10.9.2018: Can you keep a secret?

Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret is here

The seventh book in the Anna, Banana chapter-book series is out today in paperback and ebook, with the hardcover to follow soon (November 6). What’s it about? A sleepover! Secrets! Truth or Dare! Older sisters! Supersparkly nail polish! Silly surprises! A cat named Mewsic! And Anna, her two best friends, and her dog, Banana, of course.

Here’s a summary:

Anna and her friends love sleepovers...and sharing secrets! So when Anna and Sadie get invited to spend the night at Isabel's house for the first time, they know it's going to be amazing. Make your own pizzas, supersparkly nail polish, and a secret surprise from Sadie are sure to make this the most fun sleepover yet. The only way it would be better is if Anna’s dog, Banana, could come!

But sometimes secrets can go from so fun to no fun. When Isabel's sisters join the game of Truth or Dare, Anna's dare goes horribly wrong. Suddenly the girls are stuck with a huge secret they wish they didn't have to keep.

And here’s a peek at chapter three:

"Is it time for the surprise yet?" I said.

Isabel looked back and forth between us. "What surprise?" she asked. Sadie grinned.

Excitement zipped through me like two squirrels playing chase around a tree. Now I was glad Sadie hadn't told me the secret on the car ride, so I could find out about it at the same time Isabel did.

Sadie opened her backpack, reached deep inside, and took something out. We couldn't see what it was yet because she kept it hidden in her palms. Finally, she lifted one hand with a flourish to reveal the secret thing she held. "Ta-da!" she exclaimed.

This is the first Anna, Banana book featuring illustrations by Cassey Kuo, and I’m absolutely in love with the cuteness, energy, and strong sense of movement in her artwork. Here are two drawings from chapter two:

If you’d like to read the book and find out what the big secret at the sleepover is, please ask for Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret at your local bookstore or library, or follow one of these order linksIndiebound | B&N | Amazon | BAM | iBooks | Target | Indigo | Book Depository (international) | S&S. Thanks for your support!

9.11.2018: Watch Out for Wolf! and Upcoming Events

Shhh…. Watch out for Wolf!

This little piggy is excited to share the cover for Charles Santoso’s and my 2019 picture book, Watch Out for Wolf!. It’s the story of five anxious but enterprising little pigs who are preparing a very big surprise. It recasts the “This Little Piggy Went to Market” nursery rhyme, weaving in other beloved fables and tales (including the story of The Three Little Pigs) along the way. It’s also a story about friendship, assumptions, and inclusion. I had a lot of fun writing it! And even more fun seeing Charles’s delightful illustrations bring it to life.

The book comes out from Disney-Hyperion on April 16, 2019. The hardcover is available for preorder now wherever you buy books. (You can ask your local bookstore or library to order it, or follow one of the preorder links below. Thank you!)

Charles and I did a fun interview with Mr. Schu about the process of creating the book. If you’d like to read it, please click here. That post also includes a peek at some of the interior spreads.

Here are the links for preordering the book online: IndieboundB&NAmazon | BAMBook Depository (international) | Indigo

Meanwhile, Always Forever Maybe has been out in the world for three months, and in some ways it still doesn’t feel real. If you are one of the people who has bought, borrowed, read, reviewed, discussed, or recommended it, THANK YOU. My favorite part of this YA author life has been interacting with readers (that’s my favorite part of chapter-book and picture-book author life, too). I got to do some amazing bookstore and library events up and down the east coast over the summer, and I’m looking forward to upcoming book festivals and other events in Princeton, Warwick, Chicago, Brooklyn, Miami, and Manhattan this fall. (Three of those events—the Princeton and Warwick Children’s Book Festivals and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Ghouls & Gourds Festival—will include the Anna, Banana books and The Teacher’s Pet in addition to Always Forever Maybe, if you know a younger reader who would like to meet an author and get a signed book.) If I will be in your city or town, I would love to connect. For more details, please visit my events page. It’s going to be a fun and busy fall!

3.27.2018: Sleepover Secret Cover Reveal (and New Illustrator Reveal!)

Now there are six! ...and here comes the seventh. 

Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster (book six in the Anna, Banana chapter-book series) came out last week in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. The book is full of sweet treats (and snickerdoodle secrets, friendship messes, and kitchen disasters), so I took it out for ice cream to celebrate. 

When I started writing the first story about Anna, her dog, and her two best friends, I never dreamed there would someday be six of them (let alone with the seventh and eighth soon to follow—more on that below). I am grateful to each and every one of you who has helped make this happen and/or cheered me on along the way. Thank you.

If you haven't picked up a copy of Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster yet, please ask for it at your local bookstore or library, or find it online using one of these links: B&N | IndieboundAmazon | BAM | iBooks | Indigo | Target | S&SGoodreads

And speaking of book seven... I'm thrilled to share the cover for Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret, which comes out on October 2, 2018. This is the first Anna, Banana cover by new illustrator Cassey Kuo, who is coming on board for the next books in the series, and I absolutely love it. (To see more of Cassey's fabulous artwork, check out her Instagram page.) 

What's it about? A sleepover! Secrets! Older sisters! Surprises! Truth or Dare! Supersparkly nail polish! And Isabel's enormous tabby cat, Mewsic. To learn more about the plot and read a brief excerpt, click here.

If you'd like to pre-order a copy (thank you!) or add it to your Goodreads TBR, here are the links: Indiebound | B&N | BAM | Amazon (paperback | hardcover) | Indigo | S&S | Goodreads

3.16.18: Love, Sophia on the Moon

New book news! 

I'm over the moon to share this news about my third(!) picture book. Love, Sophia on the Moon is an epistolary story near and dear to my heart, and I'm thrilled to be creating it with the talented Mika Song (if you're not already familiar with Mika's amazing illustrations, please check out the cuteness on her website), super editrix Rotem Moscovich, and the whole wonderful team at Disney-Hyperion. 

There's lots of mischief and make-believe in this one, and some tugging at heart strings too. I hope you'll like it.

Here's the official announcement* from Publishers Weekly (plus a photo I took of a balloon last week in Tampa after AWP):

Love, Sophia on the Moon doesn't come out until summer 2020, but I have three new books coming out this year to tide you over in the meantime, and all of them are available for pre-order now: 

Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster (#6) comes out March 20 (next week!) in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. It contains baking disasters, friendship messes, snickerdoodle secrets, and, of course, a cute dog.

Always Forever Maybe, my YA debut, releases on June 5 in hardcover, ebook, and audio. I am really excited for you to read this one. I spent six years working on it, and it makes me nervous and giddy just thinking about it being real. It's about obsessive love, toxic masculinity, enduring friendship, and the risks we take with our hearts.

Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret (#7) comes out October 2 in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. Cover reveal coming soon! This one includes a sleepover and many secrets (of course), not to mention Truth or Dare surprises and an enormous cat named Mewsic.

Click on any of the above titles for further information, including pre-order links. Thanks for your interest and support!

(*Photo text: Rotem Moscovich at Disney-Hyperion has bought Love, Sophia on the Moon, a picture book by Anica Mrose Rissi, author of the Anna, Banana series and The Teacher's Pet. In the story, Sophia writes letters threatening to run away to "the moon" to avoid being in trouble on Earth, and her mother writes back. Tea with Oliver author-illustrator Mika Song will illustrate; publication is set for 2020. Meredith Kaffel Simonoff at DeFiore and Company represented the author, and Erica Rand Silverman at Stimola Literary Studio represented the artist.)

1.13.2018: Picture-Book Revision Tips

From Promising to Polished

I wrote a piece for the January 2018 issue of The Writer magazine (out now!) about how to revise a picture-book manuscript. In it, I share my best tips, tricks, questions, and approaches to keep in mind as you play and experiment with your draft. To read a PDF of the article, click here.

Speaking of picture books, this week I got to see early sketches for Watch Out for Wolf!, my 2019 picture book with Charles Santoso, and I squealed louder than Pigbert—or Piggle, Piggleton, Piggit, or Piggums, for that matter. I can't wait for you to meet all five little piggies (and Wolf, of course) when the book comes out next April. As soon as I'm allowed to share a peek of the cover and interiors, I will. (If you'd like to add the book on Goodreads, you'll find it here.)

