Celebrating 25 Years of the Pura Belpré Award: Book Talk About Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales

.

We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

.

The Pura Belpré Award is named after Pura Belpré, the first Latina librarian at the New York Public Library. The Pura Belpré Award, established in 1996, is presented annually to a Latinx writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.

Today, Dr. Sonia Rodriguez and Dora M. Guzmán talk about Just A Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales. The book won the 2003 Pura Belpré Illustration Award. You can find our book talks on our new YouTube channel!

.

.

.

,

Sonia Alejandra Rodriguez, PhD is an Associate Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College (CUNY) where she teaches composition, literature, and creative writing. Her academic research focuses on decolonial healing in Latinx children’s and young adult literature. Sonia is a Mellon Emerging Faculty Leader.

.

.

.

img_0160

Dora M. Guzmán is a bilingual reading specialist for grades K-5 and also teaches college courses in Children’s Literature and Teaching Beginning Literacy. She is currently a doctoral student with a major in Reading, Language, and Literacy. When she is not sharing her love of reading with her students, you can find her in the nearest library, bookstore, or online, finding more great reads to add to her never-ending “to read” pile!

.

.

.

Please Support Us Through Patreon!

.

Since 2013, the Latinxs in Kid Lit site has been a trusted resource for educators, book buyers, and readers. Our contributors have written over 590 posts, which have included reviews, Q&As with authors and illustrators, cover reveals, guest posts by creators, and news about book deals. We have done all of this to highlight and celebrate the young adult, middle grade, picture books, and graphic novels by Latinx creators. And we have done all of this work for free.

Moving forward, we would like to pay our contributors for their efforts and add more writers. We ask our loyal followers to support us financially, for as little as $1 each month, so we can offer current and future contributors paid writing opportunities. We typically run 1 or 2 posts each week. Any additional money raised would be used to pay for website hosting. If we make more than we need to run the site, then we can also start to support the creative Latinx community in other ways.

Please visit our Patreon page and consider being one of our patrons. You may also support us with a one-time donation to our PayPal or Venmo accounts:

Patreon: www.patreon.com/latinxsinkidlit

Venmo: @latinxsinkidlit

.

May Latinx Book Releases!

.

We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

In addition to listing 2021 titles by/for/about Latinx on our master list, we will remind readers of what’s releasing each month. CONGRATULATIONS to these Latinx creators. Let’s celebrate these May book babies! Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any.

.

.

RUN LITTLE CHASKI: AN INKA TRAIL ADVENTURE by Mariana Llanos, illustrated by Mariana Ruiz Johnson (Barefoot Books, May 1, 2020). Picture Book. The book will also be released in Spanish: Corre Pequeño Chaski: Una aventura en el Camino Inka.

.

HAND-ME-DOWN MAGIC #3: Perfect Patchwork Purse by Corey Ann Hayduillustrated by Luisa Uribe (Katherine Tegen Books, May 4, 2021). Chapter Book. Alma knew it the first time she saw it: The patchwork purse in the window of the Curious Cousins Secondhand Shoppe was magical. Special. Perfect. But when her friend Cassie spots the purse and buys it, what could Alma do but agree that the purse really did look just right on Cassie?

Del decides it’s up to her to bring some homespun magic back into Alma’s life, and she’s got just the plan to do it. After all, she is the EXPERT on magic! All she needs is some glitter and lots and lots of glue . . . because she knows magic can always come from the most unexpected places, but most importantly, that best-friend-cousins never let each other down.

.

HOME SWEET FOREVER HOME (The Invincible Girls Club #1) by Rachel Alpine, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (Aladdin, May 4, 2021). Chapter Book. Lauren is a huge dog lover and is over-the-moon excited when she gets to go to the local shelter to read to the dogs. While there, she learns that the older dogs are often not adopted, so she and her friends set out to find them homes.

Together, Lauren, Ruby, Myka, and Emelyn create a brilliant event, where attendees can eat delicious cupcakes while meeting adoptable dogs. But on the big day, it seems like everything goes upside down. Can the girls save the event and make sure their four-legged friends get a chance at their fur-ever homes?

.

.

