This month, Rita Lorraine Hubbard and Oge Mora’s The Oldest Student was spotted in my colleague’s local paper (Thanks, Jessica A!) and Kat Zhang was featured on NBC 5 for her and Charlene Chua’s Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao!

Publishing this Month

We Could Be Heroes by Margaret Finnegan (S&S/Atheneum, February 2020)

Starred Reviews and Best of Lists

Margaret Finnegan’s We Could Be Heroes (S&S/Atheneum, February 2020) is a Junior Library Guild Selection!

Rita Lorraine Hubbard and Oge Mora’s The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read (RH/Schwartz & Wade, January 2020) has received a fifth(!!) starred review, this time from BookPage. The Oldest Student has also been selected for the Action Book Club under the theme Reading All Around.

Kat Zhang and Charlene Chua’s Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao (S&S/Aladdin, October 2019) has been chosen as one of the Top Ten titles for the Ontario Library Association’s (OLA) Best Bets Committee.

Work from Yvonne Ivinson’s Fox and the Box (HC/Greenwillow, May 2019) was chosen for exhibition as part of the SCBWIBI Illustrators juried show Pictures At Play in London.

New Deals

Carolyn Yoder at Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills & Kane has acquired Thunder and Mercy, a second middle grade by Jennifer Robin Barr (Goodbye, Mr. Spalding). A novel of unfinished business, secret identities and found families, the book throws the protagonist into a historical mystery starring Mount Pleasant (a wedding gift from Benedict Arnold to his bride, Peggy Shippen) and the infamous Agent 355 – a female member of the Culper Spy Ring who helped to expose Arnold, and whose real life identity remains a mystery. Publication is planned for 2022; Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary did the deal for World English Language rights.

Anne Shone at Scholastic Canada has acquired Oliver Bounces Back by Alison Hughes, illustrated by Charlene Chua. The book, told in a unique news story format, follows a boy having a very bad day in school but who learns how to “bounce back.” The author represented herself and Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary represented the illustrator for World rights.

Allison Cohen at Running Press has acquired, in a pre-empt, Battle of the Butts, a debut non-fiction picture book by Jocelyn Rish and illustrated by David Creighton. In this rump-centric romp, readers create their own criteria and rank their favorite (or least favorite) fannies amongst ten animal competitors. Will it be The Tough Tushie – aka the wombat – who uses its reinforced rump to protect its burrow from predators, or The Fatal Farter – aka the beaded lacewing – who kills termites that prey on it with its farts? With the possibility of new criteria each time, this is a battle that is sure to be fought again and again! Publication is planned for Fall 2021; Tracy Marchini at BookEnds Literary represented the author and Sam Groff at Advocate Art represented the illustrator for World rights.

New Clients

None this month, but I am looking!

I’m particularly interested in seeing more author-illustrators; chapter book, middle grade and YA graphic novelists; inclusive contemporary middle grade and YA novels; LGBTQIA+ picture books (both fiction and non-fiction); and as always – stories that are full of humor and/or heart. I love clever word-play, witty character banter (as long as it still sounds age-appropriate) and stories that are fun/funny and teach me something new about the world.

Personal News

This has been a really bad cold and flu season for me. (Fun fact: we can add one more antibiotic to the list of ones I don’t respond well to!)

MSWL of the Month

As well as the list above, I’d love to see more inclusive books that celebrate love in all its forms!

You can query me at for this and any other of my #mswls any time I’m open to queries.

Last Month in The Quacktory

Last month I talked about the productivity question I asked myself in 2019 – and the better question I’ll be asking myself in 2020. This month, I’ll be talking about what it means to write from the heart, and how that sometimes gets muddled when we’re also trying to write for the market.

To get my monthly newsletter delivered to your inbox, you can join The Quacktory. (This month’s issue goes out tomorrow!)

Preorders now available for Princesses Can Fix It! on AmazonBarnes &, Indiebound, and you can add the book to your Goodreads.

For a personalized, autographed copy, you can pre-order from The Silver Unicorn

Chicken Wants a Nap by Tracy Marchini

"A surprising gem." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Chicken Wants a Nap is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your favorite independent bookstore!

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