PW Children's Bookshelf: Breaking children's and YA publishing news, author interviews, bestsellers lists and reviews.
Hey a Colorful Mystery
In the Spotlight
Cutting the Apron Strings: Cookbooks 2021
Recent sales of children’s cookbooks suggest that more and more kids have been spending time in the kitchen during the pandemic. We spoke with several editors and authors about new books that encourage and inspire children in the kitchen. more
Kids in the Kitchen: Books About Cooking and Food
Food and cooking serve as cultural and emotional touchstones for people of all ages and backgrounds, providing the perfect base for an appetizing story. We've gathered an extensive list of recent and forthcoming titles, from picture books to YA novels, that focus on food and the culinary arts as a means of connection, community, and creativity. more
Seuss Chef: A New Foodie Brand for Kids
Dr. Seuss Enterprises has launched a brand called Seuss Chef, which will be used to promote existing and new cookbooks from Random House Books for Young Readers, highlight new cooking content, and identify kitchen-related licensed products. more
Train. Escape. Survive.
From award-winning and bestselling author Jewell Parker Rhodes comes a powerful coming-of-age survival tale exploring issues of race, class, and climate change. MORE ►
In the News
HMH Books for Young Readers
to Become the Clarion Group

Among a number of changes announced on Wednesday, the former HMH Books for Young Readers division, which had been headed by Cat Onder, has been restructured as the Clarion Group. It will comprise the Clarion and Versify imprints and will be led by Mary Wilcox (l.), v-p and publishing director, who will report to Suzanne Murphy, president and publisher of HarperCollins Children's Books. more
2021 NBA Longlist for
Young People's Literature Announced

The National Book Foundation has revealed the 2021 National Book Award longlist for Young People's Literature. The five finalists will be named on October 5, and the winner will be announced during the awards ceremony on November 17. more
Capstone Acquires Ed-Tech Tool Buncee
Capstone, publisher of children’s books and K-5 ed-tech content, has acquired Buncee, a digital creation, collaboration, and communication tool for students and educators. more
Book News
Katherine Applegate's 'Willodeen' Offers a Cautionary Environmental Tale
As she did in some of her earlier novels, including her Newbery-winning 'The One and Only Ivan,' Katherine Applegate laces fantasy with the all-too-real in Willodeen, the story of a fervent young eco-activist, released this month by Feiwel and Friends. The publisher is launching the novel with a virtual promotional campaign targeting schools called Go Green with Willodeen: How to Become an Eco-Activist in 3 Simple Steps. more
Dragon Watch
Licensing News
Licensing Hotline: September 2021
Penguin Young Readers is bringing back Strawberry Shortcake in a new deal with Wildbrain CPLG. The first titles are set for release in North America in fall 2022, and are based on a 2D-animated TV show, Berry in the Big City, which launches this fall.

Read on for news about Chouette's new Little Prince titles, Scholastic's debut of Friends tie-ins for kids, Thunder Bay's Mister Rogers craft and activity books, Grove Street Publishing's partnership with Dominique Wilkins, and more. more
Reading Report
New and Noteworthy Kids' and YA Book Sequels: September 2021
September welcomes a slew of new sequels for children and teens. Readers can join in an underwater adventure in a new submarine, don their sleuthing caps as they follow a true crime mystery about Alcatraz escapees, face off against a god in a series finale, and more. more
Stick and Stone
Four Questions
Mark Oshiro
Author Mark Oshiro has published two young adult novels and contributed to anthologies about queer teens, vampires, and 'Star Wars.' In their first middle grade novel, Héctor Muñoz escapes anti-gay bullying by hiding in a janitor's closet that turns out to have magical properties. The author spoke with PW about safe spaces, unsafe adults, and making old ideas new.

Q: What inspired The Insiders?

A: I wrote a book when I was a freshman or sophomore in college, and it was the first manuscript I’d written. It was a mess. But I’ve kept a version of it all these years. I had written this book about this gay Mexican teenager who finds a magic portal in his closet. I was interested in the idea of reclaiming the closet, especially having been in the closet up through high school and afterward. I liked the idea of it being a magical thing. more
Out Next Week
Hot Off the Presses:
Week of September 20

Among the books hitting shelves next week are the first picture book from the U.S. Poet Laureate, a middle grade novel featuring a budding astronomer, a YA novel in which teens lean into forgiveness, and more. more
In Brief

In Brief: September 16, 2021
This week the chills are in the air for the start of the scary season; a YA author launches a virtual exhibition highlighting mental health; a picture book gets an amusing virtual kickoff; and the next chapter in a game of wealth is revealed. more
PW KidsCast: Listen Now
Hear our latest podcasts, featuring Michael W. Waters, Tracy Deonn, Julia Drake, Carlos Hernandez, Supriya Kelkar, Brittney Morris, Christopher Myers, and Jo Watson – listen to these and other top writers and artists discuss their new books for children and teens in our PW KidsCast podcast. Click here to listen.