ART WITH HEART (The Invincible Girls Club #2) by Rachel Alpine, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (Aladdin, May 4, 2021). Chapter Book. Someone is writing mean messages about Emelyn and other kids in her grade on pieces of paper and sticking them to lockers and bathroom walls. When Emelyn discovers a classmate hiding in the bathroom crying about the mean words written about her, Emelyn brings this problem to The Invincible Girls. Together, they decide to fight the negativity with positivity!

Emelyn, Laura, Ruby, and Myka spread words of kindness and cheerful images all over the place to cancel out the negative ones. But they keep running into speed bumps along the way—and Emelyn isn’t sure she’s the right person to lead the charge. Can the girls help stop the bullying in their school? And can Emelyn ultimately find her own voice?

.

INDIVISIBLE by Daniel Aleman (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 4, 2021). Middle Grade. Mateo Garcia and his younger sister, Sophie, have been taught to fear one word for as long as they can remember: deportation. Over the past few years, however, the fear that their undocumented immigrant parents could be sent back to Mexico has started to fade. Ma and Pa have been in the United States for so long, they have American-born children, and they’re hard workers and good neighbors. When Mateo returns from school one day to find that his parents have been taken by ICE, he realizes that his family’s worst nightmare has become a reality. With his parents’ fate and his own future hanging in the balance, Mateo must figure out who he is and what he is capable of, even as he’s forced to question what it means to be an American.

.

.

JUAN HORMIGA by Gustavo Roldán, translated by Robert Croll (Elsewhere Editions, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. Juan Hormiga, the greatest storyteller of his entire anthill, loves to recount his fearless grandfather’s adventures. When Juan and his fellow ants gather around for storytime, he hypnotizes all with tales of his grandfather’s many exploits – including his escape from an eagle’s talons and the time he leapt from a tree with just a leaf for a parachute. When he’s through telling these tales, Juan loves to cozy up for a nice long nap. He’s such a serious napper that he takes up to ten siestas every day! Though well loved by his ant friends, Juan decides telling tales and sleeping aren’t quite enough for him – it’s time to set off on his own adventure.

.

.

KUAN YIN: The Princess Who Became the Goddess of Compassion by Maya van der Meerillustrated by Wen Hsu (Bala Kids, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. Miao Shan isn’t your typical princess. She likes to spend her time quietly meditating with the creatures of the forest or having adventures with dragons and tigers. Miao Shan’s heart is so full of love that her dream is to spread happiness throughout the land and help people endlessly. But her father has other plans for her–he intends to have her married and remain in the palace. With the help of her little sister Ling, Miao Shan escapes and begins her journey to discover the true meaning of compassion.

During their adventure, Ling and Miao Shan are eventually separated. Ling must overcome doubts, fears, and loneliness in order to realize what her sister had told her all along–that love is the greatest power in the world. After the sisters’ reunion, Miao Shan realizes her true calling as Kuan Yin, the goddess of compassion.

.

LA JOVEN AVIADORA by Margarita Engleillustrated by Sara Palacios (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. Spanish version of THE FLYING GIRL. En una animada calle en la encantadora ciudad de París, una joven llamada Aída miró hacia el cielo y se quedó maravillada ante la vista de un dirigible. ¡Cuánto le gustaría surcar el cielo de esa manera! El inventor del aparato, Alberto, la invitó a dar un paseo en su dirigible, pero Aída no quería viajar como pasajera. Ella quería ser el piloto.

Aída era apenas una adolescente, y ninguna mujer o joven había volado antes. Pero eso no la detuvo. Todo lo que ella necesitaba eran algunas clases y una oportunidad.

.

.

MEET CUTE DIARY by Emery Lee (Quill Tree Books, May 4, 2021). Young Adult. Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

.

OLIVER’S LOLLIPOP by Allison Wortcheillustrated by Andrés Landazabal (Philomel Books, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. Oliver finds the perfect lollipop on his birthday trip to the zoo, and it’s all he can think about! Forget riding the carousel–he might drop his precious treat. No point roaring at the lions with his brother or engaging with any of the animals. After all, who needs the peacocks’ beautiful feathers or the flamingoes’ brilliant hues when there’s a colorful swirly lollipop to admire?

