Compiled by Cecilia Cackley
This is an occasional series keeping track of the book deals announced by Latinx writers and illustrators. The purpose of this series is to celebrate book deals by authors and illustrators in our community and to advocate for more of them. If you are an agent and you have a Latinx client who just announced a deal, you can let me know on Twitter, @citymousedc. If you are a Latinx author or illustrator writing for children or young adults, and you just got a book deal, send me a message and we will celebrate with you! And if I left anyone out here, please let me know! Here’s to many more wonderful books in the years to come.
Nancy Mercado at Dial has acquired, in a preempt, world rights to When We Make It by Elisabet Velasquez. The YA novel-in-verse is about a girl in 1990s Bushwick, Brooklyn, who wants to know what success looks and feels like in the midst of a war on drugs while navigating mental health issues, systemic racism, poverty, and gentrification. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022. Author agent: Katherine Latshaw at Folio Literary Management.
Harriet Low at HMH has acquired Monkey Business by Anita Sanchez, a middle grade chronicle of one of the most important trials in U.S. history, where the legality of teaching evolution was argued—and the American public was educated—that investigates the importance of journalistic reporting, the legal process, and the ethics of education. Publication is slated for fall 2022. Author agent: Regina Ryan at Regina Ryan Publishing Enterprises.
Eileen Rothschild and Mara Delgado-Sanchez at Wednesday Books have bought Zoraida Córdova‘s YA speculative fiction anthology, Reclaim the Stars, featuring stories exploring the Latinx diaspora through the lens of SFF by Elizabeth Acevedo, Vita Ayala, David Bowles, Sara Faring, Romina Garber, Isabel Ibañez, Anna-Marie McLemore, Yamile Saied Méndez, Nina Moreno, Maya Motayne, Daniel José Older, Claribel Ortega, Mark Oshiro, and Lilliam Rivera. Publication is set for winter 2022. Author agent: Victoria Marini at Irene Goodman Literary Agency.
Melanie Cordova at Candlewick has acquired world English and Spanish rights to Sometimes, All I Need Is Me by author-illustrator Juliana Perdomo, a picture book about a girl who learns that she can find happiness and peace in all kinds of situations. Publication is slated for fall 2022. Author agent: Erica Rand Silverman at Stimola Literary Studio.
Emma Ledbetter at Abrams has bought, at auction, in a two-book deal, Winsome Bingham‘s Soul Food Sunday. The picture book is about a boy’s first time helping to prepare food for his family’s weekly gathering—and adding a contribution for the Sundays to come. C.G. Esperanza will illustrate. Publication is slated for fall 2021. Illustrator agent: Marietta Zacker at Gallt and Zacker Literary Agency.
Molly Cusick at Sourcebooks has acquired, in a two-book deal, 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. Publication is set for fall 2021. Author agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary.
Christy Ottaviano at Macmillan/Ottaviano has bought world rights to Giraffe Math by Steven Swinburne, illustrated by Geraldo Valerio. Told through the voice of Twiga the giraffe, this picture book shares knowledge about giraffes through math, using measurements, graphs, fractions, time, elemental geometry, percentages, and ratios. Publication is planned for winter 2022.
Howard Reeves at Abrams has acquired world rights to Gloria Amescua‘s debut picture book biography, Child of the Flower-Song People: Luz Jiménez. The story is about the Indigenous Nahua woman who grew up in Mexico during the early 1900s and eventually became a model for internationally celebrated 20th-century artists, worked with scholars to preserve Nahuatl language and stories, and was known as the “soul of Mexico.” Award-winning illustrator Duncan Tonatiuh will illustrate. Publication is planned for fall 2021. Author agent: Taylor Martindale Kean at Full Circle Literary.
Alexandra Cooper at HarperCollins/Quill Tree has bought Emery Lee‘s Meet-Cute Diary, about a trans teen who must decide if he’s dedicated to romantic formulas or open to unpredictable love after an internet troll-attack on his trans romance blog compels him and a fan to start fake-dating to salvage the blog’s reputation. Publication is planned for summer 2021. Author agent: Beth Phelan at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.
Erika Turner at HMH/Versify has bought world English rights to Samuel Teer and Mar Julia‘s Brownstone, a full-color YA graphic novel pitched as This One Summer meets In the Heights, about a teenager who is sent to spend the summer fixing up an old brownstone with her estranged father. As she learns to connect with her dad—who mainly speaks Spanish—she also navigates the experience of being half-Latinx, coping with sometimes feeling alternately “too brown” or “not brown enough” depending on the context of her community, and grappling with who she is when all she’s made to feel like is an outsider. Publication is set for spring 2022. Author agent: Ben Grange at L. Perkins. Illustrator agent: Charlie Olsen at InkWell Management.
