Children's and YA Division News
September 2021 | New Deals and Notable Publicity
Picture Book
Vicky Fang will be writing and illustrating ALPHABOT, a mix-and-match novelty book with flaps that allows kids to create their own robots while learning basic definitions of robot technology for the new collaboration between Candlewick and MIT Kids Press. Sarah Ketchersid acquired world rights for the book. (Elizabeth Bennett)
Zoe Walton at PRH Australia acquired world rights to THIS LITTLE JOEY, a board book about a little kangaroo, written and illustrated by Renee Treml. (Elizabeth Bennett)
Carol Hinz at Lerner has acquired world rights to the picture book biography CURIOUS KATI:THE RACE FOR A COVID-19 VACCINE, a picture book biography of Dr. Katalin Kariko, the scientist who devoted her career to studying mRNA and played a crucial role in bringing COVID-19 vaccines to millions, by Debbie Dadey to be illustrated by Juliana Oakley, in a pre-empt, for publication in spring 2023. (Elizabeth Bennett)
Marla Lesage was commissioned by Whitney Moran at Nimbus to illustrate LITTLE LONELY LIGHTHOUSE, a heartfelt picture book about a neglected lighthouse and the small coastal community that comes together to make her light shine again, written by Lana Shupe for publication in Spring 2022. (Elizabeth Bennett)
Books five and six in the internationally bestselling Moneybunny Book series by acclaimed author and cartoonist Cinders McLeod, titled HOW DO YOU SPEND? and HOW DO YOU SAVE?, a series of financial literacy picture books that demonstrate simple money concepts through the story of two young bunnies who show readers the different ways they spend and save money, sold to Nancy Paulsen at Nancy Paulsen books/Penguin (World). (Samantha Haywood)
Barb McNally at Sleeping Bear Press has acquired THE RIVER THAT WOLVES MOVED by Mary Kay Carson, illustrated by David Hohn, a nonfiction picture book that uses the structure of “The House that Jack Built” to show the interconnectedness of the plants and animals that live in a place and the power of a single species (wolves) to bring about ecosystem changes so profound that the physical landscape itself (river) is transformed. Publication is planned for Spring 2022. Andrea Cascardi represented the author in a world rights deal.
Anna Roberto at Feiwel and Friends has bought world rights to ANNIE’S CAT IS SAD by Heather Smith, illustrated by Karen Obuhanych, at auction. ANNIE’S CAT IS SAD is about a girl and her cat as they navigate the difficulties of feeling sad after having a bad day. Publication is planned for spring 2022. Amy Tompkins represented the author in a deal for world rights.
Liz Kemp at Orca Book Publishers has acquired world rights to WELCOME, DARK, by Charis St. Pierre and illustrations by Rachel Wada for publication in the fall of 2022. WELCOME, DARK is a board book that explains why nighttime is important. Amy Tompkins represented the illustrator.
Kallie George at Greystone Kids has acquired world rights WHAT WILL I DISCOVER by Tanya Lloyd Kyi in an exclusive submission. WHAT WILL I DISCOVER is a picture book about a child scientist exploring different landscapes, and will be illustrated by Rachel Qiuqi Li. Publication is slated for Spring 2023. Amy Tompkins represented the author.
Middle Grade
Anne Shone at Scholastic Canada has bought world rights to Jane Warren’s HOW TO BE A GOLDFISH, a Parent Trap inspired middle grade novel that tells the story of two young strangers who form an unlikely alliance to help an old farmer, and along the way uncover a forty-year-old secret that will change both of their lives forever. (Elizabeth Bennett)
Liz Szabla at Feiwel and Friends has acquired world rights to James Preller's SHAKEN, a middle grade novel about a seventh grade soccer star who suffers from the lingering effects of a concussion and struggles to reinvent herself, in an exclusive submission, for publication in spring 2023 (world). (Elizabeth Bennett)