But when one particular zoo animal threatens to ruin the fun, Oliver learns that there’s plenty more to see than the candy he’d been coveting. And sharing the day–and his sweets–with his brother might just be the most special treat of all.

.

SMALL ROOM, BIG DREAMS: The Journey of Julián and Joaquin Castro by Monica Brown, illustrated by Mirelle Ortega (Quill Tree Books, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. The story of political powerhouse twins Julián and Joaquin Castro began in the small room that they shared with their grandmother Victoriana in San Antonio, Texas. Victoriana crossed the border from Mexico into Texas as a six-year-old orphan, marking the start of the family’s American journey. Her daughter Rosie, Julián and Joaquin’s mom, was an activist who helped the barrio through local government.

The strong women in their family inspired the twins to get involved in politics. Julián and Joaquin have been working at the local, state, and national level—as a former presidential candidate, mayor and member of President Obama’s Cabinet, and a U.S. Congressman, respectively—to make the country a better place for everyone.

.

WHAT WILL YOU BE? by Yamile Saied Méndez, illustrated by Kate Alizadeh (HarperCollins, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. What will you be when you grow up? A young girl dreams about all the endless possibilities, sparking a sense of wonder, curiosity, and growth. With her abuela’s loving guidance, she learns her potential is limitless.

.

MANOS QUE BAILAN (DANCING HANDS) by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Rafael López, translated by Alexis Romay (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, May 4, 2021). Picture Book. De niña, a Teresa Carreño le encantaba dejar que sus manos bailaran a lo largo de las hermosas teclas del piano. Si se sentía triste, la música le levantaba el ánimo y, cuando estaba feliz, el piano la ayudaba a compartir esa alegría. Pronto comenzó a escribir sus propias canciones y a tocar en grandes catedrales.

Entonces, una revolución en Venezuela hizo que su familia tuviera que huir a Estados Unidos. Teresa se sentía sola en este sitio desconocido en el que muy poca de la gente a quien conocía hablaba español. Y lo peor es que también había una guerra en su nuevo hogar: la Guerra Civil.

Aun así, Teresa siguió tocando y pronto adquirió fama de ser la talentosa niña del piano que podía tocar cualquier cosa, desde una canción folclórica hasta una sonata. Era tan famosa, de hecho, ¡que el presidente Abraham Lincoln quiso que fuera a tocar a la Casa Blanca! Sin embargo, con el país dividido por la guerra, ¿podría la música de Teresa traer consuelo a quienes más lo necesitaban?

.

ILLUSIONARY by Zoraida Córdova (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 11, 2021). Young Adult. Reeling from betrayal at the hands of the Whispers, Renata Convida is a girl on the run. With few options and fewer allies, she’s reluctantly joined forces with none other than Prince Castian, her most infuriating and intriguing enemy. They’re united by lofty goals: find the fabled Knife of Memory, kill the ruthless King Fernando, and bring peace to the nation. Together, Ren and Castian have a chance to save everything, if only they can set aside their complex and intense feelings for each other.


With the king’s forces on their heels at every turn, their quest across Puerto Leones and beyond leaves little room for mistakes. But the greatest danger is within Ren. The Gray, her fortress of stolen memories, has begun to crumble, threatening her grip on reality. She’ll have to control her magics–and her mind–to unlock her power and protect the Moria people once and for all.

.

THOUGHTS ARE AIR by Michael Arndt, illustrated by Irena Freitas (Dial Books, May 11, 2021). Picture Book. When a trio of friends happen upon a neighborhood tree falling into decay, an idea catches hold. But what makes a dream become a plan, and how does a plan lead to a brighter tomorrow? Thoughts Are Air links thoughts, words, and actions to the water cycle. Just as air becomes water becomes solid matter, thoughts become words become actions. The comparison is subtle yet powerful–air condensing into matter; ideas condensing into doing something that matters.

.

.

.

.

ON THE HOOK by Francisco X. Stork (Scholastic, May 18, 2021). Young Adult. Hector has always minded his own business, working hard to make his way to a better life someday. He’s the chess team champion, helps the family with his job at the grocery, and teaches his little sister to shoot hoops overhand.

