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November 2021

Back in 2006, Deborah Underwood published a super-fun book in Random House’s Step into Reading line called PIRATE MOM. It has gone on to sell over 300,000 copies, so I am really pleased the Deborah has found another story that’s perfect for Step into Reading: STORIES TO READ TO YOUR ZOMBIE. It has Deborah’s signature wit and kid-friendly humor, all in a learn-to-read package. 

Heidi Kilgras at Random House Children’s Books will work with Deborah again, and we’re looking at summer 2023 for a publication date.

Congrats, Deborah!


It’s no secret that one of the things I enjoy most in the world is language, and in particular, puns and wordplay. So you may not be at all surprised to read this delightful deal announcement for a fantastic new picture book, written by author extraordinaire Rebecca Van Slyke:

 Nancy Paulsen at Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin has acquired World rights to Rebecca Van Slyke’s new picture book, THE POWER OF YETI, with illustrations by G. Brian Karas, about a child whose frustrated inability to keep up with the bigger kids around him gets a boost by a new circle of friends, including a very special YETI! The deal was managed by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary agency for the author, and the illustrator represented himself. The book will be published Spring 2024.

Thoroughly owning that line between kid-friendly and invaluable life advice, this new picture book is one you won’t want to miss. Huge congratulations, Rebecca and team!


Kersten Hamilton’s RED TRUCK, illustrated by Valeria Petrone, is the vehicle that just keeps going. It’s edging up to a quarter million copies sold, and has spawned three published companion books: YELLOW COPTER, BLUE BOAT, and just out this fall, GREEN TRACTOR, an adorable story set at harvest time, in which helpful kids and a helpful tractor get the farm ready for hayrides, pumpkin races, and more!

ORANGE EXCAVATOR is also underway, and now we’re adding MERRY CHRISTMAS, RED TRACTOR! to the mix for fall 2023! Meriam Metoui at Viking just signed this one up and we can’t wait!

Huge congratulations, Kersten!


Premeditated Myrtle

Premeditated Myrtle
Elizabeth C. Bunce

What does Myrtle mean? 

Myrtle means mystery. Myrtle means Young Lady of Quality. Myrtle means forensics. Myrtle means charm and snark. Myrtle means murder!

I’m talking about the Myrtle Hardcastle mystery series by Elizabeth C. Bunce. Book 1, PREMEDITATED MYRTLE, won the Edgar Award in the juvenile category, and praise abounds for the series, which also includes HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MYRTLE and COLD-BLOODED MYRTLE (which just came out last month!), as well as next year’s IN MYRTLE PERIL.

And now we are so pleased to announce that book 5 is scheduled as well! MYRTLE, MEANS, AND OPPORTUNITY will join its sisters on shelves in 2023, and we can’t wait!

Congratulations, Elizabeth!


Good things come to those who wait, and luckily, we won’t have to wait too much longer for another new Jennifer Chambliss Bertman book! Her New York Times bestselling BOOK SCAVENGER series kept us all at the edge of our seats, and now it’s time to expand the excitement into a whole new direction – a deep-dive exploration and mystery into the world of none other than Nancy Drew, girl detective.

Here’s the deal announcement that went out last week:

Christy Ottaviano at Little, Brown/Ottaviano has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to Sisterhood of Sleuths by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (Book Scavenger), with illustrations by Vesper Stamper (What the Night Sings). When eleven-year-old Maizy finds a box of vintage Nancy Drew books, her mysterious discovery uncovers a truth from the past that will lead to self-discovery in the present, connecting three generations of women. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary negotiated the deal for the author; Lori Kilkelly at LK Literary Agency negotiated the deal for the illustrator. 

Hooray and congratulations, Jenn!

- Joan

One thing you can say about humanity: we have an exceedingly long, complex, and exciting history. And no one knows this fact better than NF author extraordinaire Elizabeth Shreeve, who lately has made it her business to dig deep into the origins and evolutions of our species—and has been distilling all this fantastic knowledge for young readers.

 As a case in point, I am thrilled to share today her latest book deal:

<<Simon Boughton at Norton Young Readers has acquired World rights to FAST FEET, BIG BRAINS, an engaging and kid-friendly look at human origins through the lens of six famous hominid fossils, written by OUT OF THE BLUE author Elizabeth Shreeve, and illustrated by paleo-artist Juan Carlos Alonso. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and the artist represented himself. Publication is scheduled for Fall 2023.>>

If you follow Elizabeth on Instagram, you’ll get some fantastic sneak peeks at her fossil-packed research, travels, and interviews—so find her today at @shreevebooks  - and meanwhile, mark those calendars for Fall 2023!

Huge congratulations, Elizabeth!!

- Joan

It is such a privilege to get early glimpses of the work of Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator Brian Lies. He has a remarkable imagination and his art is incredible. When he sent me a new book dummy earlier this year, I was astounded to see him take on an underwater setting in a picture book—and in a way that wasn’t at all cold or dark, as I imagine the deep ocean world to be.

DIFFY is a story about a fish, a rock, and stories—stories that connect us in ways that might be more obvious to us land-dwellers, but soon come clear to an underwater community, too.

Christy Ottaviano at her imprint at Little Brown snapped up this one—and a second untitled book—in a preempt. Christy has long been a fan of Brian’s, and already I can see how rich their working relationship will be. I can’t wait to see this one in 2024, and see what follows!

Huge congratulations, Brian!