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.
Olivia Valcarce at Scholastic has bought world rights to Yamile Saied Méndez‘s Horse Country, a middle-grade series about 11-year-old Carolina Aguasvivas, who has a gift with horses and—with the help of an unexpected friend—starts a new program at Paradise Ranch. Unbridled Dreams sponsors underprivileged kids to provide them with access to the healing power of horses; each book will feature new friends and new challenges. The first of four books is scheduled for 2022; Linda Camacho at Gallt & Zacker Literary did the deal.
Ben Rosenthal at HarperCollins/Tegen has acquired, in an exclusive submission, The Mythics, a middle grade series by Lauren Magaziner, illustrated by Mirelle Ortega. In a universe where everyone bonds with an animal familiar at 10 years old, five very different girls who are not immediately paired discover that their familiars are mythical beasts they must find by working together. Publication is set for fall 2022. Brianne Johnson at Writers House brokered the five-book, six-figure deal, and James Burns at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Nancy Paulsen at Penguin/Paulsen has acquired, in a preempt, ¡Guerrera Warrior! by Carmen Tafolla, former State Poet Laureate of Texas. The novel-in-verse details the life and times of a courageous 12-year-old Latina who decides it will be she who defines her name, her power, her history, and her right to choose what she celebrates in life. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary negotiated the deal for world rights.
Lisa Rosinsky at Barefoot Books has bought world rights to Dumpling Day by Meera Sriram (A Gift for Amma), illustrated by Inés de Antuñano. In this multicultural counting book, 10 contemporary families cook different types of dumplings for a neighborhood potluck featuring food from each of their cultures. Publication is planned for fall 2021; Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary represented the author, and Alison Berson at Illo Agency represented the illustrator.
Samantha Swenson at Tundra has acquired world rights to Lourdes Heuer‘s debut picture book On This Airplane, to be illustrated by Pura Belpré winner Sara Palacios. The book follows a child’s first experience on an airplane as they observe the passengers around them, noticing the ways the travelers are both different from them and the same. Publication is slated for summer 2022; Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary represented the author, and Minju Chang and Kendra Marcus at BookStop Literary represented the illustrator.
Jordan Nielsen at POW! Kids has bought world rights to Rat Fair, a debut picture book by Leah Rose Kessler, illustrated by Cleonique Hilsaca. The nearly wordless picture book features a group of rats who mistake a sign for an “Art Fair” for that of a “Rat Fair.” After constructing their own fair, they struggle to keep their festivities safe from humans who would sweep it away, but a compassionate child who has been watching them has a plan. Publication is set for summer 2021.
Joanna Cárdenas at Kokila has bought, at auction, in a two-book, six-figure deal, Los Monstruos, the next middle grade novel by Diana Lopez (Confetti Girl). When Felice learns that she’s the daughter of La Llorona, she vows to help her mother make peace with events that have turned her into the most famous monstruo of U.S.-Mexico border lore. Along the way, Felice meets the children of other monstruos, and together, they reverse the curses that have plagued the town of Tres Leches. Publication is planned for fall 2022; Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary handled the deal for world rights.
Luana Kay Horry at HarperCollins has bought North American rights to Balloons for Papa by Elizabeth Gilbert Bedia, illustrated by Erika Meza. This picture book follows a boy who gives his father, who has depression, a bundle of brightly colored balloons. Publication is scheduled for winter 2021. Marlene Sturm at Sturm Rights did the deal on behalf of Upside Down Books/Trigger Publishing in the U.K.
Mary Lee Donovan at Candlewick has acquired world rights to One Tiny Treefrog and two companion nonfiction picture book titles by Mackenzie Joy and Tony Piedra. Set in the Costa Rican rainforest, One Tiny Treefrog traces the journey of a school of tadpoles from 10 eggs, to tadpoles, to one sole frog survivor. Publication is slated for spring 2022, with the companion titles following in 2023 and 2024. Kevin Lewis at Erin Murphy Literary represented the team.