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

Rights Report
Kendra Levin at Simon and Schuster has acquired North American rights, in an 11-house auction, to Love Radio, the debut novel by Ebony LaDelle. The contemporary YA novel is told from dual points of view: the clever DJ Prince Jones, who is full of relationship advice on and off his popular teen radio segment; and Dani Ford, who hates love and would rather be writing in her notebook, and preparing to be the next great novelist. But when Prince proposes that it will only take him three dates to make Dani Ford fall in love with him, chaos ensues and leaves them questioning if love will be on the air for them. Publication is set for summer 2022; Suzie Townsend at New Leaf Literary & Media did the deal on behalf of Cake Creative.
Andrew Karre at Dutton has bought Seton Girls by Charlene Thomas. In the vein of Moxie and Dear White People, the debut YA tells the story of Seton Academy, a prep school obsessed with its football win streak, victories that players say they'd never have without Seton's girls. But the team's quarterback wants more: a state championship before his successor, Seton's first Black QB, has a chance to overshadow him. Bigger rewards require bigger risks, and soon the team’s awful secret leaks to a small group of girls who suddenly have the power to change their world forever. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Ann Rose of Prospect Agency brokered the deal for world rights.
Karen Wojtyla at McElderry Books has bought world rights to Steam by The Dire Days of Willowweep Manor author Shaenon K. Garrity (l.), illustrated by Emily Holden. The YA graphic novel follows the adventures of Ruby, a "hypercognitive humanoid" designed to solve science's greatest problems, who escapes from a university lab and finds a job as a barista in a kooky coffee shop, where she finds plenty of problems to solve. Publication is slated for fall 2023; Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency represented the author, and Britt Siess at Britt Siess Creative Management represented the illustrator.
Annie Berger at Sourcebooks Fire has acquired debut YA contemporary fantasy The Poisons We Drink by Bethany Baptiste. In a country divided between witchers and humans, an 18-year-old Black brewer of love potions must protect her sister after she is coerced into making powerful potions to persuade and enslave Washington's most influential politicians, before they find themselves in the middle of a war that could cost them everything. Publication is scheduled for winter 2022; John Cusick at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management brokered the deal for world English rights.
Julie Matysik at Running Press Kids has acquired Make the Fireflies Dance by Rachel Bateman (Someone Else's Summer), about a rom-com loving teen who, after she's kissed in a dark theater, enlists her friends to help her track down the mystery kisser in time for their senior prom. Publication is scheduled for 2023; Liza Fleissig at Liza Royce Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
Karen Chaplin at Quill Tree has bought, in an exclusive submission, solo middle grade debut The Girl Who Kept the Castle by Ryan Graudin. The whimsy of Studio Ghibli meets the wry humor of Diana Wynne Jones in this duology, in which Faye must save the only home she's ever known when a "not-dead" wizard's competition to see who will inherit his estate goes awry. It's set for summer 2023, with book two following in summer 2024; Tracey Adams at Adams Literary brokered the deal for North American rights.
Lisa Sandell at Scholastic has acquired world rights to middle-grade duology Black Ink by bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen, envisioned as an adventure in the vein of Stranger Things and Greenglass House, featuring a mysterious boy in hiding, a conspiracy of secrets, and a Boggle game that may just be the key to unlocking the whole mystery. The first book will publish in fall 2022; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency handled the deal.
Calista Brill at First Second has bought debut middle grade graphic novel North for the Winter by Pixar animator Bobby Podesta, in which an 11-year-old girl must team up with the boy next door and his teenage sister to outsmart a hunter and dodge U.S. military planes, so they can return a flying reindeer to the North Pole to save Christmas before it's too late. Alison Wilgus will also edit. Publication is planned for 2024; Jennifer March Soloway at Andrea Brown Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
Emily Seife at Scholastic Press has acquired Selah's Guide to Normal by debut middle grade author Meg Eden Kuyatt. In this novel in verse, a girl on the autism spectrum who has always followed strict "rules for being normal" is threatened with expulsion after accidentally lashing out at a classmate, and must re-evaluate what "normal" really means and how to stand up for herself. Publication is slated for 2023; Lauren Spieller at TriadaUS Literary Agency did the deal for world rights.
Alyssa Miele at Quill Tree has acquired, in an exclusive submission, The Very Unfortunate Wish of Melony Yoshimura, a middle grade novel by Waka T. Brown (While I Was Away; Dream, Annie, Dream). A modern-day retelling of the Japanese folktale The Melon Princess and the Amanjaku, pitched as When You Trap a Tiger meets Coraline, the story follows a sheltered 12-year-old girl who is befriended by a demon who grants her wishes, encouraging her to rebel against her overprotective parents, all while using her for his own evil scheme. Publication is set for summer 2023; Penny Moore at Aevitas Creative Management brokered the two-book deal for world rights.