Until Joey singles him out. Joey, whose older brother, Chavo, is head of the Discípulos gang, tells Hector that he’s going to kill him: maybe not today, or tomorrow, but someday. And Hector, frozen with fear, does nothing. From that day forward, Hector’s death is hanging over his head every time he leaves the house. He tries to fade into the shadows – to drop off Joey’s radar – to become no one.

But when a fight between Chavo and Hector’s brother Fili escalates, Hector is left with no choice but to take a stand.

The violent confrontation will take Hector places he never expected, including a reform school where he has to live side-by-side with his enemy, Joey. It’s up to Hector to choose whether he’s going to lose himself to revenge or get back to the hard work of living.

.

PERFECTLY PARVIN by Olivia Abtahi (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, May 18, 2021). Young Adult. Parvin Mohammadi has just been dumped–only days after receiving official girlfriend status. Not only is she heartbroken, she’s humiliated. Enter high school heartthrob Matty Fumero, who just might be the smoking-hot cure to all her boy problems. If Parvin can get Matty to ask her to Homecoming, she’s positive it will prove to herself and her ex that she’s girlfriend material after all. There’s just one problem: Matty is definitely too cool for bassoon-playing, frizzy-haired, Cheeto-eating Parvin. Since being herself hasn’t worked for her in the past (see aforementioned dumping), she decides to start acting like the women in her favorite rom-coms. Those women aren’t loud, they certainly don’t cackle when they laugh, and they smile much more than they talk.

But Parvin discovers that being a rom-com dream girl is much harder than it looks. Also hard? The parent-mandated Farsi lessons. A confusing friendship with a boy who’s definitely not supposed to like her. And hardest of all, the ramifications of the Muslim ban on her family in Iran. Suddenly, being herself has never been more important.

.

WHERE WONDER GROWS by Xelena Gonzálezillustrated by Adriana M. Garcia (Cinco Puntos Press, May 25, 2021). Picture Books. Grandma knows that there is wondrous knowledge to be found everywhere you can think to look. She takes her girls to their special garden, and asks them to look over their collection of rocks, crystals, seashells, and meteorites to see what marvels they have to show. “They were here long before us and know so much more about our world than we ever will,” Grandma says. So they are called grandfathers. By taking a close look with an open mind, they see the strength of rocks shaped by volcanoes, the cleansing power of beautiful crystals, the oceans that housed their shells and shapes its environment, and the long journey meteorites took to find their way to them. Gathered together, Grandma and the girls let their surroundings spark their imaginations.

.

I WISH YOU KNEW by Jackie Azúa Kramerillustrated by Magdalena Mora (Roaring Brook Press, May 25, 2021). Picture Book.

When Estrella’s father has to leave because

he wasn’t born here, like her,

She misses him.

And she wishes people knew the way it affects her.

At home. At school.

Always.

But a school wrapped around a hundred-year-old oak tree is the perfect place to share and listen.

Some kids miss family,
Some kids are hungry,
Some kids live in shelters.

But nobody is alone.

A story about deportation, divided families, and the importance of community in the midst of uncertainty.

.

MAXY SURVIVES THE HURRICANE / Maxy sobrevive el huracán by Ricia Anne Chansky and Yarelis Marcial Acevedo, illustrated by Olga Barinova (Piñata Books, May 31, 2021). Picture Book. Maxy the dog survives Hurricane Maria, and like many who go through natural disasters, he is later terrified of storms and rain.

.

.

.

RAULITO: The First Latino Governor of Arizona /El Primer Gobernador Latino de Arizona by Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford (Piñata Books, May 31, 2021). Picture Book. This bilingual biography for kids ages 8-14 follows the dreams and achievements of Raul H. Castro, who was the first Latino governor of Arizona and US Ambassador to El Salvador, Bolivia and Argentina.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Un tren llamado Esperanza / A Train Called Hope by Mario Bencastroillustrated by Robert Casilla (Piñata Books, May 31, 2021). Picture Book. This bilingual picture book contrasts a boy’s enjoyment of his childhood toy train with his dangerous journey north crowded on a real train in search of family and a better future.

