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.
Emily Seife and David Levithan at Scholastic have bought Concealed by Christina Diaz Gonzalez (the Moving Target duology). The middle grade novel features a 12-year-old girl who discovers that her family’s constant moving and ever-changing names as part of the Witness Protection Program are actually an elaborate hoax covering up the truth about her real identity. Publication is slated for fall 2021. Author agent: Jennifer Rofé at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Trisha de Guzman at FSG has acquired Cuba in My Pocket by Adrianna Cuevas (The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez). The middle grade historical novel, based on the author’s father, follows a 12-year-old boy as he immigrates to Miami by himself, leaving his family behind in Cuba as he adjusts to life in the U.S. with only a small reminder of his home ever-present in his pocket. Publication is set for fall 2021. Author agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.
Wendy McClure at Albert Whitman has acquired world rights to Rose Viña‘s Dancing Through Darkness: The Alicia Alonso Story, a picture book biography about the Cuban ballerina and choreographer who became one of the greatest dance legends of all time, despite an eye condition that caused her to become partially blind. Gloria Félix will illustrate; publication is slated for fall 2021. Author agent: Alexandra Weiss at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency Illustrator agent: Emily Coggins at Astound US.
Stephanie Owens Lurie at Disney/Rick Riordan Presents has bought world English rights to J.C. Cervantes‘s Throne of Sand, first in a middle grade duology in which Ren Santiago, a shadow bruja, discovers that some rogue godborns have joined forces to make themselves into gods, and she must unite with her friends to defeat them in a time race as they search for a lost key that unlocks the legendary Aztec land of Aztlan. Publication will begin in 2021. Author agent: Holly Root at Root Literary.
Carolina Ortiz at HarperAlley has bought, at auction, Frontera by Julio Anta and Jacoby Salcedo. In a supernatural borderland story that combines social commentary with a touch of magical realism, the debut YA graphic novel follows Mateo as he makes the dangerous journey back home to Arizona through the Sonoran Desert with the help of a new friend, a ghost named Guillermo. Publication is set for summer 2023. Author agent: Jessica Mileo at InkWell Management.
Zachary Clark at Scholastic has bought The Buried by Melissa Grey (Girl at Midnight and Rated). Three families lock themselves in a bunker to hide from a mysterious danger that threatens the outside world. But what if the danger is imagined, and the real evil is on the inside? Publication is planned for fall 2021. Author agent: Catherine Drayton at InkWell Management.
Nancy Paulsen at Penguin/Paulsen has bought world rights to Jam, Too?, a picture book by JaNay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara, in which an African American boy figures out a way to join in a jam session, even though he doesn’t have an instrument. Publication is scheduled for summer 2023. Illustrator agent: Adriana Dominguez at Full Circle Literary.
Jenna Lettice at Random House has acquired Gabe Cole Novoa‘s The Wicked Bargain. The #OwnVoices YA fantasy follows a trans masculine Latinx teen pirate hiding magical abilities who, after a deal with the devil comes to a violent end, is rescued by the Caribbean’s sole remaining pirate crew. But with the Spanish armada hunting the last of the pirates down, the magic they’ve been keeping secret may be their only redemption—or it could mean certain death. Publication is slated for fall 2022. Author agent: Louise Fury at the Bent Agency.
Nick Thomas at Levine Querido has bought The Immortal Boy, written by Francisco Montaña Ibáñez and originally published in Colombia, to be translated by Pura Belpré Honor-winning David Bowles. The novel tells two intertwining stories of Bogotá: one of a family of five children left on their own; the other of a girl in an orphanage who will do anything to befriend the mysterious Immortal Boy. Publication is slated for spring 2021. Author agent: Pablo Eduardo Montaño de la Vega on behalf of Babel Libros.
Meghan Maria McCullough at Levine Querido has acquired world rights to What the Jaguar Told Her by debut author Alexandra V. Méndez. The middle grade magical realist novel follows Mexican American Jade O’Callaghan, who comes to terms with her identity in the American South with the help of an elderly storyteller named Itztli, who has the power to transform into a jaguar. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022.
Margaret Raymo and Kwame Alexander at Versify have bought, at auction, I WILL! A Book of Pledges, I AM! A Book of Reminders, and I FEEL! A Book of Feelings, a picture book series by Pura Belpré Award winner Juana Medina. These three picture books pair illustrations with simple text about moods, declarations of worth, and commitments to ourselves and others. Publication is set for fall 2021, spring 2022, and fall 2022, respectively. Illustrator agent: Gillian MacKenzie at MacKenzie Wolf.
