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April 2019

We’re so excited to share an exciting new book deal! The brilliant author of the picture books CHARLOTTE AND THE ROCK and STEWART’S BEST PEN has now turned his prodigious imagination to the art of friendship.

What if you could create a perfect friend? What would such a being look like? Well, it might look something like this:

Anne Hoppe at Clarion Books has acquired World rights to the picture book How to “Make” a Friend, by Stephen W. Martin, illustrated by Olivia Aserr. Through the metaphor of a girl whose homemade robot embarks on world domination, this hilariously understated set of “instructions” is a guide to how to a build a friendship and navigate its ups and downs. Publication is scheduled for Spring 2021. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and Jennifer March Soloway at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the illustrator.

Another laugh-out-loud story, and with many more to come. Congratulations, Stephen!


I know other agents do this kind of thing all the time, but this is a first for me:

Sell an absolutely wonderful picture book text to an incredible editor. And then have that editor come back about a different client of mine illustrating it.

And this is how we have Neal Porter editing I WANT A BOAT, by Liz Garton Scanlon, with art by Kevan Atteberry. Dreamy, right?

Both Liz and Kevan have published with Neal before [see ANOTHER WAY TO CLIMB A TREE and GHOST CAT (with shiny new starred review!)], and I can’t wait to see what magic this team makes together. I WANT A BOAT is the story of an adventure that is powered by ingenuity, hard work, and magical thinking, and it will be out in summer 2021 from Neal Porter’s eponymous imprint at Holiday House.

Can’t wait!


Chances are, you’ve seen the coverage of Brian Lies’s incredible, NYT-bestselling 4-book BATS series and his promotion of it: 

Brian doesn’t do anything halfway, as you can see—and as evidenced by that shiny silver sticker recently added to the cover of THE ROUGH PATCH. He does dozens of school visits a year, which get raves, of course, and this is in no small part because he really pays attention to his audience—kids. 

Brian noticed how much those kids were responding to the particular characters in GOT TO GET TO BEAR’S, his fall 2018 release from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which also published the BATS books. He thought about the little bat present in the art of those books—the one wearing yellow floaties. And DING! A new spinoff series idea was born. Thus we are so pleased to announce:

Kate O’Sullivan at HMH has signed the first two books in Caldecott Honor illustrator Brian Lies's young picture book series LITTLE BAT, spun off of his bestselling BATS books (BATS AT THE LIBRARY, BATS AT THE BEACH, etc.), starting with NIGHT SCHOOL in spring 2021. Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

Huge congratulations, Brian! Can’t wait to see this series launch!


Black Enough

Black Enough

Let’s give a huge cheer for publishing powerhouse Ibi Zoboi, shall we? This National Book Award finalist author first swept us away with her two YA novels—AMERICAN STREET and PRIDE—then kicked 2019 off in style with her tour-de-force anthology BLACK ENOUGH. Next up this summer is her middle-grade debut, MY LIFE AS AN ICE-CREAM SANDWICH (available for preorder now—what are you waiting for?), and you know there are mountains more goodies yet to come.

But never one to rest on her creative laurels, Ibi is always pushing herself in new creative directions. And this latest deal is one that is as meaningful as it is essential. Here is the announcement that went out today: 

Alessandra Balzer at Balzer + Bray has acquired National Book Award finalist author Ibi Zoboi’s debut picture book, to be illustrated by Loveis Wise. THE PEOPLE REMEMBER is an epic narrative that captures the breadth and depth of the African American experience while incorporating the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author and Steven Malk at Writers House represented the illustrator for World rights. Publication is set for fall 2021.

I am so excited at the prospect of this book, and so grateful that it will soon be in the world. Huge congratulations, Ibi!!