James Preller was also signed to create a new middle grade series, EXIT 13, pitched as Schitt's Creek meets Stranger Things, in which two young teens, their dog, and their parents become trapped in a mysterious and seriously creepy motel, by Debra Dorfman (world rights) at Scholastic, with Connor Lloyd editing, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, for publication beginning in fall 2022. (Elizabeth Bennett)
Heather Alexander was signed by Lucy Brownridge at Wide Eyed Editions to write ONLY IN CALIFORNIA and ONLY IN TEXAS, the first two books in a new series filled with funny and unusual facts about specific states in America in a two-book deal, for publication in beginning 2022. (Elizabeth Bennett)
Maria Barbo at HarperCollins has acquired THE KEEPER by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, a middle grade horror/mystery about a brother and sister who move to a seemingly idyllic neighborhood in the Pacific Northwest only to get threatening letters from a mysterious stranger who calls himself The Keeper. Publication is planned for January 2022. Andrea Cascardi at Transatlantic Agency did the deal for World Rights.
Andrea J. Loney was signed by Stephanie Guerdan at HarperCollins to write VIP: STACEY ABRAMS: VOTING HISTORY, a new installment in the VIP series of middle grade biographies, about the life of Stacey Abrams, the influential voting rights activist, lawyer, and author. Publication in winter 2022, by Andrea Cascardi.
World rights to AMAZING HOCKEY STORIES: ALEXANDER OVECHKIN by Lorna Schultz Nicholson, have been acquired by Erin O’Connor at Scholastic Canada, for publication in fall 2020. Amy Tompkins brokered the deal.
Dundurn Press’s associate publisher Kathryn Lane has acquired world English rights to Sylvia McNicoll’s WHAT THE DOG KNOWS. The middle-grade novel is described as the story of a tween girl’s dog who returns from the afterlife with one mission, to prevent her from drowning on July 4. Publication is expected for summer 2022. The deal was arranged by Amy Tompkins.
BEE & FLEA AND THE COMPOST CAPER and a second book in the Bee & Flea early chapter book series, by Anna Humphrey and illustrated by Mike Deas have been acquired by Karen Boersma at Owlkids Books in a deal for world rights. Bee and Flea are two fanny-pack wearing agents who work for the F.L.E.A. (that's the Fenced-in-area Law Enforcement Agency) solving microscopic crimes in a big backyard. The first book will publish in the spring of 2022 and the second in the spring of 2023. Amy Tompkins represented the author.
Young Adult
THE MOON CONCH by Guadalupe Garcia McCall and David Bowles was sold to Bloomsbury in a two-book deal by Andrea Cascardi (for McCall) and Taylor Martindale Kean of Full Circle Literary (for Bowles). This epic Fantasy Romance spans 500 years as a young Aztec warrior and a contemporary immigrant Mexican girl, connected across the centuries by a sacred conch, flee oppression and fight to survive. Against all odds, they struggle to find their way to each other, for even 500 years isn’t enough to keep them apart. Publication will be 2023. (Andrea Cascardi)
Author of the From An Idea To… series and founder of Idea Tank for Kids Lowey Sichol’s IDEA MAKERS: 15 FEARLESS FEMALE ENTREPRENEURS, profiling 15 successful female entrepreneurs in science, food, health, education, and more, for the Women of Power series, to Jerome Pohlen (world rights) at Chicago Review Press for publication in February 2022. (Elizabeth Bennett)
World rights to Filipina-Canadian writer Tessa Barbosa’s YA fantasy THE GLASS FORTRESS in which Nara Jal, cursed by the sins of her past lives, enters a deadly competition in a desperate attempt to save her imprisoned mother only to come face to face with her immortal enemy who is tasked with destroying her once and for all, sold to Alexander Te Pohe at Entangled Teen. Deal by Léonicka Valcius.
World English rights to NERDCRUSH by Alisha Emrich, a charming coming-of-age teen romance story about a Black girl who uses cosplay as a way to feel seen and escape the real world but who finds herself in a tricky situation when her crush starts to fall for her online persona, pitched as You Should See Me in a Crown meets You've Got Mail, to Britny Brooks at Running Press Kids for publication in Winter 2023 by Laura Cameron.
Tanya Trafford at Orca Book Publishers has acquired world rights to DEPTH OF FIELD by Natasha Deen for the Orca Soundings series. A school assignment leads to the discovery of a criminal enterprise. Now, Josh is being chased through the mountains by a group of men. He has no fighting skills or ability to survive. Will he make it out? DEPTH OF FIELD will publish in February 2022. Amy Tompkins handled the deal.
Eric Walters, winner of the 2020 Governor General’s Award for Young People’s Literature for The King of Jam Sandwiches, has written a new YA novel that has been acquired by Barry Jowett at DCB in a deal for North American rights. MADE 4 YOU is a fast-paced, intelligent story of academically gifted teens who draw upon their emotional depth and courage when their world goes awry. It will publish in fall 2022. Deal by Amy Tompkins.
Graphic Novels
Kate Fletcher at Candlewick has signed Mel Valentine Vargas to create the graphic novel version of Meg Medina’s YA novel, YAQUI DELGADO WANTS TO KICK YOUR ASS, about a Latina teen who is targeted by a bully at her new school and must discover resources she never knew she had, for publication in 2024 (World). (Elizabeth Bennett)
Andrea Colvin at Little, Brown Children's has pre-empted world rights to Christine Mari’s KOKORO, about growing up and negotiating her place in two worlds—America and Japan—while navigating the mental and emotional legacy of being a “hafu”—half Japanese, half American, for publication in fall 2024. (Samantha Haywood and Devon Halliday)
Acclaimed graphic novelist Scott Chantler's first two books in the SQUIRE & KNIGHT middle grade series, about a brainy young squire who solves mysteries involving monsters and magic, but the overbearing knight he serves take the credit every time, sold to Mark Siegel at First Second Books by Samantha Haywood of Transatlantic Agency (World).
ANZ rights to MISCHIEF AND MAYHEM: Born to Be Bad by Ken Lamug, sold to Scholastic Australia by Andrea Cascardi.

