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October 2021

There has been a ton of good news about Dawn Quigley’s JO JO MAKOONS: THE USED TO BE BEST FRIEND, a chapter book series launcher. And just the other week we announced news of two middle-grade novels in verse from Dawn were underway. And now we’re back again, announcing a new picture book from this triple threat of an author!

Cynthia Leitich Smith and Rosemary Brosnan at Heartdrum/HarperCollins have acquired AANIIN, a picture book by Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe citizen Dawn Quigley (Jo Jo Makoons chapter book series), illustrated by Diné/Chicana painter and illustrator Nani Chacon. In the book, to be published in Summer 2024, the Ojibwe Seven Grandfathers teachings are used to give children guidelines for living a good life. Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary represented the author and the illustrator represented herself, in the deal for world rights.

“Aaniin” translates as “I see your light”—and I know you can imagine how moving it is to hear a steady, wise voice saying those words to children through a picture book text. The world needs this book!

Congratulations, Dawn!


Christina Uss is the prolific and talented author of a great round of well-loved middle-grade novels, most notably the inimitable and unforgettable THE ADVENTURES OF A GIRL CALLED BICYCLE. And if that weren’t enough, this month finds Christina flexing her writing muscles in an entirely new direction – picture books!

Here is the deal announcement for this fantastic new project to come:

Peter Phillips at Tundra has acquired World rights to THE ISLAND BEFORE NO, a debut picture book by Christina Uss, author of THE ADVENTURES OF A GIRL CALLED BICYCLE, with illustrations by Hudson Christie. The book tells the story of an island of yes- saying walruses who have to contend with the arrival of a rampaging horde of children who can say “no.” The deal was managed by Ammi-Joan Paquette for the author, and the illustrator was unagented, for publication in summer 2023.

With Christina’s signature quirky humor, a meaningful resolution, and tons of heart—this is a book you will not want to miss. Stay tuned and clear a spot on your future bookshelf!

Huge congrats, Christina!!

- Joan

Where do we get all this good food we eat every day? Some of our minds might go immediately to those supermarket shelves . . . and doubtless many kids’ minds go there too. That’s why this new forthcoming book by PB superstar Maria Gianferrari is so essential. Here is the deal announcement with all the info you need to know:

Simon Boughton at Norton Young Readers has acquired Maria Gianferrari’s THANK A FARMER, illustrated by Monica Mikai, a joyous picture book celebrating the many ways in which farmers plant, tend, and cultivate the food we eat every day: from field to table. Publication is set for Fall 2023, with Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency representing the author, and Christy Ewers at CAT representing the illustrator, in a deal for world rights.

I for one can’t wait to hold this much-needed book in my hands – and to share it with everyone I know. How about you? :D

Congratulations, Maria!!



Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend

Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-to-Be Best Friend
Dawn Quigley

Fast on the heels of JO JO MAKOONS: THE USED TO BE BEST FRIEND, a chapter book series launch that has garnered five starred reviews and was called "Funny and smart, with a sly sense of humor that’s entirely its own” by SLJ blogger Betsy Bird of Fuse #8, Dawn Quigley has written her very first verse novel, for middle-graders, called RED BIRD DANCED, also be published at Heartdrum (home of Jo Jo Makoons) by Cynthia Leitich Smith and Rosemary Brosnan.

RED BIRD DANCED, set in an urban intertribal housing complex, encompasses traditional dance, learning disabilities, the tragedy and uncertainty of a missing relative, and the power of a community rising above challenges together, all in beautiful and moving verse. 

And not just that, another verse novel will follow! 

Keep an eye out for this one in fall 2023, and for all of the many projects Dawn has underway—there is so much good stuff to come! 

Huge congratulations, Dawn!


When Cynthia Levinson, author of award-winning picture book and MG nonfiction, mentioned the title WHO OWNS THE MOON? to me, I was hooked. I could only imagine how she would explore big, meaty questions about space and ownership and laws and ethics for upper middle grade readers. And when she said she was going to collaborate with award-winning science writer Jennifer Swanson, who would tackle the technology side of things, it got even better! And THEN I read this in the project’s proposal: "Today’s teens are growing up in a time in which Earth will no longer be the only inhabited celestial body. In fact it’s likely their world will eventually consist of civilizations on multiple planets and Moons.” WOW! We can’t even fathom the world they will live in!

