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February 2013

We are so very pleased to announce that Ken Wright at Viking has acquired a picture book autobiography by Dr. Tererai Trent, who was named as Oprah Winfrey's "all-time favorite guest" on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in May 2011. She was known there as "the woman who buried her dreams in a can," and her picture book, THE GIRL WHO BURIED HER DREAMS IN A CAN, will recount her inspiring story of growing up in poverty in Zimbabwe, where girls have few educational opportunities, through much adversity, to realizing her dreams to get an education in America and help other girls in Africa learn to read and write. It is slated to release in fall 2014.

Jan Spivey Gilchrist, illustrator or author-illustrator of over 70 books that have won numerous awards including a Coretta Scott King Medal for Illustration, a CSK Honor, and a People's Choice Award, will illustrate.

Some of the proceeds from publication of the book will benefit Tinogona, Dr. Trent's nonprofit foundation that seeks to increase educational opportunities for girls and women in Sub-Saharan Africa. With the help of Save the Children and Oprah Winfrey's $1.5 million donation, Tinogona's name (which translates as "it is achievable") is proving true.

Congratulations, Tererai and Jan!

—Erin

The False Prince

The False Prince
Jennifer A. Nielsen

Without a doubt, this is proving to be a big week for author Jennifer A. Nielsen. On March 3rd, her runaway hit THE FALSE PRINCE will debut at #14 on the New York Times Bestseller List. On March 1st is the official release date for THE RUNAWAY KING, the breathtaking Book #2 in the series.

And today? Today I am here to announce an entirely NEW book deal! Beginning publication in 2015 (after next year's release of the third book in the Ascendence Trilogy!), Jen Nielsen's new series will begin with THE PRAETOR WAR, set in the dark and tumultuous world of ancient Rome, and pitting a boy and his friends against a powerful hidden magic which he must learn to control—before it's too late.

The new series was again signed on by the inimitable Lisa Sandell at Scholastic Press in a three-book deal. Huge congratulations to Jen, and—mark your calendars, folks!

—Joan

This time it's Kirkus that has glowing things to say about DARK TRIUMPH, by Robin LaFevers:

An assassin with a will of steel fights her way through deadly palace deceptions, sickening sexual servitude and baffling assignments from her convent, becoming a major player in Brittany's 15th-century resistance of French occupation.

Readers last glimpsed Sybella through Ismae's eyes (Grave Mercy, 2012), serving in the entourage of d'Albret, a bloodthirsty Breton noble. Unknown to Ismae, Sybella is d'Albret's daughter, raised in a household in which her kindest brother demanded sex from her and their father murdered wife after wife. Now Sybella's a trained assassin, serving Mortain, the god of Death. In a castle that d'Albret stole from Brittany's steadfast 13-year-old duchess, Sybella waits to see a marque on d'Albret's body so she can kill him with Mortain's grace. Living there requires a soul-breaking dance of flirtation and survival, and she is never safe. Is Mortain her real father, and has he rejected her? When an unexpected assignment arrives—a rescue, shockingly, not an assassination—it requires all of Sybella's physical and emotional strength and stealth, plus the use of her sterling assassin skills in active battle. LaFevers weaves the "crazed, tangled web" of Sybella's life (including her tortured past) with force, suspense and subtle tenderness. The prose's beauty inspires immediate re-reads of many a sentence, but its forward momentum is irresistible.

An intricate, masterful page-turner about politics, treachery, religion, love and healing. 

Congratulations, Robin!

—Erin

We are so pleased that the stars are aligning for DARK TRIUMPH, by Robin LaFevers: First Booklist, now PW, and next week, another from Kirkus will go live! Here's the full Publishers Weekly review:

In this electric sequel to Grave Mercy, LaFevers tells the story of another 15th-century "handmaiden to Death" from the convent of St. Mortain, Lady Sybella. Raised in terror by her father, the monstrous nobleman D'Albret, Sybella was barely sane when she entered the convent. Years later, still filled with rage, she has returned home to spy on the traitorous D'Albret and foil his attempt to kidnap and forcibly marry his liege, the young Duchess of Brittany. Sybella must navigate a complex web of political subterfuge, violence, and self-hatred to stay alive, while secretly assassinating those traitors whom the god Mortain has "marqued" for death ("When I see a dark shadow covering his chest, my heart soars. He is marqued! This makes everything so much simpler"). Ordered to save the life of the ugly Beast of Waroch, a knight loyal to the duchess, Sybella soon ends up on the run from her father's vengeance. Brimming with powerful emotions, thrilling sword fights, and accurate period detail, this tightly plotted tale will enthrall readers of romantic historical fantasy.

