PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
The Littlest Yak
In the News
NBA Finalists for Young People's Literature Announced
The National Book Foundation has announced the five finalists for the 2021 National Book Award for Young People's Literature: Shing Yin Khor for The Legend of Auntie Po, Malinda Lo for Last Night at the Telegraph Club, Kyle Lukoff for Too Bright to See, Kekla Magoon for Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People, and Amber McBride for Me (Moth). The finalists were drawn from a longlist that was announced on September 15. more
S&S Reorganizes Children's
Publicity Department

In a restructure, Lisa Moraleda has been promoted to executive director of children's publicity at Simon & Schuster, and will serve as head of the department, across all imprints. As of spring 2022, all publicists in the department will now work on all imprints. more
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Report from the Regionals
Authors Share Stories of Loss and Hope in Closing NAIBA/SIBA Keynote
The closing keynote panel for the combined New Voices New Rooms fall regional conference of the New Atlantic and Southern Independent Booksellers Association delivered tales of hope and alliances as promised, but it also delivered tears of love and admiration among moderator Kirsten Hess and children's authors Ben Hatke, Yuyi Morales, and Peter H. Reynolds, who shared space for a free-ranging conversation about life in a challenging world. more
Soapbox
Stand Up to Censorship in Schools
Nyle Vialet of Wise Ink Creative decries the banning of diverse titles in a York, Pa., school district—a move that was reversed after growing opposition, including a student protest. Vialet writes, "Ultimately, this was a failed attempt to manipulate our true history for future generations. Make no mistake: books are power, and this ban is a fight over who gets to hold it." more
Stretchy and Beanie
First Person
Reading with Olympia and Ira: New Names, New Books
Publishing veteran Betsy Groban continues her ongoing series of observations about her grandchildren's reading habits. "I intend to go on reading to these two precious grandkids for as long as they’ll tolerate me," she writes. more
Interviews
Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Benjamin Alire Sáenz is not just a YA author, but a poet, painter, and long-time teacher. The author of the prize-winning novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe spoke with us about why writing the long-awaited sequel was so difficult and so necessary, and the importance of friends—and teachers.


Q: Did you always plan to revisit these characters?

A: I didn’t plan to write a sequel. But I realized, after some time, that I’d left too many things unsaid. I couldn’t quite forgive myself for not having included the AIDS pandemic. It was personal. I lost a mentor, one of my closest friends, and my oldest brother. And I felt, too, that the novel was turned inward. I wanted very much for the novel to turn outward, for Ari and Dante to turn toward the world in which they lived to make sense of their lives. After I decided to write the sequel, it took me five years. It was one of the most difficult challenges I’ve ever faced as a writer. more
Q & A with Jonathan Stroud
In The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne, his first title since 2017's The Empty Grave (fifth in his bestselling Lockwood & Co. series), British author Jonathan Stroud kicks off a new upper-middle-grade fantasy/adventure series, in which two unlikely allies navigate dangers outside society's boundaries in a flooded future England. We corresponded with Stroud about chaos, characterization, and cannibals.

Q: How have real-world events, such as the pandemic and global warming, informed this series opener?

