February 1, 2023


from all of us at East/West


Images by John Ledda, Luciana Navarro Powell, and Kelly Crull 


Happy Book Birthday 

by Award-winning
Alexandra Alessandri

in her MG Fantasy debut

(Atheneum Books for Young Readers)

Cover by Dana Sanmar
Design by Debra Sfetsios-Conover

Encanto meets The Chronicles of Narnia by way of Colombian folklore

“With the action beginning on the first page, this fast-paced adventure set in a well-realized world will keep readers on their toes.
Modern kids meet traditional tales with thrilling results.”

“Beautiful prose combines with gripping adventure in this magical ode to Colombia and its legends. Fans  . . . will adore this book, for both its mythic monsters and its plucky heroine.”

“An adventurous journey that is by turns bone-chilling and joyful.”

“Alessandri (Isabel and Her Colores Go to School) expertly weaves an immersive tale bursting at the seams with folklore, enchantments, and spirit.”

Featured at:

Excerpt from Alessandri‘s
Book Birthday interview with Erin Dealey:

Q. They say every book is a bit autobiographical in some way. Are you more like Valentina, her brother, Julián, or their father?

Alessandri: Valentina is creative but also anxious, eager to please her parents but also wanting to carve a space that’s hers alone. She second-guesses herself and is sometimes indecisive, especially when the stakes are high because she doesn’t want to fail. All of these are traits that I share with her.

With cool bookmarks!


Happy Book Birthday

by Award-winning
Poet & Author
Mariko Nagai

(Square Fish/Macmillan)

Cover art by Yuta Onoda

A beautifully told MG novel-in-verse about a Japanese orphan’s experience in occupied rural Manchuria during World War II.

A 2021 Sakura Medal nominee
A NCSS-CBC 2020 Notable
(Social Studies) 
An NCTE Notable 2020
(Poetry & Verse novels) 
An ILA 2020 Notable 
for a Global Society
A Main Student Book Award Nominee
Denver Library Best & Brightest

Now available in paperback!

“Published for middle-grade readers but necessary for all of humankind, UNDER THE BROKEN SKY is a breathtaking work of literature.”

Nagai (R) with Ottaviano

“An afterword includes . . . a reminder from the author that refugee families to this day leave their homes because they have no choice; this story offers readers a moving way to put themselves in such families’ shoes.

“Echoing the hardships and redemption of many novels about World War II, this well-timed story about a lesser-known group of refugees adds an important chapter to the narrative of human oppression and survival.”

“A story of hope and resilience during one of history’s tragic forced migrations. Mariko‘s beautiful free verse reveals the emotional impact on a child and her family.”
―Margarita Engle,
Newbery Honor-winning author of 
The Surrender Tree

Mariko Nagai is the author of UNDER THE BROKEN SKY and DUST OF EDEN as well as several books of poetry and fiction for adults. She has received the Pushcart Prize in both poetry and fiction, as well as many other accolades. She is an associate professor of creative writing and Japanese literature at Temple University, Japan Campus, in Tokyo, where she is also the director of research.

Happy Book Birthday 

An Anna Dewdney Book


illustrated by JT Morrow

in Children’s Size & Shape Books


Anna Dewdney’s NYT’s bestselling franchise continues with a new Llama Llama concept board book . . . the 4th in the “Learning with Llama Llama” series. 

Llama Llama spends the day at the farmers market surrounded by shapes. From rectangles, squares, triangles, circles, and stars, children will love this look-and-find format.

“There are plenty of engaging details to keep readers looking, … The text is concise, and each spread features a simple question inviting participation. This title is more captivating than other shape concept books … Llama Llama’s popularity will make this a hit with fans, and readers looking for substance will find it.

Featured in:

The On-Sale Calendar: February

Pair it with 

Also available in Spanish editions

Stay tuned for LLAMA LLAMA
OPPOSITES this fall:


Happy Book Birthday 

by Erin Dealey

Art by Dilys Evans Founder
Award-winning Illustrator
Luisa Uribe

(Harper Collins)

Now available in paperback

What begins as a monthly exchange of ideas between Earth and Room 5 grows into a lasting friendship, a school club with a surprising president,
and–hopefully–lifelong Earth-smart habits.

Dear Earth …From Your Friends in Room 5 | Storytime Read Aloud


in hardcover

A celebration of every child’s ability to connect with the environment and make a positive impact.


“A year’s worth of letters between elementary students and Earth highlight practical ways to care for our planet . . . A well-thought-out presentation of an important environmental message.

