A couple weeks ago, I had an opportunity to attend a conference where publishers exhibited some upcoming books. I snagged a couple of advance copies and saw others that we’re looking forward to picking up. Here are a few books to look for this year, loosely organized by my perceived recommended age (from youngest age range to oldest):
Acorn series by Scholastic for early readers. This series was released because of the success of the Branches series, a series of chapter books that have pictures on each page so a great way to transition children into longer books. Lion has loved a number of Branches series, including Dragon Masters, Last Firehawk and Notebook of Doom. The Acorn series is geared for younger readers and I was able to preview the first four books that will be launched: A Crabby Book: Hello, Crabby; Hello, Hedgehog! Do You Like My Bike; Unicorn and Yeti: Sparkly New Friends; and A Friend for Dragon. My understanding is that each of these will be series, much like the Branches books.
Astronaut Who Painted the Moon by Dean Robbins – This looks like a beautiful picture book about Alan Bean, the fourth astronaut who walked on the moon.
Superheroes Are Everywhere by Kamala Harris – This one was released last month and folks flocked to the Random House booth for it. The book is lovely, with a great message about the superheroes one encounters every day, from family members to teachers, to neighbors and much more. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what your politics are, this book has a great message for children.
Say Something by Peter Reynolds – I can’t wait to purchase this book when it comes out later this month! Perfect for teaching children an appropriate way to be an activist, especially for our little Lion who has come home concerned when he sees some of his friends at school being mean to other friends.
Noodlephant by Jacob Kramer – While we’re on the topic of books for budding activists, this one promises to be a fun one about an elephant pushing back against unjust laws.
Abner & Ian Get Right Side Up by Dave Eggers – I randomly ended up with an advance copy of this one (I still don’t know how that happened) and love it! It’s a hilarious interactive book that asks children to do things like shake the book or say certain words. Our kids love interactive books and are excited to add this one to their collection.
Treasure by Mindy Dwyer – If you haven’t seen Mindy Dwyer’s books yet, you’re missing out. They are beautifully illustrated and are often Alaskan-based, like Aurora: A Tale of Northern Lights. or How Raven Got His Crooked Nose, and The Salmon Princess: An Alaskan Cinderella Story. Treasure seems to be a bit different than the other folktales, but I’m looking forward to its release!
Drew Pendous and the Camp Color War – This is a beginning chapter book that features a superhero on the cover, so I’m betting it will be a big hit for Lion. It’s mostly in standard chapter book format with a picture on every page, but also has a few pages designed in comic book form.
Supersons: Polarshield Project by Ridley Pearson -We are obsessed with DC’s new imprints, DC Zoom and DC Ink for early and middle-grade readers, respectively. These graphic novels are perfect for younger kids who want to read about superheroes in graphic novel form, without all the adult content in, well, adult graphic novels. This series follows the “super sons” of Superman and Batman and is part of the DC Zoom imprint, so it’s appropriate for younger kids.
Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Page – Lion’s favorite series ever has been the DC Super Hero Girls series and he was lucky enough to pick up an advance reading copy of Search for Atlantis last summer, so my sole purpose in braving the exhibit hall this time around (the exhibit hall is truly overwhelming and I would otherwise avoid at all costs) was to swing by the DC booth to see if they had any copies of kids’ graphic novels. Mera, as a DC Ink imprint (for middle grade) is for a slightly older crowd than DC Super Hero Girls (for younger grade), but I love the more muted color palate and have no doubt Lion will still enjoy it.
Raven by Kami Garcia – Another one from the DC booth, I think Lion might be a little young for this title. If you have middle-grade readers though, we haven’t been disappointed by any of the DC Zoom or DC Ink offerings thus far. I did snag a copy of it and will save it for Lion. I wasn’t there the day they gave out Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale, but if social media is any indication, there was a huge line for that giveaway.
Science Comics’ Polar Bears: Survival on Ice – Science Comics is a great series of graphic novels on topics like sharks, coral reefs, space, dogs, dinosaurs, volcanoes and more. We enjoy picking these out at the library and I was excited to see this recently released addition.
Musnet: The Mouse of Monet – Here’s another one that was already released, but this conference was the first time I’d encountered it. First released several years ago, there are several follow ups. It’s a beautifully illustrated graphic novel with an art theme. I’d recommend it for older-elementary school kids, personally.
A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata – Here’s one for older-elementary school or early middle school. Kadohata also wrote the Newbery award winning Kira-Kira. It’s about a twelve-year-old of Japanese descent who moves from the United States back to Japan just after WWII (during which she and her family were incarcerated) and struggles between her two identities.