In the meantime, I'm finishing up revisions on Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret (book seven in the series, coming in October), drafting what I hope will be my next YA novel, and trying to contain my nerves and excitement as advance reader copies of Always Forever Maybe make their way into the hands of booksellers and reviewers. Some fun news: In addition to the hardcover and ebook editions coming in June, HarperCollins will also publish Always Forever Maybe as an audiobook! (Available for pre-order now, wherever you like to purchase books.) Huge thanks to the B&N Teen blog for including Always Forever Maybe on their list 21 of Our Most Anticipated Debuts of 2018. They said: "This is a story about first love, sweet until it turns bitter....Rissi has a deft touch on a heavy topic, addressing abuse while still managing to infuse this meaty debut with romance, real #BFF goals, and dashes of humor."

And here are some photos of my dog with her new teddy bear.

11.15.2017: Free Books for Schools in Need

UPDATE (11.19.2017): Thanks to all of you who helped spread the word about these donations! The response has been overwhelming--I've already promised to send far more books than I originally budgeted to buy. I am going to fill all requests that have already come in (approximately 900 books), but unfortunately now I need to start turning new requests down. If you'd like to be among the first to know about future giveaways and other book news, please sign up for my newsletter (see sidebar).


This fall, I'm hoping to donate copies of the Anna, Banana chapter books and my picture book The Teacher's Pet to high-poverty public elementary schools* (meaning either Title I or schools where more than 70% of the students qualify for free or reduced-price meals). If that's your school, please be in touch! And if you know of a school in need, please encourage a teacher, librarian, or administrator there to reach out to me. My email is anicamroserissi at gmail dot com.

In the final weeks of 2016, I sent more than four hundred books to schools in twenty-three states. I hope to donate even more books this year.

If you're inclined to share this post to help spread the word, please do. You'll also find the below graphic in shareable form on my FacebookInstagram, Tumblr, and Twitter accounts. Thank you!

*U.S. schools only, due to shipping costs. Giveaway ends December 15, 2017.

The Anna, Banana chapter books are best for students in grades 1-4. For more information about the series, please click hereThe Teacher's Pet, illustrated by Zachariah OHora, is best for students in Pre-K through graduate school. For more information about the book, including reviews and a peek inside, please click here.

10.9.2017: Always Forever Maybe cover reveal

Ahhhhhhhhh, I'm so excited to show you the cover of my YA debut, Always Forever Maybe, a novel about obsessive teenage love, which will be published by HarperTeen (an imprint of HarperCollins) on June 5, 2018. Here it is:

Isn't it gorgeous? The cover is the work of artist Sean Freeman and designer Erin Fitzsimmons. The B&N Teen Blog hosted the official cover reveal today, and you can follow this link to read the post I wrote for them about the cover creation process.  

To learn more about the book, please visit the official Always Forever Maybe page on my website. If you would like to pre-order a copy of the hardcover or ebook, please ask for it at your local bookstore or follow one of these links: Indiebound | B&N | Amazon | Kindle | iTunes | BAM | Indigo | HarperCollins (Pre-orders can make a huge difference in a book's success, so thank you for your support!) You can also add it to your Goodreads shelf here.

And now, excuse me, but I must return to dancing around the room in celebration. (My book has a cover! This seems almost real!)

10.2.2017: #PubforPR Auction

Dear friends,

If you're looking for a way to help with the hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico, please check out #PubforPR, an auction organized by several members of the kid lit community, featuring items donated by authors, editors, and literary agents. All winning bids going directly to Unidos por Puerto Rico and ConPRmetidos (bidder's choice), two carefully vetted local charity organizations participating in the relief efforts.

The full list of auction items--including signed books, manuscript critiques, query letter critiques, writing retreats, Skype visits with authors, in-person visits with literary agents, and more--may be found here on the Pub for PR website

If you know an elementary-school teacher or a classroom of 2nd, 3rd, or 4th graders who love to read, please consider bidding on my auction item: a class set (up to thirty copies) of Anna, Banana, and the Friendship Split paperbacks, plus all six of my books in hardcover for the school or classroom library, a class set of bookmarks and stickers, and a 20-minute Skype visit with me. The approximate value of this package is $320. Bidding starts at $75, and you can find the link here.

