OUT NOW!
May 3, 2022

THE REAL RILEY MAYES by Rachel Elliott—her debut MG graphic novel—is out today!

“Full of heart.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A hit for readers who enjoy Raina Telgemeier’s books and Jennifer Holm’s “Sunny” series” —School Library Journal

“A fun, funny story that rings true." —Booklist

Funny and full of heart, this debut graphic novel is a story about friendship, identity, and embracing all the parts of yourself that make you special.  

Fifth grade is just not Riley’s vibe. Everyone else is squaded up—except Riley. Her best friend moved away. All she wants to do is draw, and her grades show it.

One thing that makes her happy is her favorite comedian, Joy Powers. Riley loves to watch her old shows and has memorized her best jokes. So when the class is assigned to write letters to people they admire, of course Riley’s picking Joy Powers!

Things start to look up when a classmate, Cate, offers to help Riley with the letter, and a new kid, Aaron, actually seems to get her weird sense of humor. But when mean girl Whitney spreads a rumor about her, things begin to click into place for Riley. Her curiosity about Aaron’s two dads and her celebrity crush on Joy Powers suddenly make more sense.

Readers will respond to Riley’s journey of self-discovery and will recognize themselves in this character who is less than perfect but trying her best. And creative kids will recognize themselves in her love of art and drawing.

While often funny and light, Riley’s exploration of what it feels to be an outsider and how hard it can be to make a friend break your heart in the best way. And with all of Riley’s hijinks and missteps, this story is laugh-out-loud funny from start to finish.

Congratulations, Rachel!

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HARLEY QUINN: RECKONING, book one in Rachael Allen’s new DC Icons series is out today from Random House Children’s Books!

One of 10 Books Feminists Should Read in April via BITCH MEDIA

A Buzzfeed New LGBTQA+YA Novel You Need This Spring

Experience the origin story of a Super-Villain: this is the Harley Quinn backstory fans have been waiting for.

When Harleen Quinzel scores an internship in a psych lab at Gotham University, she’s more than ecstatic; she’s desperate to make a Big Scientific Discovery that will land her a full-ride college scholarship and get her away from her abusive father. But when Harleen witnesses the way women are treated across STEM departments—and experiences harassment herself—she decides that revenge and justice are more important than her own dreams. 

Harleen finds her place in an intoxicating vigilante girl gang called the Reckoning, who creates chaos to inspire change. And when Harleen falls for another girl in the gang, it finally seems like she’s found her true passions. But what starts off as pranks and mischief quickly turns deadly as one of the gang members is found murdered–and a terrifying conspiracy is uncovered that puts the life Harleen has worked so hard for at stake. Will she choose her future–or will she choose revenge?

In this refreshingly feminist spin on the story of our favorite villainess, Harley Quinn: Reckoning traces Harleen’s journey from precocious, revenge-obsessed teenage girl to a hardcore justice-seeker on her way to becoming the most captivating Super Villain of all time. This is one story that you won’t be able to put down.

Congratulations, Rachael!

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Paul Acampora’s latest middle grade novel, In Honor of Broken Things, receives starred review from Publishers Weekly

★ "Three students united by their respective family troubles form a supportive friendship circle in Acampora’s (Danny Constantino’s First (and maybe last?) Date) earnest narrative, which encourages vulnerability and acceptance. Ninth grader Oscar Villanueva, who is Mexican American, has just lost his younger sister to cancer; previously homeschooled eighth grader Noah Wright, who is white, decides to enroll in public school, spurred by his parents’ divorce; and fellow eighth grader Riley Baptiste, also white, has just moved to their small town of West Beacon, Pa., after her mother was held up at gunpoint. Though the students are outwardly very different—Oscar is a popular starting line backer on the football team, Noah is extremely academically advanced, and Riley is quick to anger and thinks her fists can solve all her problems—they bond after meeting in a mixed-grade introductory clay class. Told in distinct and alternating POVs, the group grows closer over misshapen pottery as they admit weakness, navigate new experiences, and learn to accept help from others. Acampora approaches the characters’ struggles with levity and intentional thoughtfulness, making for a tender tale." Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

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Paul’s Acampora’s latest middle grade novel, In Honor of Broken Things, is out now from Dial Books for Young Readers.

Three unlikely friends become partners in heartbreak and hope during a middle school pottery class in this powerful, poignant novel--perfect for fans of Gordon Korman and Lynda Mullaly Hunt.

At West Beacon Middle School, eighth graders Oscar Villanueva, Ellie Baptiste, and Noah Wright become unlikely friends during Introduction to Clay class. Oscar, a football star, just lost his little sister to cancer. Ellie's been dragged away from Philadelphia by her single mom to a new life in West Beacon, a tiny Pennsylvania coal town that's smaller than Ellie's old school. Noah's spent his whole life as a homeschooler and just started West Beacon Middle School as a result of his parents' train wreck of a divorce. Through art, football, failure, faith, and trust, the friends help one another to piece things back together again. In true friendship, they also discover that some injuries may never heal, some things can never be unbroken--and that's okay too.