.

Spotlight on Latinx Illustrators: Juliet Menéndez 

.

By Cecilia Cackley

This is the eighth in a series of posts spotlighting Latinx illustrators of picture books. Some of these artists have been creating children’s books for many years, while others will have their first book out soon. They come from many different cultural backgrounds, but all are passionate about connecting with readers through art and story. Please look for their books at bookstores and libraries!

.

Juliet Menéndez 

Juliet Menéndez is a Guatemalan American author and illustrator living between Guatemala City, Paris, and New York. While working as a bilingual teacher in New York City’s public schools, Juliet noted the need for more books that depicted children like the ones in her classrooms. She studied design and illustration in Paris and now spends her days with her watercolors and notebook. Latinitas is her first children’s book.

Q: What or who inspired you to become an artist?

A: My family is full of art and artists. My grandmother was a poet, my grandfather was a painter, my father is an architect, my mother is an art enthusiast who lined all of our walls with bookcases full of art books, and I have aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of my family who are musicians, photographers, designers, and filmmakers. So, I have been surrounded by art for as long as I can remember.

But I do have a particular memory of when I started to feel like an artist myself.

When I was four, my older sister bought me a little easel with paints on one side and pastels on the other. It was immediately my favorite toy and when friends would come over I would ask them to “play easel.” Most of my friends insisted that it wasn’t a game, but one little boy, my best friend at the time, was happy to “play easel” with me and we would have so much fun painting together, adding little things to each other’s drawings, and timing each other to see what we could come up with before the timer went off. It sounds so incredibly nerdy, but we loved it.

I think that is really when I began thinking of art as something I could do. And the idea of art being a form of play has stayed with me. Even now, illustrating sometimes for 14 hours at a time, I still try to make it feel a bit like a game, giving myself the chance to experiment and “play.”

Q: Tell us something about your favorite artistic medium–why you like it, when you first learned it, etc.

A: The work I do now is all done in watercolor. I wouldn’t say I ever really learned watercolor technique and it probably shows. The only ones I use now are Old Holland and they are really more like gouache than watercolors and I use them that way.

I had always worked with mixed media before: inks, pens, collage, oil pastels. But on a freezing cold day walking to the subway in New York, I popped into the art store to warm up.  I stumbled upon these adorable Old Holland watercolors locked away in a fancy glass case. I think I must have been staring at them like pastelitos and a sales assistant asked me if I needed him to open the case. I really didn’t have the money to be buying anything at all, but somehow I said yes and picked out four little tubes and walked out with them in a tiny paper bag.

To be honest, I thought about returning them. But the colors… rose, emerald, honey yellow, and manganese blue were just so beautiful. They reminded me of the painted signs, advertisements, menus, and sun bathed street murals in Guatemala. I don’t know if it was the memories of being warm that made me keep them, but once I used them, I was hooked.

Q: Please finish this sentence: “Picture books are important because…”

 A:…they are children’s first windows into worlds outside of their own and connection to the people in it.

.

Juliet Menéndez’s debut is Latinitas. Click on the cover for more information.

We are an affiliate with Indiebound and Bookshop. If If you make a purchase through these links, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission.

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

.

.

cecilia-02-original

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

Latinx Book Deals October-December 2020

.

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.

October 1

None.

October 6

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.

October 8

None.

October 15

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.

October 20

None.

October 22

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.

October 27

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.

October 29

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.

November 3

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.

November 5

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.

November 10

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.

November 12

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.

November 17

None.

November 19

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.

November 24

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.

December 1

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.

December 3

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.

December 8

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.

December 10

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.

December 17

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.

December 22

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-02-original

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

April Latinx Book Releases!

.

.

In addition to listing 2021 titles by/for/about Latinx on our master list, we will remind readers of what’s releasing each month. CONGRATULATIONS to these Latinx creators. Let’s celebrate these April book babies! Please let us know in the comments if we are missing any.

.

.

