Latinx Book Deals April-June 2020

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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.

April 2

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.

April 7

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.

April 9

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.

April 14

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.

April 16

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.

April 21

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.

April 23

None.

April 28

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.

April 30

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.

May 5

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.  

May 7

None.

May 12

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.

May 14

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.

May 19

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.

May 21

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.

May 27

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.

June 2

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.

June 4

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.

June 9

None.

June 11

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.

June 16

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.

June 18

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.

June 23

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.

June 25

None.

June 30

None.

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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 January-March 2020

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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.

January 2

Anne Schwartz at Random House/Schwartz & Wade has acquired world rights to The Queen’s Pangolin by Melinda Beatty, author of the Heartseeker series, and illustrated by Paola Escobar, illustrator of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré. In this picture book, a pangolin breaks his queen’s swing, and struggles with telling her the truth about what happened. Publication is set for fall 2022. Illustrator agent: Amy Kitcherside at Pickled Ink.

Nina Gruener at Cameron Kids has acquired world rights to Herbert & Dorothy: The Story of a Postal Clerk and a Librarian and Their Extraordinary Collection of Art by Jackie Azúa Kramer, illustrated by Julie Breckenreid, a picture book about the New York couple who loved art, collected it, and gave it all away to museums across the country. Publication is slated for fall 2021. Author agent: Stephen Fraser at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

January 7

Carolina Ortiz at HarperCollins has bought world English rights to Ashanti Fortson‘s debut, Cress & Petra. Set in the near future, the YA graphic novel follows the friendship between Cress Orozco, an autistic teenager with plenty of problems and big thoughts about life, and Petra, a lab-made AI looking for adventure. Their intertwining experiences raise the question: what does it mean to be human? Publication is planned for fall 2022. Author agent: Susan Graham at Einstein Literary Management.

January 9

None.

January 14

Holly Rice at Disney-Hyperion has acquired world rights to the first three books in Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy, an early chapter book series written by Kallie George and illustrated by Lorena Alvarez Gómez. Young fairy godmothers-in-training go on adventures and attend magical classes at Bibbidi Bobbidi Academy, a reimagining of Disney Park’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Publication for all three books is slated for fall 2022. Illustrator agent: Alex Gehringer at the Bright Agency.

Joanna Cárdenas and Sydnee Monday at Kokila have acquired world rights to The Cot in the Living Room, a picture book debut by Hilda Eunice Burgos, author of Ana Maria Reyes Does Not Live in a Castle. Debut picture book artist Gaby D’Alessandro will illustrate. Based in New York City’s Washington Heights, it follows a Dominican-American child’s journey from jealousy to empathy as her parents babysit young people from the neighborhood whose families work night shifts. Publication is set for summer 2021. The book was submitted to Kokila’s yearly open call for unagented manuscripts. Illustrator agent: Gail Gaynin at Morgan Gaynin.

Louise May at Lee & Low has bought world English and Spanish rights to The Turquoise Room by Monica Brown, illustrated by Pura Belpré Award honoree Adriana M. Garcia. This bilingual picture book recounts the artistic lives of three generations of women in the author’s family as they pass their creativity from generation to generation for more than 100 years. Publication is scheduled for 2021. Author/Illustrator agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.

January 16

Beth Terrill at NorthSouth has acquired world rights to Baptiste Paul‘s picture book, Climb On!, which follows a father and daughter as they hike to the top of a mountain. Jacqueline Alcántara (The Field) will illustrate. Publication is set for spring 2022. Author agent: Karen Grencik from Red Fox Literary. Illustrator agent: Adriana Dominguez from Full Circle Literary.

January 23

Annie Berger at Sourcebooks Fire has acquired world English rights to Doomed by Laura Pohl (The Last 8), the story of four troubled friends, one murdered girl, and a dark fate that may leave them all doomed. While investigating the murder of their best friend, four reimagined fairytale heroines must uncover connections to their ancient curses and attempt to forge their own paths before it’s too late. Publication is scheduled for spring 2021. Author agent: Sarah LaPolla at Bradford Literary Agency.

