What the heck. Let's do this.
For some reason - it's not like I've got nothing else going on - I have been unusually aware of upcoming titles recently. I've spent a bunch of time on Edelweiss and Netgalley scanning publisher catalogs, and just yesterday attended the Book Buzz that the AAP put on at DC Public Library.
Reps from Scholastic, Penguin, Sourcebooks, Quirk, Tor, and many others gave a roomful of librarians a preview of what they've got coming down the pike.
Here are the books that I thought really stood out, plus books that weren't represented at the event that I know about and am looking forward to. These are in age order.
Special Delivery by Philip Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell – Feb 2015. Kid tries to mail an elephant to his aunt.
28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World by Charles Smith, illustrated by Shane Evans - January 2015. 28 important days in black history, including Juneteenth and President Obama’s swearing-in. I like Shane Evans’s art.
My Pen by Christopher Myers – March 2015. A tribute to imagination and freedom, from a strong juvenile justice advocate and the son of the late great Walter Dean Myers.
Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff. When generous Goldie has a cold and can’t cook the traditional Shabbat dinner she usually hosts for her multicultural neighbors, they pitch in, bringing pizza, tamales, and tea. The best tradition is the weekly togetherness. This is out now.
The Elephant Who Liked to Smash Small Cars by Jean Merrill, illustrated by Ronni Solbert – March 2015. He doesn’t have anger issues, he’s not a sociopath – he just really likes to smash small cars. If I were an elephant? Holy crap, there'd be flat Fits all up the block. By the author of The Pushcart War (new edition in print thanks to the New York Review Children's Collection).
Glamourpuss by Sarah Weeks, pictures by David Small – January 2015. Gorgeous Glamourpuss gets ugly when a new pet comes on the premises. David Small is a master of expression and gesture.
Alphabetabum: An Album of Rare Photographs and Medium Verses by Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka. So the deal here is - Radunsky collected all these antique photos from flea markets all over Europe, and Raschka made up alphabet rhymes to go with.
- Sounds like a non-creepy Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children,
- sounds irresistable and
- I would like to take that flea market tour of Europe, please.
Templeton Gets His Wish by Greg Pizzoli – May 2015. Greg Pizzoli got a Geisel Award or something (I am, by definition, ON THE INTERNET as I type this, and yet? too tragically lazy to look up Pizzoli's award) last year (or the year before that) for The Watermelon Seed (oh crud, or that book with the dog - I really am going to have to look this up, aren't I?). Anyway, if you don’t know this guy’s work by now, get off your butt.
[I should not second-guess myself: it WAS Geisel, it WAS Watermelon Seed, and it WAS last year.]
Completely Clementine by Sara Pennypacker, illustrations by Marla Frazee – March 2015. The last Clementine book! It’ll be the seventh, and you may not have realized (I didn’t) that Clementine has been in third grade all this time. Finally, she’s finishing the school year.
Ava and Taco Cat by Carol Weston. This is the cover of the first book. The second - not available yet - sees the palindrome-crazy family expand with the addition of a cat, whose name is also a palindrome. Nice to have books about bookworm girls for my bookworm customers.
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan – February 2015. Word is that this is her masterwork. Which is saying a lot, because Esperanza Rising and Riding Freedom are pretty dang good. Heck, she's got a beginning reader I like a lot! Woman can do no wrong.
Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America's Presidents by David Stabler, with illustrations by Doogie Horner. Not Kid President, who always makes me sort of leak around the eyes, but in fact a quick and funny set of anecdotes about U.S. Presidents when they were kids. Big hit at my house, where humorous nonfiction is always well-received. Barack Obama’s first job was scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins! Me too! And he’s hated ice cream ever since! Me… uh not so much!
Nnewts: Book 1 by Doug TenNapel – January 2015. This is the first series from the author of Tommysaurus Rex and Bad Island. Bad Island has been a real sleeper hit, in my observation. I feel like I am always overhearing kids passing it from hand to hand, and it resurfaces periodically in our house as my kids pull it off the shelf and read it again. Nnewts has kind of a Bone vibe to it.
BONE #1: Out from Boneville (Tribute Edition) – February 2015. Speaking of Bone – here's a tribute edition with bonus minicomics and covers by the likes of Raina Telgemeier, Dav Pilkey, Kazu Kibuishi, and Kate Beaton (admiring gasps filled the room when Sara Ortiz from Scholastic said the words "Kate Beaton." Librarians LOVE Kate Beaton.). I will buy this for sure.