The #PubforPR auction opened this morning and runs until 10pm eastern time on Thursday, October 5th. Please bid early and often! And please help spread the word to your friends.

If you don't wish to bid, you can still donate to Unidos por Puerto Rico or ConPRmetidos. If you contribute $15 or more to either organization and send a copy of your donation receipt to  PubforPR@gmail.com with the words “Donation for Raffle Entry” in the subject line, you will be entered to win one of five secret prizes.

Thank you to the auction organizers for donating their time and energy to this effort. And thank you for the good you do in the world.

xox, Nica

8.31.2017: Extra, Extra! Read All About It

It was an author dream come true to see The Teacher's Pet recommended in the New York Times last weekend, along with four other fun back-to-school picture books. If you missed the review, here it is:

Meanwhile, my dog, Arugula, was delighted to find herself on the cover of the the Princeton Echo. Dan Bauer wrote a lovely profile on us (and my books) for the September issue, which you can read online here.

If you'd like to see me in person, rather than in print, please come to one of my many September events. I will be doing a The Teacher's Pet story time and launch party (with prosecco, homemade cookies, and cheese!) at Community Bookstore in Park Slope, Brooklyn on Sunday, September 10th, at 11am. On Saturday, September 16th, you'll find me on the Picture Book Stage at the Brooklyn Book Festival Children's Day at 11:30am, and at the Back to School Picture Book Bonanza (together with many other picture-book creators!) at Books of Wonder from 1-3pm. I'll be at the Princeton Children's Book Festival in Princeton, NJ, on Saturday, September 23rd, and the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, GA, this coming weekend (see my schedule, below). For more details on any of these events (and more coming up!), please visit the public events page of my website. 

Happy back to school, happy start of fall, and happy reading!

P.S. Anna, Banana, and Friends: A Four-Book Paperback Collection came out this week. It includes Anna, Banana books 1-4 inside a super-cute case. If you need a copy, here's where to find one: Indiebound | B&N | BAM | Amazon | Target | Indigo 

7.20.2017: The Recipe for Disaster Cover Reveal

Get ready to make some messes....

Anna and her friends stir up some sweet treats—and a scoop of trouble—in the kitchen in Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster. This sixth book in the Anna, Banana series isn't out until March 2018, but I'm delighted to share Meg Park's adorable cover art and a peek inside today. 

First, here's the cover!

And here's what it's about:

Anna, Sadie, and Isabel love sharing sweet treats, and they're ready to put their baking skills to the test. The plan? To make the best-ever cookies for the library bake sale! Even Anna's dog, Banana, feels certain the girls can win.

There's only one problem: Monica, Sadie and Isabel's new friend who keeps stirring up trouble. Monica, who might be trying to steal Anna's best friends away from her. Can Anna's special new recipe help win them back, or will an unexpected ingredient turn things from sweet to sour?

Would you like a peek inside? Here's a brief excerpt from Chapter Nine: Take a Bite.

Sadie perked right up. “Do you want to bake with us on Saturday morning?” she asked Monica. 

Say no, say no, say no, say no, I thought. I didn’t want to be mean, but I also didn’t want to bake cookies with her. I barely knew this girl, yet somehow she and my best friends had a secret handshake and inside jokes. I didn’t want to include someone who made me feel so left out.

I knew that friendship, like the bake sale, wasn’t really a competition. But I couldn’t help it: I wanted to win.

—From Anna, Banana, and the Recipe for Disaster

Hooray for cookies and messes! And, as always, for friendship and dogs. If you'd like to pre-order a copy (thank you) or add the book on Goodreads, here are the links: Indiebound | Amazon | B&N | BAM | Goodreads. The hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions will all be released on March 20th.  

Also: When I wrote that first story about a girl and her dog and a fight with a best friend, I never imagined that a few years later, I'd have written six books about that girl, her dog, and her friends, and be about to start writing the seventh. THANK YOU to all the friends and strangers who have read one of my books; bought one of my books; shared it with a kid; spread the word amongst readers, teachers, booksellers, parents, or librarians; come to one of my book events; invited me to visit your library or school; or even just clicked a supportive "like" on a writing-related Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram post. Your support has meant the world.

Chapter One: Batter Up