Claudia Gabel at HarperCollins has acquired Yamile Saied Méndez‘s Shaking Up the House, about the two Latinx daughters of the outgoing American president who start a friendly prank war with the incoming president’s daughters in a behind-the-scenes middle grade novel that looks at life in the White House from a kid’s point of view. Publication is planned for winter 2021. Author agent: Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.
Jennifer Ung at Simon Pulse has acquired Aaron H. Aceves‘ YA debut, This Is Why They Hate Us. The novel follows Enrique, a Latino teen from East L.A., who is determined to get over his crush on his best friend by summer’s end and winds up discovering heartfelt truths about friendship, family, and himself. Publication is planned for spring 2022. Author agent: Tina Dubois at ICM Partners.
Clarissa Wong at HarperCollins has acquired, in an exclusive submission, world rights to Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma by Joanna Ho, illustrated by Teresa Martinez. The picture book centers cellist Yo-Yo Ma using his music to build bridges instead of walls—a testament to music, humanity, and what unites us. Publication is set for fall 2021. Illustrator agent: Aurora Meyer at Astound.
Joanna Cárdenas at Kokila has bought, at auction, world rights to My Two Border Towns by David Bowles, one of the founders of #DignidadLiteraria. This debut picture book reveals a boy’s vibrant life as a border kid, visiting the market across the border with his father and spending time with family and friends, while also shining light on what some immigrant families face at border crossings. Erika Meza will illustrate; publication is set for summer 2021 in simultaneous English and Spanish editions. Author agent: Taylor Martindale Kean at Full Circle Literary. Illustrator agent: Claire Cartey at Holroyde Cartey.
Holly West at Feiwel and Friends has bought The Valiant Ladies of Potosi by Melissa Grey (Girl at Midnight and Rated), in which two proper young 17th-century Peruvian ladies trade their skirts for swords and end up as vigilante crime-fighters, while falling for each other along the way. Publication is scheduled for winter 2022. Author agent: Catherine Drayton at InkWell Management.
Olivia Valcarce at Scholastic has acquired Yamile Saied Méndez‘s Wish Upon a Stray, about a girl who moves from Argentina to the U.S. and meets a dog who reminds her of her pet back home. Publication is scheduled for 2021. Author agent: Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency.
Naomi Krueger at Beaming Books has acquired world rights to Ana Siqueira‘s picture book Bella’s Recipe for Success, in which a bilingual Latina girl tries to learn how to bake with her abuela and discovers the value of making mistakes and trying again. Geraldine Rodriguez will illustrate. Publication is planned for spring 2021. Author agent: Andrea Walker at Olswanger Literary. Illustrator agent: Lucie Luddington at the Bright Agency.
Carmen Johnson at Amazon/Skyscape has acquired, at auction, world rights to Jonny Garza Villa‘s #OwnVoices debut novel, Fifteen Hundred Miles from the Sun. Pitched as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets One Day at a Time, the book centers a Mexican-American Texan high school senior Julián Luna and the repercussions that follow after he accidentally comes out to the world on social media. Julián finds himself juggling the joy of falling head over heels in love with a boy from California, and the fear of his conservative father finding out before he’s ready. Publication is set for summer 2021. Author agent: Claire Draper at the Bent Agency.
Monica Perez at Charlesbridge has acquired Abuelita and I Make Flan by 2018 We Need Diverse Books Walter Grant recipient Adriana Hernandez-Bergstrom, making her author-illustrator debut. The picture book features a girl who accidentally drops a family heirloom while baking with her abuela and must find a way to make things right. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022. Author agent: Emily Mitchell.
Neal Porter at Holiday House/Porter has acquired world rights to I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano, a picture book about two friends comparing all of the things that do (and do not) matter when it comes to true friendship. It will be jointly illustrated by Caldecott Honorees Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal. Publication is set for fall 2022. Illustrator agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.
Allison Moore at Bloomsbury has acquired author, playwright, and “Modern Love” contributor David Valdes‘s Spin Me Right Round. Pitched as an #OwnVoices twist on Back to the Future, the YA novel follows an out-and-proud Latinx teen who accidentally time-travels to his parents’ era and makes it his mission to save a closeted classmate from a tragic end. Publication is slated for fall 2021. Author agent: Annie Bomke at Annie Bomke Literary Agency.
Ann Kelley at Random House Studio has bought, at auction, world rights to The Notebook Keeper by Stephen Briseño, illustrated by Magdalena Mora. Inspired by true events, the picture book follows Noemi and her Mamá who, denied entry at the U.S. border, must wait and find the refugee in charge of “the notebook,” an unofficial ledger of those waiting to cross into the U.S. As time goes on and hope dwindles, Noemi discovers the power of spreading kindness in such a dark place. Publication is planned for summer 2022. Author agent: Natalie Lakosil at the Bradford Literary Agency. Illustrator agent: Steven Malk at Writers House.
Amy Cloud at HMH has bought world rights to The Do-Over by Coni Yovaniniz and Rodrigo Vargas. In this middle grade graphic novel, three friends start a hair salon in an Airstream trailer and navigate the ups and downs of starting a business and friendship. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022.