A: I wrote most of the novel during the pandemic, but the actual themes and concepts were already in place. Nevertheless, a sense of no longer being able to take the world for granted certainly infuses the book. It was a strange experience to write about isolated, cut-off communities in a hostile world at a time when I was unable to leave the house. More generally, all my books focus on individuals attempting to cope with the injustices of the societies they live in. more
PW KidsCast: A Conversation with Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
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Rights Report
Katherine Harrison at Knopf has acquired YA rom-com Friday I'm in Love by Camryn Garrett (Full Disclosure). The story is about a queer teen determined to throw a lavish "Coming Out Party" in place of a Sweet Sixteen, but when her mother is laid off, she's forced to balance saving for the party with keeping her household afloat, while navigating her growing feelings for a new girl at school. Publication is planned for spring 2023; Beth Phelan at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency negotiated the deal for North American and audio rights.
Virginia Duncan at Greenwillow has bought North American English rights to Katzenjammer, a YA novel by Francesca Zappia (Made You Up). Katzenjammer tells the story of Cat, who must save herself from eventual self-destruction by remembering the terrible tragedy that trapped her in high school and why half of those trapped—Cat included—are transforming. It’s a tale of masks—the ones others make for us, and the ones we make for ourselves. The book includes illustrations created by the author. Publication is set for summer 2022; Louise Fury at the Bent Agency brokered the deal.
Samantha Palazzi at Scholastic has acquired rights to I Kick and I Fly by activist and documentarian Ruchira Gupta, a YA social justice action-adventure inspired by true events, about a girl in Bihar, India, who escapes being sold into the sex trade when a local hostel owner helps her to understand the value of her body through kung fu. Publication is slated for spring 2023; Laura Cameron and Samantha Haywood at Transatlantic Literary sold world rights in a preempt.
Jennifer Ung at Quill Tree has bought, in a preempt, Rhythm & Muse by India Hill Brown. Pitched as Cinderella meets Cyrano, this YA debut is a romantic comedy about a Black teen boy who, after deciding to admire his dream girl from afar, anonymously writes a romantic song for her that becomes the front runner in a theme song contest for her popular podcast. Publication is scheduled for winter 2023; Holly Root at Root Literary negotiated the deal for North American rights.
Greg Hunter at Graphic Universe has acquired Unretouchable by Sofia Szamosi, a YA graphic novel based on the author's own experiences, about body image, social media, and the invisible forces that shape the way we think about ourselves. Unretouchable tells the story of Olive, who is spending the summer before college at a to-die-for internship: helping out the digital imaging specialist for a major fashion magazine. Publication is set for fall 2022; Jennifer Weltz at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency did the deal for North American rights.
Dana Leydig at Viking has bought, in a six-figure preempt, graphic novel Shock City by Aaron Alexovich. Pitched as Beetlejuice for middle grade, the adventure begins as a kid named Milo rings the doorbell of the forbidden Shock City castle on a dare, and gets more than he bargained for when Sunny, a peppy young monster, answers the door. The new best friends will overcome their biggest fears to reverse the damage that Sunny's grandfather (Shock City's corrupt benefactor) inflicted on their crumbling town. A fall 2024 publication is planned; Daniel Lazar at Writers House sold North American rights.
Jill Santopolo at Philomel has acquired world rights to Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers, a middle grade anthology edited by Rose Brock. The book features stories of inspiration, empowerment, and hope by Gordon Korman, Pam Muñoz Ryan, Matt de la Peña, Max Brallier, Christina Soontornvat, Stuart Gibbs, Janae Marks, J.C. Cervantes, R.L. Stine, Sarah Mlynowski, Soman Chainani, Karina Yan Glaser, Adam Gidwitz, Veera Hiranandani, Pablo Cartaya, James Ponti, Tom Angleberger, Julie Buxbaum, James Bird, Hena Khan, Rex Ogle, and Ronald L. Smith. Publication is slated for summer 2022; Brock represented herself.
Lisa Yoskowitz at Little, Brown has bought, in an exclusive submission, World Made of Glass by Ami Polonsky, a middle grade novel that follows Iris as she grieves for her father, faces the many injustices surrounding his death from AIDS, and discovers her own voice and activism. Publication is scheduled for winter 2023; Wendy Schmalz at Wendy Schmalz Agency sold world rights.
