be a lot more than what it seems. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Reka Simonsen at Atheneum has acquired, in an exclusive deal, the next three middle grade novels by Jamie Sumner (Roll with It; Tune It Out). Glory Be, a novel in verse, follows 10-year-old Glory as she travels all over New Orleans in search of her missing dog while struggling with the fact that her father's drinking and temper might be to blame for the disappearance. Wish You Well tells the story of three unlikely friends who pull off the biggest Make-a-Wish takeover in history. Maid for It features 11-year-old Franny who secretly begins cleaning houses to pay the bills in an attempt to keep her mom, who struggles with opioid addiction, from relapsing. Publication for the first book is set for 2023; Keely Boeving at WordServe Literary did the deal for world rights.
Maggie Rosenthal at Viking has acquired Zia Erases the World by Bree Barton. This debut middle grade novel stars 11-year-old Zia, a spirited girl battling her first depression, who finds a magical dictionary from which words can be erased. Zia embarks on an adventure to erase fear, pain, and sadness, only to discover unintended—and world-altering—consequences. Publication is planned for spring 2022; Brianne Johnson at Writers House brokered the deal for world English rights.
Julie Matysik at Running Press Kids has bought world rights to Astrology for Black Girls: A Beginner's Guide for Black Girls Who Look to the Stars by Jordannah Elizabeth (l.), illustrated by Chellie Carroll, a middle grade guidebook for young Black readers who are interested in exploring astrology and the core foundations of the Zodiac, while also finding their place in society. Publication is slated for April 2022; the author represented herself, and Amanda Hendon at Advocate Art represented the illustrator.
Tamar Mays at HarperCollins has bought at auction Friends Beyond Measure by debut author-illustrator Lalena Fisher, creator of information graphics for the New York Times. The picture book tells a friendship story about loss and long-distance connection through the language of infographics. Publication is scheduled for 2023; Lara Perkins at Andrea Brown Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Kaylan Adair at Candlewick has acquired Kitty and Cat and a second book by Mirka Hokkanen in her author-illustrator debut. In this series, basic concepts are elevated by art-driven friendship arcs starring felines and their animal friends. The first book will explore opposites; the second book, shapes. Publication is set for spring 2023 and fall 2023, respectively; Laurel Symonds at the Bent Agency handled the two-book deal for world English rights.
Rotem Moscovich at Knopf has bought world rights for This Little Kitty and a second title by debut author-illustrator Karen Obuhanych. With a graphic style, this young picture book catches kittens being their adorable and mischievous selves from morning to nap to night. Publication for the first book is planned for fall 2022; Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency brokered the deal.
Elise Howard at Algonquin has acquired world rights to Mermaid and Pirate by Tracey Baptiste (l.) (The Jumbies), illustrated by Leisl Adams. This picture book features a Black mermaid and a salty pirate who form a friendship after helping each other during a storm. Publication is slated for spring 2023; Marie Lamba at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency represented the author, and Adria Goetz at Martin Literary Management represented the illustrator.
Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to a picture book tentatively titled You Matter by Doyin Richards (l.), author of Watch Me and founder of the Anti-Racism Fight Club, illustrated by Robert Paul Jr. Told from the POV of a pet dog, this is the story of what it's like to walk outside with his beloved family, who are Black, and who live in a mostly white neighborhood. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Frances Black at Literary Counsel represented the author, and Christy Ewers at the CAT Agency represented the illustrator.
Jill Davis at HarperCollins has acquired world rights, in a two-book deal, to How to Draw a Happy Cat by Ethan T. Berlin (l.), illustrated by Jimbo Matison, a picture book that explains not only how to draw a happy cat, but also how to keep the cat happy once you've drawn it—which will require some quick thinking and drawing, not to mention pizza, a biplane, and an epically awesome party. Publication is set for fall 2022; Susanna Einstein at Einstein Literary Management represented the author and the illustrator represented himself.
