AAP Children’s Tri-State Book Buzz 2015: Event Recap Part 1

Last week I got to attend the American Association of Publisher’s Tri-State Book Buzz event. Book Buzz is an all-day event (at Random House HQ this year) where various publishers give brief presentations highlighting the new titles they will have in the upcoming publishing season (Spring 2016 in this case).

This is my attempt at a recap although there was SO much going on that I’m sure I’ll miss some good stuff. If you want to see what other people had to say about it on social media, you can check out the hashtag #BookBuzz2015 which attendees used to highlight the children’s/YA day (which I attended) as well as the adult one.

The day started bright and early with welcome notes from Chris Vaccari before the morning keynote from Andrea Davis Pinkney.

Andrea Davis Pinkney gave a fantastic presentation about the inspiration and writing process for her latest book Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through the Motown Sound. I’ve never seen Andrea Davis Pinkney in person before but I sure hope I have a chance to now. Her presentation was fantastic complete with some Motown songs and great visuals. The book is close to her heart and it was fascinating hearing about the research that went into it. While Rhythm Ride is an obvious choice for music fans, I think it will also have a lot of appeal for any non-fiction fans and reluctant readers as well.

After that it was time to dive right into the publishers presentations. (Huge shoutout to all of the intrepid publicists/editors and marketing people who were on point talking up their latest and greatest titles.)

First up we had. . .

Disney Book Group and some of the titles I’m really excited about:

  • Pigs and a Blanket by James Burk (April 5, 2016) is a picture book about siblings learning to share when their favorite blanket rips.
  • Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli (April 19, 2016) is about an owl who hears a noise when he tries to go to sleep. What readers realize (before owl) is that the noise is a very sneaky mouse!
  • Elizabeth Started All the Trouble by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (February 23, 2016) looks fantastic. The only notes I have are “Elizabeth Cady Stanton! Suffrage!” but just trust me it looks amazing.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: In my totally informal findings, there are a lot of books coming out about Woman Suffrage and I am excited about it!

  • Mo Willems will be wrapping up his 25 book Elephant and Piggie series with The Thank You Book (May 3, 2016)
  • Powerhouse duo Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee will start a Clementine spin-off series with Waylon! One Awesome Thing (April 5, 2016) with the familiar gang but now in fourth grade.
  • Stranded on Planet Stripmall! by Tom Angleberger (March 8, 2016) is an adventure featuring Rocket and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy which looks delightful. Rocket tells most of the story but Groot gets to illustrate parts at the end which will be done by John Rocco.
  • Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan (April 12, 2016) is the start to a new series where a girl escapes from a kingdom where magic is prohibited. But she’ll have to learn if she want to save her kingdom.
  • Rick Riordan will return to Camp Halfblood in The Hidden Oracle (May 3, 2016).
  • Obviously I am already SUPER excited about Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (January 5, 2016) because I am a superfan. For those who are not: It’s Bracken’s riff on Outlander themes with time travel and adventure and romance.
  • Disney’s next Twisted Tale will be Once Upon a Dream by Liz Braswell (April 5, 2016). It will work around the question: What if Sleeping Beauty never woke up? Instead Prince Phillip also falls asleep when he kisses Aurora and Aurora will have to fight out of her dreams. I know reviews were mixed for A Whole New World but I’m hoping for something cool here.
  • Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano (May 3, 2016) follows Smoke, a boy in juvenile detention for a crime he didn’t commit who uses his ability to astral project to try and find the real culprit.
  • Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider (May 3, 2016) is a debut about Sloane who finds out her BFF is pregnant–with Sloane’s boyfriend’s baby–right before heading on her summer vacation.

NorthSouth Books:

  • Mr. Hulot on the Beach by David Merveille (May 1, 2016) features the Inspector Closseau like Hulot in another wordless adventure–this time on the beach.
  • Sebastian Meschenmoser returns with Gordon and Tapir (April 1, 2016) which features an odd couple pair of friends. Except this time the friends realize they realy are better off living apart.
  • Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander with illustrations by  Daniel Miyares (February 1, 2016) follows surfer frogs Dude and Bro as they spend the day at the beach were, much to Bro’s dismay, Dude wants to keep reading Moby Dick.


  • A Birthday Cake for George Washington by Ramin Ganeshram, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton (January 5, 2016) is a beautiful book about a real-life birthday cake for Washington. Complete with recipe. From a food writer.
  • Two Friends by Dean Robbins, illustrated by husband and wife power couple Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (January 5, 2016) is about the friendship of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony. I’ve seen Alko and Qualls talk about illustrating this book twice already at work and I am more excited about it every time.
  • Emma and Julia Love Ballet by Barbary McClintock looks like a delightful ballet story. I want to highlight it here because the ballerina is a woman of color which I think is fantastic and timely.