I was very happy to work with Lori Kilkelly, representing Jen, on what turned into an auction—and thrilled to have the project land at Peachtree, which has published Cynthia’s other MG nonfiction (as well as Jen’s SAVE THE CRASH-TEST DUMMIES), with Margaret Quinlin. 

Watch for this one in summer 2024!

Congratulations, Cynthia!


It’s been a great year so far for talented author Anna Crowley Redding: her picture book THE GRAVITY TREE published in May, and her riveting work of MG non-fiction, BLACK HOLE CHASERS just dropped last week. (Do you have your copies of these books yet? Don’t delay!!)

But that’s not all! In a dynamite show of versatility, I am here today to announce Anna’s latest new work on the horizon—it’s actually been in the works for some time already, but I am thrilled to be able to share the news abroad at last. Here goes . . .

Hilary Van Dusen and Carter Hasegawa at Candlewick Press have acquired Anna Crowley Redding’s new non-fiction chapter book series, DANGER FILES, a fast-paced narrative that invites young readers to put on their detective hats as they consider the mounting evidence that leads up to a disaster—weaving in eyewitness accounts, danger clues, fact files, and more. The books will be illustrated by Robbie Cathro. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author and Alex Gehringer at The Bright Agency the illustrator, in a two-book deal for World rights. The first book will publish in Spring 2024.

This exciting new NF series continues Anna’s tradition of creating engaging, un-put-downable true stories for all age groups. Now, a whole chapter book series!

 Mark your calendars for this release, folks—and a huge congratulations, Anna!!


Anyone who has read a Jennifer Nielsen book knows they are in for an edge-of-the-seat thrill ride—whether it’s the high-stakes world of cutthroat royal schemes, or a journey back into some of the most tense and dangerous times in history. (If you’ve yet to sample your first title, may I suggest THE FALSE PRINCE, in the former category, or A NIGHT DIVIDED, in the latter? You can thank me later :))

Today I am wildly excited to announce some news that we have been sitting on for a LONG time – and now it’s ready to spring on the world at least: a hot new two-book MG series is coming your way! Here are the details:

Lisa Sandell at Scholastic has acquired World rights to NYT bestselling and award-winning author Jennifer A. Nielsen’s new middle-grade duology BLACK INK, envisioned as an adventure in the vein of Stranger Things and Greenglass House, featuring a mysterious boy in hiding, a conspiracy of secrets, and a Boggle game that may just be the key to unlocking the whole mystery. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency managed the deal. The first book will publish in Fall 2022.

The best thing about these delayed announcements is that you don’t have to wait too long before they come about. So – there you have it, folks! Carve out space in your bookshelves because you won’t want to miss this one!

Congratulations, Jen!!


I am so thrilled to be celebrating Carolyn Bennett Fraiser's debut deal! You might even say...I'm over the moon about it. 

Carolyn's MOON TREE is just the most wonderful combination of truly lyrical, beautiful writing and a fascinating true story. Before Carolyn wrote this story, I had no idea about the existence of moon trees, not to mention that everyone at NASA simply forgot all about them for a time. And there's several right here in my town! 

You won't have long to wait -- MOON TREE is expected to be published next fall and will be illustrated by the talented Simona Mulazzani. Here's the official announcement:

Wiley Blevins at Reycraft has bought world rights to Moon Tree by debut author Carolyn Bennett Fraiser (l.), a nonfiction picture book about a tree that flew to the moon and a curious girl who uncovered its mystery, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Tara Gonzalez at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and MGI Artists represented the illustrator.

Huge congratulations, Carolyn!

-- Tara

In her Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book winning NINE MONTHS, Miranda Paul counts down the time as a family waits for a baby to be born.

I’m very pleased to say that she’s revisiting that concept of time in a new book: 365. 

Here she plots the things that happen between one birthday and the next and addresses the elasticity of time (something we are all even more familiar with than we were before the pandemic), all with a kid-friendly sense of humor. And I couldn’t be more pleased that Andrea Welch at Beach Lane has snapped it up and matched it with fantastic VROOOM, VROOOM! illustrator Julien Chung (represented by Rubin Pfeffer) and we’ll get to start enjoying reading it in summer 2023!

It’s always good news when a new Miranda Paul book is underway! Hugs congrats, Miranda!