Ann Kelley at Random House Studio has preempted world rights to Salat in Secret, a picture book by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Your Name Is a Song), illustrated by Hatem Aly (The Proudest Blue). When Muhammad gets a special salat (prayer) rug on his seventh birthday, he is determined to do all five daily prayers on time. But one salat occurs during the school day, and Muhammad is worried he won't be able to find a place to pray. Publication is slated for summer 2023; Essie White at Storm Literary represented the author, and Alex Gehringer at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Nicole Fox at Simon Spotlight has bought world rights Whale, Quail, Snail: A Whale of a Tea Party and its sequel by National Jewish Book Award winner Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Sam Ailey, in which three unlikely friends team up for shenanigans. Publication of book one is planned for December 2021; Carrie Hannigan at HG Literary represented the author, and the illustrator was unagented.
Yasemin Uçar at Kids Can Press has acquired world rights to And I Thought About You by The Author Experience founder and Karate Kid author Rosanne Kurstedt (l.), illustrated by Ya-Ling Huang. This picture book celebrates a working mother and child thinking about each other as they journey through their days. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Agency represented the author, and Amy Kitcherside at Pickled Ink represented the illustrator.
Nicole Frail at Sky Pony has bought world rights to Everybody Has a Belly Button by actress and author Cerina Vincent (l.), illustrated by Zoi Hunter. We will always teach babies where to find their belly button, nose, eyes, and toes, but we should also be teaching them that our differences make us all special. Publication is set for spring 2022; Dan Mandel at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates represented the author, and the artist was unagented.
Brett Duquette at Little Bee Books has acquired world rights to Peaceful Protestor: Bayard Rustin and the March on Washington by Michael G. Long and illustrated by Bea Jackson, in partnership with GLAAD. This nonfiction picture book follows civil rights activist Bayard Rustin as he overcomes obstacles, including homophobia, to organize the historic March on Washington in 1963. Publication is planned for spring 2023; John Rudolph at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret represented the author, and Lori Nowicki at Painted Words represented the illustrator.
Kayla Tostevin at Page Street Kids has bought world rights to Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles by Mike Allegra, illustrated by Jaimie Whitbread, in which a charismatic capybara calms the rainforest rumpus with personalized cuddles for all consenting animals. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary represented the author, and Jamie Weiss Chilton at Andrea Brown Literary represented the illustrator.
Amy Novesky at Cameron Kids has acquired world rights to Edna: The Flavorful Life of Southern Chef Edna Lewis by Melvina Noel (l.), illustrated by Caldecott, Siebert, and Coretta Scott King Honor artist Cozbi Cabrera, a picture book about a culinary star and early proponent of farm-to-table food. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; the author represented herself, and Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates represented the illustrator.
Czeena Devera at Sleeping Bear has bought Summer's Call by Amber Lynn Hellewell (l.), illustrated by Gretchen Ellen Powers. This picture book celebrates the beauty of a Michigan summer day through the eyes of a child. Publication is planned for spring 2022; the author represented herself, and Nicole Tugeau at Tugeau 2 represented the illustrator.
Lisa Rosinsky at Barefoot Books has acquired Yoga Adventure! by debut author Jamaica Stevens (l.), the founder of JAMaROO Kids, and illustrated by Rocío Alejandro (Mindful Tots). This singalong picture book takes readers around the world with a sequence of yoga poses inspired by animals on all seven continents. Publication is slated for fall 2021; the author and the illustrator represented themselves in the deal for world rights.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.
It Began with Lemonade
When Lola Visits
Fish and Sun
Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend
Last Gate of the Emperor
March 23, 2021
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The 52nd NAACP Image Awards kicked off Monday with a ceremony presented virtually due to the ongoing pandemic. The award for Outstanding Literary Work – Children went to She Was the First!: The Trailblazing Life of Shirley Chisholm by Katheryn Russell-Brown, illus. by Eric Velasquez. The award for Outstanding Literary Work – Youth/Teens went to Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson. For the full list of this year’s NAACP Image Award winners, click here.
Children's Frontlist Fiction
#1 Cat Kit Comic Club by Dav Pilkey. Click here
#1 Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. Click here
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