A GARDEN TO SAVE THE BIRDS by Wendy McClure, illustrated by Beatriz Mayumi (Albert Whitman & Co., April 1, 2021). Picture Book. When a bird flies into their window by accident, Callum and his sister, Emmy, learn that from the outside, the glass looks just like the sky. They also learn that the United States has lost a lot of birds in recent years–and that there are lots of things their family can do to help. First, they set out feeders and make the windows safe. Then, for the winter, they build a little shelter and put out a heated birdbath. By springtime, all kinds of birds are visiting their yard. But with such a big problem, is there more they can do to make a difference?

.

.

.

Kids learn how imagination gives them the power to connect to themselves and the world around them.

ALL YOU CAN IMAGINE written and illustrated by Bernardo Marçolla (Free Spirit Publishing, April 6, 2021). Picture Book. Where can imagination take you? All You Can Imagine encourages readers to open their hearts, minds, and eyes to the world around them to let imagination in, foster connections, and explore all the possibilities of the universe. 

Imagination and creativity give us the power to connect to ourselves, to others, and to the world around us. All You Can Imagine helps children embrace and expand their ideas and imagination, whether these ideas arrive slowly, piece by piece, or suddenly, like a bird taking flight. Imaginative play is an integral foundation for social, emotional, and academic development, so fill an entire day with the power of imagination and all the ways it can be shared and expressed. 

.

DEAR SUPER-VILLAINS by Michael Northrop, illustrated by Gustavo Duarte (DC Comics, April 6, 2021). How did Gorilla Grodd get so smart? Did Harley Quinn ever try a career in comedy? Why does Catwoman always lose to Batman?

Each chapter highlights members of the Legion of Doom in a sympathetic way that is relatable to kids. But look closely and you may notice the baddies are up to something big! Will the Justice League show up in time to stop them? You’ll have to write in to the Tip-line of Evil to find out!

.

.

.

.

FEARLESS by Mandy Gonzalez (Aladdin, April 6, 2021). Middle Grade. The Ethel Merman Theater is cursed. No one is sure how or why, but the evidence speaks for itself. Show after show has flopped and the theater is about to close. Enter twelve-year-old Monica Garcia, who has been cast to star in a Broadway musical revival of The Goonies, the theater’s last chance to produce a hit before it shutters its doors for good.

The kids in the cast each have their own reasons for wanting to make the show a success, and all eyes in the theater world are on them. Will this show finally break the curse of the Ethel? The kids aren’t quite sure if the curse is even real, but when their first performance doesn’t quite go as planned, it certainly feels that way.

Then they realize the ghost light—the light that is always kept on at every theater in order to appease the ghosts—wasn’t lit! When the kids rush to flick the switch back on, they find themselves locked in the theater—but that’s the least of their problems when the ghost of the Ethel makes her debut appearance!

Can the cast overcome their fears and reverse the ghost’s curse before opening night so they can save the show—and their dreams?

.

MERCI SUÁREZ CAN’T DANCE by Meg Medina (Candlewick, April 6, 2021). Middle Grade. Seventh grade is going to be a real trial for Merci Suárez. For science she’s got no-nonsense Mr. Ellis, who expects her to be a smart as her brother, Roli. She’s been assigned to co-manage the tiny school store with Wilson Bellevue, a boy she barely knows, but whom she might actually like. And she’s tangling again with classmate Edna Santos, who is bossier and more obnoxious than ever now that she is in charge of the annual Heart Ball.

One thing is for sure, though: Merci Suárez can’t dance—not at the Heart Ball or anywhere else. Dancing makes her almost as queasy as love does, especially now that Tía Inés, her merengue-teaching aunt, has a new man in her life. Unfortunately, Merci can’t seem to avoid love or dance for very long. She used to talk about everything with her grandfather, Lolo, but with his Alzheimer’s getting worse each day, whom can she trust to help her make sense of all the new things happening in her life?

.

OCULTA by Maya Motayne (Balzer + Bray, April 6, 2021). Young Adult. After joining forces to save Castallan from an ancient magical evil, Alfie and Finn haven’t seen each other in months. Alfie is finally stepping up to his role as heir and preparing for an International Peace Summit, while Finn is traveling and reveling in her newfound freedom from Ignacio.

That is, until she’s unexpectedly installed as the new leader of one of Castallan’s powerful crime syndicates. 

