April 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Disney-Hyperion Spring 2016 List Has Broad Appeal | Preview Peek


For those of you too young to remember “spin-offs,” there was a time when television channels were filled with programs whose main character was “spun off” from another show. Happy Days begot Laverne and Shirley; All in the Family spawned Maude. The Disney-Hyperion Spring 2016 Preview had me remembering spin-offs.

Now we have Waylon of Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee’s “Clementine” series fame debuting in a book of his own entitled Waylon! One Awesome Thing (April). Waylon, a science nerd, is experiencing his own big bang of sorts at school.

Waylon is not the only preteen boy to show up on the Disney-Hyperion spring list. Eric Dinerstein’s What Elephants Know (May) has 12-year-old Nandu living in a Nepalese king’s hunting stable. He has a plan that involves a bull elephant, the king, and a tigress.


There’s also Xander, another middle school hero, who lives in southern California. In Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (April) by Margaret Dilloway, he is thrust via a comic book into a world of weird monsters and disastrous storms. Finally, Shadow Magic (April) by Joshua Khan has young Thorn in a true fantasy realm, complete with giant bats, sorcery, and, of course, a damsel in distress.

Meanwhile, don’t judge Eliza Wass’s The Cresswell Plot (June) by its cover. This isn’t a teen mystery, but instead a story of six siblings who are under the control of a father who’s a religious fanatic. It approaches weighty issues, such as abuse and incest.

Another compelling YA book on the spring list is Holding Smoke (May) by Elle Cosimano. Smoke is in a youth detention center for the murder of his English teacher. The twist: the blue-eyed, ruddy teen has the ability to leave his body at night to gather information about the real killer.

Young readers will have a tough time choosing between Pigs and a Blanket (April) by James Burks—Henry and Henrietta pig have a Solomonic decision to make about sharing their green blanket—and Good Night Owl (April) by Greg Pizzoli, which finds the starring bird battling insomnia thanks to mysterious noises.





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.