Harriet Low at HMH has bought world rights to Hello, Puddle! by Anita Sanchez, illustrated by Luisa Uribe. The nonfiction picture book tells of the ways animals use puddles, from nurseries for frogs to drinking fountains for butterflies, underscoring the accessibility of the natural world and helping children understand the intricate link between wildlife and their habitats. Publication is slated for spring 2022. Author agent: Regina Ryan at Regina Ryan Publishing. Illustrator agent: Alex Gehringer at the Bright Agency.

Kelsey Skea at Amazon/Two Lions has acquired world rights to Estelle Laure‘s Before the World Wakes, a celebration of the magical moments witnessed on an adventure before daybreak, illustrated by Paola Zakimi. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022. Author/Illustrator agent: Emily van Beek at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management.

January 28

Stephanie Stein at HarperCollins has bought, at auction, in a two-book deal, middle grade novel The Insiders by Schneider Family Award winner Mark Oshiro (Anger Is a Gift). The book features a queer boy who, fleeing from bullies, discovers a magical closet that not only provides him sanctuary, but also unites him with two other kids facing persecution at their own schools across the country, helping them find friendship and strength in one another. Publication is slated for fall 2021. Author agent: DongWon Song at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

January 30

None.

February 4

Mark Siegel at First Second has acquired Monster Locker, a middle grade graphic novel series written by Jorge Aguirre with art by Andrès Vera Martinez, in which a sixth-grader named Pablo and his friends must stop various monsters that emerge from a portal inside of his locker from destroying their entire grade school. Publication is scheduled for 2022. Author/Illustrator agent: Tanya McKinnon at McKinnon Literary.

Beth Terrill at NorthSouth has bought world rights to Baptiste and Miranda Paul‘s picture book, Peace, a concept picture book that explores definitions of words and actions small and big that foster peace. Estelí Meza, winner of the A la Orilla del Viento, the premier Picture Book Contest Award in Mexico, will illustrate. Publication is set for fall 2021. Author agent: Karen Grencik at Red Fox Literary. Illustrator agent: Stefanie Sanchez Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.

February 6

Whitney Leopard at Random House Graphic has acquired world rights to Alison Wilgus and Rii Abrego‘s middle-grade graphic novel Grace Needs Space!. In this SF adventure, Grace is excited to spend the weekend away from her overbearing mother and finally get to spend time with her “fun” mom on a delivery to Titan, but when things go sideways, it’s up to Grace (with some help from her mother back home) to save the day. Publication is planned for 2022. Illustrator agent: Molly O’Neill at Root Literary.

Carol Hinz at Lerner/Carolrhoda has bought world rights to Hair Story by NoNieqa Ramos. Written in rhythmic verse, this picture book follows two friends, a Boricua girl and a black girl, as others first try to tame their tresses and eventually celebrate their gorgeous, natural hair. Keisha Morris will illustrate; publication is planned for spring 2021. Author agent: Emily Keyes at Fuse Literary Agency.

Annie Berger at Sourcebooks has bought the middle-grade series Who Invited the Villain? by debut author Victor Pineiro. Pitched as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure in middle school, the first book, Pirates Make Terrible Guests, follows Javi de Silva, a sandwich-obsessed Puerto Rican sixth grader, who inadvertently lets Blackbeard the Pirate loose on his town when his antique dinner table brings his homework to life. Book one is slated for fall 2021. Author agent: Elana Roth Parker at Laura Dail Literary Agency.

February 13

Alison Deering at Capstone has bought middle grade novel The Greatest Superpower by Alex Sanchez (Rainbow Boys, and the Lambda Award-winning novel So Hard to Say). As summer draws to a close, 13-year-old Jorge wants nothing more than to spend his days hanging out with his fellow comic book-obsessed friends. But then his parents announce they’re divorcing for a reason Jorge and his twin brother never saw coming—their father comes out as transgender. Publication is set for spring 2021. Author agent: Miriam Altshuler at DeFiore and Company.

February 20

Sylvie Frank at S&S/Wiseman has acquired, on exclusive submission, New York Times Best Illustrated Award winner John Parra‘s untitled picture book debut as author-illustrator. Inspired by Parra’s childhood, it follows a boy as he accompanies his father, a landscape contractor, through his day on the job. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022. Author agent: Adriana Dominguez and Stefanie Von Borstel at Full Circle Literary.

