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April 2020

In the midst of all these long weeks and lingering days, a new kid-friendly board book series on deck is just the ticket. Parents, paging all the parents!!!! 

So excited about this new series that is perfect for kids of all ages. We’re so thrilled to have it at Doubleday with skilled editor, Frances Gilbert. 

Annie Bailey's 10 LITTLE TRACTORS and TEN LITTLE EXCAVATORS, babies and toddlers can follow ten busy little tractors and excavators throughout their day, counting down from 10 to 1 as each vehicle peels off and leaves the pack, illustrated by Florence Weiser, to Frances Gilbert at Doubleday Children's, in a two-book deal, for publication in summer 2021 and fall 2021, by Tricia Lawrence at Erin Murphy Literary Agency for the author, and by James Burns at The Bright Group for the illustrator (world).

Congratulations, Annie!


I was so happy to welcome Kristen Mai Giang to my list last year. She came with two book deals under her belt, and her debut, GINGER AND CHRYSANTHEMUM (also the debut of the wonderful illustrator, Shirley Chan), migrated with Arthur Levine from Scholastic to Levine Querido and will be out this fall.

And now Arthur has signed a second picture book with Kristen—and this one is much more personal. LAST FLIGHT is based on the true story of Kristen's family's escape from Vietnam six days before the fall of Saigon in 1975. Saigon-based artist Xuan Loc Xuan will illustrate.

I can’t wait to see this one next year! Congratulations, Kristen!


It’s no surprise to hear that Chris Barton has some new nonfiction picture books underway, right? And of course, through the magical timing of deal announcements, it looks like two are coming together at almost the same time even though we placed the ideas or texts with publishers months apart last year. 

First up (just announced): HOW TO MAKE A BOOK (ABOUT MY DOG), to be published with Carol Hinz at Lerner, who is Chris’s editor on DAZZLE SHIPS and ALL OF A SUDDEN AND FOREVER, among others. Sarah Horne is illustrating for a fall 2021 release. This one is super-fun because it’s so meta. It’s about how a nonfiction book about Chris’s dog, Ernie, gets created and published. I can’t wait to see this one come together!

Next up (PW announcement coming soon): ALTON YATES’ MOVEMENT FORWARD, signed by Andrea Welch at Beach Lane/S&S, who edited WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A VOICE LIKE THAT? Steffi Walthall is illustrating for a spring 2022 release. The subject of this book is an Air Force enlistee who has a unique view of scientific and social progress due to his participation in early NASA programs and in Civil Rights activism—and Chris has been fortunate enough to interview him in person, which makes this one especially meaningful.

Huge congratulations to Chris for this double whammy!


There are times when I’m writing news of a new book deal and I’m practically squirming, I’m so happy about every single piece of the news—that the author has something new, that it’s found the perfect home, that the editor loves it so much. This is one of those times!

Jennifer Ziegler has written something brand-new! Her last four books were in the Delaney Triplets world, but this is something different, a book of her heart that has been calling to her for quite some time: WORSER, a MG novel that tells the story of a socially awkward, word-loving boy whose life is upended by his single mom’s recent stroke, but finds glimmers of hope when it turns out there are friends to be found who also share his love of wordplay. 

Even better: The legendary Margaret Ferguson, who has her own imprint at Holiday House, has snapped it up. Oh, the magic these two will make together!

Those of you who have heard Jenny read excerpts at retreats know this one is special. Please join me in a big WHOOP WHOOP for Jenny!


They say “truth is stranger than fiction” – and to that I would add that quite often, it’s way cooler, too. If you don’t believe me, get a look at this *incredible* new book of MG non-fiction that is on its way to a bookshelf near you:

Holly West at Feiwel and Friends has acquired world rights to Anna Crowley Redding’s cutting-edge middle-grade nonfiction BLACK HOLE CHASERS, following a team of scientists who forge an unprecedented global collaboration to see the unseeable—a black hole––for the very first time in history. Exclusive access and reporting showcases how the team’s persistence, problem-solving and tolerance for repeated failure led to one of the biggest scientific breakthroughs of our time, and gives a glimpse of what is next for this boundary-pushing team as they continue exploring the cosmos. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency did the deal for World rights. Publication will be in spring 2021.

What more is there to say? This is a real-time, riveting, nail-biter of an adventure – with on-the-front reporting and all the inside scoop. Mark your bookshelves for early next year, folks! This is one you don’t want to miss.

Huge congratulations, Anna!!

- Joan

Take one kernel of an idea from the remarkable Kirsten Hall. Add the rich inspiration of Ammi-Joan Paquette’s family history and childhood experience, plus her glorious wordcraft. Mix with the incredible art of Felicita Sala. Bake at Abrams Children’s Books under the supervision of Emma Ledbetter, one of the best picture book editors in the business. 

And what do you get?

ALL FROM A WALNUT, a remarkable, beautiful new picture book about inherited seeds, the stories of trees, and life after death, coming in spring 2022. 

Congratulations, Joan!


Do you remember learning to ride a bike as a kid? The fear of getting hurt, the impossibility of staying on it? Obviously the incredible Dashka Slater does, and Kayla, the little girl in Dashka’s newest picture book to get underway, is in the middle of it. Kayla, though, has a particular lens through which she sees the world: She loves horses. So she applies her thinking about riding a horse to riding a bicycle...and voila!

Kate Fletcher at Candlewick has signed world rights to Dashka Slater’s WILD BLUE, a picture book in which a girl works to tame her new bicycle so she can ride it, illustrated by Laura Hughes, for fall 2022. Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author and Arabella Stein of the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.

We’re so looking forward to seeing this one come together. Congratulations, Dashka!


