Kids & YA Newsletter: October 2019

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In a starred review, Publishers Weekly declared that in Emily Snape’s Old MacDonald Had a Baby, “the vision of an inclusive, affectionate caretaking village shines.” If only that vision applied to the boat that Cow, Pig, and Sheep set off in for a picnic! Rather than waiting for Crow, the three friends row, row, row away gently down the stream. But oh, oh, oh, there’s a waterfall ahead! Fortunately, Crow is flying alongside, so they throw, throw, throw a rope, and Crow tow, tow, tows them to safety. Only now the boat has sprung a leak! Will the friends ever make it to safety for their picnic? And if they do, will they include Crow? A zany take on the classic nursery rhyme and song, ROW, ROW, ROW THE BOAT features an irresistible cast of animal characters brought to life by Emily Snape’s lively illustrations. Young readers will love singing the words to this new story set to an old favorite tune! (Please note, John Rudolph is the agent on this project)


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Leonid Gore’s illustrations have graced more than 30 picture books, five of which he also wrote, and critics have praised his work as "visually stunning" and "brilliant.” His books have been honored as IRA Children's Choice books and Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year, have received starred reviews from School Library JournalKirkus and Boston Globe/Horn Book, and have been recognized as part of 100 Great Children’s Books by the New York Public Library. Now, with LUNA AT NIGHT, he presents what might be his most charming story yet! All is quite around the house, but Luna the kitten isn’t sleepy at all. Swish...Whoosh...Slosh... she hears in the kitchen—but it’s only the dishwasher. She sees some spindly hands reaching in the window… just a tree branch. But then she sees another animal running around the house. Who could it be? Featuring a very short, read-aloud text, parents will love sharing LUNA AT NIGHT with their youngest readers, as each page turn reveals another surprise before easing them to sleep. (Please note, John Rudolph is the agent on this project)

 Six-year old Joel loves animals, Google, potato chips, and his older sister Frankie, who makes up incredible fairytales to tell him every night. He loves his Mum too, but she has rules that are sometimes hard to follow, like not keeping any secrets, always keeping the heavy curtains in the house closed, and never, ever going outside the Keep Out Fence which keeps them safe from all the terrible things in the world. As a 13-year old, Frankie is more rebellious than Joel when it comes to obeying Mum, and when an infraction on her part results in a particularly horrific consequence, she tries to persuade Joel that they have to run away and get help. It takes some convincing on Frankie’s part, but when Mum, in one of her rages, ends up destroying something Joel loves deeply, he finds a way to escape, embarking on a journey of a lifetime that will change him profoundly. And when, out in the real world, Joel and Frankie uncover Mum’s darkest secret of all, it is Joel who will ultimately have to come to terms with his mother’s actions and what it will mean for his new life. Inspired in part by the Turpin case, which made headlines in 2016, and by the author’s own childhood experiences of having been raised in a religious cult, EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL by acclaimed children’s author Cecilia Galante examines how relationships are forged in a traumatic environment, what it means to become part of the world again, and how stories, more than anything else, help us heal in ways we never thought possible. (Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.)

 Owen Jacobs usually lives a happy, bustling life in the city, where he shares his days with two hard-working parents, a flock of stuffed animals, and his own overactive imagination. But this summer between, Owen’s whole world will change. When his parents ship off for a research trip abroad, Owen is sent to stay with his grandmother in a small cabin in the woods. One rainy afternoon, Owen sets out solo to explore the forested world around Gram’s home, where he discovers a tiny door that leads to a magical realm, one filled with so many mythical creatures—gnomes, trolls, unicorns, goblins, fairies, dragons, leprechauns—and it seems Owen is only human granted access to this enchanted land. But there is trouble simmering beneath the gilded surface of his newfound woodland paradise. A war is brewing between the various groups of creatures who share this world, and Owen must help restore peace before the entire forest—including the land his Gram’s cottage rests upon—is destroyed forever. The first in the proposed Gnome Hollow series, THROUGH THE TINY DOOR by Erin Soderberg Downing combines the magic, fantasy, and accessibility of Spiderwick Chronicles with the action, heart, and humor of Unicorn Rescue Society; all in a woundrous woodland setting that invites readers to escape into an all-new magical adventure. A proposal for the series and chapter samples are available. (Please note, Michael Bourret is the agent on this project.)

