A NEW ROOST!

Some big news, folks—I've landed in a new nest: Upstart Crow Literary! I’m delighted to join the very fine group at Upstart, and thrilled about this move.

As I did over on the UC blog (please visit the site if you haven't been: Upstart Crow), I'd like to share a bit about what I'm hoping to find in my query inbox this year.  You can find more general information under the Wishlist and Query tabs, but here's a detailed list:

For YA, I’m interested in:
• Family stories, sister and sibling stories, and mother-daughter stories. In many YA novels, the main character’s relationship with their mother is troubled, and the mother is toxic in some way.  I’d love to see a book with a strong—albeit complex—mother-daughter (or son) relationship.
• I want rich, big world-building and gutsy, smart characters, especially historical fantasy that isn’t based on Western Europe, or set in a world that takes inspiration from folklore of a non-Western tradition.
• Science fiction, especially that deals with changes we might see in our lifetime—more cutting edge science, less space opera (though I’m open to a juicy space opera too).
• Epistolary novels; a novel-within-a-novel; a journal format; secret letters; found documents— I’m interested in stories that use these kinds of elements.
• A sharp, irresistible, crush-worthy but unreliable narrator.
• A word about romance. I enjoy a good, swoony romance, but probably not by itself. Romance as a part of a larger story? Yes, please!
• Some of my favorite non-client YAs of late: The Spectacular Now, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Fangirl, What I Saw and How I Lied, The Seeds of America trilogy, The Montmaray Journals series, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Grasshopper Jungle.

For MG:
• Mystery! I’d love, love, love to see something that makes me think of Agatha Christie, but set in the US.
• Edgy, dark MG that pushes the boundaries of “upper MG.”
• Contemporary stories with a female main character who is passionate about science, math, engineering, ie. STEM. (For YA too!)
• I love historical fiction, and want projects that feel vital and alive, that balance history against characters who are accessible, yet believably of the past.
• All the above in YA Fantasy is true for MG too. In addition, I’d also like to see fantasy that’s based on American folklore—think Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder, etc.
• Some favorite non-client MGs: The War that Saved My Life, Wolf Hollow, El Deafo, When You Reach Me, One Crazy Summer, Cuckoo Song, The Riverman, Breadcrumbs, The Wednesday Wars.

For Picture books:
• Texts that just get it when it comes to childhood, like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse; or More More More Said the Baby.
• Conceptual texts like Duck, Rabbit or Not a Box.
• Character-driven stories that introduce me to someone as indelible as Olivia, George and Martha, the Pigeon, or Miss Nelson.
• The pairing of informational text with lyrical voice, such as in Over and Under the Snow.
• Illustrators whose work is bold and full of emotion. I’m a fan of Sophie Blackall, Zachariah OHora, Frann Preston-Grann, Simona Ciraolo, Emily Hughes, Gabi Swiatkowska (and many more!).
• Some favorite non-client picture books: The Dark, Sophie’s Squash, The Princess and the Pony, A Home for Bird, This is Not a Picture Book!, Me…Jane, Flora and the Flamingo, Home by Carson Ellis, Boss Baby, Leo: A Ghost Story.
I’m an editorial agent, and passionate about my clients and their projects. The lists above are a grab-bag of interests and ideas, but please try me, even if you’re not sure if your project is described above—I love to be surprised!

Happy Publication to FALLING FOR THE BEST MAN by Amanda Ashby!

I'm so happy to say that Amanda Ashby's next novel is available!

FALLING FOR THE BEST MAN is the first book in Amanda's new series, the Sisters of Wishing Bridge Farm, and is perfect for fans of TV’s Gilmore Girls and Hart of Dixie.

He's the best man and her secret fling -- who said being a wedding planner was easy?

What's worse than running into your ex-hookup at the airport? When said 'hookup" is the best man for the most important wedding of your career, and he's on the hunt for a fake girlfriend. Between a hysterical bride and a wedding party gone wild, wedding planner Emmy Watson can’t afford any more disasters if she wants to save her beloved Wishing Bridge Farm. Which is why she puts the best man on lockdown. Unfortunately, he also happens to be the one guy who can make her forget everything except the way his kisses make her feel.

All Christopher Henderson needs is a fake girlfriend to convince his bosses that his bad boy reputation is a thing of the pastso he can land his dream job. What better place to find said companion than at a wholesome vintage wedding. The only thing he didn't count on was seeing Emmy, the woman who dumped him. The one he hasn’t been able to get off his mind.


There's no denying the spark between them, but he’s a globetrotter and she’s a homebody, and falling in love is something neither of them has in their plans.

Click here to buy a copy, or to read an an excerpt! 

Enjoy!

Praise for BABY LOVES!