February 25

Kiara Valdez at First Second has acquired, in a preempt, Magnolia Porter Siddell and Maddi Gonzalez‘s Tiffany’s Griffon, a middle-grade graphic novel about a girl whose favorite fantasy book series comes to life, leading her to lie about her identity in order to steal the destiny of the Chosen One from a popular girl in her grade. Publication is slated for 2022. Illustrator agent: Susan Graham at Einstein Literary Management.

February 27

Sarah Rockett at Sleeping Bear Press has acquired world rights to Alexandra Alessandri‘s bilingual picture book Isabel and Her Colores Go to School, illustrated by Courtney Dawson. Isabel doesn’t speak much English, preferring the colors and comfort of Spanish, yet she still finds creative ways to communicate when words won’t work. Publication is set for fall 2021. Author agent: Deborah Warren at East West Literary.

March 3

Taylor Norman at Chronicle has bought Pura Belpré Honor author Rebecca Balcárcel‘s next middle grade novel, Luz. Injured soccer star Luz is having a hard enough time reframing her identity as a computer programmer, but when her father reveals a secret from his native Guatemala, she learns what it means to truly start over—by first opening her heart. Publication is set for spring 2022. Author agent: Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates.

March 5

Ben Rosenthal at HarperCollins/Tegen has acquired Yehudi Mercado‘s Chunky and an untitled sequel. The middle grade graphic memoir is about the author’s lifelong struggle with his weight and trying to meet the expectations of his sporty dad while growing up in a lower middle class Mexican-Jewish family in Houston in the 1980s. Will Hudi’s imaginary mascot, Chunky, be able to cheer him in the right direction of pursuing theater? (Hint: Yes, he will.) Publication is slated for summer 2021. Author agent: Charlie Olsen at InkWell Management.

Melissa Manlove at Chronicle has bought world rights to Elizabeth Brown‘s The World Entire, a picture book biography of Portuguese diplomat Aristides de Sousa Mendes, who defied his government during World War II and helped save thousands of Jewish refugees, at great personal cost. Society of Illustrators Original Art gold medalist Melissa Castrillón will illustrate. Publication is planned for fall 2022. Illustrator agent: Helen Boyle at Pickled Ink.

Nancy Inteli at HarperCollins has bought world rights to Paletero Man by Lucky Diaz, leader of the two-time Latin Grammy-winning children’s band, The Lucky Band. Inspired by the song of the same name, the debut picture book is an immigrant anthem in which all corners of the city come together over ice cream. Micah Player (Friday Night Wrestlefest and Vote for Our Future) will illustrate. Publication is planned for summer 2021. Author agent: Sara Camilli at the Sara Camilli Agency.

March 10

Karen Greenberg at Knopf has bought world rights to How to Hear the Universe, a picture book biography of Gabriela Gonzalez, written by Patricia Valdez, illustrated by Sara Palacios. The book follows Gabriela’s journey to discover the existence of gravitational waves in space, which Albert Einstein first theorized a century ago. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022. Author agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media. Illustrator agent: Minju Chang at Bookstop Literary.

March 12

Caitlyn Dlouhy has bought, for her eponymous imprint at Atheneum, world rights to Jazz for Lunch by Jarrett Dapier, illustrated by Eugenia Mello. The picture book is about the joys of food and jazz, and how the world is just a little bit better when you’ve embraced both. Publication is slated for fall 2021; Elena Giovinazzo at Pippin Properties represented the author and the illustrator in the deal.

Michelle Frey at Knopf has acquired world rights to Mystery of the Monarchs, written by Golden Kite Award Winner for nonfiction Barb Rosenstock and illustrated by Erika Meza. The story centers on entomologist Fred Urquhart, who was obsessed with bugs since childhood and who, along with his wife Norah plus a team of citizen scientists, uncovered one of nature’s biggest secrets when they discovered where monarch butterflies migrate each fall. Publication is set for summer 2022. Illustrator agent: Claire Cartey at Holroyde Cartey Limited.

Karen Greenberg at Knopf has bought, at auction, world rights to Tia Fortuna’s New Home, written by Pura Belpré Award-winning author Ruth Behar and illustrated by Devon Holzwarth. The picture book follows a Sephardic Jewish girl and her great-aunt, who is leaving her beloved Miami home to begin a new chapter of her life. Publication is scheduled for spring 2022. Author agent:  Alyssa Eisner Henkin at Trident Media.

