August 20, 2014

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Candlewick Spring Kids 2014 | Preview Peek

Candlewick preview Nov2013 300x223 Candlewick Spring Kids 2014 | Preview Peek

Candlewick’s Sarah Ketchersid presents a book.

You know that it is time for another Candlewick book preview when librarians and other industry insiders head for the hills of New York City’s Morningside Heights neighborhood, flocking to The Bank Street School for a glimpse at the hottest new titles. This year’s spring preview had someone special in store planned as its guest speaker: one of our own, New York Public Library‘s Betsy Bird, SLJ blogger and author.

Bird was in attendance specifically to introduce Wild Things: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, which she co-wrote with Julie Danielson and the late Peter D. Sieruta.

The book, due out in April, collects in one volume little-known stories about children’s book authors; it will surely be a must for librarians and kid lit professionals preparing to impress their colleagues at the next ALA cocktail party.

I was happy to see Help! We Need A Title! by popular French illustrator Hervé Tullet, a book that the Bibliothèque Nationale highlighted when School Library Journal visited the library in May. It will be available in the US in May 2014, thanks to Candlewick. Also in May, Candlewick will showcase the talents of popular illustrator George O’Connor with If I Had a Raptor, a charming picture book story starring a little girl of color who really wants a pet.

Who knew that Old MacDonald was an urban farmer? It’s a fact, according to author Judy Sierra and illustrator Mathew Myers, whose E-I-E-I-O How Old MacDonald Got His Farm with a Little Help from a Hen debuts in February.

In March, Mac Barnett and Chris Van Dusen will resurrect the presidential legend of William Howard Taft’s predicament in the White House water closet in President Taft is Stuck in the Bath.  The book will be a fun way to introduce young children to the president’s cabinet, the role of the first lady, and the spinning of a story.  Another familiar name—Emily Dickinson—can be introduced to kids in March with Miss Emily by Burleigh Muten, a member of the Dickinson Society. In her versed narrative, she tells how the famous poet once entertained children using a gypsy circus and her own imagination.

Another highlight of the day was the preview of the new easy-to-read comics from Toon Books. New from this Candlewick imprint in January will be the introduction of Thereza Rowe’s book Hearts. Librarians may want to check this book out for a possible addition to your Valentine list.

Speaking of graphic novels, Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans should be familiar with Stephan Pastis “Timmy Failure,” a similarly visual short chapter series—about a boy detective who has to overcome school, an idiot best friend, and a polar bear partner—that debuted earlier this year. The series’ second book, Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done will debut in February. Candlewick just acquired the third book in the series, which will be published next November.

And in an interesting turn, author John Rocco has teamed up with childhood friend Jay Primiano to write a middle-school coming of age story entitled Swim That Rock, due out in April. Set in their home state of Rhode Island, it features 14–year-old Jake as he struggles with the loss of his father and the challenge of saving the family diner.

Another one to watch for in 2014 will be Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out (February, 2014) by author and photographer Susan Kuklin. It’s a collection of interviews with six transgender or gender-neutral young adults. This book may help librarians with the challenge of building collections that meet the needs of their ever-diversifying student populations.

Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.



  1. Just a name correction. Swim That Rock is written by author John Rocco and Jay Primiano, not Joe Rocco. As this article was written by Rocco Staino, I can see where one would get some name confusion.
    I only mention the name correction because there is another author/illustrator with the name Joe Rocco. That is not me.
    Okay, enough Rocco’s for one comment.

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