This fall was the debut for two wonderful picture books from a new series, BABY LOVES SCIENCE.  BABY LOVES THERMODYNAMICS and BABY LOVES QUARKS are utterly charming (I'm biased of course, but really -- who could resist these books?!).  The text, by my client Ruth Spiro, is smart, funny, and rock solid science.  Now I finally understand what quarks are!  The illustrations that accompany the text are colorful and sweet, featuring two of the most irresistible kids you could hope to meet in the pages of a book.  These truly are perfect books for the toddler set.  And I'm not the only one who thinks so -- here's a list of the praise that we've received so far!




Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!

ILLINOIS READS 2017 selection for Birth – 4 Years  (Baby Loves Quarks!)
Under the auspices of the Illinois Reading Council, ILLINOIS READS is a yearly statewide project to promote reading for all Illinois citizens. Beginning with read aloud books for babies, 6 books will be selected for each additional age band through adult readers.
  
LA Times HolidayBooks Gift Guide: The hottest books for young adults, middle-graders and gorgeous new picture books (2016)
  
There’s plenty to engage young children in these simple books (part of the Baby Loves series) that introduce basic science ideas and science vocabulary. The book titles are probably more for the adults than the young children for whom these board books are intended!
  
SLJ/Fuse #8 by Betsy Bird
"Okay now.  Before you start with the eye rolling, hear me out.  Have you ever actually read these books?  I know they look like a science-y version of Cozy Classics or other adult concepts siphoned down to board book formats.  Go into them, though, and they’re clever.  Just big concepts made palatable.  The titles may have a shock effect, but the contents are worth considering.  Plus we don’t have much in the way of science-related board books AT ALL these days."
  
American Scientist
STEM Books for Young Children
"I applaud this series of board books for attempting to bring some complicated topics down to a very introductory level.  Using cute and colorful illustrations, these books rely on the familiar to explain the unfamiliar....if you're looking for baby books that at least bring up the subject of physics and engineering as normal aspects of everyday life, these are a great place to start!"

The Planetary Society
(Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!)
"It's a relief to have one baby space book to recommend that does not just list all the planets. This adorable baby board book talks about how Bird can fly, then asks if airplanes fly like birds? (No!) But at least Bird can commiserate with the airplane that neither can go to space. In the end, the bird gets to take a rocket into space. Have fun, bird!"


The Blade (Toledo)
"Part of the Baby Loves Science series, these are “little books about big ideas.” In Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering, Baby learns the dynamics of flight by watching a bird fly, and discovers how engines and fuel make flight possible for planes and rockets. In Baby Loves Quarks, Baby learns that quarks are the building blocks of nature, that atoms and molecules compose the world, including Baby! These colorful board books are an inviting introduction to all things science and math."
  
"I don't know that I've ever been as impressed with a board book as I am with this one. No, it doesn't quite appeal to my normal cheesy humor nor am I totally blown away by the illustrations (the usual positive reviews I include in my favorite board books), but MAN does it explain nuclear physics on the perfect level for young toddlers! ...Or, you know, man, does it explain physics for the regular layman such as myself (blush).

"Okay, but really, it's a perfectly short, concise explanation of the building blocks of nature, while working in the perfectly relatable story of a baby building with blocks. My own daughter LOVES building blocks and knocking them down so I really think this book connects with its target audience well and provides subtle (and super awesome) education at the same time. And don't get me wrong, the illustrations are still cute and help explain the science. Overall, awesome book, and I'm looking forward to reading Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering next!"
  
"No one is too young to experience S.T.E.M.  Babies and toddlers have a natural curiosity that leads them to taste, touch, explore and experiment with everything around them.  While this can make childcare a little hectic, parents can easily encourage children by asking and answering questions, describing things to increase vocabulary, and allowing children to play safely with a variety of household items.  A new board book series called “Baby Loves” by Ruth Spiro captures the enthusiasm for S.T.E.M. In Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering, simple sentences and colorful, bright illustrations present questions and answers about things that fly – birds, airplanes, and a rocket. Andrea Beatty’s picture books — Ada Twist, Scientist, Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect – are also good introductions for younger listeners."


The Library Voice – Shannon Miller
"I love how Ruth takes our young readers on an adventure in science through these adorable board books.They will relate to them with the sweet illustrations and be engaged while... learning about so many important STEM topics.  These will be a BIG hit in learning and reading at school and home."
  
"If you think about it, most things we do on a daily basis can be turned into science, especially when coupled with an explanation.  From pouring water from one cup to another (different sized cups are great for volume), laundry (physics of the spinning clothes), baking (chemistry), bubbles (surface tension), our bodies (biology), and the environment, we can always find something scientific to engage the kids in even when they are babies.

"It is never too early to become an engineer or chemist!  With these adorable board books, babies will love learning the basics of flight and particle physics and chemistry giving them the head start they need.  Featuring friendly, simple text, cheerful illustrations and facts, these books are the perfect fun introduction to chemistry, physics and engineering.