March 17

Lee Wade at Random House Studio has acquired world rights to My Brother Is Away by Caroline Starr Rose, writing as Sara Greenwood, and illustrated by Luisa Uribe. In this picture book inspired by the author’s childhood, a girl navigates her various, and sometimes complicated, feelings toward her incarcerated brother. Publication is slated for fall 2022. Illustrator agent: James Burns at the Bright Agency.

March 19

None.

March 24

Andrew DeYoung of Beaming Books has acquired world rights to Rochelle Melander‘s Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing. This middle-grade anthology of biographies features authors and poets, social activists and politicians, explorers and journalists, and more. It focuses on inspiring kids through these stories; writing tips and prompts encourage them to enact change in their own lives and communities. Melina Ontiveros will illustrate; publication is set for spring 2021. Illustrator agent: Kate Kendrick at Astound.

Alexandra Cooper at HarperCollins has acquired world rights to Not So Small by Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Paola Escobar. This picture book takes cues from nature to demonstrate how even those who feel too small to get noticed can create something world-changing by coming together. Publication is scheduled for summer 2022. Illustrator agent: Amy Kitcherside at Pickled Ink.

March 26

None.

March 31

Liza Kaplan at Philomel has bought world rights to novelist Jenny Torres Sanchez‘s debut picture book, With Lots of Love. The book follows a girl named Rocio as she discovers the importance of finding pieces of home wherever she is. André Ceolin will illustrate. Simultaneous English and Spanish publication is slated for spring 2022. Author agent: Kerry Sparks at Levine Greenberg Rostan. Illustrator agent: Mela Bolinao at MB Artists.

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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

Cover Reveal for Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

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We are delighted to host the cover reveal for Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s first horror novel, Small Town Monsters, which will be published by Underlined Paperbacks/Penguin Random House on September 7, 2021!

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First, here’s a description of the book:

Something’s wrong in Roaring Creek. . . .

All Vera Martinez wants is to get out. Out of Roaring Creek and away from her embarrassing demonologist parents. Not to mention the terrifying occult things lurking in their basement.

Maxwell Oliver just wants to fit in. But it’s hard to enjoy parties with his friends when his mom is morphing into someone he doesn’t recognize. Someone scary. And slowly he begins to suspect that the harmless self-help group she joined might be something more . . . sinister.

Soon Vera and Max are up against dark forces that extend far past their small coastal town—and into the very heart of evil.

The Conjuring meets The Vow in this terrifying paperback original that tells the unputdownable story of a girl, a dark angel, and the cult hellbent on taking over her small, coastal town.

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Now, here is some information about the author:

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Diana Rodriguez Wallach has never encountered a demon, or at least, she hopes she hasn’t. But she does believe in them. Before dipping into spooky stories, with Small Town Monsters, Diana published several YA novels, including the Anastasia Phoenix Series (Entangled Publishing), a trilogy of female-centered spy thrillers. The first book in the series, Proof of Lies, has been optioned for film and was chosen as a finalist for the 2018 International Thriller Awards. Diana is also the author of the Amor and Summer Secrets series (Kensington Books), a trilogy of contemporary Latinx novels. The first book in the series placed second at the 2009 International Latino Book Awards for Best Young Adult Novel. She is also a Creative Writing Instructor for Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. Diana holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in the Philadelphia area with her husband and two children. This is her first horror novel. You can find out more about Diana by checking out her website: www.dianarodriguezwallach.com and by following her on social media: https://linktr.ee/admin

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And, here’s what the author and designer had to say about the process of creating the cover:

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Diana: It has been so exciting for me to be a part of the cover-design process! It’s a luxury I know not all authors get, and one I’ve never had with my previous books. During our first conversations, my editor, Ali Romig, and I discussed creating a cover vibe reminiscent of “old school horror movie posters.” It was fun researching and passing around old film-poster images. We also discussed color concepts; given the book is dual point-of-view with male and female teenage protagonists, I didn’t want anything that felt too girl-centric. I also preferred not having a face on the cover; this way both protagonists would be equally represented and the cover would focus more on an atmospheric vibe. As soon as Ali told me we would be working with artist Nicholas Moegly, my expectations soared. His work is so hauntingly beautiful with lighting, so exquisite it looks like a photograph. When I got to see the final cover, I was blown away! I also love how Underlined’s art department matched the golden lettering with the street lighting. Yellow is an important color in the book, as the creepy cult identifies themselves with canary yellow hats. So this cover really hits on so many levels.