 

PRAISE for In Honor of Broken Things: 

“Writing with insight and wit, Acampora portrays teens and adults as complicated, sometimes surprising people.” –Booklist

 

"This book is a solid story of friendship…in a world of upheaval.” –School Library Journal

 

“Reminiscent of Gary D. Schmidt’s sparse writing style, this book...shows that true friendship truly does have the power to heal...a fine testament to kindness, friendship...Recommended."”–School Library Connection

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Happy book birthday to Nicole Collier's debut middle grade novel, Just Right Jillian, out today from Versify (Clarion/HarperCollins)!

Penned for shy children everywhere, the book introduces us to fifth grader,Jillian, who must learn to break free of her shell in order to enter her school's academic competition and keep her promise to her grandmother.

Fifth grader Jillian will do just about anything to blend in, including staying quiet even when she has the right answer. After she loses a classroom competition because she won't speak up, she sets her mind on winning her school's biggest competition. But breaking out of her shell is easier said than done, and Jillian has only a month to keep her promise to her grandmother and prove to herself that she can speak up and show everyone her true self.

Just Right Jillian is a warm and relatable middle grade debut novel about family, friendship, and finding the confidence to break free from the crowd and be who you truly are.

“A heartwarming novel about developing the courage to stop hiding.” --Kirkus

“A tender tale of self-acceptance and friendship.” --BCCB

Congratulations, Nicole!

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We are happy to announce that the UK edition of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw will be published by Pushkin Press in May 2022. Waterstone's will be offering a special exclusive edition, featuring a brand new bonus story.

Stateside, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (WVU Press, 2020) won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 Los Angeles Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. We are so happy to see Church Ladies looking peachy-keen in its new UK home.

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We are thrilled to announce that Brian Broome's debut memoir, Punch Me Up to the Gods (HMH/Mariner Books, 2021) is the winner of the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction. The judges had this to say of Broome's book: "This powerfully vulnerable and bleakly funny memoir reveals the author struggling to shake off the restrictive, frequently dangerous role of a gay, Black man in America. Broome resists an easy redemption narrative, showing instead how he gradually came to terms with internalized toxic masculinity. The judges were dazzled by the book’s unique structure, framed by Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem 'We Real Cool,' and by its self-lacerating but ultimately hopeful insights." 

Congratulations to Brian and to all of the 2021 Kirkus Prize winners!

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PUBLISHING A CHILDREN’S BOOK: UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET & FINDING AN AGENT is an information-intensive workshop in two 90-minute long sessions, designed to give you the tools you need to get your work in front of the right agents and editors. Susan Hawk will take participants on an insider’s exploration of the children’s and YA book market—defining the elements that make for an irresistible book for kids or teens; revealing the stories publishers are hungry for; detailing how to avoid common beginner’s pitfalls; and guiding you through the querying process step-by-step.

After the second session, Susan will review your query letter and provide you with written feedback on how to improve it, so you’re ready to find the perfect agent for your work.

Who is the workshop designed for?

  • Writers who are curious to explore the world of children’s and YA book publishing;
  • Those who know they want to write for kids or teens, and need to better understand the children’s book market;
  • Writers with a completed manuscript, who are ready to tackle the querying process;
  • Those who’ve been querying but haven’t grabbed an agent’s attention yet.

Interested? Here are the key details:

  • Sessions take place October 19th and 26th, 4pm PT / 7pm ET and are an hour and a half long.
  • Each session is $100, so it’s a total of $200 to sign up.
  • We’re limited to 20 participants, so grab your spot now!

To sign up and find more details, please click here: Publishing a Children's Book.

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New Deals!
October 15, 2021
Susan Hawk

We're excited to announce a raft of new deals for UC clients!  Stay posted for the publication of these goodies:

Beth Hautala's middle grade novel, MIRACLE SEASON, to Liza Kaplan at Viking Children's, by Danielle Chiotti.

Joy Givens' debut picture books text, SUPER NOAH, to Kelsey Skea at Two Lions/Amazon, by Danielle Chiotti.

E.A. Carrington's THE KINDA SORTA NORMAL LIFE OF JOSHUA JONES, a graphic novel text about a boy who finds a magical wish-granting star and uses it to wish for endless snow days, to Andrew Arnold at Harper Alley, for publication in summer 2023, by Danielle Chiotti, for the author.

National Book Award nominee and Stonewall Award-winning author Kyle Lukoff's MERMAID DAYS, a fully-illustrated early reader series about a friendly mermaid and a new-to-town octo-kid and their adventures in Tidal Grove, illustrated by Kat Uno, to Rachel Matson at Scholastic Acorn, in a three-book deal, for publication in summer 2022, by Kayla Cichello for the illustrator (world).

