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June 2019

What’s that, you say? You don’t know why we’re shouting BLOOP? It’s just such a versatile word: It can be a cheer. It can be a groan. It can be a … BOOK DEAL!

Yes, it’s true—here is the latest and greatest from EMLA author extraordinaire and picture book powerhouse Tara Lazar:

Tamar Mays at Harper Collins has acquired 7 ATE NINE author Tara Lazar’s picture book BLOOP: ALIEN IN THE DOGHOUSE, to be illustrated by Mike Boldt. It tells the story of an alien who is sent on a mission to earth: to investigate and infiltrate the evident leaders of humankind—those odd, slobbering entities known as “dogs.” Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author and Jennifer Rofé at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the illustrator, in a deal for World rights. The book will be published in Fall 2021. 

Three cheers for Tara and the amazing Team Bloop!


Accomplished poet Safia Elhillo is no stranger to story or to the stage; her resume incudes such accolades as winning the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and the Arab American Book Award, and she is an incoming 2019-2021 Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. But now Safia is launching on an entirely new challenge—young adult fiction.

I am thrilled to say that this new venture is already paying off, in the form of her first novel: NIMA ON THE OTHER SIDE is a YA novel in verse that melds the real with the surreal, as teenage Nima struggles to fit in to her white suburban town, while grappling with the phantom of a life not chosen and a girl who may be more real than she seems. 

This incredibly powerful and moving novel saw enormous enthusiasm at the submission stage, leading to a heated six-publisher auction. The result? NIMA ON THE OTHER SIDE has been acquired by Chris Myers and Michelle Frey at Make Me a World/Random House, and will be published in Spring 2021.

 Congratulations, Safia!! 




Powerhouse author Ibi Zoboi made an enormous splash with her first YA novel, AMERICAN STREET, which received 5 starred reviews and was a National Book Award finalist, among many other accolades. This was followed by her acclaimed PRIDE, and the all-star anthology, BLACK ENOUGH.—And just around the corner is her fantastic middle-grade debut, MY LIFE AS AN ICE-CREAM SANDWICH. 

But what is coming next on this stellar horizon? I’m so glad you asked, because 2021 is going to knock your socks off. This deal has been months in the making, but we are thrilled that the news is out at last!

With alternating chapters in verse and prose, NIGERIA JONES is about a sixteen year-old who falls for a boy her father, the radical leader of a separatist movement, would disapprove of until she inadvertently travels back in time and is shunted between her new private school and the west coast of Africa in the early 1800s to inhabit the body of her young ancestor on the brink of being sold into slavery.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss this book! I am delighted to say that it was enthusiastically acquired by Alessandra Balzer at Balzer + Bray, in a two-book deal. Mark your calendars for 2021 J

Huge congrats, Ibi!


The Youngest Marcher

The Youngest Marcher
Cynthia Levinson

I am so happy to announce a new picture book deal for Cynthia Levinson—about a New Deal figure, no less, so it’s a double new deal!

THE PEOPLE’S PAINTER is about Ben Shahn, a Jewish man who was born in Lithuania but came to the U.S. when his family fled the Czar’s persecution. In America, Ben followed his passion for art and discovered a new one, for lithography, and continued his habit of fighting injustice—which turned into creating activist art, including series on Sacco and Venzetti. He was hired as part of the New Deal to produce photographs, paintings, and graphic art, where he exposed American living and working conditions during the Great Depression. His daring work changed the artistic and political landscape of the twentieth century and continues to inspire. 

Amazingly, editor Emma Ledbetter, who worked on Cynthia’s book THE YOUNGEST MARCHER at Atheneum, attended a school that had a Ben Shahn mural in it. When Emma moved to Abrams late last year, THE PEOPLE’S PAINTER was the first project she took to acquisitions. And she has matched it with the absolute perfect illustrator for it: Evan Turk (repped by Brenda Bowen). I cannot wait to see how he interprets Shahn’s life and art!

Congratulations, Cynthia!


Glitter. Once you’ve got some, it’s EVERYWHERE.

In fact, that makes a good book title, right?


Where does the stuff come from? How is it made? Why is it so darned appealing? AND WHY IS IT SO HARD TO CLEAN UP? It can’t be good for the environment, can it? Could it be?

No worries. Chris Barton is ON IT. GLITTER EVERYWHERE: WHERE IT CAME FROM, WHERE IT’S FOUND, AND WHERE IT’S GOING is underway now. I can’t wait to see what Chris turns up—and what Charlesbridge, home of THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS will do to make this book shine! Alyssa Mito Pusey just signed this one up. Stay tuned for more—like who will be signing on to illustrate!

Congratulations, Chris!