Thursday, May 06, 2010

It's May! It's May!

It's the beginning of the month, which means that it's time to tell you about some of the new children's/YA books that we just ordered! Wooo hooo! I have a lot to get through, so each book will only get a brief mention.

Thirteen Plus One

I have to admit that Myracle's novels written in instant-messaging mode drive me nuts. I go cross-eyed when I try to read them. That is, if I can find them on the shelves. They were crazy popular when I worked in Houston, and they're still fairly popular now. However, I do enjoy her tween novels, and I'm confident that her latest one, which takes place the summer before Winnie begins high school, will be another fun read.

A Beach Tail

This has received very positive reviews, and I'm eager to see it. I ordered several Father's Day/summer vacation books this month, and this one looks to be one of the best, centered around a father and son's adventures at the beach.

Belly Up

This looks different; a young boy investigates the murder of a zoo hippopotamus. Positive reviews, too.

Big Nate: In a Class By Himself

If you describe a book as appealing to reluctant readers and Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans, you have my attention. (I'll confess that I'm not a big fan of the Wimpy Kid series, but we need books for boys that aren't stuffed with adventure on every page or are fantasy epics...not all boys enjoy those.)

The Cardturner

Oooh, Louis Sachar is in YA territory with this one. The protagonist is 17 years old. The reviews are in, calling this novel for "intelligent readers" (Kirkus Reviews) "funny and thoughtful" (Publishers Weekly), filled with "heart" and "suspense" (The Horn Book). Wowza, wowza, wowza. It's also a story about bridging the generation gap through bridge, but seemingly, much more than that.

Chasing Orion

How many books does Kathryn Lasky plan to have out this year (not complaining)? I just finished her early Third Reich YA novel, Ashes (which was quite good; I'll blog about it soon), and I think she has another out later this year. There's also Chasing Orion, set in Indiana during the polio epidemic.


Finally, finally, finally! I've been waiting very impatiently for this one. I adore Deborah Wiles; her books are just such jewels and gems. She's been working on Countdown for several years, and from everything I've heard, it was definitely worth it. Set in Maryland during the Cuban Missile Crisis, this is (from the examples I've seen on Wiles's website) a fascinating "mixed media" novel, in which both Wiles's story line and newspaper clippings, ads, and song lyric evoke that tense and terrifying moment in history.

(Her next novel-one that she's set aside and only recently returned to-is centered around two young girls in 1960s Mississippi, one of whom is convinced that Elvis Presley is her father. I'm all shook up.)

Dad and Pop: An Ode to Fathers and Stepfathers

Hot diggity dog. This is definitely a much needed book. Children's books about divorce definitely exist, but they're more often than not designed for bibliotherapy. Dad and Pop is not about the trauma of divorce; just a celebration of two very important men in a young girl's family. Very nice, and I love that it's just in time for Father's Day.

The Girl Stays in the Picture

"Entourage meets The Hills meets Perez Hilton." OK, then. I'm sure it will massively popular, just like de la Cruz's other YA novels.

Hello Virginia!

"Spend a very Virginia day with a little girl as she covers the state from dawn to dusk, ending as the moon rises over the gently rolling Blue Ridge Mountains." I like to order pretty much any Virginia-themed book I come across, but this has the appeal of an established children's author (who lives in Fredericksburg). It's also a board book, which is interesting.

How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Got a Life (And A Dog)

Just look at that cover. You know that's a cover that will make kids want to snatch up that book right away. A mystery story involving a boy and a former guide dog sounds like a terrific middle-grade novel.

How to Clean A Hippopotamus: A Look At Unusual Animal Partnerships

There are some amazing stars out there in the children's nonfiction world, and Steve Jenkins is among them (along with Russell Freedman, Nic Bishop, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, DK, and National Geographic). His animal books, whether focused on fatherhood in the animal world or animal habitats, are engagingly written and creatively designed. Can't wait to see his latest.


The author of Blood on the River, winner of the 2007 Jefferson Cup award, is back with a YA novel about two runaways who connect through rock climbing. Another must read!


