On February 17 I attended Simon & Schuster’s Summer 2017 Educator and Librarian Preview. You may have been following the news with the publisher’s recent cancellation of a book by someone who can politely be called a far-right commentator (and who is a racist, homophobic, and misogynist). That’s worth remembering but I have to say I was pleased with how inclusive the list was for this upcoming season for their children’s imprints.
Big (to me) news from the event: Merit Press is now an imprint of Simon & Schuster after their acquisition of Adams Media. I’ve been following Merit titles for a long time and I’m excited to see them attached to one of the big publishers as I think it will lead to some more attention for them.
- This Beautiful Day by Richard Jackson, illustrated by Suzy Lee: A picture book so pretty it has no by-lines on the front cover (author attribution will be on the back). A thoughtful story about turning a gloomy day into a beautiful one. Coming August 2017
- Little Red Riding Sheep by Linda Ravin Lodding, illustrated by Cate Atkinson: What happens when an author tries to write a version of Little Red Riding Hood with a sheep who is afraid of the woods? Well, the sheep is definitely going to have something to say about it in this picture book that breaks the fourth wall. Perfect for fans of fracture fairy tales like Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. Coming August 2017
- Rodzilla by Rob Sanders, illustrated by Dan Santat: Rodzilla is a chubby, slimy monster and he is wrecking havoc on town. But, (spoiler!) he is also a toddler taking seven big steps across his playroom. Coming May 2017
- Long May She Wave: The True Story of Caroline Pickersgill and her Star-Spangled Creation by Kristen Fulton, illustrated by Holly Berry: Did you know that the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sewn by a thirteen-year-old girl who was working in the shop her mother owned? Coming May 2017
- Whobert Whover: Owl Detective by Jason Gallagher, illustrated by Jess Pauwels: Picture book about an owl detective asking the tough (and inevitably wrong) questions about the murder of his possum friend. Just take my money. Coming July 2017.
- Quicksand Pond by Janet Taylor Lisle: It still feels very surreal that I was in the same room as Janet Taylor Lisle. Her new book is about an unlikely friendship that forms between two girls from different backgrounds when they spend their summer days together on a raft. Coming May 2017.
- Pablo and Birdy by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Ana Juan: The story of a boy and his parrot. Pablo wants to know about his past and his biological parents while Birdy wonders why she can’t fly or talk like other parrots. This book is going to have a hint of fantasy and stunning illustrations. Coming August 2017.
- One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson: A timely and heartbreaking middlegrade debut set in Senegal with poetic writing. Comparisons made to Between Shades of Gray. Coming June 2017.
- Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder: In her MG debut Crowder delivers a story about last chances and new opportunities with multiple points of view including an old owl. Coming May 2017.
- Our Story Begins edited by Elissa Brent Weissman: This anthology features a wide range of children’s book authors talking about how they begin writing or illustrating. Each piece is prefaced by a childhood picture of the author and includes a piece of their early work. Includes pieces from Dan Santat, Rita Williams Garcia, Grace Lin, and more! Coming July 2017.
- A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander: What happens when a ghost-hunting librarian moves to a town where there aren’t any ghosts? Her daughter Rosa isn’t sure–especially when it turns out the ghosts aren’t just absent, they’re being kept away by something worse. Coming August 2017.
- Sasquatch, Love, and Other Imaginary Things by Betsy Aldredge and Carrie Dubois Shaw: Samantha, a nice Jewish girl, is dragged onto a Yeti hunt with her parents as part of a reality show. To make matters worse, the whole thing is taking place near an elite boarding school where a Bollywood handsome boy has a front row seat to Samantha’s humiliation. Coming August 2017.
- Shimmer and Burn by Mary Taranta: A fantasy with magic that shines like gold until it is corrupted and begins to burn. Also political machinations. Need it yesterday. Coming August 2017.
- The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell: Gangs of New York. With magic. Do you actually need to know more? Coming July 2017.
- Saints and Misfits by S. K. Ali: This is one of the first YA titles coming from the Salaam Reads imprint. Described as My So-Called Life featuring a Muslim hijabi female lead obsessed with Flannery O’Connor. Compared to Fangirl and I’ll Give You the Sun. Coming June 2017.
- Two Roads From Here by Teddy Steinkeller: A Sliding Doors style story about five teens getting ready to graduate high school and what could happen if they went on the road not taken.Coming June 2017.