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It’s pretty much a publishing staple that once a picture book text is sold to an editor, that is when the next-step magic happens: connecting the text with a wonderful illustrator. But sometimes . . . that magic happens early! And this is exactly the way things went down with Nancy Tupper Ling’s warm and wonderful PB text, HEARTS IN MY POCKET. When I read this poetic story, it made me think immediately of Shirley Ng-Benitez’s smart, gorgeous collage-style art. Could there be a better pairing? I didn’t think so.

Great was my delight that when we sent this joint submission package out into the world, there was all the enthusiasm in response that I had hoped. Here is the deal listing for what came next:

Esther Cajahuaringa at Union Square Kids has acquired, at auction, Nancy Tupper Ling’s picture book, HEARTS IN MY POCKET, about a young girl who navigates her family’s divorce, with illustrations by Shirley Ng-Benitez. Publication is scheduled for Fall 2024; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

I could not be happier that this book will be out in the world. Huge congrats to Nancy and Shirley!

-- Joan