April 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Little, Brown Fall Kids’ Books | Preview Peek

Newbery Award winner Patricia MacLachlan, Caldecott winners Mordecai Gerstein and Jerry Pinkney, and Coretta Scott King Award winner Bryan Collier are among the acclaimed authors and illustrators who are represented on the upcoming Little, Brown list of fall titles, presented to librarians and children’s book reviewers last week in New York City.

In this second of our upcoming book “preview peeks,” School Library Journal  highlights which upcoming especially got our attention.

Those looking for books to share with young children, especially those expecting a sibling, may want to check out You Were the First by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin.

Another great family book coming up in the fall is Marc Brown’s Playtime Rhymes: A Treasury for Families to Learn and Play Togetherin which he combines all his finger rhymes into a single volume. It is a great refresher on the accompanying hand motions to such childhood favorite read-aloud poems and songs as “The Itsy Bitsy Spider,” “Two Little Monkeys,” and “Whoops Johnny.”

In The Tortoise & the Hare, Jerry Pinkney’s sparse word use allows the reader to focus on his well-attired characters in his beautifully illustrated take on this familiar fable.

The fashion-conscious animal trend continues in Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. Brown has the feline shed his top hat and suit and let loose; notably, the tiger goes “au naturel” in the center spread of the book!

Looking for a mash up of Zoombieland, Food Inc. and The Jungle for kids? Zombie Baseball Beatdown, the new middle school novel by National Book Award finalist Paolo Bacigalupi, may fit the bill. It tackles, among other fascinating topics, food safety, immigration, and a zombie baseball coach. What more could a kid want?

Mordecai Gerstein’s original artwork for The First Drawing at Little, Brown’s preview.

Seven Wild Sisters is an enchanting book that started its life in 2002 when Subterranean Press published it, but this modern fairy tale by Charles De Lint, with color illustrations by Charles Vess, should see a revival when it gets re-released by Little, Brown in February 2014.

Bryan Collier’s original artwork for Knock, Knock on display at the preview.

Boys and girls who are into the prehistoric or like to draw will find The First Drawing by Mordecai Gerstein, a tale about the origin of cave painting, to be visually informative and fun.

Bryan Collier continues to use verse for the foundation of his art in the upcoming Knock Knock, in which the Daniel Beaty poem supplies the words and sets the stage for this book about a boy who grows up with an absent father.

When you go to a party and fall asleep in the bathtub, something bad is bound to happen. Vampire and reality-television loving teens will definitely want to check out Holly Black’s  new stand-alone novel The Coldest Girl in Coldtown this September. The hot topic of reality TV also plays a big role in A.S. King’s Reality Boy, in which Gerald Faust, a former child reality TV star, must face his inner turmoil.

Unbreakable, the first in the “Legion” series by Kami Garcia, is an urban fantasy set in Washington, D.C., that calls to mind elements of Dan Brown’s “Illuminati” series. A movie in already in the works.

YA authors Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando will collaborate on the upcoming Roomies, which is set to debut in January, 2014.

Frank Viva addresses the crowd.

In the meantime, readers can enjoy Rags & Bones: New Twists on a Timeless Tales, an anthology that contains new twists on old tales from popular authors Neil Gaiman, Gene Wolfe, Carries Ryan, and Rick Yancey. Edited by Marissa Marr and Tim Pratt, this offering drops in October.

The highlights of any book preview, of course, are the author visits, both announced and unannounced. Little Brown Books for Young Readers has been known in particular to include a surprise guest at its book previews, and the publisher did not disappoint this time around. Author Frank Viva appeared to present his new book, A Long Way Away, and sign autographs for the crowd of enthusiastic librarians and reviewers. In his innovative book, which debuted this month, Viva created 35 feet of continuous art that can be read both front-to-back and back-to-front.

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.