I’m back from an exciting few days in New York City for the annual Book Expo America (BEA) convention. Although the convention was smaller than previous years, it was jam-packed with workshops, panels, celebrity sightings, book signings, publisher & sideline booths, and of course, books, books, books! There are so many new exciting titles for Fall that I want to share with you and I’m sure I’ll be going into detail about each of them sooner to their release dates. But for now, here’s a quick preview of a few great books to come this Fall:
Stars by Mary Lyn Ray, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Simon & Schuster/Beach Lane, October 2011)
I am a HUGE Marla Frazee fan. Not only is her artwork in this book dream-worthy, but Mary Lyn Ray’s text is delightfully simple and sweet. Together they examine all the special ways stars (not just the ones in the sky!) appear in our lives. “Pin a star on your shirt and you can be sheriff. Put a star on a stick and you’ve made a wand. If you hold a wand the right way, you might see a wish come true. Not always. Only sometimes. You never know about a wish.” I love that.
The Man in the Moon (Guardians of Childhood) by William Joyce (Simon & Schusters/Atheneum, September 2011)
The first in a new series by picture book legend William Joyce, this book introduces the Guardians of Childhood – a league of familiar childhood figures including The Man in the Moon, Mother Goose, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, the Tooth Fairy, and Santa Claus, whose task is to look over the children on Earth and protect them from darkness and nightmares. This book shows how the Man in the Moon (and in fact, the moon itself) came to be and is full of spectacularly colorful illustrations, complete with fantastical moonmice and moonbots. I especially love how the children of the Earth communicate with the Man in the Moon through their lost balloons! While this works well as a standalone picture book, I’m certainly excited to see what comes next, including a major motion picture in 2012.
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, September 2011)
This was my unexpected gem of a discovery at BEA this year. A bear’s hat goes missing and he asks each animal he encounters if they have seen it. Children and adults will both love the deadpan and slightly dark humor, reminiscent of Emily Gravett’s books, with the its surprise, laugh-out-loud ending. The book’s design is especially exceptional and noteworthy, with it’s use of color in both the illustrations and text, as well as the pacing and page turns. Definitely look for this one in September.
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook Press, August 2011)
A beautifully illustrated picture book that explores family history through a garden of memories, imaginative topiaries and the bond between granfather and grandson.
Drawing from Memory by Allen Say (Scholastic, September 2011)
While I consider myself being very familiar with Allen Say’s work (see our 2007 exhibition Allen Say: A Sense of Place), I didn’t know Say’s early beginnings in cartooning. Told in a scrapbook-like format, filled with photographs, sketches and cartoons, this book is not only a story of Allen Say’s journey to becoming an artist, but also an incredibly touching tribute to his mentor and sensei, Noro Shinpei. Say fans will enjoy the many references to his earlier picture books, as so many of those stories were based on his own life and those of his family and friends.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (Scholastic, September 2011)
In the tradition of Caldecott-winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret, once again Brian Selznick has masterfully woven together illustrations and text in a gigantic masterpiece. Two children, set apart by 50 years, find their paths intersect in the most wonderful way. A book for any museum lover, I just have to share this one quote:
“A curator’s job in an important one, for it is the curator who decides what belongs in the museum. The curator then must decide exactly how the objects will be displayed. In a way, anyone who collects things in the privacy of his own home is a curator. Simply choosing how to display your things, deciding what pictures to hang where, and in which order your books belong, places you in the same category as a museum curator.”
I really enjoyed the first two Guys Read anthologies and find them an excellent handsell for both reluctant AND avid readers in the store. Includes 10 thrilling short stories by children’s book greats like M.T. Anderson, Walter Dean Myers and Jarrett J. Krosoczka, edited by the fabulously funny Jon Scieszka.
The Chronicles of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg and 14 other authors (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2011)
The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Chris Van Allsburg’s 1984 masterpiece that included simply 14 strange illustrations with only a short bizarre caption for each one, has always been a great book for the imagination. Artists and writers alike have been using this book for years as a leaping off point to imagine their own stories. What could possibly have led up to this bizarre situation? What’s going to happen next? Finally 14 well-known children’s book authors, including one by Chris Van Allsburg himself, have written their own short stories to accompany each of the book’s illustrations.
Around the World by Matt Phelan (Candlewick, October 2011)
By the creator of The Storm in the Barn, here’s another wonderfully accessible historical fiction graphic novel. The book traces the amazing stories of three remarkable figures who, inspired by Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg, each broke records by traveling all the way around the world. Thomas Stevens in 1884 went around the world on a bicycle, Nellie Bly in 1889 was the first female to make it around the world in less than 80 days, and Joshua Slocum in 1895 made the journey in a small sailboat.
For those of you who were at BEA, what favorite upcoming books did I forget to mention? It’s going to be so hard to wait until Fall!