Another preview, another recap. On July 19, Simon & Schuster hosted their Fall 2016 Educator and Librarian preview. The preview was held at the Simon & Schuster previews near Rockefeller Center and covered Fall 2016 releases from Atheneum: Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, Atheneum, Margaret K. McElderry Books, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Beach Lane Books, Paula Wiseman Books, Little Simon, Simon Spotlight, Aladdin, Simon Pulse, and Simon & Schuster Audio.
- Click, Clack, Surprise! by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Betsy Lewin: Doreen and Betsy were the special guests at this preview and talked about this latest installment on Farmer Brown’s farm. This one follows Little Duck on his birthday as he gets into a bit of trouble while mimicking other farm residents to prepare for his big party. I’m a fan of this series, so it’s no surprise that this book is another winner.
- The Snurtch by Sean Ferrell, illustrated by Charles Santoso: This picture book comes from the team behind I Don’t Like Koala which is a delightfully creepy picture book about a boy and his terrifying stuffed animal. In this book, Ruthie has a problem. It’s the Snurtch. The Snurtch is not nice or quiet or polite. And he is making Ruthie’s school day VERY difficult. In this book about dealing with behavioral issues and acting out (comped to Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse), Ruthie eventually learns how to negotiate life with the Snurtch. And that she may not be the only one who has a Snurtch.
- I Heart You by Meg Fleming, illustrated by Sarah Jane Wright: Really great actions. Sweet, sweet story. I think this would be a great story to use in a Babies and Books program. It’s saccharine but in a charming way.
- Octopuses One to Ten by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Robin Page: This is a counting concept book filled with fun facts about octopi (which I contend is the correct pluralization!).
- The Pros & Cons of Being a Frog by Sud deGennaro: After dressing as a cat becomes problematic for a little boy (after being chased by a dog for eleven days straight), his best friend Camille (who loves to talk in numbers) suggests he try a new animal. A frog perhaps? A beautifully illustrated story about celebrating differences.
Non-Fiction/Biography/Based on a True Story:
- Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan: While talking with his editor, Bryan revealed that he collects wills, sale receipts, and deeds from plantation and slave auctions. Bryan worries that these documents could end up in the wrong hands and fears that this point of history could be erased. After years of gathering and pondering, he began to write poetry about some of the people listed in one such contract. This book features portraits of what Bryan imagines these individuals would have looked like, poems about their lives as slaves, and poems of their dreams of the lives they could have had if they were free. This seems to be the book that Bryan was born to create as well as incredibly important and powerful.
- The Marvelous Thing That Came from a Spring by Gilbert Ford: This picture book explains the accidental invention of one of the popular Slinky toy. This book marks a completely new illustrative style for Ford. Each page spread includes a three-dimensional scene which Ford built and photographed to include in the book.
- Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeannine Atkins: This illustrated book includes stories of three noted women scientist when they were still young girls and looks at how their childhoods and upbringings shaped the scientists they would become. The book is broken into three stories: “Mud, Moths, and Mystery” about Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) who discovered the process of metamorphosis while studying the life cycle of insects; “Secrets in Stones” about Mary Annin (1799-1847) who studied fossils; and “Many Stars, One Comet” about Maria Mitchell (1818-1889) who discovered a comet while studying astronomy and observing the stars.
- I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debby Levy, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley: This illustrated biography doesn’t need much introduction. What it does need is to be read widely. I’m pretty excited to check out a finished copy once it’s published!
- Willa: The Story of Willa Cather, an American Writer by Amy Ehrlich, illustrated by Wendell Minor: The first book in a new biography series focused on American women writers.
- Ghost by Jason Reynolds: This book is the first in a four book series (each book will focus on a different character–three boys and one girl). Reynolds has seen in his own life that black boys are always running and looking over their shoulder. He wanted to change that and write about black kids who are running toward something. This middle grade series features four kids on an elite track team. It’s “gulpable yet penetrating” and was compared to Sharon Draper’s Tears of a Tiger (but aged down about four years).
- The Lost Property Office by James R. Hannibal: In a complete departure from his military thrillers for adults, Hannibal makes his MG debut with this novel being pitched as Harry Potter meets Dr. Who. This story blends history, science, and victorian style. It also has a stunning cover.
- The Bad Kid by Sarah Lariviere: Debut middle grade mystery comedy. This story is set in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and joins the very small “middle grade mafia” sub-genre with the likes of The Fourth Stall and Al Capone Does My Shirts.
- The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner: In her middle grade debut, Weiner explores a boarding school in upstate New York where a little girl is feeling very alone . . . until she rescues the smallest Bigfoot from the lake and makes a new friend. First in a trilogy.
- League of Archers by Eva Howard: Twelve-year-old Ellie love Robin Hood and all that he stands for. She and her friends try to emulate Robin’s band of Merry Men with their League of Archers. When Ellie is accused of killing Robin Hood she will have to work fast to clear her name (and save Maid Marian) if she hopes to keep her hero’s legacy alive.
- Don’t You Trust Me? by Patrice Kindl: This YA thriller is a new and unexpected direction for Kindl. The story starts with a girl who has no conscience (that’s right, we have a psychopath MC) and knows she isn’t quite like other people. She agrees to switch identities with a girl at the airport just to get her to stop being so annoying with all of her crying. Who does that? The main character here is being compared to Barbara Stanwyck’s character in Double Indemnity–something I never even realized I wanted in a YA protagonist until this very moment.
- The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely: The only stories that last are love stories, and this one is no exception. It’s a cool, sweet contemporary that takes road trip conventions and turns them upside down. Oh and it’s a little bit of The Odyssey too. Compared to Rainbow Rowell and Tim Tharp.
- The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid: This book is getting a BIG push from the publisher. It’s being called The Terminator meets House of Cards, Red Queen meets The Hunger Games. Nemesis is sent to serve as hostage in place of a politician’s beloved daughter. But then everything starts to go wrong. This is a standalone novel and has a killer twist on page 161.
- Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel: I could tell you more about this book but honestly, I was sold the moment I heard it described as Indiana Jones meets Romeo & Juliet.
- Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley: Four girls, known as effigies, control the elements to keep the world safe. The only problem is that when Maya become sthe new fire effigy she has no idea what she’s doing. Buffy meets Sailor Moon with a dash of The Avengers.