Alyza Liu at Simon & Schuster has bought Three Strike Summer by debut author Skyler Schrempp, pitched as The Sandlot meets Esperanza Rising, in which baseball-loving Dust Bowl refugee Gloria Mae Willard is determined to carve out a place for herself at the California peach orchard where she works with her family. Publication is scheduled for early fall 2022; Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown sold world English rights.
Brett Israel at Dark Horse Comics has bought middle grade graphic novel The Hundredth Voice by Caitlin Like. Inspired by The Phantom of the Opera and The Little Mermaid, this story follows a boy determined to break his family's curse which causes every singer to lose their voice. When he arrives at his grandfather's exclusive—and haunted—academy, he sets his eyes on the lead role in the musical, as long as the literal and figurative skeletons in his family's closet don't get in the way. Publication is planned for fall 2023; Laurel Symonds at the Bent Agency negotiated the deal for world English rights.
Charlie Ilgunas at Yellow Jacket has acquired world English rights to middle grade graphic novel Fae and the Moon by Franco Aureliani (l.) (Tiny Titans), illustrated by Catherine Satrun (c.) and Sarah Satrun (r.). The story features a girl who pulls her missing mother's adored Moon from the sky, and finds herself in a world of mystery and darkness battling ancient monsters hungry for the Moon and its powers. Publication is slated for spring 2023; Marie Lamba at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency represented the creators.
Whitney Leopard at Random House Graphic has bought, in an exclusive submission, young middle-grade graphic novel trilogy Jeff in the Jurassic by Royden Lepp. Jeff is an alien with a mission, but nothing ever goes the way he wants it to. Now he's crash-landed on the very planet he's supposed to destroy, and he's stuck with the locals—the local dinosaurs, that is. Publication is scheduled for 2023; Lillian Laserson at Laserson Law sold world rights.
Melissa Manlove at Chronicle Books has acquired world rights to Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your Path to Countless Fairytale Endings by Laurel Snyder (l.), illustrated by Dan Santat. The reader guides Rosie (Little Red Riding Hood) down myriad story paths as she navigates a constantly surprising fairytale landscape in this interactive read-aloud. Publication is set for spring 2022; Tina Dubois at ICM Partners represented the author, and Jodi Reamer at Writers House represented the illustrator.
Christy Ottaviano at Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano Books has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to The Great Zombie Pumpkin Parade, a rhyming Halloween picture book written by Robert Burleigh (l.) and illustrated by Wendell Minor. Publication is planned for summer 2023; Rubin Pfeffer at Rubin Pfeffer Content negotiated the deal for the author and the illustrator.
Tiara Kittrell at HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has acquired world rights to Be Black Girl Be by T.B. Darks (l.), illustrated by Sharee Miller. This picture book follows a girl on a journey of envisioning endless possibilities for her life as she embraces love for herself and for what she could become, despite the hurdles ahead. Publication is slated for winter 2024; Mary Cummings at Great River Literary in association with Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises represented the author, and Monica Odom at Odom Media Management represented the illustrator.
Bethany Buck at Pixel+Ink has bought world rights to Star & Stripe: Grand Opening! and a second book in the series from debut picture book writer M.J. Offen (l.), illustrated by Ruth Bennett. In the book, a brother and sister (a bull and a cow) lock horns and learn to hold hooves as they try to cook up a new business venture selling grassburgers as good as their mother's. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Peter McHugh at the Gotham Group represented the author, and Alex Gehringer at the Bright Group represented the illustrator.
Sonali Fry at Random House has acquired, for Crown Books for Young Readers, world rights to Standing in the Need of Prayer, written by Carole Boston Weatherford (l.) and illustrated by Frank Morrison. Based on the popular spiritual, Standing in the Need of Prayer has been reworked to chronicle the milestones, struggles, tragedies, and triumphs of African American history. Publication is set for fall 2022; Rubin Pfeffer at Rubin Pfeffer Content represented the author, and Lori Nowicki at Painted Words represented the illustrator.
Rick Rinehart at Muddy Boots has bought world rights to Something Spectacular by Carmela LaVigna Coyle (l.), the story of a behemoth hunk of sandstone on its 250-million-year journey through time and erosion to become "something spectacular." Carly Allen-Fletcher will illustrate, publication is planned for August 2022. The author was unagented, and Anna Olswanger of Olswanger Literary represented the illustrator.
Julie Bliven at Charlesbridge has acquired picture book Big Babies by artist-author Patrick O'Brien, a look at how large baby dinosaurs were as compared to modern-day objects. Publication is slated for summer 2023; Timothy Travaglini at the Transatlantic Agency brokered the deal for world rights.
Kate Fletcher at Candlewick has bought two interactive board books by graphic designer Chiêu Anh Urban. Illusions in Art introduces the concept of negative and positive space through high-contrast images of animals and food, which offer young readers the visual experience of discovering two images in one. Publication is scheduled for 2023; Jamie Weiss Chilton at Andrea Brown Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.
To see all of this week's deals, click here.