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Casey Moses, Designer at Penguin Random House: For the cover of Small Town Monsters, we wanted to capture the essence of the novel by showing the small town setting and incorporating different elements to represent the darkness spreading and taking over. Nicholas Moegly was our first choice illustrator since he specializes in eerily beautiful and dark settings. He uses light and shadow in such a unique way that really adds drama and brings this cover to life. We wanted the reader to feel a sense of danger from the subtle demon idle in the sky to the vague silhouettes of cult members encroaching down this quiet street.

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Finally, here is the cover of Small Town Monsters:

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Ta-da!

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Cover art copyright © 2021 by Nicholas Moegly
Cover design by Casey Moses

Creepy, right?!

Small Town Monsters is available now for preorder: http://bit.ly/3oSud3j

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February Latinx Book Releases!

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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 February book babies!

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THE GREATEST SUPERPOWER by Alex Sanchez, illustrated by Brann Garvey (Capstone, February 1, 2021). Middle Grade. It’s the summer before high school, and thirteen-year-old Jorge Fuerte wants nothing more than to spend his days hanging out with his fellow comic-book-obsessed friends. But then everything changes. His parents announce they’re divorcing for a reason Jorge and his twin brother, Cesar, never saw coming–their larger-than-life dad comes out as transgender. Jorge struggles to understand the father he’s always admired, but Cesar refuses to have anything to do with him. As Jorge tries to find a way to stay true to the father he loves, a new girl moves into the neighborhood: cool, confident, quirky Zoey. She tames Jorge’s unruly terrier and enlists the terrier and Jorge in a dance routine for the back-to-school talent show. As the date of the show draws near, Jorge must face his fears and choose between being loyal to his brother or truthful about his family’s secret. Although he’s no superhero, Jorge already has the world’s greatest superpower–if he decides to use it.

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A GIRL’S BILL OF RIGHTS by Amy B, Mucha, illustrated by Addy Rivera Sonda (Beaming Books, February 2, 2021). Picture Book. In a world where little girls must learn to stand tall, A Girl’s Bill of Rights boldly declares the rights of every woman and girl: power, confidence, freedom, and consent. A diverse cast of characters stand up for themselves and proudly celebrate the joy and power of being a girl.

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COUGAR CROSSING: How Hollywood’s Celebrity Cougar Helped Build a Bridge for City Wildlife by Meeg Pincus, illustrated by Alexander Vidal (Beach Lane Books, February 2, 2021). Picture Book. P-22, the famed “Hollywood Cougar,” was born in a national park near Los Angeles, California. When it was time for him to leave home and stake a claim to his own territory, he embarked on a perilous journey—somehow crossing sixteen lanes of the world’s worst traffic—to make his home in LA’s Griffith Park, overlooking the famed Hollywood sign. But Griffith Park is a tiny territory for a mountain lion, and P-22’s life has been filled with struggles.

Residents of Los Angeles have embraced this brave cougar as their own and, along with the scientists monitoring P-22, raised money to build a wildlife bridge across Highway 101 to help cougars and other wildlife safely expand their territories and build new homes—ensuring their survival for years to come.

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CROCODILE RESCUE: Wild Survival #1 by Melissa Cristina Márquez (Scholastic, February 2, 2021). Middle Grade. Twelve-year-old Adrianna Villalobos and her older brother Feye travel the globe with their parents, the hosts of a suspenseful nature show called “Wild Survival!” The show features daring animal rescues and the work the family does at their animal sanctuary. They’ve recently gotten an offer to take the show from YouTube to a TV network, and Adrianna is thrilled. So far, she’s always been behind the scenes, but now she gets to join the rest of her family onscreen. She can’t wait to bring her passion for animals to a wide audience.

Their first stop is the lush mangrove forests of Cuba, where they’re going to help rescue an injured crocodile. But things get off to a rocky start when Feye is injured in an accident partially caused by Adrianna. The status of the show is in jeopardy, and Adrianna’s parents want her back behind the scenes, or maybe even back at home.

