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August 2021

Melanie Crowder

It’s time for an exciting new deal announcement today . . . Long-time EMLA author Melanie Crowder is particularly known for her award-winning historical novels in verse and prose—notable among them are AUDACITY and the newly released MAZIE—but the thing to know about Melanie is that she is a poet first and foremost. And now she has expanded her repertoire into something entirely new: non-fiction picture books!

Melanie has teamed up with her talented friend and fellow-poet Megan Benedict to create a fantastic poetic ode to the many wild winds of the world—how they blow and everything about them you need to know. This breathtaking book was scooped up by Hilary Van Dusen for the new MIT Press Kids imprint at Candlewick, and is being illustrated by Khoa Le.

The final book will be on shelves in spring 2024, and I for one can’t wait! Mark your calendars, folks – and a huge congratulations to Melanie and Megan and all!


Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen
Debbi Michiko Florence

Hear ye! Hear ye! The best news ever is finally celebrated today. On the same day that JUST BE COOL, JENNA SAKAI’s is published, we can finally announce that the beloved chapter book series, JASMINE TOGUCHI is getting four more books, featuring Jasmine and her family in Japan! YIPPEE! Are we excited? Yes we are.

Delighted to once again partner with the brilliant Elisabet Vukovic to illustrate, get ready for 2022, when the first book in this next set arrives in bookstores.

Author of KEEP IT TOGETHER, KEIKO CARTER and JUST BE COOL, JENNA SAKAI Debbi Michiko Florence's books five to eight in the Jasmine Toguchi series, showcasing a girl on a family vacation in Japan, with each stop on their adventure featuring a cultural or historical highlight, illustrated again by Elizabet Vukovic, to Grace Kendall at Farrar, Straus Children's, in a four-book deal, for publication in 2022, by Tricia Lawrence at Erin Murphy Literary Agency for the author (world English).

Congratulations, Debbi!


Winner of the New Visions Award, BOYS IN THE BEAST, the debut novel from screenwriter Monica Zepeda has been bought by Cheryl Klein for publication by Tu Books/Lee & Low.

This story is something incredible. A road trip novel, in which cousins who don’t really know each other well, learn about themselves and each other, and end up more like family than they even thought possible.

Monica’s voice in this novel is spectacular, not an easy feat with three protagonists, and she pulls it off effortlessly (or so it looked to me!).

We’re so excited to have this novel coming out in February 2022. Mark your calendars now!

Screenwriter Monica Zepeda's BOYS OF THE BEAST, in which three cousins who barely know one another -- one Jewish and gay, one evangelical Christian and uptight, and one a stoner and dropout -- set off for New Mexico together in their late grandma's 1988 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe, with each boy traveling for his own secret reasons; the manuscript won the publisher's New Visions Award, to Cheryl Klein at Tu Books, for publication in February 2022, by Tricia Lawrence at Erin Murphy Literary Agency (world).

Congratulations, Monica!