Member News—December 2021

Member News is a monthly feature on the EasternPennPoints blog. We want to celebrate our Eastern PA SCBWI members’ good news and help spread the word far and wide. Send us your children’s book–related news—book deals, releases, awards, author or illustrator events (signings, launch parties, appearances), etc. If you’d like your news to be included in next month’s column, please email Laura Parnum at before January 20, or fill out our “Good News Survey.”

Here’s some exciting news from our members this month:

Book Release

The Backyard Secrets of Danny Wexler by Karen Pokras

Author Karen Pokras released her middle grade novel The Backyard Secrets of Danny Wexler (Lerner/Kar-Ben) on November 1, 2021. Eleven-year-old Danny Wexler, the only Jewish boy in his blue-collar town during the late 1970s, is obsessed with the Bermuda Triangle. When a local child goes missing, Danny’s convinced it’s connected to an old Bermuda Triangle theory involving UFOs. With his two best friends and their telescope, Danny heads to his backyard to investigate. But hunting for extraterrestrials is complicated, and it doesn’t help that his friend Nicholas’s mom doesn’t want her son hanging out with a Jewish boy. Equipped with his super-secret spy notebook, Danny sets out to fight both the aliens and the growing antisemitism in the town in hopes of mending his divided community.

Featured Books by Reading Rainbow and Kirkus Reviews

Author Katy Howes’s book Be a Maker (Carolrhoda Books, 2019) will be the featured title in the first episode of a new Reading Rainbow interactive show. Reading Rainbow is launching a live show featuring music, play, read alouds, and chances for kids to ask questions and share their thoughts via virtual and in-person events. The first episode is scheduled to air January 29. You can find out more info on their website at

Rissy No Kissies by Katy Howes

Another of Katy’s books, Rissy No Kissies (Carolrhoda Books, March 2021) made the Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2021 list. The book was featured in the category of “Best Picture Books of 2021 for Starting Conversations.”

Deal Announcements

Sally Morgridge at Holiday House has acquired world rights to Ruptured by Joanne Rossmassler Fritz. The novel in verse follows a 13-year-old girl on vacation with her parents. Her mother tells her a painful secret just before suffering a brain aneurysm rupture, and the family must learn to navigate a difficult new existence. Publication is scheduled for fall 2023.

In addition, Allison Cohen at Running Press Kids has acquired world rights to In the Palm of My Hands, a picture book by Jennifer Raudenbush, which will be illustrated by Isabella Conti. On an ambling walk, a child discovers that sometimes the smallest things in life—even those that fit in our hands—hold the promise of larger worlds. Publication is scheduled for winter 2023.

SCBWI’s Recommended Reading List—December 2021

Each month, SCBWI features books written and illustrated by members, and every month highlights a new theme that will foster discussions, activities, and enjoyment. December’s Recommended Reading List features books that celebrate holidays. From fiction to nonfiction, covering holidays that are celebrated during all different parts of the year, these books will put you in the holiday spirit. SCBWI’s December Recommended Reading List includes books from two of our region’s members, Santa’s Puppy by Catherine Hapka and Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah illustrated by Julie Fortenberry.

If you have good news to share, please send it to to be included in next month’s Member News column or fill out our “Good News Survey.”

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