Adrianna is determined to prove herself, and save the show-whatever it takes. Even if that means confronting the legendary Mega Croc of Cuba that’s rumored to inhabit the murky waters around their base camp.

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FAT CHANCE, CHARLIE VEGA by Crystal Maldonado (Holiday House, February 2, 2021). Young Adult. Charlie Vega is a lot of things. Smart. Funny. Artistic. Ambitious. Fat.

People sometimes have a problem with that last one. Especially her mom. Charlie wants a good relationship with her body, but it’s hard, and her mom leaving a billion weight loss shakes on her dresser doesn’t help. The world and everyone in it have ideas about what she should look like: thinner, lighter, slimmer-faced, straighter-haired. Be smaller. Be whiter. Be quieter.

But there’s one person who’s always in Charlie’s corner: her best friend Amelia. Slim. Popular. Athletic. Totally dope. So when Charlie starts a tentative relationship with cute classmate Brian, the first worthwhile guy to notice her, everything is perfect until she learns one thing–he asked Amelia out first. So is she his second choice or what? Does he even really see her? Because it’s time people did.

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FLOOD CITY by Daniel José Older (Scholastic, February 2, 2021). Middle Grade. Welcome to Flood City, the last inhabitable place left above the waters that cover Earth. It’s also the last battleground between the Chemical Barons, who once ruled the planet and now circle overhead in spaceships, desperate to return, and the Star Guard, who have controlled the city for decades.

Born and raised in Flood City, Max doesn’t care about being part of either group. All he wants is to play his music with the city band, keep his sister from joining the Star Guard, and be noticed by his crush, the awesome drummer Djinna.

Meanwhile, Ato, a young Chemical Baron, has joined his crew for what was supposed to be a routine surveillance mission, only things go from bad to worse between unexplained iguanagull attacks and the discovery of deadly schemes. Ato’s just trying to stay safe, keep his twin brother alive, and not hurt anyone. So when his commander prepares to wipe out Flood City completely, Ato must decide how far he’ll go.

As Max’s and Ato’s paths collide, it changes everything. Because they might be able to stop a coming war. But can two enemies work together to save Earth?

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MUTED by Tami Charles (Scholastic Press, February 2, 2021). Young Adult. For seventeen-year-old Denver, music is everything. Writing, performing, and her ultimate goal: escaping her very small, very white hometown.

So Denver is more than ready on the day she and her best friends Dali and Shak sing their way into the orbit of the biggest R&B star in the world, Sean “Mercury” Ellis. Merc gives them everything: parties, perks, wild nights — plus hours and hours in the recording studio. Even the painful sacrifices and the lies the girls have to tell are all worth it.

Until they’re not.

Denver begins to realize that she’s trapped in Merc’s world, struggling to hold on to her own voice. As the dream turns into a nightmare, she must make a choice: lose her big break, or get broken.

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THE YEAR I FLEW AWAY by Marie Arnold (Versify, February 2, 2021). Middle Grade. It’s 1985 and ten-year-old Gabrielle is excited to be moving from Haiti to America. Unfortunately, her parents won’t be able to join her yet and she’ll be living in a place called Brooklyn, New York, with relatives she has never met. She promises her parents that she will behave, but life proves to be difficult in the United States, from learning the language to always feeling like she doesn’t fit in to being bullied. So when a witch offers her a chance to speak English perfectly and be “American,” she makes the deal. But soon she realizes how much she has given up by trying to fit in and, along with her two new friends (one of them a talking rat), takes on the witch in an epic battle to try to reverse the spell. 

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THE HATMAKERS by Tamzin Merchantillustrated by Paola Escobar (Norton Young Readers, February 2, 2021). Middle Grade. When Cordelia Hatmaker’s beloved father fails to return from an ingredient-hunting expedition, Cordelia is the only member of the family who knows in her heart that he can’t be gone for good. Her grief-stricken aunt and uncle forge ahead to continue the work of their guild and to fulfill a crucial order from the King for a magical Peace Hat. But the enchantments woven into the carefully crafted goods of the Hatmaker, Bootmaker, Cloakmaker, Watchmaker, and Glovemaker guilds begin causing sudden inducements of rage and chaos. As war looms and the Peace objects backfire, Cordelia must find out who is using the Makers’ creations for dark purposes and uncover the truth about her father’s disappearance.