Greek rights to all four books in the Hector Fox Series -- HECTOR FOX AND THE GIANT QUEST, HECTOR FOX AND THE RAVEN’S REVENGE, HECTOR FOX AND THE DARING FLIGHT, and HECTOR FOX AND THE MAP OF MYSTERY -- have been sold to Dioptra by Tatiana Moukakos at JLM Literary Agency. (Amy Tompkins)

Greek rights to Komal Singh’s ARA THE DREAM INNOVATOR sold to Klidarithmos by Evan Brown in association with John L. Moukakos at JLM Literary Agency, Turkish rights sold to Dogan Egmont in association with Nazlıcan Kabataş at Kalem Agency, for Page Two. (Evan Brown)

Ukrainian rights to Deborah MacNamara’s THE SORRY PLANE sold to Galyna Lutsenko at Smaki Publishing by Evan Brown, for Page Two. (Evan Brown)
Scott Chantler’s acclaimed graphic novel series THREE THIEVES has been optioned by IGP Productions Ltd. (Street Legal, Remedy) with Bernie and Rayne Zukerman as producers and Scott Chantler attached to adapt his work for the screen. World rights to THREE THIEVES are available. (Samantha Haywood)

EAT BUGS, the middle grade series written by Heather Alexander and based on the true story of best friends, Laura D’Asaro and Rose Wang, who started a company making snack chips out of crickets and landed a deal on Shark Tank, has been optioned by Sesame Workshop. Foreign language rights are still available. (Elizabeth Bennett)
Congratulations to the following Transatlantic clients, whose books were listed as Bank Street Best Books of 2021!