There’s no question: the world today is an entirely different place than it was a couple of months ago. At the time that I sent this manuscript out on submission, coronavirus was (for most of us) still little more than a distant potentiality. 

But amidst all the dark and challenging things we’re now faced with in today’s world, the good and the happy times shine out extra bright: And that has never been more the case than in today’s *superhappy* debut deal announcement.—After all, can you think of a better way to spend the first few weeks of lockdown than exchanging emails to hash out all the fine print and deal points for a debut author’s first book deal!?

Needless to say, this is a very special book, and to celebrate this launch at this unprecedented time feels so right and valuable and true. Without further ado, here are the details you’ve been waiting for:

Molly Cusick at Sourcebooks has acquired BAREFOOT DREAMS OF PETRA LUNA by Alda P. Dobbs, a debut #ownvoices middle grade novel inspired by the author’s great-grandmother’s own experience. Twelve-year-old Petra Luna is a Mexican migrant girl from a poor mestizo family. As she struggles to escape violence and lead her family to the safety of the U.S. border during the Mexican Revolution, Petra must also hang tight to her dreams. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary did the two-book deal for North American and audio rights. Publication is scheduled for Fall 2021.

Enormous, socially distant yet no less wildly enthusiastic CONGRATULATIONS, Alda, on your incredible two-book debut deal!!! This true book of the heart is one that will move and inspire many for years to come.


As an agent, when you’re writing up a deal announcement to share with the world, you have two choices in what tone to take: heartwarming, or dorky. Sometimes—if you’re super lucky—you can hit BOTH in the SAME deal announcement :D

 Friends, this is a wonderful picture book. Literally the ONLY dorky thing about it is my punny title up there. This story is truly a work of heart—and it’s one that you will want to read over and over, and share with everyone you know. It’s just that good.

Without further ado, here is the deal announcement for this fantastic new work:

Tamar Brazis at Viking Children’s Books has acquired World rights to Katy Duffield’s new picture book, with illustrations by Jen Corace. HOUSE FINDS A HOME is the story of a House with a heart – and its hopeful search for a family to turn it into a true loving home. The deal was represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency for the author, and Steven Malk at Writers House for the illustrator. Publication is planned for summer 2022.

I truly can’t imagine a better pairing for this wonderful story, and it is sure to find its true home in all of our hearts.

Congratulations, Katy! 


The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle

The Charmed Children of Rookskill Castle
Janet Fox

“Janet Fox Is Home” is what Janet has temporarily and aptly re-named her Twitter username during the time of COVID. But it makes a good headline for news of her latest deal announcement, too! Drum roll, please…here it is!

Krista Vitola at Simon & Schuster has signed world English rights to CHARMED CHILDREN OF ROOKSKILL CASTLE author Janet Fox’s CARRY ME HOME, a contemporary middle-grade novel about a girl trying to adjust to life in a new town, protect her little sister, and find her missing dad without giving away her big secret: she’s homeless. The summer 2021 release was represented by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

It seems like it wasn’t long ago that Janet was telling me about this new story idea that fell into her mind almost fully formed, and she had one of those rare and magical experiences of feeling like she was channeling something when she sat down to write. It was such a joy to read and work on, and even more joy to find in Krista an editor who fell for it wholly. It’s been moving along speedily, and I’m so looking forward to seeing it in readers’ hands next year!

Congratulations, Janet!


In an ongoing effort to keep our eyes glued to the bright side these days, this seems like a perfect opportunity to announce a fantastic new book deal from a fantastic author! The New York Times bestselling series BOOK SCAVENGER is beloved by readers all across the country—and now its talented author, Jennifer Bertman, has a very special treat coming our way: her debut picture book!

Here is the deal announcement that is out in the world today:

Christy Ottaviano at Ottaviano/Macmillan has acquired World rights to A GOOD DEED CAN GROW by New York Times-bestselling author and illustrator team Jennifer Bertman (Book Scavenger) and Holly Hatam (Dear Girl). Scheduled for 2022, this lyrical picture book celebrates the magic of nature, kindness, and nurturing community. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency negotiated the deal for the author, and Christy T. Ewers at CAT Agency did the deal for the artist.

What a dream team pairing! As far as I’m concerned, this is the type of Good Deed that WILL just grow and grow—and we will all be the happy bookish beneficiaries :)

Congratulations to Jennifer, and happy future reading to us all!



Like Magic

Like Magic
Elaine Vickers

I mean, I’m not gonna lie. Between you and me and the lamppost, there are times these days in my life—and I bet in yours, too—when thankfulness feels in awful short supply. But I suppose that the times you have to dig most deeply for gratitude are the times when it’s most needed. And we do, truly, have so much to be thankful for.

. . . Not least of which is this *wonderful*, dream-come-true of a picture book debut from Elaine Vickers – author of the delightful (and perfect to read during lockdown) MG novels, LIKE MAGIC and PAPER CHAINS.

Here is the deal announcement with more info for ya:

Sylvie Frank at S&S/Paula Wiseman Books has acquired World rights to LIKE MAGIC author Elaine Vickers’s picture book debut, with Samantha Cotterill signed on to illustrate. THANKFUL is a lyrical and joyous celebration of family, togetherness, and everyday pleasures, based on a tradition from the author’s own family of writing “thankful” moments on slips of paper and linking them to form chains. The deal was managed by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency for the author, and Kirsten Hall at Catbird Productions for the illustrator. Publication is slated for Fall 2021.

What could be better? A story that draws from family; a story direct from the heart; a story that is exactly what we need right now.

Congratulations, Elaine! This one’s a winner already.