Jessica Smith at Aladdin has acquired The Hunt for the Hollower by debut author Callie C. Miller. This middle grade adventure follows a young wizard—the seven-times great grandchild of the Wizard Merlyn—and her friends on a quest to save her brother from the magic-stealing Hollower while she masters the mysteries of her magic. Publication is set for summer 2023; Kelly Dyksterhouse at Raven Quill Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
Lauri Hornik at Dial has bought, in a preempt, Do More by Dana Kramaroff, in an exclusive submission. The novel tells the story of 12-year-old Josh, who keeps his Jewish identity a secret at his new middle school. But when someone sprays swastikas and graffiti all over the school, and then Josh's synagogue, he forms the "Do More" club to try to counteract hate. Publication is planned for fall 2023; Rena Rossner at the Deborah Harris Agency did the two-book deal for North American rights.
Alyson Day at HarperCollins, with Eva Lynch-Comer, has acquired Fros, Waves, Fades & Braids by Schneider Award winner Sean Qualls, in a mid-six figure, three-book, five-publisher auction. The picture book, a tribute to the beauty and history of Black hair, is the outgrowth of a desire to tell a rich and timely story about Black culture in America via one of its most quintessential qualities—hair. Publication is slated for fall 2023; Holly McGhee at Pippin Properties sold North American English rights.
Luana Kay Horry at HarperCollins has bought, in an exclusive submission, Tiny Troubles by Sophie Diao in her debut as author-illustrator, a picture book about two succulent buddies—one having an existential crisis, the other more patient and laidback—and their imaginative search for purpose. Publication is scheduled for fall 2023; Hannah Mann at Writers House brokered the deal for world rights.
Yasemin Uçar at Kids Can Press has acquired Clementine and the Lion, a picture book by Zoey Abbott, in which young Clementine, delighted to find herself freed of her ghoulish parents and evil aunt, becomes quite comfortable living on her own, until she discovers that a lion has moved in with her. Publication is set for spring 2022; Elena Giovinazzo at Pippin Properties negotiated the deal for world rights.
Deeba Zargarpur at Salaam Reads has bought, at auction, world rights to The Masjid Kamal Loves by Ashley Franklin (l.), illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel, a picture book in the style of The House That Jack Built, which highlights a boy's joy at attending Jumu'ah prayer, even as his excitement accidentally causes one mishap after another. Publication is expected in spring 2023; Kathleen Rushall at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the author, and Robbin Brosterman at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Chris Krones at Clarion has acquired world rights to Same Love, Different Hug by Sarah Hovorka (l.), illustrated by Abbey Bryant. This picture book is a sometimes loud, sometimes quiet look at connecting with others, navigating boundaries, and modeling social-emotional skills for the youngest among us. Publication is planned for winter 2023; Kaitlyn Sanchez at Context Literary Agency represented the author, and Nicole Tugeau at Tugeau 2 represented the illustrator.
Anna Roberto at Feiwel and Friends has bought world rights to Celebrate! by Janet Lawler (l.), illustrated by Brittany Baugus, a picture book celebrating all the firsts that animals and babies experience early in life. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the author and the illustrator.
Kate DePalma at Barefoot Books has acquired world rights to Our Nipa Hut: A Story in the Philippines, by Rachell Abalos (l.), illustrated by Salvadorean artist Gabriela Larios. Yelena and Papa care lovingly for their traditional nipa hut home every day, but when a typhoon roars towards the Philippines, their preparation will be put to the test. Publication is set for late spring 2022; Hannah VanVels at Belcastro Agency represented the author, and Thomasin Chinnery of Zeitgeist Agency represented the illustrator.
Wiley Blevins at Reycraft has bought world rights to Moon Tree by debut author Carolyn Bennett Fraiser (l.), a nonfiction picture book about a tree that flew to the moon and a curious girl who uncovered its mystery, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Tara Gonzalez at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and MGI Artists represented the illustrator.
Andrea Posner-Sanchez at Golden Books has acquired world rights to Firehouse Rainbow by Diana Murray (l.), illustrated by Rob McClurkan, a rhyming picture book about a birthday cake, a fire station, its diverse crew, and those that save the day. A January 2023 publication is planned; Erzsi Deak at Hen&ink Literary Studio represented the author, and Nicole Tugeau at Tugeau 2 represented the illustrator.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.