Who Will Pull Santa’s Sleigh?
Russ Willms. Clarion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-358-39342-9

It’s Santa’s “first Christmas delivering presents” in this lighthearted fare, but first Santa and the elves, all pink-skinned, need a team of animals to help pull the sleigh. Via bright, cartoonlike illustrations, wordplay, and plentiful dialogue bubbles, Willms presents a comical origin story for Santa’s famous reindeer team. more

Our Table
Peter H. Reynolds. Orchard, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-338-57232-2

In Reynolds’s characteristic ink-and-watercolor spreads, Violet, a brown-skinned girl with springy purple hair, mourns that the dining room table is no longer where her family congregates. An apropos reminder, especially pertinent for the holidays, of connections maintained through physical proximity. more

Jan Brett’s The Nutcracker
Jan Brett. Putnam, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-10982-3

E.T.A. Hoffmann’s famous Christmas story of the girl and the wooden nutcracker receives Brett’s signature treatment in this picture book rendition. Keeping to the story’s well-known arc, Brett imagines visual variations in watercolor and gouache spreads that interweave moments from the ballet. A Christmas confection laced with an Old World sensibility. more

The Little Owl & the Big Tree: A Christmas Story
Jonah Winter, illus. by Jeanette Winter. Beach Lane, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-66590-213-7

Jonah Winter narrates with quiet respect the journey of the saw-whet owl found in the 2020 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, starting by describing her at home in the forest. With minimum sentimentality, the mother-son collaborators offer an effectively quiet celebration of a wild creature who encounters human civilization. more

Santa in the City
Tiffany D. Jackson, illus. by Reggie Brown. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-11025-6

In her accessibly written picture book debut, Jackson centers Deja, a Black child of Jamaican descent who asks myriad questions regarding Santa’s methods of reaching her city home. Warm, imaginative digital art by debut illustrator Brown offer a nuanced portrait of Deja’s family and community in this reassuring book for any child who’s ever worried about Santa’s magic reaching them. more

September 16, 2021
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Carla Xmas
Word of the Day
Birdie's Bargain
Topop Pecoso
Kaitlin Kneafsey has been promoted to assistant director of publicity at Penguin Young Readers, from publicity manager.
Mary Jones has joined Abrams as editor of the Magic Cat imprint; she was previously a freelancer for Scholastic, Lonely Planet Kids, and National Geographic Kids.
Jay Colvin is joining Pixel+Ink as senior designer; most recently he was senior designer at Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing.
Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing has one promotion and one new hire. Alyza Liu has been promoted to associate editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, from assistant editor. Leslie Tran has joined as editorial assistant for Simon Spotlight.
Sneak Previews

Take a look ahead at some of the big titles for children and teens due out in spring 2022, from picture books to YA novels, in our exclusive roundup.
The Book Biz Tries to Avoid Supply Chain Disruptions
Cover Reveal:
'Cress Watercress' by Gregory Maguire

Ci9: A Virtual Conference in Photos
Q & A with Veera Hiranandani
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