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June 2013

Every year, EMLA has a retreat with our clients. On Tuesday morning, we wrapped up our 7th annual. And every year since the 3rd annual, the attendees have read from their work--usually works in progress, or at least manuscripts not yet under contract. And every year, in the months following the retreat, there is extra cheering when a manuscript sells and retreat attendees remember when they heard the writer read from it.

We've got a record-setting time on just that! Mylisa Larsen read her picture book text INSTRUCTIONS FOR BEDTIME on Saturday morning, and Wednesday, during my trip home from Montana, I got an email from Jill Davis at Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins, that the acquisitions committee loved INSTRUCTIONS FOR BEDTIME as much as she does, and an offer was forthcoming.

Lickety-split, the deal is wrapped, and we can tell you the great news less than a week after Mylisa read the manuscript at the retreat! Jill acquired world English rights, and this means Mylisa Larsen is now going to be a DEBUT author. The text advises children about the best ways to tuck in their parents at night. 

Congratulations, Mylisa!


It's always a delight to announce a first book deal for a client, and today's news is no exception. Rebecca Van Slyke is a fabulously talented and prolific author, specializing in picture books which are warm and kid-friendly, voice-driven and often fabulously quirky. And now, you will soon be able to read one of these for yourself!

LEXIE, THE WORD WRANGLER tells the story of a spirited cowgirl who likes to spend her time lassoing stray words on the lone prairie, only to come into some unexpected trouble with a wrangler. This adorable picture book was at the center of much attention this week, catching the eye of not one but two top-notch editors. After an exciting auction, I am thrilled to say that LEXIE THE WORD WRANGLER will be published by Nancy Paulsen of Nancy Paulsen Books, who snagged it in a two-book deal—so there will be even more Lexie adventures up ahead.

Hooray for Rebecca!


All debuts are amazing and wonderful, but here's one that's especially satisfying. Donna Bowman Bratton has been on a long and incredibly patient journey of near-misses, please-wait-longers, and just-this-one-more-things before reaching this happy point of being able to announce her debut book deal:


Donna Bowman Bratton's debut, tentatively titled STEP RIGHT UP: THE STORY OF BEAUTIFUL JIM KEY, the biography of a former slave and self-taught veterinarian who, armed only with patience and kindness, taught a horse to spell, write, and do math, and together they became powerful advocates for the emerging animal humane movement, to Samantha Wolf at Lee & Low, by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Hooray for Donna, and hooray for Sam, and hooray for Jim Key! This is going to be a wonderful book--the first of many of gorgeous projects to get a contract, but I assure you, not the last! Those of you attending this weekend's annual EMLA retreat, please join me in congratulating Donna!


Hooray! A new debut author to celebrate! Amy Finnegan just joined EMLA in the last couple of whirlwind weeks, and she came with an offer in hand, so we are very pleased to already be announcing her first deal!

Debut author Amy Finnegan's NOT IN THE SCRIPT, a contemporary romance set behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, where egos are big, tabloids are insatiable, and a not-quite-everyday boy and girl find each other while searching for themselves, for publication in fall 2014, to Caroline Abbey at Bloomsbury, by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (world).

Amy has family connections that have given her an insider's view of behind-the-scenes at the filming of a TV show, so all the Hollywood stuff feels incredibly believable in the novel. And one thing I love about it? It's long! Most contemporary romances are really quick reads, but now and then, you'd like a beach read that you can just keep reading, and this is like that. Not overly long--it doesn't ever drag a single bit--but it's just such a joy to stay in that world for so long!

Amy has two more YA novels drafted or partially drafted, one of which is a series, so there are more good things to come.

Congratulations, Amy!



Melanie Crowder

I think it's fair to say that it's been a good couple of weeks for Melanie Crowder. Her debut novel, PARCHED, was just released to much acclaim, including a Junior Library Guild selection, and a review in which the Wall Street Journal dubbed it "an absorbing and strangely beautiful story of valor and survival."

Now, there's even more good news to share. Can you guess? YES! You are going to be reading more from Melanie Crowder. In her latest novel, AUDACITY, she tackles an extraordinarily important time in history:

In 1909, more than 20,000 young women walked out of shirtwaist factories up and down the New York garment district. They went on strike, fed up with the long hours and dangerous working conditions, and the patronizing disregard by the male union establishment. The figure who called them to action, "the spark that struck the tinder box," was a young Jewish immigrant named Clara Lemlich.

