PW #211: Middle Grade Historical Fiction (Neuro-diverse, Own Voices): PLANET EARTH IS BLUE

Manuscript Status: Finished

Mentor Name: Ellie Terry
Mentee Name: Nicole Elizabeth Panteleakos
Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Historical Fiction (Neuro-diverse, Own Voices)
Word Count: 37,000


In ten days, Space Shuttle Challenger skyrockets into orbit. Which means non-verbal, autistic Nova has ten days to reach her missing sister, Bridget, so they can watch together as promised.


Bridget was gone.

And Nova was broken.

Nova hadn’t wanted to run away from the last foster family. They were nice enough. Sure, it wasn’t easy sharing one bedroom with four other girls in three sets of bunk beds. There was no privacy for Bridget, who liked her space, and there was no room for hand-flapping or bouncing, which Nova liked to do while pretending she was in space.

Plus there was a rule no shower could last more than eight minutes.

And they weren’t allowed to watch TV, listen to records, or drink anything with caffeine.

But there had been hot oatmeal in the mornings. Cold lemonade with lunch. Warm blankets at night. Nobody yelled bad words or spanked them with wooden spoons. Nobody made Bridget scrub the floors like Cinderella. Nobody called Nova “Dumbo” because she couldn’t speak. Most importantly, they were together.

Bridget hated it anyway.

“I’m out of here,” she kept saying. “I can’t stand another day. I’m losing my mind.”

Nova wasn’t worried then. She knew they’d end up somewhere else eventually.

When the time came, though, leaving was different. No social worker to transport them. No paperwork to sign. Bridget didn’t even glare at the failed foster parents and say goodbye. They just piled into a car and drove away. This was not their routine, which made Nova’s tummy hurt, because as much as she hated goodbyes, she hated deviating from the routine more.

“Don’t worry!” Bridget had kissed Nova’s forehead. “I’ll take care of you like I’ve always taken care of you.”

Now Bridget was gone.

And Nova was worried.

Author: Heather Cashman

With a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry, the lab reports always lacked the fantastical element Heather's imagination demands. Hypotheses turned into taglines and novels, so she's going back to college for a Creative Writing degree. Her novels range from Epic Fantasy to Contemporary Speculative Fiction, she dabbles in picture books, and is currently seeking representation. ~Member SCBWI

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  1. Would love to see the full! Can you please send the full ms as an attachment, along with the query + 10 pages pasted in the body of the email, with subject line: PITCH WARS + Title.

    Thank you!

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  2. I’d love to have a look! Please send the full along for my review. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible. Thanks!

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  3. I would love to read more. Please send the first 50 pages as a Word doc or PDF to, and be sure to include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. Please also include your query in the body of the email.

    Thank you!

    Melissa Nasson
    Rubin Pfeffer Content

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  4. Hi! I’d love to take a closer look at your work. Please send your query letter in the body of an email and attach the first 50 pages as a word or pdf doc. You can reach me at lgarrison (at) thegernertco (dot) com. Thank you!

    ~Logan Garrison Savits
    The Gernert Company

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  5. I would love to see more of this! Please send a query (in the body of the email) plus the first 50 pages as a Word doc attachment to, and make sure to put “Pitch Wars Request” and the title in the subject line.

    Looking forward to reading!

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  6. Hi Nicole,

    I love the voice and the premise here, and would love to see the full manuscript in Word format with the pitch pasted onto the first page! Please send materials to with PITCH WARS and your title in the subject line 🙂

    Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to it!

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  7. I’d love take a look at the full manuscript! Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea [at] with “PitchWars Requested Manuscript” in the subject line. Thanks! I’m looking forward to reading.
    Andrea Somberg
    Harvey Klinger Inc.

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