MICRO-TREND ALERT: There are many books coming with characters named Emma. I guess it was only a matter of time.

  • Come Home, Angus by Patrick Downes, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (July 26, 2016) has a very Maurice Sendak vibe with an Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day kind of plot.
  • Rodman Philbrick imagines a world with no electricity anywhere in The Big Dark (January 5, 2016).
  • Ruby Lee and Me by Shannon Hitchcock (January 5, 2016) is a middle grade historical where a segregated town in North Carolina gets its first black teacher. Based on the author’s own experiences.
  • Kirby Lawson starts a new series about a bookworm longing for adventure with Audacity Jones to the Rescue (January 26, 2015).
  • Emma wants to have a dream that will reveal her destiny–just like everyone else in her family–in The Key to Extraordinary (February 23, 2016), Natalie Lloyd’s follow-up to A Snicker of Magic.
  • Beetle Boy by M. G. Leonard (February 23, 2016) is a trilogy starter about a boy hunting for his kidnapped father with humor and real science.
  • Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan (April 26, 2016) follows the unlikely friendship of Ravi and Joe, which started over a shared love of M and M’s in fifth grade.
  • Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart (January 26, 2016) is a western set in the 1890s where Joseph has to reclaim his horse when it is sold without his permission. This one also got comps to War Horse.
  • My Name is Not Friday by Jon Walter (January 5, 2016) sounds like a really powerful story. It starts with two free black boys at the end of the Civil War. One of them is sold into slavery and has to make his way back to freedom.
  • Goldy Moldavsky’s Kill the Boy Band (February 23, 2016) is an in-house favorite debut. The novel comes out in defense of fangirls with a “darkly funny murder mystery.”
  • Luanne Rice makes her YA debut with The Secret Language of Sisters (February 23, 2016) which follows a girl suffering from Locked In Syndrome while her sister tries to make sense of what is happening to her sister and to reconcile her guilt over the accident that caused it.
  • Jenny Downham is back with Unbecoming (February 23, 2016) which follows three generations in one dysfunctional family including a lesbian protagonist.
  • Paul Rudnick creates a Lizzie Lohan/Miley Cyrus type character in It’s All Your Fault (January 26, 2016) where her straight-laced cousin is tasked with keeping the actress in line before her big movie premier.
  • The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (January 26, 2016) follows a girl who wakes up in a mental ward after trying to commit suicide. It already has three stars.
  • A non-fiction title which will publish simultaneously with an adult edition: Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler’s Atomic Bomb by Neal Bascomb (April 26, 2016).

Random House:

  • Raul Colon is illustrating a new picture book biography of Hillary Clinton called Hillary by Jonah Winer (January 5, 2016)
  • Beatrix Potter & the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Charlotte Voake (February 2, 2016) is a “mostly true story” of when young Beatrix borrowed a neighbor’s guinea pig to draw it from life. Only to have the guinea pig die while in her care!
  • Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (January 26, 2016) is a debut that is being compared to The Book Thief. The story follows seven-year-old Anna in Poland during World War II.
  • The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (February 23, 2016) is another debut about growing up in Alaska in the 1970s. Inspired by the author’s own life and compared to Alexie, Saenz and Rowell.
  • Jeff Zentner’s debut The Serpent King (March 8, 2016) follows the son of a Pentecostal preacher and his two fellow outcast friends confronting their own demons while navigating high school in a small Tennessee town.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak will be getting a fancy tenth anniversary edition in both hardcover and paperback on March 8, 2016.
  • Julie Buxbaum makes her YA debut with Tell Me Three Things (April 5, 2016) and honestly just from the cover I can tell you that I need it in my life.
  • The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas (April 19, 2016) is being marketed as perfect for Gillian Flynn fans. It’s a psychological thriller about “the lies girls tell and the deadly truths those lies become.”

Little Bee Books:

  • I love Douglas Florian so I’m pretty excited about his new book The Wonderful Habits of Rabbits illustrated by Sonia Sanchez (February 2, 2016)
  • Little Bee’s “Look!” and “Blast Back!” series also look fantastic.

And that’s it for now! Check back for part two (and maybe three) which I hope to have up later this week!

2 thoughts on “AAP Children’s Tri-State Book Buzz 2015: Event Recap Part 1

  1. Oh my goodness there are SO many books that are catching my eyes! Also I’m 100% about that Suffrage trend – it reminds me of that movie Suffragette coming out. I hope that one’s historically accurate because it looks SO good.

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