Elizabeth Lee at FSG has bought Spare Parts: Young Readers’ Edition by Reyna Grande, a middle-grade adaptation of the bestselling adult nonfiction book by Joshua Davis. Against all odds, four Mexican American teenagers join together to build an underwater robot that wins a national competition. Publication is planned for fall 2022. Author agent: Johanna Castillo at Writers House.
Michelle Frey and Christopher Myers at Make Me a World have acquired, at auction, Lucha by Tehlor Kay Mejia, author of the We Set the Dark on Fire duology. The YA fantasy novel follows Lucha Moya, a bounty hunter living on the border of an ancient, mythical forest—the only source of a highly addictive drug that’s destroying her community and her family. As the first member of her community in a generation to possess magic, she vows to defeat the evil that surrounds her. Publication is set for fall 2022. Author agent: Jim McCarthy at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Rachel Poloski at Little, Brown has acquired The Secret Garden on 81st Street, a middle-grade graphic novel modern retelling of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett with text by Ivy Noelle Weir, illustrated by Amber Padilla. Entitled loner Mary Lennox moves to her uncle’s house in New York after losing her parents in a car accident and makes friends who help her restore her uncle’s abandoned rooftop garden and teach her to grieve and grow. Publication is set for September 2021. Illustrator agent: Dara Hyde at Hill Nadell Literary.
Trisha de Guzman at FSG has bought, in an exclusive submission, world rights to cultural critic Mathew Rodriguez‘s debut YA graphic novel, Carlos Alejos Has to Lose His Chichos, with Charlot Kristensen illustrating, about a queer Puerto Rican teen of size as he grapples with body image, friendship, and his burgeoning sexuality in suburban New Jersey. Publication is slated for winter 2023. Author agent: Melissa Edwards at Stonesong Literary.
Alessandra Balzer at Balzer + Bray has acquired, at auction, Lulu & Milagro’s Search for Clarity, a debut YA novel by Angela Velez. Pitched as a Latinx Booksmart, it follows two sisters—one vying for a prestigious internship and the other reeling from a dramatic breakup—as they become begrudging partners on their school’s cross-country field trip to college campuses. Over the course of one week, they’ll uncover family secrets, confront weighty expectations for their futures, and maybe even discover the true meaning of sisterhood. Publication is set for winter 2022. Author agent: Taylor Haggerty at Root Literary.
Sylvie Frank at S&S/Wiseman has bought the tentatively titled Leaving Cuba, a middle-grade novel by Alexandra Diaz (Santiago’s Road Home). Based on the author’s family history, it tells the story of Victoria’s privileged and idyllic life in Cuba, which abruptly ends when Fidel Castro’s communist regime comes to power. Fleeing to Miami with just five dollars, Victoria and her family struggle to survive their new life in exile, facing racial and cultural prejudices, worry for those left behind in Cuba, and the search for a new home. Publication is set for summer 2022. Author agent: Sarah Davies at Greenhouse Literary.
Rotem Moscovich at Knopf has bought world rights for two picture books by Minh Lê. The first, The Blur, will be illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat, fellow collaborator on Drawn Together, and follows a baby with superhero-like abilities and the parents who are racing to keep up. The second, Real to Me, to be illustrated by Raissa Figueroa, follows a surprising development after an imaginary friend disappears. Publication is set for summer 2022 and summer 2023, respectively. Illustrator agent: Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary.
Eileen Rothschild at Wednesday Books has acquired, in a preempt, Isabel Ibañez‘s YA fantasy, Together We Burn, inspired by medieval Spain. A city plagued by dragons hosts popular dragon fights in rings where the beasts are slain by the legendary Dragadors; a talented flamenco dancer must work with a disgraced dragon hunter to learn the ways of a Dragador in order to save her ancestral home. Publication is slated for 2022. Author agent: Sarah Landis at Sterling Lord Literistic.
Tiara Kittrell at HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray has bought, at auction, world rights to Mariana in México, a picture book debut by Mónica Mancillas, illustrated by Erika Meza. A girl visits her abuela for the first time in Ensenada, and though she doesn’t speak perfect Spanish, the love of her family cannot be misunderstood. Publication is planned for summer 2022. Author agent: Melissa Edwards at Stonesong. Illustrator agent: Claire Cartey at Holroyde Cartey.