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WHERE WONDER GROWS by Xelena Gonzálezillustrated by Adriana M. Garcia (Cinco Puntos Press, February 16, 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.

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LATINITAS: Celebrating 40 Big Dreamers by written and illustrated by Juliet Menéndez (Henry Holt and Co. BYR, February 23, 2021). Picture Book. Discover how 40 influential Latinas became the women we celebrate today! In this collection of short biographies from all over Latin America and across the United States, Juliet Menéndez explores the first small steps that set the Latinitas off on their journeys. Spanish edition coming August 31, 2021.

From Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to singer Selena Quintanilla to NASA’s first virtual reality engineer, Evelyn Miralles, this is a book for aspiring artists, scientists, activists, and more. These women followed their dreams—and just might encourage you to follow yours!

The book features Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Juana Azurduy de Padilla, Policarpa Salavarrieta, Rosa Peña de González, Teresa Carreño, Zelia Nuttall, Antonia Navarro, Matilde Hidalgo, Gabriela Mistral, Juana de Ibarbourou, Pura Belpré, Gumercinda Páez, Frida Kahlo, Julia de Burgos, Chavela Vargas, Alicia Alonso, Victoria Santa Cruz, Claribel Alegría, Celia Cruz, Dolores Huerta, Rita Moreno, Maria Auxiliadora da Silva, Mercedes Sosa, Isabel Allende, Susana Torre, Julia Alvarez, Sandra Cisneros, Sonia Sotomayor, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Mercedes Doretti, Sonia Pierre, Justa Canaviri, Evelyn Miralles, Selena Quintanilla, Berta Cáceres, Serena Auñón, Wanda Díaz-Merced, Marta Vieira da Silva, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Laurie Hernandez.

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THE SEA-RINGED WORLD: Sacred Stories of the Americas by Maria Garcia Esperonillustrated by Amanda Mijangostranslated by David Bowles (Levine Querido, February 23, 2021). Middle Grade. Fifteen thousand years before Europeans stepped foot in the Americas, people had already spread from tip to tip and coast to coast. Like all humans, these Native Americans sought to understand their place in the universe, the nature of their relationship with the divine, and the origin of the world into which their ancestors had emerged. The answers lay in their sacred stories.

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¡Felicidades! to the 2021 ALA Youth Media Award Winners and Honor Books

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Congratulations | Congratulations images, Congratulations quotes,  Congratulations quotes achievement

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Congratulations to the authors and illustrators who were honored at the American Library Association’s Midwinter conference! Here are the honored tiles by Latinx creators. Click on each book for more information from either Bookshop or Indiebound.

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The Pura Belpré Awards honor Latinx writers and illustrators whose children’s books best portray, affirm and celebrate the Latino cultural experience.

The Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winner:

Honor:

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 The Pura Belpré Children’s Author Award Winner:

Honor Books:

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The Pura Belpré Young Adult Author Award Winner:

Honor Books:

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Randolph Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor:

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Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor and a Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor:

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Odyssey Honor Award:

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Finalist for the William C. Morris Award:

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The Gold Medalist in the Picture Book category for the Sydney Taylor Book Award:

Spotlight on Middle Grade Authors: Donna Barba Higuera

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By Cindy L. Rodriguez

This is an occasional series about middle grade Latinx authors. We decided to shine a spotlight on middle grade writers and their novels because, often, they are “stuck in the middle”–sandwiched between and overlooked for picture books and young adult novels. The middle grades are a crucial time in child development socially, emotionally, and academically. The books that speak to these young readers tend to have lots of heart and great voices that capture all that is awkward and brilliant about that time.

Today, we highlight Donna Barba Higuera.

Donna grew up in central California surrounded by agricultural and oil fields. As a child, rather than dealing with the regular dust devils, she preferred spending recess squirreled away in the janitor’s closet with a good book. Her favorite hobbies were calling dial-a-story over and over again, and sneaking into a restricted cemetery to weave her own spooky tales using the crumbling headstones as inspiration.

Donna’s Middle Grade and Picture Books are about kids who find themselves in odd or scary situations.​ From language to cultural differences in being biracial life can become…complicated. So like Donna,  characters tackle more than just the bizarre things that happen to them in their lives.