  • ONCE UPON A WINTER DAY written and illustrated by Liza Woodruff
  • PINE ISLAND HOME by Polly Horvarth
  • THE MOST AMAZING BIRD by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak, illustrated by Andrew Qappik
  • MAX & MO'S 100TH DAY OF SCHOOL by Patricia Lakin, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
  • MAX & MO'S SCIENCE FAIR SURPRISE by Patricia Lakin, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
  • A WHALE OF THE WILD by Rosanne Parr, illustrated by Lindsay Moore
  • DON'T STAND SO CLOSE TO ME by Eric Walters
  • MAURICE AND HIS DICTIONARY: A True Story by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Enzo Lord Mariano
  • ONCE UPON AN EID: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices edited by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Sara Alfageeh, featuring Rukhsana Khan as a contributor
  • ME AND BANKSY by Tanya Lloyd Kyi
  • ALMOST AMERICAN GIRL: An Illustrated Memoir written and illustrated by Robin Ha
  • COOKIE BOO by Ruth Paul
  • FELIX AND THE MONSTERS by Josh and Monica Holtsclaw
  • YOU CALL THIS DEMOCRACY: How to Fix Our Government and Deliver Power to the People by Elizabeth Rusch
  • THE BIG ONE: The Cascadia Earthquakes and the Science of Saving Lives by Elizabeth Rusch
Allison Mackey’s middle grade novel, THE EDGE OF EVERYWHEN is a finalist in the Debut Novel category for the Carol Award with American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Winners will be announced in September.

CLASH by Kayla Miller was a July Amazon Editors' Pick - Best Books for ages 9-12 .

BIG IDEAS FOR LITTLE PHILOSOPHERS: LOVE WITH PLATO by Duane Armitage and Maureen McQuerry was a July Amazon Editors’ Pick in “Best Books for Babies-Age 2” AND an Amazon #1 New Release. Plato and Confucius are the two newest additions to the series, spreading their wisdom alongside Aristotle, de Beauvoir, Socrates, and Decartes in six translations … so far.

KING OF JAM SANDWICHES by Eric Walters (Orca Book Publishers), ME AND BANKSY (Puffin Books) and THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON STEREOTYPES (Kids Can Press) by Tanya Lloyd Kyi and HEAD TO HEAD by Jennifer Manuel (Lorimer Press) have been nominated for the 2021-2022 Red Cedar Book Awards! This is British Columbia’s reader’s choice award, in which thousands of children between grades 4 and 7 from across BC read from nominated lists of fiction and non-fiction and vote for their favourites in April of each year.

THE PHONE BOOTH IN MR. HIROTA’S GARDEN by Heather Smith and illustrated by Rachel Wada (Orca Book Publishers) has been nominated for the Sakura Medal.

CLAN by Sigmund Brouwer (Tundra Books) and BARRY SQUIRES, FULL TILT by Heather Smith (Penguin Teen) have been shortlisted for the Northern Lights Award, part of the Manitoba Young Readers’ Choice (MYRC) Awards.

THE GOOD FIGHT by Ted Staunton and illustrated by Josh Rosen was shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award (Scholastic Canada).

The Ontario Arts Council (OAC) and the Ontario Arts Foundation (OAF) announced the shortlists for the 2021 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards. The Awards recognize artistic excellence in Canadian children’s literature. THE KING OF JAM SANDWICHES by Eric Walters (Orca Book Publishers) and ME AND BANKSY by Tanya Lloyd Kyi (Puffin Canada) were both recognized in the Young Adult/Middle Reader category!

BEASTLY PUZZLES by Rachel Poliquin and illustrated by Byron Eggenschwiler (Kids Can Press) has won the 2020-21 Hackmatack Award in the English Nonfiction category! The Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award is a literary program designed for young readers in Atlantic Canada. Each year, thousands of children in grades four to six (aged nine to twelve) read from the selection of outstanding Canadian books and vote for their favourites.
OTHER BOYS by Damian Alexander has received a starred review in Kirkus, which called the middle grade graphic memoir “an excellent, important debut.”

“Newcomer Alexander delves into his past to craft a sweet, touching, and at-times scary memoir of grief and loss and coming out (mostly to himself). He situates his younger self in bright cartoon panels, a White boy in fairly diverse classrooms. LGBTQ+ tweens will see their struggles and rejoice in his progression toward self-acceptance.”

Publishers Weekly:
"Damian’s lows … and highs … prompt deep empathy as he explores his childhood as a sensitive boy starting middle school in this melancholy queer coming-of-age memoir."