“Small changes add up to big results, as Dealey’s classroom … become monthly pen pals with Earth. The planet magically answers:

“Room 5,
Your letter arrived on the wind.
A whisper of hope in the night.
I’m thankful for helpers who care for their planet.
Here’s one way: please turn off the lights.
Using less electricity saves energy. Stargazers will thank you too!
Your friend, Earth.”

The upbeat tone on both sides of the correspondence will keep kids turning pages, anxious to see the next payoff in this crescendo of good will and great stewardship.

The steps are small, the goals are global, and any class or story hour can launch their own year of being Earth Heroes.”

The reverse side of the book jacket is repurposed to become a poster that features twelve months of Earth Hero activities.
Be An Earth Hero All year!

A fitting classroom read-aloud choice for Earth Day.”

Q: You have a multitude of ways that are accessible for kids to be able to implement right away (turning off lights, using a re-usable water bottle, recycling paper, etc.).  Why is this message something you wanted to share with young readers?
Dealey:  I wanted to find a way to encourage these wonderful Earth-friendly habits all year long. When you think about it, most schools celebrate I-Love-To-Read or Read Across America Day, but we encourage students to read every day, right? Why can’t Earth Day be like that, a day to celebrate the good deeds we’ve done for our planet all year?

Simply 7 with Erin Dealey: DEAR EARTH FROM YOUR FRIENDS IN ROOM 5 | Jena Benton

From a student:

As featured in The SKIMM

Teacher Resources and activities here.

Erin Dealey is a children’s author of over a dozen books.  She grew up in Oakland, California, where she often did her homework on the roof of her garage. School visits, kidlit conferences, and ZOOMS have taken her as far south as Brazil and as far north as Tok, Alaska.


Antoinette Portis’


(Neal Porter Books/Holiday House)

is ALSO a 2023 Notable
(Social Studies)

…along with five
other titles:

Also a Booklist Top 10 Environment & Sustainability for Youth (2023)

Also included in:

Also a:


Happy Book Birthday 

by Kwame Alexander

Illustrated by 
Dawud Anyabwile 

(Clarion/Harper Collins) 

Streaming series coming soon on Disney+, with executive producers including NBA great LeBron James!

Five starred reviews!


Happy Book Birthday 

by Kwame Alexander

Illustrated by Thai Neave

Now available in paperback
(Clarion/ Harper Collins)

A companion to the Newbery Medal-winning MG novel in verse 

You gotta know the rules to play the game. Ball is life. Take it to the hoop. Soar.
Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry, and Michelle Obama.

Spring 2017 Kids’ Indie Next List

“The volume reads like a series of locker- room pep talks by a coach with stories to tell and advice to give…” 
Horn Book  

“A stirring collection of 52 motivational poems-as-rules…”

“The advice never feels heavy-handed, and the author’s voice shines through…”

 “Alexander uses sports as a metaphor for life in this earnest gathering of personal reminiscences.”



(in its 20th total week)


also a SoCAL Indie Bestseller

Marking East/West’s
293rd week

(as of 2/26)


(week ending 2/11)

also a SoCAL 
and a MIBA Indie Bestseller

(week ending 2/11)



Jim Averbeck authored and/or illustrated:



Pictured: Brynne Barnes (L) and editor Melissa Manlove (R)



… and here’s a shout out to visionary entrepreneur and CEO April Showers, creator of Afro Unicorn® …


… a fully licensed character celebrating representation founded by as a conscious brand with the mission to positively uplift and impact women and children of color, representing the beauty and uniqueness of vanilla, caramel, and mocha complexions.
Stay tuned for exciting book deals to come, including:




A #2 Amazon bestseller in Children’s Art Biographies
and a Most Wished for in Children’s Art Biographies
(as of 2/17)

More FABulosity February news:

Megan E. Freeman’s award-winning indie bestseller, ALONE, has just earned its FOURTEENTH state list. 




Ana Crespo‘s LIA y LUÍS: ¿QUIÉN TIENE MÁS? and Natasha Yim‘s LUNA y SU RIQUÍSIMO DIM SUM are 2023 Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Books of the Year in Spanish.

Pre-order LIA & LUÍZ: PUZZLED! (illustrated by Giovana Medeiros, Charlesbridge),
another Lia & Luís mathematical adventure, out on March 7.







Colorado Council of International Reading Association

Left: Jim Averbeck & Gregory Barrington
Right: Jim Averbeck & Heather Brockman Lee

Lauren Kerstein, Lynn Becker, & Jim Averbeck





Deborah Warren and E/W client and producer Angel Tyree at  WIT (Women in Toys) cocktail party
Back: Deborah Warren and Mary Kay Russell (Women in Toys)
Front: agent Karen Kilpatrick, AdELA Hassan, CEO and managing partner of All Star Kids, and Angel Tyree



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