Clara's family fled the Kishinev pogrom of 1903 and she arrived in this country with dreams of becoming a doctor. But her parents couldn't find work because the factory bosses liked to hire young girls who had no union to demand fair pay, or fire escapes, or the Sabbath day for rest. So within a week of her arrival, instead of going to school, Clara went to work. But it was not in her to keep her head down and her thoughts to herself, and Clara soon found herself firmly planted at the front of the picket line.

A novel in verse, AUDACITY follows Clara's path from impoverished immigrant girl to powerful cultural icon.

I'm thrilled to say that AUDACITY was pre-empted in a two-book deal, by Liza Kaplan at Philomel, with a tentative release date of early 2015. Please join us in celebrating Melanie and her wonderful news!



We've Got a Job
Cynthia Levinson

Cynthia Levinson's WE'VE GOT A JOB has racked up an impressive, impressive list of awards and notices, including being named to an astounding twelve best-of-the-year lists, plus the prestigious Jane Addams Book Award, the IRA Nonfiction Award, and so many more. So it's not surprising that there might be interesting in telling the story of the children who marched to desegregate Birmingham in 1963 for children too young to read WE'VE GOT A JOB.

And so we are proud to announce that Cynthia's text for a picture book, THE YOUNGEST MARCHER, has been signed by Namrata Tripathi of Atheneum. THE YOUNGEST MARCHER focuses on Audrey Hendricks, who at the age of nine was the youngest child to participate in the march, and whose family considered "Mike" (Martin Luther King, Jr.) a dear friend. We can't wait to see what illustrator is soon attached to this project!

Huge congratulations, Cynthia!


Happy Birthday, Bunny!

Happy Birthday, Bunny!
Liz Garton Scanlon

So you think of Liz Garton Scanlon, you might think "picture book author" or perhaps "poet." Now it's time to expand that image to "novelist"! 

Liz's debut novel, for middle-graders, has just been acquired by Allyn Johnston and Andrea Welch at Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster), which also published Liz's ALL THE WORLD, NOODLE AND LOU, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BUNNY!, as well as three upcoming picture books.

The novel features 12-year-old Ivy Green, whose faith is flagging since her mama ran off with a preacher named Hallelujah Dave, and her new friend Paul Dobbs, whose dream of being an astronaut feels futile now that the Space Shuttle program is being retired--and the journey they take together back to a place of hope.

Bursting with pride and admiration here. Congratulations, Liz!


You thought we were having a deal-free week, didn't you? Heck no! 

It's Phil Bildner's turn again! Phil's picture book text, MARTINA AND CHRISSIE: THE GREATEST RIVALRY IN THE HISTORY OF SPORTS, talks about Martina Navritalova and Chris Evert—their rivalry and their friendship, their foibles and their greatness; the Cold War and the inequality of women, particularly in sports; and the power of two women, and a whole sport, to inspire the world. It's got everything that makes Phil Bildner tick: Spectacular voice, social justice, sports as a lens for looking at bigger things, getting kids excited about something they might not have ever heard of and inspiring them to challenge themselves, and using one story as a launching point for learning so much more. It's like Phil between book covers! What could be better than that? 

The text was acquired by Katie Cunningham of Candlewick. We can't wait to see what illustrator is paired with it!

Congratulations, Phil!


We're just a tad late this month—busy, busy!—but we are so happy to have a stellar slate of new books out in June!

ASHES ON THE WAVES, by Mary Lindsey, is a sexy gothic YA romance inspired by Poe's "Annabel Lee," published by Philomel.

BOGART AND VINNIE: A COMPLETELY MADE-UP STORY OF TRUE FRIENDSHIP, by Audrey Vernick (and illustrated by Henry Cole), is a clever spoof of the unendingly popular interspecies animal friendship story genre, published by Walker & Company.

BOOM! BIG, BIG THUNDER AND ONE SMALL DOG, by Mary Lyn Ray (and illustrated by Steven Salerno), addresses a common fear in an accessible way via a charming puppy protagonist, published by Disney-Hyperion Children's Books.

THE MONSTORE, by Tara Lazar (and illustrated by James Burke), is an enormously funny picture book story full of friendly, kooky creatures, published by Aladdin.

PARADOX, by A. J. Paquette, is a heart-pounding YA novel involving a trip across a hostile alien landscape, a man-eating worm, and a literal ticking clock, with life on earth hanging in the balance, published by Random House BFYR.

PARCHED, by Melanie Crowder, is a haunting, lyrical survival story, published by Harcourt Children's Books.

SEAL PUP RESCUE, by Brenda Peterson, with photographs by Robin Lindsey, is a "My Readers" edition of their picture book, LEOPARD & SILKIE, published by Square Fish.

We wish these books into readers' hearts!