Newbery Honor author Kathi Appelt returns with something that sounds positively lovely and dreamy; a young girl sets out to find her mother, whom she believes is a mermaid. It's already received reviews that authors dream about at night. It's set in and around the Texas Gulf Coast and among Texas Cajuns; it's rare to find books set in this community, so I'm very eager to read it.

My Father Knows The Name of Things

This looks like a sweet (but not saccharine) and tender story just in time for Father's Day. My admiration for Jane Yolen's writing knows no bounds; I just checked out her first graphic novel, Foiled, which looks fantastic.

We have two new Dan Gutman books: Nightmare at the Book Fair and The Talent Show. Two fun reads for the summer.


Jean-Luc Fromental's 365 Penguins is one of the most offbeat and hilarious picture books I've read in recent years. Happily, he returns (sans penguins) with something that sounds just as crazy: a family dashes through the streets of Paris in order to catch a plane. Oooh la la!

The Prince of Mist

When I order books, I check out several sources: catalogs, review journals, bestseller lists, recommendations, a few trusted blogs, and the Amazon popular preorders list. The Prince of Mist appeared on a recent Amazon popular preorders list and has also earned excellent reviews, so it sounded like a win-win addition to our YA collection. Not only that, it's a ghost tale set along the English seashore during World War II. Sounds exciting!

Princess Posey and the First Grade Parade

Every year, publishers release tons of "first day of kindergarten" stories. Starting kindergarten is definitely a big deal, but so is starting first grade! Posey is nervous about starting first grade; instead of walking with her mom to her new classroom, she'll be dropped off in the "Kiss -n- Go" lane. She can't wear her pink tutu to school. Will first grade get any better? This is the first in a series. Sounds like a charmer.


Meg Cabot has a new book out. Do I really need to say anything more? Her new books fly off the shelves on their own accord. and her Airhead series is no exception. Enjoy.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

If you pledge fierce allegiance to either Team Jacob or Team Edward, you probably already know that Stephenie (not a misspelling) Meyer has a new Twilight-centered book out.

Sources of Light

Coming-of-age novels set in the 1960s South are perenially popular, with varied success. Margaret McMullan has received strong reviews for her story set in Jackson, MS during the civil rights movement.

Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz

I've heard nothing but superlatives about this biography of the famed Peanuts creator. If you read the massive Schulz and Peanuts, you'll remember that Schulz was depicted as a complicated and sometimes melancholic man (his family objected to the biography). Schulz's complex personality is not glossed over in this young readers' biography, from what I've read; considering that the most recent, until now, children's biography of Schulz is decades old, this is a welcome addition.

Theodore Boon: Kid Lawyer

John Grisham tries his hand at children's fiction. As you can guess, it's a courtroom drama. Cool.

Turtle in Paradise

Jennifer Holm is one of my favorites, so I'm super excited whenever she has a new book out. Turtle in Paradise is set in Key West during the Depression. Turtle's mother has taken a new job as housekeeper for a woman who doesn't like children. It's already received wonderful reviews, which is not surprising.

The Very Fairy Princess

Julie Andrews has been writing children's books for years, but she used to write under her married name, Julie Edwards. For whatever reason (probably marketing), she's recently decided to write as "Julie Andrews." She partners again with daughter Emma Walton Hamilton (they recently created a lovely poetry collection ) for this princess-themed picture book.

The Water Seeker

I will love Kimberly Willis Holt forever for My Louisiana Sky. Her latest, set in 1840s Missouri with a touch of magical realism, will definitely go to the top of my to-be-read pile.

Word After Word After Word

Patricia MacLachlan is, of course, the author of the lovely Sarah, Plain, and Tall series, as well as other wonderful stories. Word After Word After Word centers on a group of fifth graders and a visiting author. No idea if it's based on personal experiences, but I wouldn't be surprised.


This is a steampunk novel that I'm sure will be popular with teens that like their fantasy with a touch of social consciousness.

Another month of great children's and YA novels

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