 Thirteen-year-old Dalia has big plans for the summer before eighth grade: first, convince her single dad to finally take her to an amusement park for the first time, and second, figure out how to make new friends after her best (and only) friend grew boobs, got popular, and ditched her. It seems like Dalia might check one item off her list when she meets new-to-town Rani at swim practice. But both of Dalia’s summer plans are put on hold when her dad tells her the worst news of all time: he’s engaged. And to make matters worse, his fiancée has an eighteen-year-old daughter, Alexa, who wants nothing to do with her future stepsister. With Alexa heading back to college soon, the grown-ups want the soon-to-be stepsiblings to spend time bonding—which means Alexa has to cancel the amusement park road trip she’s been planning for months. That is, until Dalia has an idea: if she goes on Alexa’s trip—and brings Rani along— maybe she can make both of her summer plans actually happen and get on Alexa’s good side. The trip gets off to a great start, with roller coasters to go on, funnel cakes to eat, and Lazy Rivers to laze down. But things get complicated when Dalia discovers that Alexa’s hiding a big secret: Alexa’s girlfriend is joining the trip. Now, Dalia has to keep Alexa’s secret while also realizing one of her own: she might have more-than-friend feelings for her maybe-friend Rani. ALMOST FLYING is a deliriously entertaining road trip novel about found family, first queer crushes, and the singular delight of roller coasters. Jake Maia Arlow’s debut is a glorious summer romp for fans of Better Nate than Ever and Drum Roll, Please. (Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.)

 Twelve-year-old Elaine Patterson knows her way around Alphabet City, New York. She’s in charge of the rent, the meals and her little brother, Alex—because their mother is dead, and their father, Louis, is a drunk. Every day is pizza day. It’s got all four food groups in it, especially if you include the toppings. So, what’s not to like? But Louis rarely shows up on time to eat it, and the pizza usually goes cold. That’s the thing about drunks: You’re either waiting for them or running from them. And when Louis lashes out at Alex one too many times, Elaine decides to run. She and Alex take a bus to Pennsylvania to find their long-lost aunt and uncle. The suburb is a universe away from Avenue C, but the kids soon realize that they’ve simply exchanged one substance addiction for another. Aunt Sally and Uncle Dick’s drug-fueled disco parties stretch into the night. Elaine comes up with creative ways to cope and care for Alex like she always does, but eventually they have no choice but to run again and hope that their favorite food can help save the day. Set in the gritty haze of the 1970s, THE PIZZA RUN by Emmy Award-winning writer for Rugrats and current Senior Writer at Age of Learning (, Adventure Academy) Barbara Schwartz, is about resilience, the yearning for family—and how the problems of 40 years ago are the same ones that we’re still wrestling with today. (Please note, Stacey Glick is the agent on this project.)

 With her parents' marriage colder than the Cold War, 12-year-old Nelle’s daddy moves out of the farmhouse and into the fallout shelter out back. Nelle’s favorite brother takes off too, to war in Vietnam, and suddenly her family is left in more pieces than the old John Deere tractor. Then she meets Mr. Snodgrass when volunteering at the retirement home in town, and he claims he is an extraterrestrial who crash-landed on Earth years ago. It seems Nelle (and only Nelle) can help him get back to his home planet. It just means convincing NASA to take something of Mr. Snodgrass' with them when they attempt to land on the moon. Nelle needs to turn the historic landing into something else—a rescue mission for the sister Mr. Snodgrass left on the moon, which was his last stop before ending up on Earth. Although initially skeptical, Nelle starts up a one-sided correspondence with the astronauts at Cape Canaveral and in the process learns what it means to be a friend and to believe. With a sci-fi bent much like Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me and hints of The Little PrinceTHIS FLAT FUNNY PLANET by Jessie Oliveros, award-winning author of The Remember Balloons, is a coming-of-age middle grade story about a girl who learns that of all places in the universe, home is the best place to be. (Please note, Mike Hoogland is the agent on this project.)

 17-year-old Josslyn Drake has never paid much attention to magic. All she knows is that it’s priceless, rare, and one hundred percent illegal. But Joss’s posh life as the ward of the Prime Minister of Regara, the most affluent planet in the Scalian Empire, takes a hard left after she’s infected by a piece of allegedly lethal ancient magic, which not only gives her super strength, but also the ability to walk through another person’s memories. This puts an immediate target on her back by those who want to possess this magic and those who want to destroy it. Joss’s path collides with dangerous galactic criminal Jericho Nox, who is laser-focused on possessing Joss’s magic so he can sell it on the black market to the highest bidder. Desperate to cure herself of this “magical disease,” Joss reluctantly teams up with the enigmatic Jericho on a quest that will take them from secret fight clubs, to walled prisons containing poisonous mechanical spiders and heart-eating monsters, to gladiatorial matches in city-sized floating palaces. With every day that passes, and every memory Joss sees, she reveals another heart-stopping piece of deadly and shadowy political intrigue that threatens to destroy the universe itself. In an empire of lies, truth is the greatest weapon. BLACKHEART is an exhilarating YA SF/Fantasy by Michelle Rowen (aka Morgan Rhodes, author of the New York Times bestselling Falling Kingdoms series). (Please note, Jim McCarthy is the agent on this project.)