Author of The Summer of Impossibilities Rachael Allen's HARLEY QUINN: RECKONING, first in a new YA trilogy within the DC Icons universe detailing Harley Quinn's origin story from vigilante teenager to super-villainess, to Sasha Henriques at Random House Children's in a three-book deal, for publication in spring 2022, by Susan Hawk (world).

Rachel Elliott's debut THE REAL RILEY MAYES, when rumors fly about a queer crush, a girl pops the top off her magic marker and, with the help of new friends and an old celebrity, wins over the mean girls in this heartfelt middle-grade Graphic novel about first inklings of identity and belonging in a small town, to Donna Bray at Balzer + Bray, in a good deal, at auction, for publication in May 2022, by Susan Hawk (world English).

Author of Conspiracy and Fly Girls, P. O'Connell Pearson's WE ARE YOUR CHILDREN TOO, an account of the student-led strike in Prince Edward County, Virginia that became part of Brown v. Board of Education, about how white leaders closed public schools for five years rather than desegregate, and the courage of the Black community in demanding equality then and forging a better future today, for middle grade and YA readers, to Kendra Levin at Simon & Schuster Kids, for publication in summer 2022, by Susan Hawk (world).

Author of Laura Ingalls is Ruining My Life, Shelley Tougas's LILY AND THE OTHER GUY, a picture book in which a girl misses her dad and isn't sure about the new guy her mom is seeing, but with a little patience and humor she learns that having fun with a new stepparent doesn't mean forgetting mom or dad, and that letting someone new into your life means more love all around, illustrated by Sara Palacios, to Kate Jacobs with Emily Feinberg editing, for publication in summer 2022, by Susan Hawk for the author (world).

Kirsti Call's THE BIG SCREAM, a board book teaching readers how to pause, breathe in, and feel better after a tantrum, illustrated by Denis Angelov, to Cindy Kim at Little Simon, for publication in summer 2022, by Susan Hawk for the illustrator (world).

Author of The Voice That Won the Vote, E Boxer's SPLASH!: A SWIMMING LEGEND SEND OUT RIPPLES OF CHANGE, a picture book about Ethelda Bleibtrey, who took up swimming to recover from polio and went on to be the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley, to Sarah Rockett at Sleeping Bear Press, for publication in 2023, by Alexandra Penfold for the illustrator (world).

NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book Winner for Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code Laurie Wallmark's A PASSION FOR SCIENCE: MARIA MITCHELL, ASTRONOMER, a picture book telling the story of the first female professional astronomer in America, illustrated by Liz Wong, to Marissa Moss at Creston Books, for publication in fall 2022, by Alexandra Penfold for the illustrator (world).

Founder of HealingHonestly.com Alisa Zipursky's HEALING HONESTLY: REAL TALK ON BEING A CHILD SEX ABUSE SURVIVOR, a survivor-centered book helping adult readers unpack the untrue stories of their abuse and challenge those stories in order to find validation, levity, and support, to Charlotte Asklock at Berrett-Koehler, for publication in 2023, by Danielle Chiotti (world).

Christyne Morrell's TREX, pitched as Liar & Spy meets Stranger Things, a contemporary middle grade mystery told by three unreliable narrators, following a boy with an experimental implant, a reclusive girl training to be a spy, and their adventures together as they're pitted against school bullies, their own parents, and an evil, brain-hacking corporation, to Wendy Loggia at Delacorte, for publication in fall 2022, by Danielle Chiotti (NA).

Congratulations to all our clients!

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PUBLISHING A CHILDREN'S BOOKS: UNDERSTANDING THE MARKET & FINDING AN AGENT is an information-intensive workshop in two hour-long sessions, designed to give you the tools you need to get your work in front of the right agents and editors. Susan Hawk will take participants on an insider’s exploration of the children’s and YA book market—defining the elements that make for an irresistible book for kids or teens; revealing the stories publishers are hungry for; detailing how to avoid common beginner’s pitfalls; and guiding you through the querying process step-by-step.

After the second session, Susan will review your query letter and provide you with written feedback on how to improve it, so you're ready to find the perfect agent for your work.Who is the workshop designed for?

  • Writers who are curious to explore the world of children’s and YA book publishing;
  • Those who know they want to write for kids or teens, and need to better understand the children’s book market;
  • Writers with a completed manuscript, who are ready to tackle the querying process;
  • Those who’ve been querying but haven’t grabbed an agent’s attention yet.

Interested? Here are the key details:

  • Sessions take place June 15th and 22nd, 5pm PT / 8pm ET and are an hour long.
  • Each session is $100, so it’s a total of $200 to sign up.
  • We’re limited to 20 participants, so grab your spot now!

To sign up and find more details, please visit: https://www.speakeasy.com/e/publishing-childrens-book.

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