Posted on June 9, 2015 at 6:00 am
In all honesty, I can’t have things on my actual coffee table because my six-month-old puppy would eat them. However, I do have a desk at work that is covered with not only the journals, notebooks, and pens I use to do my job, but also stacks of hastily scrambled notes, Advance Readers Copies, and shiny new library books—all representing a big pile of stuff I’m excited to read.
Nearly every day I see something fantastic and original, and because I work behind the scenes, I wonder: “How can I get the word out about this amazing book?” This blog represents my best chance! So here, without further ado, are a few of the new and forthcoming titles for kids and teens that I want to tell the whole world about right now. Some aren’t even released yet, but you’ll be able to place a hold now.
By Kate Beaton
If you’ve ever read the webcomic Hark! A Vagrant, then you’re already familiar with the work of Kate Beaton. Her literary, pop-culture-savvy comics come with a healthy dose of feminist snark, and their subjects range from various saints and Queen Elizabeth I to Napoleon and the Brontes. In her first picture book for kids, Beaton tells the tale of a young princess who insists on a war horse for her birthday, only to get a small, round pony. Unwilling to give up her dreams of victory in battle, the princess puts her pony on a strict training regimen against a backdrop of fart jokes, sight gags, anime references and hipster culture. Early reviews are calling this the perfect read-aloud book with illustrations as fun as the language and storyline. Picture Book – Release Date: 6/30/15
By Ursula Vernon
Fans of Vernon’s Dragonbreath series will love this appealing, stand-alone novel. Twelve-year-old Molly accepts a job as master of Hangnail Castle, even though her witch skills aren’t yet fully formed, the castle is in complete disrepair, and its inhabitants are, well, interesting. Never one to back away from a challenge, Molly starts checking off items on the castle’s ever-long task list, but when her strongest, oldest nemesis returns to claim the castle for herself, Molly must summon something more powerful than magic to stand her ground. This story is great, whimsical fun for fans of Eva Ibbotsen. I’m also really looking forward to Harriet the Invincible, the first book in Vernon’s new series, Hamster Princess, coming out in August. Children’s Fiction – Release Date: 4/21/15
By Kris Dinnison
Full disclosure: the author is one of my best friends and I was an early reader of You and Me and Him. But even if those two things weren’t true, I would still love this YA debut about Maggie, a strong, understatedly cool girl (who happens to be overweight) and her loyal best friend, Nash (who happens to be gay). When a dreamy new boy moves to town, Maggie and Nash find themselves both basking in the warm attention-rays of the newcomer, but it becomes increasingly clear that the new boy will ultimately pick one of them over the other. Maggie’s inner dialogue is witty and warm, and I love this book for showing real people dealing with real situations. It’s as refreshing as it is relatable. I have a feeling this is just the first of many terrific YA titles from my author friend. Teen Fiction – Release Date: 7/7/15
By Stephanie Oakes
I’m still haunted by Carol Lynch Williams’ 2009 novel The Chosen One, in which a teen girl growing up in a polygamist community resists being married to her 60-year-old uncle. So when my friend Kris Dinnison told me about The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, I moved it to the top of my to-read list. Based on the Brothers Grimm tale The Handless Maiden, this book introduces us to 17-year-old Minnow, who is picked up by the police after escaping from a polygamist commune in the mountains. In flashbacks, we learn about her life in the commune, her eventual disenchantment, and her horror at realizing the group leader wants to marry her against her will. When she rebels, her father is ordered to chop off her hands with a hatchet. Discovering how Minnow comes back from this unthinkable betrayal, and ultimately finds healing in the unlikeliest of places, makes for a deeply compelling read. Like Dinnison, author Stephanie Oakes is also from Spokane and works as a library media teacher. Teen Fiction – Release Date: 6/9/15
By Bob Shea
Don’t get me wrong, I love Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series as much as the next person. But I am really, super excited about Ballet Cat, the newest beginning reader series to completely captivate and amuse young readers. Our story begins with Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Horse trying to decide what to play. Although Ballet Cat tells Sparkles to pick, she rejects all of his ideas until he starts to suggest things that involve leaping, kicking, and spinning – which is sounding more and more like her favorite thing to play, ballet. While she excitedly sets to twirling, Sparkles comments, in very small type, that they always play ballet. With the central conflict in place, Shea explores this typical friendship dilemma with humor and understanding. Bright colors, kinetic artwork and great writing (all the more challenging when you can only use short, familiar words) make these books true standouts in their format. Easy Reader – Release date: 5/5/15
What new kids and teen books are you looking forward to this summer? Let us know in the comments!