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July 2018

You know who could use a little loving-kindness these days? You, and you, and me, and all the little kids trying to make sense of the world with the rest of us.

Leave it to Deborah Underwood.

When I sent Deborah's latest picture book text to Laura Godwin of Godwin Books at Holt/Macmillan, she said, "It's tonglen. What could be better than that." "Tonglen" was a new word for me, but when I looked it up, she was exactly right (of course). Tonglen is a meditation practice for cultivating love and compassion.

In this text, Deborah places readers in the context of family, community, and the greater world, and meditatively embraces the flaws, the hopes, and the connections of all. With Tim Hopgood illustrating, it will be even more gorgeous. Watch for this one in winter 2021!

Congratulations, Deborah!


Terry Pierce does it again! Her beautiful prose is headed to bookstores everywhere, thanks to Chronicle and the brilliant art of Suzy Ultman. It's going to be amazing!

Congratulations, Terry!

Ariel Richardson at Chronicle has acquired Terry Pierce's picture book Love Can Come in Many Ways, illustrated by Suzy Ultman. This lovey-dovey novelty book celebrates the many diverse ways animals and humans show their affection, with felt lift-the-flaps for hugging arms, wings, and other snuggles. Publication is slated for Fall 2019; Tricia Lawrence at Erin Murphy Literary represented Pierce and Susan McCabe at Lilla Rogers Studio represented Ultman.


The Wicked and the Just

The Wicked and the Just
J. Anderson Coats

Back in 2012, J. Anderson Coats's debut YA novel, THE WICKED AND THE JUST, splashed on to the publishing scene with a furor. Scooping up such accolades as a JLG selection, 4 starred reviews, a half-dozen Best of the Year lists, and State Reading Lists from Washington to Maine, this book cemented her as someone to watch on the YA historical scene. (What is that you say? You have not yet read THE WICKED AND THE JUST? Run, I say, run thee to the bookstore and remedy this at once!)

But I digress.

After some amazing forays into MG literature, I'm thrilled to share that Jillian will be digging back into her YA roots—and not only that, but she will be returning to ancient Wales, to a close time period to her debut. Without further ado, here is the thrilling announcement:

Miriam Newman at Candlewick has acquired THE WICKED AND THE JUST author J. Anderson Coats's newest YA novel, LIES AND MIRACLES. Set in twelfth-century Wales, this bittersweet historical epic tells the story of seventeen-year-old Elen, who, having spun a quick falsehood when captured by a band of raiders, finds that her life now depends on living that lie every second. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency did the deal for World English rights. Publication is set for spring 2020.

This is truly a book-of-the-heart, and I can't wait for you all to discover it. Congratulations, Jillian!



Dashka Slater

Dashka Slater and Joy Peskin, her editor at FSG, are quite a team!

First they published ESCARGOT, which went on to win the Wanda Gag Read Aloud Award (and a sequel was just announced). Then they published THE 57 BUS, which, among other accolades, won a Stonewall Award and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, and was a YALSA Nonfiction Award finalist.

And now they're moving into middle-grade fiction. The whole FSG/Macmillan team is thrilled that Dashka is about to be proven a triple threat, to the point that they acquired the book with a pre-empt offer.

THE TRAIN BETWEEN THE WORLDS is the story of an endangered, mysterious family farm, the two 12-year-olds who are the only ones who can see the mystical creatures living there and therefore are the only ones who can save it, and the feylings whose lives hang in the balance. The first book is scheduled to release in winter 2020, with a sequel to follow.

Huge congratulations, Dashka! Triple threat, indeed.


Shark Vs. Train

Shark Vs. Train

Chris Barton's SHARK VS. TRAIN, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld, came out to a fantastic reaction—NYT and PW bestseller lists, multiple starred reviews, named finalist for the Children's Choice Awards, and made nine best-of-the-year lists. The Washington Post called it "not to be missed" and PW called the concept of having the two titular characters compete in ever-more-absurd scenarios "genius."

How do you follow that?

Well, apparently you defy expectations by turning to friendship instead of competition. The characters in FIRE TRUCK VS. DRAGON start out as friends—until their friendship takes unexpected turns. This time Shanda McCloskey takes the visual helm, and again Alvina Ling and the team at Little, Brown brings the book to shelves. Watch for this one in spring 2020—I can't wait!

Congratulations, Chris!


If there is one question that comes to every one of us, sooner or later in our lives, it is this one: WHAT do you do when your alligator just won't go to sleep?