Donna likes to write about all things funny, but also sad, and creepy, and magical. If you like those things, she hopes you will read her books!

Donna lives in Washington State with her family, three dogs and two frogs.

Her middle grade novel, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance released September 8, 2020.

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Here is the publisher’s description:

My gym shorts burrow into my butt crack like a frightened groundhog.

Don’t you want to read a book that starts like that??

Lupe Wong is going to be the first female pitcher in the Major Leagues.

She’s also championed causes her whole young life. Some worthy…like expanding the options for race on school tests beyond just a few bubbles. And some not so much…like complaining to the BBC about the length between Doctor Who seasons.

Lupe needs an A in all her classes in order to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez, who”s Chinacan/Mexinese just like her. So when the horror that is square dancing rears its head in gym? Obviously she”s not gonna let that slide.

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Donna Barba Higuera

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Q. Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

Teachers. That’s the short answer.

Mrs. Griffin, Mrs. Presho, Mrs. Arnoldus, My Uncle Ted. Mr. Presho. Each one of them at specific times told me I should write down the stories in my head.

I think of myself as a storyteller more so than a writer. My imagination has been on full speed, creating alternate plotlines for as long as I can remember. From the books I’m reading, to those “I wish I would’ve done this instead” moments, to my Aunt’s Readers Digest Mysteries of the Unexplained book that I read to tatter, my mind tries to make those things more magical, or brave or mysterious.

But still, bottom line, teachers encouraged me to channel those bizarre stories churning in my mind and put them on paper. Imagining stories for me is easy. Writing them down is hard work. Thank goodness for the teachers who encouraged me to work.

Q. Why do you choose to write middle grade novels?

I’ve written adult and YA novels as well, but I always get pulled back into Middle Grade. I’ve tried to put my finger on why this happens. I think it’s because that was the age in which I felt most awkward and vulnerable and experienced the most internal struggle in my own life. (But also, the most external conflict.) It’s the age where I still need to work through my thoughts and issues. If this comes across onto the page, there’s more emotional conflict, and that is where I believe better stories come from.

I think many writers don’t even realize until they are done writing a book that they’ve written something that is helping them digest something from their past.

Q. What are some of your favorite middle grade novels?

For me, the best MG has a mix of humor and emotional growth.

Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri

Just released. Unlike any format in MG I’ve ever read, but so beautifully written and funny and sad. This book is going to be a classic!

I Am Fartacus- Electric Boogerloo (2nd in series) by Mark Maciejewski

Hilarious! Probably the only book with Fart and Booger in the title that received a Kirkus star. Perfect balance of humor and friendship and MG struggles.

Rogue by Lynn Miller Lachmann

Again, a perfect mix of humor and strife. Also, one of the best books showing “voice” of a character. And we need more books with neuro-diverse characters.

The Moon Within by Aida Salazar

This book does have some funny moments of awkwardness that are so true to life regarding menstruation. Those funny moments help will help young readers digest these topics that have historically been taboo. This novel has had to navigate some speed bumps with the more conservative crowd, but it will overcome that and stand the test of time to be a classic.

Q. If you could give your middle-grade self some advice, what would it be?

LOL. Remember how I mentioned most writers realizing after they wrote a book, that it helped them digest something about themselves. It’s the message I discovered after writing Lupe Wong Won’t Dance that my kid-self needed to hear.

It is:  Always be your true self. If you are, the right people will enter and remain in your life.

Q. Please finish this sentence: Middle grade novels are important because…

If writers put our own vulnerabilities and hurdles on the page, it allows kids who are going through the same timeless struggles, feel like they are not so alone.

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photo by Saryna A. Jones

Cindy L. Rodriguez was a newspaper reporter for The Hartford Courant and researcher at The Boston Globe before becoming a public school teacher. She is now a reading specialist at a Connecticut middle school. Cindy is a U.S.-born Latina of Puerto Rican and Brazilian descent. She has degrees from UConn and CCSU. Her debut contemporary YA novel is When Reason Breaks (Bloomsbury 2015). She also has an essay in Life Inside My Mind (Simon Pulse 2018) and wrote the text for Volleyball Ace, a Jake Maddox book (Capstone 2020). She can be found on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.