HMH Acquires Two Memoirs from Groundbreaking American Women—A Trailblazing Rocket Scientist and A Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

BOSTON – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers announced today that it will publish middle-grade memoirs from two inspiring women, both of whom have broken barriers in American history, one as a pioneering Latina rocket scientist and the other as a leading figure in school desegregation.

“Melba Pattillo Beals and Sylvia Acevedo are both extraordinary women—having achieved so much despite immense adversity and hardship. We’re dedicated to publishing diverse voices at HMH, and as we embark on Women’s History Month, we’re proud to announce these moving and inspiring memoirs,” says Catherine Onder, SVP and Publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers.

Melba Pattillo BealsMelba Pattillo Beals was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for her role at the age of 15 in integrating Little Rock’s Central High School as part of the Little Rock Nine in 1957. In March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine, she shares for the first time her early childhood stories and personal struggles to understand and combat the laws that told her she was less just because of the color of her skin. Her harrowing account of life in the Jim Crow South offers insight into issues still resonating today. March Forward, Girl is the prequel to Beals’s bestselling adult memoir Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High. Beals, a former journalist, holds a doctorate in International Multicultural Education.   

Cynthia Platt of HMH’s Books for Young Readers group acquired world rights from Jill Marsal at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. March Forward, Girl will be published in Spring 2018.

Sylvia AcevedoTo be published simultaneously in English and Spanish, The Sky’s the Limit is the story of Sylvia Acevedo who transcended poverty with the help of the Girl Scouts and Head Start to become one of the first Hispanics to graduate in Engineering from Stanford and one of the very few female rocket scientists at NASA’s famed Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  She later became a tech executive, White House advisor and internationally honored STEM education advocate. Currently interim CEO of the Girl Scouts Acevedo continues to work to encourage all children to honor their passions and work to chase their dreams.

Anne Hoppe of HMH’s Clarion Books imprint acquired world rights from Adriana Dominguez at Full Circle Literary. The Sky’s the Limit will be published in Fall 2018.


About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Trade Publishing

For nearly two centuries, HMH Trade Publishing has published some of the world’s most renowned novels, nonfiction, children’s books, and reference works. As part of a leading global learning company, it is uniquely positioned to offer educational and entertaining content for all audiences. Its distinguished author list includes ten Nobel Prize winners, forty-eight Pulitzer Prize winners, fifteen National Book Award winners, and more than one hundred Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients. HMH publishes such distinguished authors as Philip Roth, Temple Grandin, Tim O'Brien, and Amos Oz, and a celebrated roster of children’s authors and illustrators including Kwame Alexander, Lois Lowry, and Chris Van Allsburg. HMH is also home to The Best American series®; The Whole30®, Weber Grill, Betty Crocker®, Better Homes and Gardens®, How to Cook Everything®,  and other leading lifestyle properties; the Peterson Field Guides®; CliffsNotes™; books by J.R.R. Tolkien; and many iconic children’s books and characters, including Curious George®, The Little Prince, and The Polar Express. For more information, visit

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HMH Books for Young Readers