Robin Herrera, formerly at Oni Press, bought world rights to Eat Your Heart Out, written by Terry Blas and Matthew Newton, illustrated by Lydia Anslow. A young Latina from Idaho graduates from high school and is pressured by her mother to live the life she’s planned out for her. Impulsively, she runs away and finds herself in New York, where she shares adventures with new friends and learns to live a life she loves. Shawna Gore will edit; publication is slated for fall 2022. Kate McKean at Morhaim Literary represented Blas, and Newton and Anslow represented themselves.
Samantha Swenson at Tundra has acquired, in a preempt, in a two-book deal, world rights to Esme’s Birthday Conga Line by Lourdes Heuer, illustrated by Marissa Valdez. This early chapter book stars Esme, a plucky girl who lives in the uppermost floor of (what she thinks is) the topmost best building in her neighborhood, and who is sure she can plan her own birthday party when her Mimi and Pipo forget. Publication is planned for spring 2022 and spring 2023; Kelly Sonnack at Andrea Brown Literary represented the creators.
Holly West at Feiwel and Friends has bought, in an exclusive submission, an untitled YA fantasy duology pitched as Aztec Percy Jackson meets the Hunger Games, where a transgender demigod must enter the Firebearer Trials to save his friends from sacrifice, plus a third YA novel, pitched as “gay Titanic in space,” by Aiden Thomas (Cemetery Boys). Publication is planned for fall 2022, fall 2023, and fall 2024; Jennifer March Soloway at Andrea Brown Literary did the mid-six-figure deal for world rights.
Erin Clarke at Knopf has bought world rights to Window Fishing, a picture book by recording artist DK Dyson, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Rudy Gutierrez (Double Bass Blues). It tells the story of an overworked artist who learns to not be so cranky when the kid who lives upstairs sends down a paperclip hook attached to a fishing line. Publication is set for 2022; Edward Necarsulmer IV at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner represented the author and the illustrator.
Michelle Frey at Knopf has acquired, in a preempt, in a two-book deal, Does My Body Offend You?, plus a second novel, written by CNN special projects producer Mayra Cuevas and founding co-chair of El Refugio Marie Marquardt. This coming-of-age YA, told in dual points of view, follows a Puerto Rican teen who seeks justice after running afoul of her school’s sexist dress code—and the white girl who wants to help her lead “The Bra-bellion” but must first learn how to become an effective ally. Publication is set for spring 2022; Saritza Hernandez at Andrea Brown Literary represented Cuevas, and Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management represented Marquardt in the deal for world rights.
Nancy Paulsen at Penguin/Paulsen has acquired Pura Belpré Award-winning author Ruth Behar‘s The Story I Sing to You, in which daughters from several generations of a family seek freedom during revolutionary times. Publication is scheduled for fall 2022; Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media Group did the two-book deal for North American rights.
Donna Bray at HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray and Andrew Eliopulos at HarperCollins/Quill Tree have signed Here’s to Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera. In this sequel to What If It’s Us, Arthur and Ben are reunited by chance over a summer in New York, and find themselves once again asking “What if…?” Publication is scheduled for fall 2021; Holly Root at Root Literary and Jodi Reamer at Writers House brokered the deal for world English rights.
Kaylan Adair at Candlewick has bought, at auction, world rights to the picture book What Are Words, Really? written by photographer and author Alexi Lubomirski, illustrated by Pura Belpré Illustration Honor-winning artist Carlos Aponte (Across the Bay). Lubomirski, whose engagement photographs of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry made headlines worldwide, offers young readers rhyming advice on the ways that words can affect us and how to change your words for the better. Publication is slated for fall 2022; Anne Bohner at Pen & Ink Literary represented the author, and John Rudolph at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret represented the illustrator.
Kat Brzozowski at Feiwel and Friends has acquired world rights to Andrea Mosqueda‘s debut novel Just Your Local Bisexual Disaster. The YA novel follows self-described romantic disaster Maggie Gonzalez, a bisexual Chicana living in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, as she tries to figure out whom to ask to be her escort at her little sister’s upcoming quinceañera: her charming ex-boyfriend twice over; her first crush and gorgeous best friend; or the mysterious new girl with the romantic baggage? Publication is for 2022; Lauren MacLeod at the Strothman Agency brokered the deal.