"My kids and I adore this Baby Loves Science series of books.  There are currently two books in the series and a new one is coming out in the coming months called Baby Loves Quantum Physics.

"As the author of the  Baby Loves Science series of board books, Ruth Spiro’s goal has been to learn as much as she can about science, and also about how parents and caregivers can turn everyday experiences into fun, informal learning opportunities for their little ones.  Check these out for your STEM loving, curious little readers!"

"The books are well-crafted for their young audience, with bright colors, adorable illustrations of babies and subject matter that is tailor-made to young children's interests. In "Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!" (Don't laugh too much at the title -- it's actually pretty fun!), a baby notices a bird, and, in short, simple sentences, concepts of aeronautics are taught: "The top of her wing is curved. The bottom of her wing is flat." These concepts are then expanded upon as the baby plays with a toy airplane and learns about rockets.

"Baby Loves Quarks" is even more fun, as the concept of atoms being the building blocks of matter is compared to, what else, but actual building blocks. Little children will love the adorable illustrations of protons and neutrons holding hands as they unify to create an atom, and they'll love the concept of scientists smashing a nucleus as the baby smashing his block tower is shown!

"These books are a fun way to introduce little ones to scientific concepts."
  
"How does a bird relate to an airplane or a rocket?  How does baby’s blocks relate to quarks and molecules? Using very simple words and illustrations, Spiro cuts to the heart of these similarities in a board book of all things.  I showed these books to my 8th grade science teachers and they went gaga over them!  This was exactly what they were looking for to demonstrate these concepts to their students.  Now they are eagerly waiting for me to buy copies for them and catalog them so that they can have them to use in their classrooms.  So they are worth a look almost any science classroom."

Equal Goods HolidayGift Guide
Children’s Gifts Free From Gender Stereotypes

Anastasia Suen

Announcing a deal! Alison Oliver's MOON

I'm delighted to announce the sale of Alison Oliver's picture book, MOON, as well as a sequel.  MOON is a gorgeous, heartfelt story that explores the joy of wildness.

Like most children, Moon’s life is busy.  School is followed by homework, followed by piano practice, followed by chores; and the next day it all begins again.  Moon is good at doing everything expected, but she wonders: what it would be like if she didn’t have so much to do.  

And then, one night, she meets a wolf.  Not the wolf you’re expecting – not the one that plagued the pigs, or grinned at Red Riding Hood.  This wolf takes her to the forest, away from home and the endless round of things-to-do.  Moon doesn’t command or tame the wolves, she learns from them – she learns to howl, to hide, and how to be wild. 

A big congratulations to Alison and Jennifer Greene at Clarion Books.  I can't wait for this book to be out in the world!


Announcing a Deal! New SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS by Marcie Colleen!

I'm so pleased to announce that Marcie Colleen will be writing the next four SUPER HAPPY PARTY BEARS books, for a total of eight.  The first SHPB books came out this fall -- GNAWING AROUND and KNOCK KNOCK ON WOOD -- and are jumping off shelves everywhere!

To the Super Happy Party Bears, everything is a good thing. Their entire attitude can be summed up in one word: YAY! They love doughnuts, dancing, and above all else—a good party. Not so for the rest of the animals living in the Grumpy Woods. They find the bears terribly annoying.

In GNAWING AROUND, when a few beavers come to town, the Grumpy Woods are even grumpier than usual. These beavers are drying up their river with their dam . . . the beavers are ruining everything! They must leave—it is decreed! But the Super Happy Party Bears just love the beavers! As the Grumpy Woods scheme to unwelcome them, the Super Happy Party Bears throw them a housewarming party that will prove dancing can always save the day.

In KNOCK, KNOCK, the Grumpy Woods dislike Wallace Woodpecker only slightly less than the Super Happy Party Bears. They find his pecking preposterously loud, but the bears think Wallace is beating a nice rhythm--it's great for early-morning dancercise! The bears convince Wallace he has great skills to offer the woods, and they give him ideas for unsolicited handy work. Instead of endearing him to the neighbors, it annoys them even more. Can the bears really help this noisy neighbor?





Congratulations to Marcie Colleen and Steve James for this new deal!




Happy Publication Day to A PATRON SAINT FOR JUNIOR BRIDESMAIDS & THE INFINITY YEAR OF AVALON JAMES!

Happy publication day to these wonderful middle grade novels!

A PATRON SAINT FOR JUNIOR BRIDESMAIDS is Shelley Tougas's third novel, following THE GRAHAM CRACKER PLOT and last fall's FINDERS, KEEPERS, which is now available in paperback.

