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October 2011

There’s something extra special about announcing an author’s debut sale; I always want to pull out the confetti and party hats, and toss up some streamers. Today I am doing all of that and more for our very own Laurie Boyle Crompton, whose debut YA novel has just sold—in a two-book deal, no less!—to Aubrey Poole at Sourcebooks Fire.
 
Here’s the Publishers Lunch deal announcement:
 


Laurie Boyle Crompton’s debut FANGIRL, about a comic-obsessed girl who gets into an online war after her first major crush dumps her supervillain-style, to Aubrey Poole at Sourcebooks Fire, in a two-book deal, by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency (World English).
 


FANGIRL is slated for publication in Fall 2012, and I for one can’t wait to see this breezy, voice-driven project on the shelves. Readers are going to love it! (And I’ve had a sneak peek at the project she’s putting together for the second contracted book… oh, boy! My lips are sealed, but let me just say now that it will knock your socks off.)
 
Laurie is someone we are definitely going to be hearing great things from going forward. Go, Laurie!

—Joan 

Tara Lazar’s debut picture book, THE MONSTORE (featuring a store you totally wish you knew how to get to, which sells all kinds of monsters just right for doing tricky jobs around the house), is not out from Aladdin until summer 2013—though we’ve been treated to a tantalizing sneak peek at illustrator James Burks’s early monster sketches. (Oooh!)

And now there is still more excitement in store for the very busy Tara: her second picture book has just sold, again to Alyson Heller at Aladdin/Simon & Schuster, and will be published in summer 2014. This latest zany offering is entitled I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK, and recounts the misadventures of an alien who crash-lands in the wrong library book—ending up in a bear-infested forest when all he wants is to return to his home planet. What happens next? Tune in summer 2014 to find out!
 
Congratulations, Tara!

—Joan

Stars

Stars
Mary Lyn Ray

A lovely review for Mary Lyn Ray's incredible picture book: (this makes three stars, if anyone's keeping track!)

Stars. Who hasn’t looked up in the sky and contemplated their magical presence? The winning
combination of Ray and Frazee crystallize these ideas into a near-perfect picture book that encourages
children’s minds to wander and wonder. On tall, oversize pages, mostly filled with a heavenly blue sky,
diminutive kids point and watch as first one star appears, and then another, and another. The text asks,
“What if you could have a star? They shine like little silver eggs you could gather in a basket.”
Unfortunately, you can’t keep one, but you can draw a star on shiny paper and put it in your pocket. You
could stick one on your shirt and be a sheriff or put one on a wand to make wishes come true. And as the
text reveals, there are so many more things to do with stars. The airy illustrations move across the pages
like clouds in the sky, showing star shapes everywhere, even in strawberry plants, pumpkin vines, and
snowflakes. In a final message, the book asks children to remember that stars are around whether you see
them or not: “every night. every where.” Lovely.

Congratulations, Mary Lyn!

—Erin

Trent Reedy has been keeping himself very busy lately: recently returned from a ten-day UK book tour to promote the British version of WORDS IN THE DUST, he has been working very hard to put the finishing touches on his second book, the middle-grade adventure STEALING AIR, about three unlikely friends in small-town Iowa who decide to build a real-life flying machine. STEALING AIR will be out from Arthur A. Levine Books in fall 2012.
 
With all of that going on, you might be surprised to know that this isn’t all Trent Reedy is up to: Rather, he has turned his writing hand to something a little bit different from his first two middle-grade novels. Trent’s third book, which was bought by Cheryl Klein at Arthur A. Levine Books, is a contemporary YA novel entitled IF YOU’RE READING THIS. It follows the story of a teen boy whose father has died years before in Afghanistan, who comes upon a trove of correspondence which his father left to be read in the event of his death.
 
Congratulations to the ever-prolific Trent!

—Joan

I’m very excited to share some great news for our brand-newest member, Pat Zietlow Miller: EMLA newbie and, as of today, future Schwartz & Wade author. Pat’s debut picture book, SOPHIE’S SQUASH, brings new meaning to the word adorable. To illustrate, I need only share the first few sentences of her delightful story:

One bright summer day, Sophie chose a squash at the farmers market.
Her parents planned to serve it for supper, but Sophie had other ideas.
It was just the right size to rock in her arms.
Just the right size to love.


Sophie’s adventures are many and varied, and I’m sorry to say that you’ll have to wait a few years to read about them yourself—but trust me, it will be worth the wait! SOPHIE’S SQUASH was sold to Anne Schwartz at Schwartz & Wade (Random House), and I could not be more delighted. Congratulations, Pat!
 
—Joan

Now that we're in the crisp of fall, here are some books to help you (and your favorite kids) watch the skies!

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, a gorgeous picture book about stars appearing everywhere we look, published by Beach Lane Books. 

Light Up the Night by Jean Reidy, a lovely picture book about our place in the universe, published by Disney/Hyperion. 

We wish these books into readers' hearts! 

—Erin



Water Balloon

Water Balloon
Audrey Vernick

And another star from School Library Journal for Audrey Vernick's delightful MG novel:

Seventh-graders Jane, Leah, and Marley have been best friends forever, riding bikes, playing their own version of Monopoly, and enjoying their annual water-balloon blitz. Then Marley’s father moves out, and everything changes. She has to spend the summer with him in his new place where nothing is familiar. Jane and Leah are going to theater camp and are inseparable, and Marley’s dad has gotten her a job babysitting twins. When Jane invites Marley to her pool party (complete with high school boys), Marley decides that this is the perfect time for the blitz, but she quickly realizes that she has made a mistake. Jane and Leah have outgrown Monopoly, the water balloons, and her. Luckily, there is Jack, the boy who just might make the summer memorable for Marley. The book moves along at a pace that will keep tweens interested, and the dialogue among the characters feels real. Marley’s relationships with her friends and family are complex, and even the most reluctant readers will relate to her and the choices that she makes. Put this book on your “must-have” list. It won’t stay on the shelves long.

Congratulations, Audrey!

—Erin

Stars

Stars
Mary Lyn Ray

Another star for Mary Lyn Ray's wonderful picture book, out this week from Beach Lane Books:

Ray’s simple ode to stars is an engaging concept book. The invitation to appreciate stars begins and ends with looking for them in the night sky. In between are stars drawn on paper to wear as a sheriff’s badge, mounted on a stick to make a wand, and kept in one’s pocket. The distinctive shape is found in moss on a tree, blossoms on pumpkin vines and strawberry plants, and in winter’s snowflakes. Frazee’s deft sketches of a diverse array of young children, scattered on white or mottled blue pages, are both playful and evocative. Viewers of all ages can empathize with the lone child in a row of empty swings on one of those days “when you don’t feel so shiny.” “Blow a ball of dandelion and you blow a thousand stars into the sky.” The closing view of children donning pajamas for a last look at the night sky suggests that this will be a pleasant bedtime reading choice, but the book offers many other sharing uses for parents, preschool teachers, and librarians. It celebrates everyday experiences of children, prompting observation of the world around us, and it’s beautifully structured for eliciting children’s conversation and response. There are bits of humor and poetry, an engaging cast of players/star watchers, and many possibilities for pairing the book with crafts, activities, and other books, too.

Congratulations, Mary Lyn!

—Erin