Three stars for LIVING BEYOND BORDERS: Growing Up Mexican in America, edited by Margarita Longoria! (Philomel/PRH).

Booklist, starred review:
"This superlative collection of fiction, essays, poetry, and graphic vignettes is as varied as its contributors."

SLJ, starred review:
"Voices reach out from the pages of this anthology, tugging at readers and pushing them to see the difficulties and beauty of what it means to live as a Mexican American in the United States. These selections explore how it feels to be seen as “other,” even while having been a part of this land for generations. The stories encourage Mexican American readers to listen to their inner voice and not let it be silenced. Each selection offers something distinct in this multifaceted work that doesn’t prioritize the white gaze. It will make a lasting impression on all readers. VERDICT Highly recommended for school and public library collections."

SLC, starred review:
"This superb anthology of short stories, comics, and poems is fresh, funny, and full of authentic YA voices revealing what it means to be Mexican American . . . Not to be missed."

Contact Andrea Cascardi
From Kirkus about MERANDA AND THE LEGEND OF THE LAKE, a debut middle grade novel by Megan Mahoney:

"Dark family secrets, hints of magic, and a very tidy resolution after pleasing thrills."

Debora Pearson's MY WORDS FLEW AWAY LIKE BIRDS, illustrated by Shrija Jain (Kids Can Press) has received a starred review from Kirkus, which calls it "A frank and optimistic picture book about learning to live in a new language." Contact Amy Tompkins
FROM THE TOPS OF THE TREES by Kao Kalia Yang and illustrated by Rachel Wada (Carolrhoda) has been praised as a story of “resilience and generational hope” and “visually striking” by Kirkus in a starred review. Contact Amy Tompkins
Quill & Quire reviewed THE GOOD FIGHT by Ted Staunton and Josh Rosen:

THE GOOD FIGHT tackles the plight of immigrants during the Great Depression head-on without glossing over the poverty, unemployment, or ugliness of Swastika Clubs and cries of 'Heil Hitler' in a city that has today become one of the most multicultural in the world...Rosen’s vivid and engaging illustrations add a wonderful sense of time and place...a solid introduction for young readers to issues of prejudice, loyalty, and the immigrant experience.”

Contact Amy Tompkins
ALICE FLECK'S RECIPES FOR DISASTER by Rachelle Delaney, reviewed by Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal.

Publishers Weekly:
“Delaney ... serves a toothsome culinary caper amid a gentle, well-balanced portrait of one preteen’s journey toward accepting adaptability and change.”

School Library Journal:
“Delaney takes readers on an adventure that feels like a cross between Kids Baking Championship and Scooby Doo in all the best possible ways, along with a few behind-the-scenes glimpses of reality TV and social media. Recommended for fans of cooking shows and sweet family stories.”

Contact Amy Tompkins
“A heartening Canadian picture book with an emotionally resonant ending.” —Starred Review, Booklist for OUT INTO THE BIG WIDE LAKE by Paul Harbridge & illustrated by Josee Bisaillon
A Kirkus starred review for Kyra TeisKLEZMER (Kar-Ben, fall 2022) calling it "...a delightful, deliciously happy introduction to an unusual and too-little-known musical form.”