IN THE MEDIA
FEATURED REVIEWS

Let Me Fix You a Plate:
A Tale of Two Kitchens

Elizabeth Lilly. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4325-3

A road trip leads to two different kitchens—and a shared kind of love—as a narrator, two sisters, and their parents visit their grandparents. With clear, bighearted text and an expressive ink line drawing the variously shaped bodies of her characters, Lilly pays tribute to familial richness across generations and cultures. more

Solitary Animals: Introverts of the Wild
Joshua David Stein, illus. by Dominique Ramsey. Rise x Penguin Workshop, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-593-38443-5

Many titles acquaint readers with terms of venery, but this book additionally celebrates the fact that not all species appreciate a crowd. And human introverts and extroverts alike will connect with debut artist Ramsey’s radiant digital animal portraits. An eye-catching affirmation of singular over plural. more

Stuck
Jennifer Swender. Crown, $16.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-101932-94-0

Austin is used to being the new kid in class; along with his mother, the presumed-white fourth grader has moved so many times that he has developed strategies to stay under the radar and to conceal his trouble reading. Swender’s textured tale never spells out the extent of Austin’s reading difficulty, while his vigilant protection of his secret and near constant anxiety at it being discovered imbues this thoughtful character study with tension and drive. more

A Clash of Steel: A Treasure Island Remix
C.B. Lee. Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends, $18.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-250-75037-2

Lee situates Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1882 Treasure Island against a richly embroidered Qing dynasty backdrop in this well crafted queer interpretation. This immersive adventure features deftly interwoven Chinese and Vietnamese, luscious culinary descriptions, and well-rendered explorations of imperialism, treasure, found family, and love. more

Wild Tongues Can’t Be Tamed
Edited by Saraciea J. Fennell. Flatiron, $18.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-250-76342-6

In her introduction to this exquisitely curated nonfiction YA anthology, featuring 15 personal essays and poems from members of the Latinx diaspora, this anthology not only presents newer voices alongside “old favorites” but also dismantles the idea that there is a single way to express one’s Latinx identity or to write about diasporic experiences. A standout array of talent. more

October 5, 2021
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Ruffles Red Coat
Gladys the Magic Chicken
NPD Book Market
The Secret of the Magic Pearl
People
Barb Knight has been promoted to v-p and director of sales for the Little Tiger Publishing Group.
Scholastic has five promotions. Yaffa Jaskoll has been promoted to creative director, licensing design, from executive art director. Doan Buu has been promoted to associate art director, from senior designer. Maeve Norton has been promoted to associate art director, from senior designer. Stephanie Yang has been promoted to senior designer, from designer. Rae Crawford has been promoted to designer, from junior designer.
Penguin Young Readers has four promotions. Tessa Meischeid has been promoted to publicity manager, from senior publicist. Lizzie Goodell has been promoted to senior publicist, from publicist. Anna Elling has been promoted to associate publicist, from publicity assistant. Timothy Woitas has been promoted to senior financial analyst, from financial analyst.
Macmillan Children's Publishing Group has three promotions. Kate Meltzer has been promoted to senior editor at Roaring Brook Press, from editor. Taylor Pitts has been promoted to senior production editor, from production editor. Arik Harden has been promoted to assistant managing editor, from managing editorial assistant.
Sandy Frank has joined Chronicle children’s publishing as designer; previously she was brand designer for the company.
For a look at September's job moves, including new hires and promotions, click here.
Of Note
PRH and WNDB Open Creative Writing Award Submissions
Submissions are open for the 2022 Creative Writing Awards, a competition that closes on Feb. 1, 2022, or once 1,000 applications have been submitted. Current high school seniors who attend public schools in the U.S. and are planning to attend college in fall 2022 are invited to apply. MORE
Bestsellers
Children’s Frontlist Fiction
#1 Mothering Heights (Dog Man #10) by Dav Pilkey. Click here
Picture Books
#1 Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman, illus. by Loren Long. Click here
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