Joanna Cárdenas at Kokila has acquired Tumble, a middle grade novel by Celia C. Pérez (The First Rule of Punk and Strange Birds). Adela “Addie” Diaz has a big life decision to make when her stepfather proposes adoption, but before she makes it, she reaches out to her estranged biological father—a lucha libre legend in New Mexico—and the eccentric extended family of wrestlers she has never met, which brings her closer to understanding the expansive definition of family. Publication is slated for spring 2022. Author agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.
Feather Flores at Chronicle has bought world rights to Maria Mariposa by Karla Arenas Valenti, a bilingual story about a girl who receives a gift from her home in Mexico, on her first day of school in the U.S.—and how she finds a way to share the magic of that gift with everyone around her. Ana Ramírez González will illustrate; publication is scheduled for fall 2023. Author agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator agent: Andrea Morrison at Writers House.
Asia Citro at the Innovation Press has bought world rights to Queen of Leaves by Stephen Briseño, a picture book biography of Mexican-American botanist Ynes Mexia, illustrated by Diana Toledano. Publication is set for fall 2022. Author agent: Natalie Lakosil at Bradford Literary. Illustrator agent: Teresa Kietlinski at Bookmark Literary.
Karen Boss at Charlesbridge has bought world rights to Stand as Tall as the Trees: How an Amazonian Community Protected the Rain Forest, a picture book autobiography by Patricia Gualinga, environmental and Indigenous-rights defender of the Pueblo Kichwa de Sarayaku, a community in the Ecuadorian Amazon, co-written with Laura Resau. Ecuadorian artist Vanessa Jaramillo will illustrate. Simultaneous publication in English and Spanish is slated for summer 2022. Author agent: Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary.
Karen Greenberg at Knopf has acquired, at auction, Vanessa L. Torres‘s debut YA novel The Turning Pointe, plus a second untitled work. The book follows Rosa Dominguez, a dancer in 1980s Minnesota, as she navigates complex family expectations, a new romance, and her own ambitions to dance for the Purple One himself, Prince. Publication is planned for spring 2022. Author agent: Louise Fury at the Bent Agency.
Julie Rosenberg at Razorbill has acquired, in a seven-house auction, Flirting with Fate and a second untitled novel by bestselling author J.C. Cervantes (The Storm Runner series). Flirting with Fate is a contemporary YA romance set in Los Angeles that introduces three tight-knit sisters, the ghost of their grandmother, and a fifth-century saint charged with aiding them in setting their fate right. Together, they must help the youngest sister find the mysterious boy who intercepted the deathbed blessing her grandmother meant for her. Publication for the first book is planned for 2021. Author agent: Holly Root at Root Literary.
Kait Feldmann at Orchard has bought, in an exclusive submission, In the Spirit of a Dream, a nonfiction picture book anthology created by Alina Chau celebrating stories of American immigrants of color. Aida Salazar will write and the poems will be illustrated by Alina Chau, Bianca Diaz, Dion MBD, Fahmida Azim, Gaby D’Alessandro, Jose Ramirez, Ken Daley, Nicole Xu, Paulo D. Campos, Rahele Jomepour Bell, Tracy Guiteau, Vanessa Flores, and Yas Imamura. Publication is slated for fall 2021. Author agent: Marietta Zacker at Gallt & Zacker.
Kate DePalma at Barefoot Books has acquired Run, Little Chaski! An Inka Trail Adventure, by Peruvian-born author Mariana Llanos (l.), illustrated by Argentinean illustrator Mariana Ruiz Johnson. In this historical fiction picture book set in the ancient Inka empire, Little Chaski faces a challenging first day as the king’s newest royal messenger. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Author agent: Clelia Gore at Martin Literary & Media Management.
Nancy Mercado at Dial has acquired, in an exclusive submission, A Seed in the Sun by Aida Salazar (The Moon Within and Land of the Cranes). The middle grade historical fiction novel follows a 12-year-old girl from a migrant farm-working family with big dreams of becoming a carpa ringmaster. She meets Dolores Huerta and joins the United Farm Workers’ Delano Grape Strike of 1965 with the hope of working with the Teatro Campesino to help change the future for her family and others. Publication is set for spring 2022. Author agent: Marietta Zacker at Gallt and Zacker Literary.
Ann Kelley at Random House Studio has bought world rights to Plate of Hope by Erin Frankel, illustrated by Paola Escobar (Digging for Words). This picture book biography follows the life of chef José Andrés, who, through his World Central Kitchen organization, is fulfilling a vision to feed people in need all over the world. Publication is set for fall 2023. Illustrator agent: Amy Kitcherside at Pickled Ink.
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