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I’m delighted to share that Angie Smibert’s MG historical fiction novel GHOSTS OF ORDINARY OBJECTS, has sold in a three book deal to Rebecca Davis at Boyds Mills!

Sometimes the hardest story to love is your own.

Set in a Southern Virginia coal mining town in 1942, GHOSTS OF ORDINARY OBJECTS: BONE’S GIFT introduces us to twelve year old Bone Phillips, who can see the stories in ordinary objects—and she doesn’t much like it. It’s her family Gift, as her Mamaw calls it. In a jelly jar, fiddle or even a butter yellow sweater, Bone sees tales of loss, grief, love and hope. But these aren’t the stories Bone likes to tell. She’d much rather spin yarns of gypsies or talking animals. Bone’s Mama had the Gift too, but Bone doesn’t know much about … [more]

I’m delighted to share that the next books in the BABY LOVES SCIENCE! series by Ruth Spiro will be published next year by Charlesbridge. Topics this time are Gravity and Coding, and I can’t wait to see how Ruth makes the magic happen again: her ability to explain complex scientific principles in 75 words or less never ceases to amaze and delight me! We’re so lucky to have a wonderful team working on these books — illustrator Irene Chan’s sweet and colorful artwork brings the books to life, and the whole group at Charlesbridge, especially editor Alyssa Pusey, couldn’t be better to work with.

Can’t wait to see covers for these, and in the meantime, enjoy the first four below!

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Happy publication day to Sarah Tolcser – her thrilling, immersive new YA fantasy is out today!

SONG OF THE CURRENT is Sarah Tolcser’s debut novel. Set in a vividly imagined world, with action expertly balanced against building romantic tension, it features a fabulous heroine – Caro is fiery, headstrong, resourceful; longing to feel at home in her own skin, but determined to find happiness on her own terms.

Caroline Oresteia is destined for the river. Her father is a wherryman, as was her grandmother. All Caro needs is for the river god to whisper her name, and her fate is sealed. But at seventeen, Caro may be too late.

So when pirates burn ships and her father is arrested, Caro volunteers to transport mysterious cargo in exchange for his release. Secretly, Caro hopes that by [more]

Well, May 30th – you’re a lucky day!  This is the day that Julie Israel’s debut YA novel, JUNIPER LEMON’S HAPPINESS INDEX is out there in the world!

Funny, warm, and moving, Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index is a contemporary YA novel about loss, how deeply we can know others, and making our own happiness; perfect for fans of Sara Zarr and Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere.

Sixty-five days after the death of her older sister, sixteen-year-old Juniper Lemon discovers the break-up letter addressed to “You” Camilla wrote the day she died. Juni is shocked—she knew nothing of this You, and now the gaping hole in her life that was her sister feels that much bigger. She’s determined to uncover the identity of You and deliver the letter. Maybe that would help fill … [more]

Can I crow for a minute? Today marks the pub day of Jessixa Bagley’s 3rd picture book! Laundry Day tells the story of Tic and Tac, two badger brothers with a penchant for getting into trouble. It’s playful, it’s fun, it’s funny, and you’ll want to pick it up and read it again and again. But as they used to say on Reading Rainbow, you don’t have to take my word for it! Laundry Day is a JLG selection and has earned two starred reviews.

“Gorgeous, detailed watercolor illustrations highlight each page and truly bring this tale to life. VERDICT A must-buy for any library, this simple but joyful book will be a hit whether read one-on-one or shared with a group.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Bagley, who dealt with more somber … [more]

Hello from my new roost, Upstart Crow Literary! I’ve been wracking my brain for some hawk-crow-bird related jokes and can’t come up with any, but it all does seem fitting, doesn’t it? I’m delighted to join the very fine group here, and for my first post, wanted to talk about the kinds of projects I’m looking for. For more about my tastes and my background, please read on.

I represent books for children: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult, along with some non-fiction for children and teens too. First, and most important, I’m looking for books that make me feel something. Grab me by the heart and don’t let go! … [more]

Today is the official publication day of Jacqueline West’s riveting YA novel, DREAMERS OFTEN LIE. Jacqueline is author of the NYT bestselling middle grade series, The Books of Elsewhere, and DREAMERS is her first foray into the YA genre, and she’s done a smashing job of it, too.

“Engrossing . . . A dizzying new twist on one of the Bard’s most famous plays.”

DreamersOftenLie_cv copyDREAMERS is Black Swan meets Shakespeare–a twisty, enthralling story of one girl’s brush with madness:

After a skiing accident that fractures her skull, Jaye is left with a splitting headache and strong delusions. Jaye must keep these delusions secret from her family, doctors, and everyone at school in order to keep her starring part in the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream — even though visions of Shakespeare and [more]

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Upstart Crow client Andrew Brumbach over at the Literary Rambles blog, where we discussed the release of his debut novel, THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT the harrowing submissions process, and the joy of getting “the call”. Pop over the blog for the full interview, and do be sure to put THE EYE OF MIDNIGHT on your “to read” list today!

The Eye of Midnight

 

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DenbyJonesAt the New Yorker, tetchy old fogey and mediocre former film critic David Denby has published a lament about how few teens are reading books these days. He has one great overheard line—a student saying “Books smell like old people”; and a few careful caveats (“It’s very likely that teen-agers, attached to screens of one sort or another, read more words than they ever have in the past”); but mostly he is describing a decline of western civilization via smartphone. “If teachers can make books important to kids … those kids may turn off the screens,” he wraps up, making clear his real issue here: a favored primacy of one form of technology (ink on paper) over another (e-ink or pixels on screens).… [more]

There have been some great posts this week about the diverse books movement. Jacqueline Woodson’s 1998 article in the Horn Book, titled Who Can Tell My Story has been revived. Ellen Oh’s salient post Dear White Writer takes on diverse books and white privilege. There are numerous other articles and posts I could point you to; the discussion about diverse books is wide, intense, difficult, eye-opening, enraging, encouraging, and exciting.

In the last year, as the conversation about diverse books has picked up steam, a noticeable shift has taken place in my query box. It’s a shift that happens each time the trends change in publishing. Paranormal gave way to dystopian, which gave way to horror, which gave way to contemporary, which has recently given way to…diverse books?

The We Need Diverse Books campaign … [more]