Lowriders in Space by Cathy Camper, illustrations by Raul the Third – No-VEMBER, baby! I just got a finished copy of this cheeful gem in the mail this week, and when I took it to the family reading program I was helping with that night all the moms ooh-ed and ahh-ed over it. Spanglish-studded graphic novel about three buddies hoping to build the coolest, smoothest, lowest lowrider in the galaxy.
Bad Machinery Volume 3: The Case of the Simple Soul by John Allison. After reading this, I noted on Goodreads that I could probably read nothing but Bad Machinery every day and be a relatively happy soul. British middle schoolers harmlessly malingering, absently insulting each other, and generally - as I believe it's known - larking around.
Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks. A magical mystery quest for younger readers.
Dear Hank Williams by Kimberly Willis Holt. Historical fiction by the author of the Piper Reed series and When Zachary Beaver Came to Town. I love this cover very much. Who painted that? Amy June Bates, maybe? That doggy has a familiar look to him. Hm.
The Zodiac Legacy: Convergence, by Stan Lee and Stuart Moore, illustrations by Andie Tong – January 2015. This is possibly a total cash-grab, but… it also has an Asian-American hero and comic book illustrations, so there’s the possibility it’s an appealing cash grab at least.
Catch You Later, Traitor by Avi - March. Red Scare in the 1950’s. This book sounds like one of Avi’s best yet. Why it has a cover like the Bruce Hale Chet Gecko novels I cannot explain.
Flunked (Fairy Tale Reform School) by Jen Calonita – March 2015. New series for graduates of Ever After High and Whatever After - which, in the words of Jennie Rothschild of Arlington Public Library, "I'll take as many as they give me." From the author of the very cute Secrets of My Hollywood Life.
The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone: A Novel by Adele Griffin. A full-color illustrated whodunit about a talented, glamorous young artist. So unusual - has to be seen to be appreciated.
Stone Cove Island by Suzanne Myers. Old-school creepy small-town mystery – everybody’s got a secret! Natalie Standiford calls it “a Hitchcock movie for teens.”
Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier – March 2015. All the librarians in the room made sure to snag a copy of this. We like Justine Larbalestier, and the setting – a crime-infested neighborhood in 1930s Melbourne – sounds juicy and terrific!
Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy - March 2015. Girl fighter pilots in 2048. Could be. Might be interesting. Gonna give this one a shot.
The Accidental Highwayman: Being the Tale of Kit Bristol, His Horse Midnight, a Mysterious Princess, and Sundry Magical Persons Besides by Ben Tripp. Been trying to get my hands on this one for a while. Ben Tripp is an illustrator as well as an author, and everything I’ve seen about the book just looks charming!
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King. Out now, but I haven't seen it yet. GRR! Not everybody agrees with me, but I personally find each of Amy King's books stronger than the last.
The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi. I keep getting distracted from finishing this, but Milo, who is 13, galloped through it, by turns breathless and laughing out loud. One thing Paolo Bacigalupi always does is PUT you in the room with his characters. I don't know how - it's not like he loads on the detail, but when I think about any scene in any of his novels, I know what the weather is like, what the sky looks like, what kind of furniture is there.
Shutterby Courtney Alameda. This I have read, and it was fast and appealing and original. Good characters. Scary but not superscary - kind of horror lite. I love that the ghosthunting teen girl stops to put on eyeliner before suiting up and heading out. There are plenty of hot guys - this is for fans of Supernatural.
The Sculptor by Scott McCloud. The author of Understanding Comics. Really, that’s all I need to know. But come on, dude - you understand comics, don't you understand covers as well? Brown?Really?
A List of Things That Didn't Kill Me by Jason Schmidt. Gotta have something for the True Misery reader, the kid who has read Boy Called It and all of Nick Sheff and craves more.
AND A COUPLE OF ADULT BOOKS FOR TEENS:
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman – February 2015. Post-apocalyptic epic. “Ice Cream Star” is the name of the main character, and that’s really enough to intrigue me. Potential adult book for teens. Terrible cover, though.
Look: here is the UK cover. One Hundred Thousand Times Better, am I right?
Horrorstor: A Novel by Grady Hendrix. A haunted house novel set in a Swedish furniture store. An adult novel perfect for teens, with a disaffected 24-year-old protagonist who must sack up and take responsibility if she’s going to live. I have read this already and QUITE LIKED IT.
There you go. Just a few to look forward to! Happy hunting!