Just when Finn finds herself back in San Cristobal, Alfie’s plans are also derailed. The mysterious organization responsible for his brother’s murder, has resurfaced—and their newest target is the summit. And when these events converge, Finn and Alfie are once again forced to work together to follow the assassins’ trail and preserve Castallan’s hopes for peace with Englass. 

But will they be able to stop these sinister foes before a new war threatens their kingdom?

.

SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BITTER AND SWEET by Laekan Zea Kemp (Little Brown Young Readers, April 6, 2021). Young Adult. Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father’s restaurant, Nacho’s Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans-leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she’s been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho’s who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she’s been too afraid to ask herself.

Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho’s is an opportunity for just that–a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo’s, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander’s immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself.

Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home.

.

WE MOVE TOGETHER by Kelly Fritsch and Anne McGuireillustrated by Eduardo Trejos (AK Press, April 6, 2021). Picture Book. A bold and colorful exploration of all the ways that people navigate through the spaces around them and a celebration of the relationships we build along the way. We Move Together follows a mixed-ability group of kids as they creatively negotiate everyday barriers and find joy and connection in disability culture and community.

.

.

.

YOUR MAMA by NoNieqa Ramos, illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara (Versify, April 6, 2021). Picture Book. A sweet twist on the age-old “yo mama” joke, celebrating fierce moms everywhere. Yo’ mama so sweet, she could be a bakery. She dresses so fine, she could have a clothing line. And, even when you mess up, she’s so forgiving, she lets you keep on living. Your Mama twists an old joke into a point of pride that honors the love, hard work, and dedication of mamas everywhere.

.

.

.

48 GRASSHOPPER ESTATES by Sara de Wallillustrated by Erika Medina (Annick Press, April 13, 2021). Picture Book. Whether it’s a supersonic sandwich maker or a twelve-tailed dragon, Sicily Bridges can make almost anything from materials she finds around her apartment complex. But when it comes to making friends, Sicily has yet to find the perfect fit.

.

.

.

.

.

.

CECE RIOS AND THE DESERT OF SOULS by Kaela Rivera (HarperChildren’s, April 13, 2021). Middle Grade. Living in the remote town of Tierra del Sol is dangerous, especially in the criatura months, when powerful spirits roam the desert and threaten humankind. But Cecelia Rios has always believed there was more to the criaturas, much to her family’s disapproval. After all, only brujas—humans who capture and control criaturas—consort with the spirits, and brujeria is a terrible crime.

When her older sister, Juana, is kidnapped by El Sombrerón, a powerful dark criatura, Cece is determined to bring Juana back. To get into Devil’s Alley, though, she’ll have to become a bruja herself—while hiding her quest from her parents, her town, and the other brujas. Thankfully, the legendary criatura Coyote has a soft spot for humans and agrees to help her on her journey.

With him at her side, Cece sets out to reunite her family—and maybe even change what it means to be a bruja along the way.

.

TAG TEAM: El Toro and Friends by Raúl the Third (Versify, April 13, 2021). Early Reader. After last night’s match, the stadium is a mess! There is so much work to be done and Mexican wrestling star El Toro feels overwhelmed. Enter . . . La Oink Oink!

With the collaborative spirit they have in the ring, El Toro and La Oink Oink tackle the cleaning up together. La Oink Oink sweeps and El Toro picks up the trash. La Oink Oink washes the dishes, and El Toro dries them. Together, an insurmountable mountain of chores becomes a series of fun tasks for these two wrestling friends!

.

.

.

TRAINING DAY: El Toro and Friends by Raúl the Third (Versify, April 13, 2021). Early Reader. Task #1: Getting out of bed. Usually that’s not so hard, but being the champion luchador isn’t easy. Today, El Toro is feeling uninspired. But his coach, Kooky Dooky, knows that practice makes better and it’s important for El Toro to stay in shape and keep training!

.

.

.

.

.

THE MARY SHELLEY CLUB by Goldy Moldavsky (Henry Holt and Co. BYR, April 13, 2021). Young Adult. When it comes to horror movies, the rules are clear: Avoid abandoned buildings, warehouses, and cabins at all times; Stay together: don’t split up, not even just to “check something out”; If there’s a murderer on the loose, do not make out with anyone.