Gentle readers, I am thrilled to say that you need wonder no more—or, at least, you only have to wonder until spring 2021 (gulp). Here is the exciting new deal announcement for our own Rebecca Van Slyke!

Kate Jacobs at Roaring Brook has acquired Goodnight, Alligator!, a picture book written by Lexie the Word Wrangler author Rebecca Van Slyke, and to be illustrated by Mike Boldt. It tells the story of a spirited young character, who is full of very alligator-specific reasons why she absolutely cannot be expected to go to bed. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author and Jennifer Rofe at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented the illustrator in a deal for World rights. Publication is expected in spring 2021.

I am so excited for this zany and bounce-filled book, and I know you will be too.

Huge congratulations, Rebecca!!


Porcupines play really great cupids, or so they think.

Find out how when Jason Gallaher's new picture book hits shelves in Fall 2020! A deal announcement (long-awaited) for Jason Gallaher!

Karen Wojtyla at Margaret K. McElderry Books has acquired Jason Gallaher's picture book Porcupine Cupid, illustrated by Lori Richmond. Porcupine's match-making efforts need no bow and arrow in this Valentine's Day love story. Publication is slated for fall 2020; Tricia Lawrence at Erin Murphy Literary represented Gallaher, and Lori Kilkelly at Rodeen Literary Management represent Richmond.

I'm OVER THE MOON with joy that finally, Jason's text has found an illustrator and we get to enjoy it!

Congratulations, Jason!


Those EMLA clients who attended our annual retreat last month were moved when Andrea Wang read aloud the gorgeous text of a picture book called WATERCRESS. Inspired by one of her favorite books of 2017, A DIFFERENT POND by Bao Phi and Thi Bui, Andrea pulled out of the drawer a story she wrote years earlier about her own experience of being the child of immigrants, and of hearing long-hidden stories about her parents' lives before they came to the United States. She trimmed and polished and sent it off to me, thinking it probably wouldn't fly. I read it on my phone in a grocery store parking lot and had the best kind of shivers, and started sending it out immediately despite the fact that it was Bologna Children's Book Fair week and many editors were away from their desks.

Not only did WATERCRESS fly, it went to auction and sold in a two-book deal to Neal Porter at Holiday House, who read it in Bologna. And it gets better. Neal shared the story with Jason Chin, fresh off his Caldecott Honor for GRAND CANYON, and it led to Jason having conversations in his own family and hearing family stories from China that he'd never heard before. Jason signed on to illustrate!

Along with WATERCRESS, Neal acquired another picture book text, LULI AND THE LANGUAGE OF TEA, which shows a lively classroom of children from different countries bonding over tea, which is pronounced close to the same in their many languages. Andrea was inspired by the ESL classes her father taught to fellow immigrants when she was growing up.

WATERCRESS will publish in spring 2020 with LULI to follow. I can't wait to see what additional magic these books make! Congratulations, Andrea!


Another Kind of Hurricane

Another Kind of Hurricane
Tamara Ellis Smith

That Tam Smith, she's out and about in the world, doing great stuff like talking to classrooms of kids about perseverance and her novel ANOTHER KIND OF HURRICANE, or running in wild places, or hanging out with her four kids, or reaching out to underserved kids through the Vermont College Young Writers Network.

She's here, and she's there. She's everywhere.

And now she's publishing a picture book appropriately titled HERE AND THERE! Within the world of the story, "here and there" means something different, though—it's about a boy adjusting to life in two households when his parents split up. It's as lyrical and loving as you would imagine a Tam Smith picture book to be. And it's HER FIRST PICTURE BOOK!

We've already seen some glimpses of the gorgeous art from Evelyn Daviddi, thanks to Kate DePalma and Lisa Rosinsky at Barefoot Books, who are publishing it. (EMLA's first Barefoot deal!) Publication is coming up so soon—Spring 2019—so we don't have long to wait to see the finished book, and neither do you.

Congratulations, Tam!

So excited for P.J. Hoover and her YA adventure CODE. It's such a fun and exciting story and readers are going to love it! Congratulations, P.J.!

Madeline Smoot at Cbay Books has bought P.J. Hoover's YA adventure, Code. Pitched as The Da Vinci Code meets Indiana Jones for teens, the book features 16-year-old Hannah Hawkins, who discovers that her parents' disappearance 11 years ago may be linked to a fabled artifact with the ability to repopulate species, heal diseases, and make old age a thing of the past. The book will publish in fall 2019; Tricia Lawrence at Erin Murphy Literary Agency brokered the deal for North American rights.

-- Tricia