Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Melissa Coffey signs deal for debut picture book

Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Melissa Coffey, who just signed a deal for her debut picture book, Fridge-O-Polis! According to the Publishers Weekly announcement, “in this pun-filled picture book that touches on the problem of food waste, a city packed with old food and souring leftovers must be saved from rancid ruin.” The book will be illustrated by Josh Cleland.  Courtney Fahy at Little Bee Books bought world rights to the book, and the deal was negotiated by agent Charlotte Wenger at Prospect Agency.Melissa Coffey headshot against beige stone background

“I was inspired to write Fridge-O-Polis,” Melissa writes, “after learning that Americans dump a staggering 40 percent of all food produced each year! Yet record numbers of people (many of them kids) face hunger and food insecurity. Food waste is a huge, but often overlooked problem—and major contributor to climate change since the number one thing in landfills is rotting food which generates methane.

“I believe many of us have cleaned out our fridges to find some scary leftover lurking in the back or mushy produce that never got eaten. My hope is that Fridge-O-Polis not only garners plenty of giggles from young readers but also starts a conversation about daily choices and habits. I want to empower them to become food waste warriors and planet saving superheroes!”

Regarding the journey to finding a publisher, Melissa says she was “amazed and surprised by how quickly this project came together. My agent, Charlotte Wenger, submitted the manuscript to Courtney Fahy at Little Bee Books on November 12, 2020 and on December 18, we had an offer in hand! It was truly the most unexpected, wonderful holiday present I could have received! From the first time we spoke, I knew Courtney shared my enthusiasm for environmental sustainability, back matter (and puns!) and has been a delight to work with. I’m also excited that the talented Josh Cleland is illustrating and can’t wait to see how he brings the citizens of Fridge-O-Polis to life.”

Fridge-O-Polis is scheduled for publication in fall, 2022.