A bully, a wedding, and a larger-than-life family add up to a hilarious and heartfelt middle-grade novel.
Mary Margaret Miller is going to be a junior bridesmaid--that is, if she isn't grounded for the rest of her life. She's feuding with school bully Brent Helzinski, and her cousin Eden, aka The Bride, is clashing with her grandmother about wedding plans. Mary knows it's her job as a junior bridesmaid to make the day run smoothly, but she sure could use a little help from above.

“Tougas keeps the narrative just light enough for her target audience of middle graders even as Mary struggles with some pretty deep religious questions. She may have been the Minnesota Church Youth Group Member of the Year, but that doesn't mean she is without flaws—a hard thing to admit. Wedding-prep comedy balances serious questions of morality in this sweetly perceptive book.” – Kirkus Reviews

"With a boisterous, multigenerational family and touching themes of tolerance, there’s a lot to like here, and fans of feel-good stories will be delighted." – Booklist

"[Mary's] voice is funny without being hyperbolic; instead, she is ordinary, observant, and realistically plagued by an overburdened sense of responsibility to keep everyone happy, which makes her relatable to many tweens. Readers looking for a lighthearted summer read about faith, family, and figuring out who you are in the midst of a lot of noise will enjoy this." – Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Mary Margaret Miller is one of those narrators who leaps off the page.  She’s funny, smart and bold; tender, compassionate and courageous.  As a story teller, a truth seeker and a Junior Bridesmaid, Mary is absolutely radiant.  Well done, Shelley Tougas!” – Sheila Turnage, author of the Newbery Honor book, Three Times Lucky

"Is there a Patron Saint for reading?  I hope so because this book is sweet, funny, and chock full of goodness!" – Lisa Greenwald, author of My Life in Pink and Green

To buy a copy of this delightful book, please visit:

And to say hi to Shelley, visit her site, or say hi on twitter!

Next up is THE INFINITY YEAR OF AVALON JAMES by debut author, Dana Middleton.  

Avalon James and Atticus Brightwell have a secret--one that they aren't allowed to discuss with anyone. This secret is shared between two best friends. When you and your best friend turn ten years old magical things are said to happen. You both will receive some kind of magical power. It can be a power you can call on time and time again. Or it can be a power that comes once when you need it most. It's your Infinity Year and the possibilities are endless.

The past year hasn't been great with her family being torn apart and bullying at school, so Avalon is depending on her magical ability to appear soon and help. With the clock ticking and her eleventh birthday approaching, which would be the end of her powers, Avalon's hopes are running high. Will she and Atticus get the powers they so desperately want and need?

Dana Middleton's debut novel is a wonderfully enchanting story of the possibility of magic and the even more magical bond between two best friends.

We've received two starred reviews for this lovely novel!

“Life lessons are related in Avalon's genial, evocative voice, convincingly illuminating many of the issues of a year that can offer infinite possibilities, even if the magic is imagined. A fine, tenderly nuanced tale of the remarkable power of friendship.” – Kirkus Reviews, starred review

 “This offers a number of realistically drawn characters, both kids and adults, portrayed as complex people who interact and cope with their troubles in individual ways. A well-knit first novel with an involving, affecting story." – Booklist 

“Blending realism with just a touch of magic, Middleton’s debut novel demonstrates a keen awareness of the infinite possibilities of childhood.”  – Publishers Weekly

“This will appeal to readers looking for an overall upbeat story with realistic drama. Featuring a positive depiction of boy-girl friendship and appealing characters, this is recommended.” – School Library Journal

For copies of AVALON, please visit:

and give author Dana Middleton a shout on twitter!

Announcing a Deal! MAXINE AND MILTON by Ruth Spiro

I'm so pleased to announce the sale of  Ruth Spiro's MAXINE AND MILTON picture book series!  Ruth is also the author of the BABY LOVES series, out this month.  In this new series, Ruth has created a marvelous new main character -- Maxine, who is a Maker.  She likes to create things, but not in a crafty sense.  She prefers gears to googly eyes and circuits to coloring books.  And for Maxine, there’s nothing better than a problem to solve.  With her beloved companion and muse, a goldfish named Milton, she deconstructs and reconstructs, tweaks and hacks – Maxine can make anything better with a little elbow grease and her know-how.

When Maxine invites Milton to march with her in the class Pet Parade, he’s bubbling with excitement. (Being a goldfish, he doesn’t get out much.)  There’s just one hitch: marching doesn’t come naturally for a fish, even one as cool as Milton.  Maxine is undeterred – she must use her powers of invention, and maker know-how, to create a way for Milton to take part.  But this hack may be the toughest one yet…

MAXINE & MILTON celebrates one girl’s smart, determined approach to solving problems.  I love that Maxine is a maker – never happier than when she’s tinkering with machines and technology – but she’s more than a modern day Rube Goldberg.  Maxine is a good friend too, dedicated to including Milton not just because it’s an opportunity to invent, but because she loves him.

We're so excited about working with Holly Hatam on this book, and can't wait to see how she brings Maxine to life!