Lily Kessinger at HMH/Etch has acquired world rights to YA graphic novel Pillow Talk by Stephanie Cooke, illustrated by Mel Valentine Vargas, about Grace Mendes aka Cinderhella, a fierce competitor in the Pillow Fight Federation (PFF), an underground pillow fight league that’s part roller derby, part professional wrestling. Publication is scheduled for 2023; Maria Vicente at P.S. Literary represented the author, and the artist was unagented.
Kathy Landwehr at Peachtree has bought world rights to Octopus by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Tom Gonzalez (their second collaboration following Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon). The nonfiction picture book shares several kinds of octopuses and their fascinating features, such as lights that attract prey, legs that walk on land, and the ability to change color (and shape shift) to match their surroundings. Publication is planned for spring 2023; Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary represented the author, and Deborah Warren at East West represented the illustrator.
Kate O’Sullivan at HMH has acquired world rights to the picture book A Perfect Fit by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree and Sibert Medalist Juana Martinez-Neal, about how Lena “Lane” Bryant came to America with nothing but a measuring tape and a dream, and changed the way women bought clothes for generations. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022; Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary represented the author, and Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary represented the illustrator.
Christian Trimmer at Holt has bought world rights to All Your Shapes by debut picture book author Seth Nichols, with art by Andrés Landazábal. The story is a love letter from father to daughter in celebration of the girl’s accomplishments, as represented by various yoga poses. Publication is slated for spring 2022; the author represented himself, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Sarah Alpert at Algonquin has bought world rights to Our Shadows Have Claws, a YA horror anthology co-edited by Amparo Ortiz and Yamile Saied Méndez. The short stories feature mythical monsters and magical baddies from Latinx folklore, from el Chupacabra to La Llorona, the vampire and the werewolf, the pombero and Nahuelito, and beyond. The Latinx contributors include Mendez, Ortiz, Chantel Acevedo, Courtney Alameda, David Bowles, Ann Dávila Cardinal, Mia García, Gabriela Martins, Racquel Marie, Tehlor Kay Mejía, Maika Moulite, Maritza Moulite, Claribel Ortega, Lilliam Rivera, Jenny Torres Sánchez, and Alexandra Villasante. Publication is set for 2023; Linda Camacho at Gallt and Zacker Literary did the deal.
Nikki Garcia at Little, Brown has bought Lola Out Loud by Jennifer Torres, a picture book about stepping up, speaking out, and building a community, based on the childhood of labor leader Dolores Huerta, illustrated by Sara Palacios. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022; Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary represented the author, and Kendra Marcus and Minju Chang at Bookstop Literary represented the artist.
Lily Kessinger at HMH/Etch has bought world rights to debut graphic novel Band Nerd by Sarah Clawson Willis, illustrated by Ana Hinojosa. Seventh-grader Lucy Carver is determined to make first chair flute at Windley School of the Arts, but two things stand in her way: snobby Tolli Claybourne and Lucy’s loving but dysfunctional parents. Publication is set for 2023; Sara Crowe at Pippin Properties represented the author, and Maria Vicente at P.S. Literary represented the artist.
Kaylan Adair at Candlewick has bought world rights to You. Me. We., written by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus, illustrated by Andres Landazabal. Drawing from Mahatma Gandhi’s message of peace and Maria Montessori’s method of encouraging children to embrace their inner guides, the book explores discovering, maintaining, and sharing peace—in the classroom and in our communities. Publication is set for spring 2023; Alexandra Penfold at Upstart Crow represented both authors, and Anne Moore Armstrong at the Bright Agency represented the illustrator.
Liz Bicknell at Candlewick Press has acquired world rights to Cool Green, a picture book by Pura Belpré Award Honoree Lulu Delacre. In the book, created to honor the expertise of immigrant gardeners and landscapers who often work undocumented, a Latino landscaper shares his knowledge of trees and nature with his granddaughter, celebrating the interconnectedness of trees and forests. Publication is planned for spring 2023, and the author-illustrator represented herself in the deal.
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