Latest NEWS:

There's always a lot going on at EMLA! Please check back regularly, or use our RSS feed.

Sneak Peeks
Odds and Ends
New Releases
Awards & Recognition


June 2022

We’ve celebrated a few deals recently for talented illustrator Shirley Ng-Benitez, but today’s announcement is an extra special one: her first author-illustrated book—and one which draws on very personal memories of her own, for a story that is as powerful and meaningful as it is gorgeous. Here is the deal announcement with all the information you need to know: 

Karen Chaplin at Quill Tree Books/ Harper Collins has acquired North American rights to Shirley Ng-Benitez’s author-illustrator debut, DOWN, THROUGH, UP. A little girl struggles with change and rediscovers herself somewhere new while finding ways to connect to the roots of home in this multigenerational picture book honoring sewing, San Francisco, and the threads of heritage that stitch her family together. The book was represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency, for tentative publication in spring 2024.

This moving story is in the creation vaults as we speak, with its talented author and artist busy at work. So keep an eye on that calendar release timeline, because it’s one that you absolutely won’t want to miss!! 

Congratulations, Shirley!

-- Joan

One of the best things about a book is when it casts a spotlight on someone or something which has been long neglected and deserving of more attention. In Nadia Salomon’s second book deal, she combines her lyrical and poetic voice with her journalist’s curiosity and attention to detail in telling a story that is extremely meaningful to her personally—and the result is a powerful true narrative that will be a staple on every bookshelf. Here are the details from the deal announcement:

Liza Kaplan at Viking has acquired World rights to GOODNIGHT GANESHA author Nadia Salomon’s MYRLIE: A VOICE OF HOPE, about the life of Myrlie Evers-Williams, the wife of civil rights activist Medgar Evers and the first woman to chair the NAACP, with illustrations by London Ladd. The deal was managed by Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency for the author, and Lori Nowicki at Painted Words for the illustrator. Publication will be in Fall 2024.

This powerful and meaningful true story is one to watch for—but until then, let’s celebrate Nadia and the great treasure to come!

Congratulations, Nadia!

 — Joan

Who doesn’t love an armadillo? I mean, what’s not to love? They’re roly, they’re scaly, they’re round . . . at least sometimes. Honestly, I could stand to know a little more about armadillos myself. Which is why I am especially pleased to share the following delightful deal announcement with you today:

<<Simon Boughton at Norton Young Readers has acquired world rights to The Oddball Book of Armadillos by Elizabeth Shreeve (Out of the Blue). The playful nonfiction roundup compares modern-day armadillos to their amazing prehistoric cousins, with adaptations to changing climates and ecosystems over time. Publication is set for winter 2024. Isabella Grott has been signed up to illustrate this book as well as the companion title, The Upside-Down Book of Sloths. Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented the author, and the artist was represented by Kate Kendrick at Astound US.>>

Sloths . . . armadillos . . . what’s next, friends? If you’ve got suggestions, take it up with the brilliant author herself. Huge congratulations on this dream-team book pairing, Elizabeth!



Hey, picture book lovers! There’s something amazing underway! You haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading any of Carrie Kruck’s picture books—because they are still in the midst of being shaped by their brilliant artists into their final masterpiece state—but trust me, this is a treat that will be well worth waiting for. 

Here is the newest gem that is now on its way to a bookshelf near you: 

Maria Modugno at Random House Studio has acquired Carrie Kruck’s ALFRED BLOOMS, a picture book about a boy whose garden won't grow. When flowers start growing out of his head, though, Alfred finds friendship in sharing a part of himself. Carmen Mok will illustrate. Publication is slated for spring 2025; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary Agency negotiated the deal for world rights for the author, and Emily van Beek at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management negotiated the deal for world rights for the illustrator.

This story is a pure delight in every way, and I can’t wait to see the finished result that will come from this dream team pairing.

Huge congratulations, Carrie!



It’s a wonderful day to announce a new picture book deal today! This one is for the talented and prolific Sara Levine. If you haven’t checked out her recent picture books—GERMS UP CLOSE and A PEEK AT BEAKS—they are well worth the time: meticulous, informational, and lyrical. The whole package!

Today’s new book takes Sara’s writing in a slightly different direction—away from the non-fiction natural world, and into the complex and layered world of human emotions. Here’s the pitch for this wonderful new book:

Carol Hinz at Lerner/Carolrhoda has acquired world rights to Sensitive by Sara Levine, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. In this picture book, a girl hears other people say that she’s too sensitive and needs to change, and she goes about the process of transforming their negative comments into statements of affirmation. Publication is planned for Fall 2023; Ammi-Joan Paquette at Erin Murphy Literary represented the author, and Deborah Warren at East/West Literary represented the illustrator.

Please join me in celebrating the impending arrival of this vital, essential story, and one which is sure to be a staple on bookshelves everywhere. Huge congratulations, Sara!



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

Gosh, Miranda Paul is good at nonfiction. (Lots of other things, too!) When she was asked to work with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and her son Adam on a picture book about Rashida’s journey to the US Congress, she didn’t just meet the brief; she and Rashida and Adam came up with an absolutely fantastic and moving text!

Add the wonderful illustrator Olivia Aserr and the fantastic team at Clarion, led by Lynne Polvino, and you’ve got an incredible book!

And then you hit pause, waiting to tell the world, and waiting, and waiting…because getting clearance from Congress is no small thing! But at last, here we are:

Lynne Polvino at Clarion has acquired world rights to MAMA IN CONGRESS: RASHIDA TLAIB'S JOURNEY TO WASHINGTON, co-written by U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, her son Adam Tlaib, and author Miranda Paul. The picture book biography, told through her children's point of view, chronicles Rashida's story as a first-generation Palestinian American who became the first Muslim woman elected to the Michigan Legislature and first Palestinian American woman to serve in the United States Congress. Olivia Aserr will illustrate; publication is set for Fall 2022. Rebecca Abou-Chedid represented Tlaib & Tlaib, Erin Murphy at Erin Murphy Literary Agency represented Paul, and Jennifer March Soloway at Andrea Brown Literary Agency represented Aserr.

The good news is, we don’t have to wait long for this one! It will be out Sept. 20, 2022! And you can see the cover here.

Congratulations, Miranda!