If only surviving in real life were this easy.

New girl Rachel Chavez turns to horror movies for comfort, preferring stabby serial killers and homicidal dolls to the bored rich kids of Manhattan Prep…and to certain memories she’d preferred to keep buried.

Then Rachel is recruited by the Mary Shelley Club, a mysterious society of students who orchestrate Fear Tests, elaborate pranks inspired by urban legends and movie tropes. At first, Rachel embraces the power that comes with reckless pranking. But as the Fear Tests escalate, the competition turns deadly, and it’s clear Rachel is playing a game she can’t afford to lose.

.

WE LAUGH ALIKE/ JUNTOS NOS REÍMOS by Carmen T. Bernier, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez (Charlesbridge, April 13, 2021). Picture Book. Three kids are playing at the park when three more arrive. The groups can’t understand each other because one trio speaks only English and the other only Spanish. But they can express similar thoughts in their own languages. Aquí interactúan el inglés y el español. Can they find a way to play? Of course they can! By watching each other, both groups learn that they are more alike than different and end up discovering new words and making new friends.

.

.

GOOSEBUMPS: Secrets of the Swamp by Marieke Nijkampillustrated by Yasmin Florez Montanez (IDW Publishing, April 20, 2021). Graphic Novel. When twelve-year-old Blake is shipped away to stay with her weird aunt in Fever Swamp for the summer, she expects her weeks to be filled with video games, mosquito bites, and a whole lot of nothing. Instead, she finds herself in a spooky turf war between wolf hunters and werewolves!

Blake’s never let anything–including her prosthetic hand–slow her down or stop her from crushing her opponents in a game of Lore Hunter, but real-life monsters on all sides take danger and fear to a whole new level. Blake will need to use all of her gaming skills to escape in this all-ages scarefest.

.

.

THE RICE IN THE POT GOES ROUND AND ROUND by Wendy Wan-Long Shangillustrated by Lorian Tu (Orchard Books, April 20, 2021). Picture Book. Sing along to this delicious twist on “The Wheels on the Bus” and celebrate the food, laughter, and love of a multigenerational family meal! At the table where this family gathers, they share food, laughter, and, most of all, love. Readers of all ages are sure to delight in this joyful, expressive sing-along, slurping noodles, squishing tofu, and tapping chopsticks as they sing along to this familiar tune.

.

.

13th STREET #5: Tussle with the Tooting Tarantulas by David Bowles, illustrated by Shane Clester (HarperCHapters, April 27, 2021). Chapter Book. Malia, Dante, and Ivan are ready to take on the evil forces controlling 13th Street. But then Ivan is kidnapped by giant—and stinky!—spiders. Can Malia and Dante save him from their sticky webs?

.

.

.

.

.

.

BALLONS FOR PAPA by Elizabeth Gilbert Bediaillustrated by Erika Meza (HarperCollins, April 27, 2021). Picture Book. Arthur’s gloomy father rushes him through the park every morning, through gray and rainy weather. Arthur just wants a bright balloon from the park’s vendor, but Papa always says no. One morning, the balloons magically appear at their doorstep, and Arthur figures out the perfect way to bring the sunshine out—and Papa’s smile back—even if only for a few moments.

.

.

.

SPIRIT UNTAMED: THE MOVIE NOVEL by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April 27, 2021). Middle Grade. Lucky Prescott never really knew her late mother, Milagro Navarro, a fearless horse-riding stunt performer. Like her mother, Lucky isn’t exactly a fan of rules and restrictions. When her aunt Cora moves them from their East Coast city to live in Miradero with Lucky’s father, Lucky is decidedly unimpressed with the sleepy little town. She has a change of heart when she meets Spirit, a wild Mustang who shares her independent streak, and befriends two local horseback riders, Abigail Stone and Pru Granger. When a heartless horse wrangler plots to capture Spirit and his herd and auction them off to a life of captivity and hard labor, Lucky enlists her new friends and bravely embarks on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue the horse who has given her freedom, a sense of purpose, and who has helped Lucky discover a connection to her mother’s legacy.

.