Esther Cajahuaringa at Little, Brown has bought Rafa Counts on Papá by author-illustrator Joe Cepeda. The picture book is about a son and father who spend their days measuring things, including their love for each other. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022. Author agent: Jennifer Rofé at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Melinda Rathjen at WorthyKids has bought world rights to The Night Baafore the First Day of School by Dawn Young, illustrated by Pablo Pino. Opening on the evening before the first day of school, the picture book features a boy who can’t sleep and plans to count sheep—but the sheep spill out of his backpack, and chaos ensues. Publication is set for June 2021. Illustrator agent: Atlanta Japp at Advocate Art Agency.
Liz Kossnar at Little, Brown has bought, in an exclusive submission, in a six-figure deal, author-illustrator Christine Suggs‘s YA graphic memoir debut Ay Mija!: My Bilingual Summer in Mexico, plus a second untitled YA graphic memoir. Ay Mija! follows Christine as they spend two weeks with their family in Mexico, experiencing their history and finding their voice. Publication for the first book is planned for 2023. Author agent: Melissa Edwards and Alyssa Jennette at Stonesong.
Alexandra Cooper at HarperCollins/Quill Tree has bought Monica Brown‘s Small Room, Big Dreams: The Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro, a picture book biography about the twin brothers’ journey from immigrant family roots to progressive political leaders in their roles as Secretary of Housing and U.S. Congressman, respectively. Mirelle Ortega will illustrate. Publication is set for spring 2021. Author agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary. Illustrator agent: Alex Gehringer at the Bright Agency.
Nick Thomas at Levine Querido has bought Donna Barba Higuera‘s middle grade science fiction novel, The Last Cuentista. Relocating to a new planet after Earth is destroyed, 12-year-old Petra Peña’s suspended animation fails during the 370-year journey, so when all the other children are mysteriously reprogrammed and the adults purged, Petra becomes the lone bringer of Earth’s now forbidden stories and her grandmother’s Mexican folklore to a changing humanity. Publication is planned for fall 2021. Author agent: Allison Remcheck at Stimola Literary Studio.
Marisa DiNovis at Knopf has acquired, in a preempt, Before Takeoff by Adi Alsaid (Let’s Get Lost). Pitched as The Sun Is Also a Star meets Jumanji, the YA novel follows James and Michelle, who meet in the Atlanta airport and, on a dare, press a mysterious green button that unleashes a blizzard of chaos through the terminals. Publication of the first book is scheduled for fall 2021. Author agent: Peter Knapp at Park & Fine Literary and Media.
Jennifer Greene at Clarion has acquired, in an exclusive submission, an untitled YA novel by Natalia Sylvester, winner of the International Latino Book Award for fiction. The #OwnVoices story centers a Latinx immigrant teen in central Florida, who has lived with hip dysplasia and countless surgeries, as she navigates the waters of first love and feeling out of alignment—both within and outside of her body—and chases the dream of becoming a performer at a mermaid attraction. Publication is planned for spring 2022. Author agent: Laura Dail at Laura Dail Literary Agency.
Tamar Brazis at Viking has bought world rights to the picture book Tomatoes for Neela, written by Padma Lakshmi, host of Top Chef and Taste the Nation, and illustrated by Caldecott Honor illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal. The intergenerational story follows Neela, who cooks with her mother in homage to her grandmother. As Neela and her amma shop for a meal together and prepare paati’s famous tomato sauce, they celebrate the storytelling involved in passing down your family’s treasured recipes while finding a way to feel closer to a family member who lives far away. Publication is set for fall 2021. Illustrator agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.
Rachel Diebel at Feiwel and Friends has bought Racquel Marie‘s debut #OwnVoices contemporary YA Ophelia After All, about a romantic chismosa with a penchant for gardening roses and crushing on every boy in sight, who begins to question her sexuality and sense of self when she starts to fall for a shy girl in the weeks leading up to their high school prom and graduation. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022. Author agent: Thao Le at the Dijkstra Agency.
Mari Kesselring and Ashley Wyrick at Jolly Fish Press have acquired Tia Lugo Speaks No Evil, a middle grade contemporary novel by Danette Vigilante. Tia Lugo, an asthmatic 13-year-old Puerto Rican girl living in New York City, witnesses a murder late one night from her bedroom window. Terrified that the killer will do anything to keep her silent and desperate to find the courage to speak out, Tia turns to her grandmother’s favorite shopping spot: the botánica. Publication is set for fall 2021.
Cecilia Cackley is a Mexican-American playwright and puppeteer based in Washington, DC. A longtime bookseller, she is currently the Children’s/YA buyer and event coordinator for East City Bookshop on Capitol Hill. Find out more about her art at www.ceciliacackley.com or follow her on Twitter @citymousedc