Huge congratulations, Robin; you've done it again!

—Erin

The False Prince

The False Prince
Jennifer A. Nielsen

It's a big week for middle-grade author Jennifer A. Nielsen, who just received some terrific news: her acclaimed book, THE FALSE PRINCE, will debut on the New York Times Bestsellers list on March 3rd, at #14!

For those of you who have read and enjoyed THE FALSE PRINCE, you should know that the sequel, THE RUNAWAY KING, is officially out on March 1st (though I am told that it has already been spotted in the wild!). And for those who haven't yet read THE FALSE PRINCE, well... what are you waiting for? J

Congratulations, Jen!

—Joan

Debuting today in the iTunes store: SPATTER & SPARK, a fun and interactive app written by our own Deborah Underwood!

Polk Street Press, which previously produced the acclaimed GOODNIGHT SAFARI app (which over 185,000 families played just last month), produced the app featuring Deborah's original characters, Spark (an inventor fox) and her friend Spatter (an artistic porcupine). The two characters might have completely different approaches to problem-solving, but that just means that together, they're unstoppable! Luciana Navarro Powell illustrated the story that was written just for this format. It's EMLA's first app release (and Deborah's, too!), and we're so pleased that its thoughtful interactivity serves to support and develop the storyline rather than detract from the storytelling experience.

Go check it out! Huge congratulations, Deborah!

—Erin

How did you spend your Valentine's Day? Maria Gianferrari has a pretty spectacular answer to that question: Why, accepting a two-book offer for her debut picture book deal, of course!

When Maria and I signed together late last year, she had several wonderful  picture books that caught my eye. But none warmed my heart quite so much as PENELOPE UNTALENTED, the story of a very creative little girl who is desperately trying to come up with a routine to perform for her school's talent show. With the help of her dog Jelly, and bunches of imagination, she just might end up successful.

To my great delight, PENELOPE UNTALENTED will now be published Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, with the lovely Cynthia Platt as the acquiring editor. The aforementioned two-book deal extends to a not-yet-written companion book, describing another adventure of the irrepressible friends Penelope and Jelly.

Now that's a Valentine's Day to remember—huge congratulations, Maria!

—Joan

The Mesmer Menace

The Mesmer Menace
Kersten Hamilton

Just as Kersten Hamilton's first book in the Gadgets and Gears series is starting to be real (it debuts in the fall), word comes of book #2 on the way!

This is a fast-paced new middle-grade series where history and technology collide. In book 1, THE MESMER MENACE, the narrator, daring dachshund Noodles, tells the story of what happened to he and his best friend, the boy inventor Wally Kennewickett, when President Theodore Roosevelt recruited Wally's genius scientist parents to help the United States fight an evil society of hypnotists called the Mesmers—and the Mesmers showed up at the Amazing Automated Inn, where Wally and Noodles' live, and only the boy and his dog were there to fight them! Thankfully, they had the derring-do and the intelligence to come up with a plan.

Book 2 continues with more adventure and more mad science, and involves Nikola Tesla, sky pirates, more of the Mesmers, an Italian location, and an eight-legged, steam-powered land yacht named Arachne.

It was acquired in a deal for World English rights, as was book 1, by Lynne Polvino at Clarion, to be published Fall 2014 and illustrated by James Hamilton, who happens to be Kersten's son.

Congratulations, Kersten!

—Erin

It certainly is book-fever season around EMLA these days! And I'm thrilled to announce a brand new book deal for Eric Pinder, whose IF ALL THE ANIMALS CAME INSIDE, illustrated by the celebrated Marc Brown, was published in spring 2012.

