Celebration Station: Spring 2024

Apr 1, 2024 | Community Good News, Highlights Foundation News

Welcome to our Community Celebration Station!

This is the place where we’ll share the good news and more that we hear from our community.

Our team tries our best to compile these posts.  If we missed you, or if you have a new story or a piece of good news to share, please let us know here.  We’d love to hear from you!

New Books

Happy Book Birthday to M.O. Yuksel and Hatem Aly!

Author M.O. Yuksel and illustrator Hatem Aly joined Cat Galeano on Instagram Live to celebrate the Book Birthday of their new book, Ramadan KareemTheir last book was also featured on our Art Wall.  Congratulations again!  See the full IG Live video here.

M.O. Yuksel and Hatem Aly's Book Birthday social media graphic

Debut Announced

Congratulations to Trisha Tobias on the acquistion of her debut novel HONEYSUCKLE AND BONE.  Trisha was a Highlights Foundation fellow, student, and guest faculty.

Trish Tobias' Debut Announced in Publishers Weekly

Announcement in Publishers Weekly: Tiffany Liao at Zando Young Readers/Sweet July Books has won, in a five-house auction, North American rights to Trisha Tobias’s debut novel Honeysuckle and Bone, a YA contemporary meets Gothic ghost story about a teen girl who takes a nanny job on a rich Jamaican estate only to discover buried family secrets, a slow-burn romance, and that even paradise can be haunted. Publication is scheduled for March 2025; Chelsea Eberly at Greenhouse Literary Agency brokered the two-book, six-figure deal on behalf of Dovetail Fiction/Working Partners.

Debut Published

Congratulations to Anna Lapera on her upper middle grade debut, MANI SEMILLA FINDS HER QUETZAL VOICE.

MANI SEMILLA FINDS HER QUETZAL VOICE cover

Scholarship Recipient Announces Book Deal

Congratulations Marzieh!

Iam so grateful to @highlightsfound for the verse novel scholarship I won wiht Cordelia Jensen and the knowledge and community I gained through it.  @doucette515 was one of the best writing buddies to have met during the course, and with whom I began a novels in verse slack group.   Pubilshers Marketplace Deal Report Marzieh Abbas’s Aarzu Raza Extra No More!, a novel in verse about a 12-year-old who dreams of playing cricket and earning enough money to help with her sister’s medical treatments, and takes a chance to save her sibling and her own aspirations, to Krista Vitola at Simon & Schuster Children’s, in a nice deal, for publisher in summer 2025, by Lynnette Novak at The Seymour Agency (world).

From the post by @marziehabbas_author: I am so grateful to @highlightsfound for the verse novel scholarship I won with Cordelia Jensen and the knowledge and community I gained through it. @doucette515 was one of the best writing buddies to have met during the course, and with whom I began a [novels in verse] slack group.

Pubilshers Marketplace Deal Report:
Marzieh Abbas’s Aarzu Raza Extra No More!, a novel in verse about a 12-year-old who dreams of playing cricket and earning enough money to help with her sister’s medical treatments, and takes a chance to save her sibling and her own aspirations, to Krista Vitola at Simon & Schuster Children’s, in a nice deal, for publication in summer 2025, by Lynnette Novak at The Seymour Agency (world).

Book Born from a Workshop

We got this lovely note from Ellen Cochrane. Congratulations Ellen!

I signed up for [a workshop] during COVID. I had my middle years non-fiction survival story manuscript that I completed for my masters at Johns Hopkins.  Miranda Paul gave me supportive feedback, however, she didn’t feel she had the bandwidth to handle the project. She kindly referred me to [an agent]. [That agent] signed me!  After a year of nail biting queries I sold the book… I just submitted my second manuscript to my editor and publication is anticipated in 2025. This never would have happened without Highlights and I’m profoundly grateful.

Created in Cabin 21

Robin Zimmerman shared this fun fact.  Congratulations Robin!

My second picture book biography is due out from Calkins Creek in Fall 2024. Created in Cabin 21.

Debut Announced

Congratulations to Jasminne Paulino on the acquistion of her debut novel in verse, THE EXTRAORDINARY ORBIT OF ALEX RAMIREZ (draft finished at one retreat, and manuscript revised with the help of another).  Listen to Jasminne talk about her experience at the Highlights Foundation here.

Jasminne Paulino's PW announcement

Announcement in Publishers Weekly: Matt Phipps at Putnam has acquired, at auction, world rights to The Extraordinary Orbit of Alex Ramirez by debut author Jasminne Paulino, a middle grade novel-in-verse about a neurodiverse seventh-grader in a self-contained classroom who dreams of traveling to the stars one day—but first he has to confront the bullies at school, and convince his teachers and parents that he’s ready to join his grade’s mainstream science class. Publication is scheduled for summer 2025; Michaela Whatnall at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret sold world rights.

Book Shaped By a Course

A note from Lynn Sanders:

I value the Highlights Foundation in helping me with my stories. I’m publishing ADVENTURES IN ECUADOR: DIARY OF A VOLUNTEER that was shaped by my time in one of your classes. [It] encouraged me to change the viewpoint of my story from 3rd person to 1st person, as a child writing a diary. The book is being published in the next month.

Adventures in Ecuador Cover

Awards and Features

NAACP Image Award Finalist

Fatima Tate Takes the Cake

Congratulations to Khadijah VanBrakle!  FATIMA TATE TAKES THE CAKE was named as an NAACP Image Award finalist this year.

LA Times Book Prize Finalist

Forgive Me Not Cover by Jennifer Baker

Congratulations to Jennifer Baker!  FORGIVE ME NOT is a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize.

More Good News On Our Blog

Celebrating Stephanie Gibeault’s Book Birthday!

Celebrating Stephanie Gibeault’s Book Birthday!

Celebration Station: Spring 2024

Celebration Station: Spring 2024

Celebrating Ramadan Kareem’s Book Birthday with M.O. Yuksel and Hatem Aly

Celebrating Ramadan Kareem’s Book Birthday with M.O. Yuksel and Hatem Aly

Cover Reveal: Xavier’s Voice by Ashley Franklin

Cover Reveal: Xavier’s Voice by Ashley Franklin

#HFGather: 2024 Scholarship Celebration and Information Session

#HFGather: 2024 Scholarship Celebration and Information Session

The Highlights Foundation Will Award Scholarships Exceeding $125K in Value This Year 

The Highlights Foundation Will Award Scholarships Exceeding $125K in Value This Year 

From Virtual Summer Camp to Personal Retreat to Publication With Scholarship Support: Tonya Duncan Ellis

From Virtual Summer Camp to Personal Retreat to Publication With Scholarship Support: Tonya Duncan Ellis

Highlights Foundation Receives a $50K Grant from Hawthornden Foundation to Support In-Community Retreats

Highlights Foundation Receives a $50K Grant from Hawthornden Foundation to Support In-Community Retreats

How 2 Writers Used Their Scholarships to Sharpen Revision Skills

How 2 Writers Used Their Scholarships to Sharpen Revision Skills

Scholarships Helped These 2 Teachers Improve Their Storytelling Skills

Scholarships Helped These 2 Teachers Improve Their Storytelling Skills

With Scholarship Support, Rachel Werner Grows Her Passion Project: Expanding Inclusion in Narratives

With Scholarship Support, Rachel Werner Grows Her Passion Project: Expanding Inclusion in Narratives

Celebration Station: Fall 2023

Celebration Station: Fall 2023

Our Mission in Action

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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.