Tessa Barbosa writes software help by day, and YA fantasy novels by night. Her short fiction (as T.S. Bazelli) has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, as well as anthologies by Exile Editions, Graveside Tales, and Innsmouth Free Press. She currently lives on the rainy west coast of Canada with her family. When she’s not at the keyboard, she’s making messes in the kitchen or sewing things. THE GLASS FORTRESS, Tessa’s stunning YA fantasy that draws on her pre-colonial Filipino and Southeast Asian heritage, recently sold to Entangled Teen. She is currently working on her next project, a Filipino gothic retelling of Frankenstein. Tessa is represented by Léonicka Valcius.
Hannah Beach is an award-winning educator, author, emotional health consultant, and keynote speaker. Her bestselling I Can Dance book series (Rubicon Publishing), supporting the emotional health of children through movement, play, and expression, won a 2017 Gold International Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and was named the Supplemental Resource Finalist in Arts for the prestigious 2017 REVERE Awards by the Association of American Publishers. Hannah is coauthor of Reclaiming Our Students: Why Children Are More Anxious, Aggressive, and Shut Down Than Ever—And What We Can Do About It, with Tamara Neufeld Strijack (Page Two Books), an emotional-health resource for teachers and parents, rooted in the relationship-based approach to childhood development as articulated by Dr. Gordon Neufeld, and translated in multiple languages internationally. Hannah sits on the American Strategic Coalition for the Future of Education, advising American educational institutions on how to bring trauma-informed practices into their learning communities. She was recognized by the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2017 as one of five featured change-makers in Canada. Hannah is represented by Evan Brown.
Laura Zarrin has illustrated over 30 books for children including board books, picture books, and chapter books, Highlights Hidden Pictures, and various educational projects. She is the illustrator of the WALLACE AND GRACE series by Heather Alexander and the KATIE WOO’S NEIGHBORHOOD series by Fran Manushkin. Laura is happiest writing and illustrating characters with subtle and not so subtle humor. Her work has been published by Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Schoolzone, Babybug, Ladybug, Spider Magazine, Highlights Hello Magazine, Highlights Let’s Play Hidden Picture Books, Tricycle Press, Magic Wagon, and Benchmark Press. Laura is represented by Elizabeth Bennett.
Noella Bickel is graphic novelist, illustrator, and educator based in San Jose, California. Beginning art instruction at the age of ten, she knew early on that she loved animation and wanted to create her own films. She attended the School of Film and Television at Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in Animation in 2002. While she loved animation and art, she also found a passion for education, earning multiple credentials and has worked as a teacher and assistant principal since 2005. Her love of art as a form of communication was incorporated in new ways to reach struggling students by using visuals to create meaningful connections. Noella looks forward to aging into her personality as she loves to sleep, knit, and watch true crime documentaries curled up on the couch with her big ol’ dog, Winston the Bullsky. Noella is represented by Elizabeth Bennett.
Carlos Alonzo Morales is a Mexican-Canadian novelist, screenwriter, and academic. A self-described "indoor kid" from the beginning, he found himself drawn to literature, films and video games far more than to other people. It wasn't until he was seventeen that he received his autism diagnosis, finally explaining both his tendencies and his struggles. Since then, he obtained a Master's degree in English Literature from Brock University, by writing his Master's thesis on the Mass Effect trilogy. His creative projects in prose and screenwriting represent a wide variety of genres including sci-fi, space opera, fantasy, horror, thrillers, the Gothic, and Westerns. His sci-fi novels in particular are driven by a desire to see more Latino protagonists in genre fiction. Carlos’ debut science fiction novel ETERNAL ECLIPSE is a space horror in the tradition of classics like Alien and Dead Space. Carlos is represented by Léonicka Valcius.
Ellen Lee is an independent journalist and children’s book author in the San Francisco Bay Area. She's currently an editor for Medium, curating its new #StopAsianHate blog. Her writing has also appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Wirecutter, The Atlantic, Real Simple and the San Francisco Chronicle, where she was formerly a business and technology reporter. A recipient of a picture book mentorship through the Writing with the Stars contest, she is also the author of a forthcoming book of Mad Libs about the Lunar New Year. She is represented by Andrea Cascardi.
Sarah Aronson has earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and published the following books for kids and teens: Head Case, Beyond Lucky, and Believe, a young MG series, The Wish List as well as Just Like Rube Goldberg (Beach Lane Books), illustrated by Robert Neubecker. Forthcoming books include Brand New Bubbe (Charlesbridge) and a picture book biography of Bella Abzug, called Abzuglutely! (Calkins Creek). She loves working with other writers in her classes at the amazing Highlights Foundation or Writers on the Net. She lives in Evanston, Illinois. Like tips? Need some inspiration? Subscribe to her weekly newsletter on the creative life on her website: Sarah is represented by Andrea Cascardi.
Sandra's dog Hazel had a very busy summer...!