The new deal is a warm and wonderful read-aloud story named HOW TO SHARE WITH A BEAR, about a boy named Thomas who builds a cozy fort in his living room, comes back with a book, only to find that someone—someone fuzzy and snuffly, and suspiciously bear-like—has already moved in. Will Thomas figure out how to lure away the bear and save his cozy spot?

The book was acquired by Janine O'Malley at FSG, who was so taken by the story and characters that she signed Eric up for a two-book deal, for an as-yet unwritten further adventure of Thomas and his new friend. Keep an eye out for these books, because they're going to be amazing!

Congratulations, Eric!

—Joan

It was so lovely to open today's PW Children's Bookshelf and see Liz Garton Scanlon's happy face smiling out at the world. Along with the picture, there was this wonderful write-up about Liz's latest book deal, about a child hiking the Grand Canyon:

"Allyn Johnston and Andrea Welch at Beach Lane Books have acquired world rights to a picture book manuscript from Liz Garton Scanlon (All the World). The new book, In the Canyon, is a tribute to the Grand Canyon and the power of wild and wide-open spaces; it will be released in spring 2016. Already in the works: two more projects in the works at Beach Lane: Thank You, Garden, slated for spring 2015, and The Old Man and the Marvelous Wind, for fall 2015 (the illustrators have not yet been announced); and a picture book for spring 2014 with Cheryl Klein at Scholastic's Arthur A. Levine Books called The Good-Pie Party, illustrated by Kady McDonald Denton. Erin Murphy of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency was the agent."

Hooray, Liz! Keep 'em coming!

—Erin

Happy February! We're getting closer to it being lighter in the late afternoon/evenings! Spring is coming!

We've got one book for this month, a gutsy and realistic YA novel by Laurie Boyle Crompton, entitled BLAZE: (OR LOVE IN THE TIME OF SUPERVILLAINS), published by Sourcebooks Fire, which deals with slut-shaming and bullying.

We wish this book into readers' hearts!

—Joan

A true one-of-a-kind, that's Audrey Vernick—as is Zander, the monster who stars in her latest picture book, UNLIKE OTHER MONSTERS, which has just been signed by Kevin Lewis at Disney-Hyperion!

We're looking ahead to a summer 2015 release for this gentle, delicate story with a little monstrous edge.

Congratulations, Audrey!

—Erin

We are trumpeting another new deal today! Joanne Rocklin's latest middle-grade novel is called FLEABRAIN LOVES FANNY, and it is as wonderful as all of Joanne's novels—voice-y and sly and delightful. It is set in Pittsburgh during the polio epidemic, pays homage to CHARLOTTE'S WEB, and involves a friendship between a girl named Fanny and a most unlikely soulmate, who comes along just when Fanny needs him most—when she is scared because of her polio, adjusting to not being able to walk, and lonely without all her neighborhood friends, whose parents have warned them to stay away from her because nobody is sure how long someone with polio could give it to other people (even though an upstairs neighbor is a researcher working on a vaccine and says she is NOT contagious any more AT ALL).

Once again the lovely Maggie Lehrman at Abrams/Amulet will edit, as she did on Joanne's last two books, the award-winning ONE DAY AND ONE AMAZING MORNING ON ORANGE STREET and THE FIVE LIVES OF OUR CAT ZOOK. FLEABRAIN LOVES FANNY will publish in fall 2014.

Hurray, Joanne!

—Erin

There is something especially satisfying about second books. A first book launches an author into the world; a second book signals a long-term career is building. We had so many debuts this year that we are fortunate to be looking ahead to many second books around here!

Jeannie Mobley's debut novel, KATERINA'S WISH, which received a lot of ballyhoo in the form of three starred reviews and other wonderful recognition, was published by Margaret K. McElderry Books at Simon & Schuster and edited by Karen Wojtyla—and North American rights to her second novel has just been signed by the same team.

In SEARCHING FOR SILVERHEELS, the rising tide of women's suffrage, the early days of WWI, accusations of "un-American behavior," and the picturesque history of a small Colorado mining town come together in the Silverheels Cafe, where thirteen-year-old Pearl waits tables and awaits her destiny.

Hooray, Jeannie! We look forward to reading SILVERHEELS, and book three, and book four, and book five...

—Erin