Children's fiction and nonfiction:
I'll admit it. Fantasy is not my bag. Science fiction? Sure. But magic and dragons and all that jazz? I really have to force myself to read fantasy from time to time so that I can make recommendations to patrons that are beyond your standard titles (Harry Potter, anything by Jessica Day George, etc). However, a multicultural fantasy? Fantasy and science fiction have a long, long way to go in becoming more diverse (for all ages; the 2016 Hugo Awards winner for Best Novel, N.K. Jemisin, is the first African-American author to win in its 61 year history), so when I learned that the main character in The Adventurer's Guide to Successful Escapes is a character of color, it immediately got my attention! The fact that reviews are praising its humor is another bonus (not many fantasies are funny!).
As Lonely Planet seems to be the only publisher that takes children's travel books seriously, any new children's book from them usually gets an automatic buy. Patrons and staff have been oohing and aaahing over their beautiful City Trails series, so I expect The Cities Book to be just as popular (as was The Travel Book). 86 world cities are highlighted.
Who wants to read a Snow White graphic novel set in 1920s New York City? *Hand shoots up* Phelan's previous graphic novels, especially the magnificent Bluffton, are exceptional. Kirkus Reviews calls his latest "brilliant." School Library Journal says it's "stunning." Publishers Weekly warns,"...readers will want tissues on hand." What more do you need to know?
One of the most popular series this year has been the DC SuperHero Girls series, featuring Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and other female superheroes as they navigate the ins and outs of super hero high school. Lots of fun; boys as well as girls have been checking them out (just as boys and girls both have enjoyed the stand alone Princess Leia and Rey Star Wars novels and comic). Fans of Goddess Girls and Ever After High need to check this series out (and if you want another series featuring superheroes at school, check out Study Hall of Justice)! Super Hero High Yearbook is a fun little companion to the series, with "fun facts" about each superhero.
For teens (and YA literature fans) that prefer realistic fiction, Jordan Sonnenblick is an author I regularly recommend. His latest, Falling Over Sideways, was hailed by Kirkus Reviews for being "authentic, funny, dramatic, fantastic" in its portrayal of a young girl dealing with the aftermath of her father's stroke.
With Mike Lupica, Paul Volponi, John Feinstein, and Tim Green consistently creating moving and well-crafted sports stories, young sports fans have a wide array of superb sports stories to enjoy. Green's latest, Left Out, features a seventh grader who yearns to play football, but is worried that his deafness and speech impediment will keep him off the team (he uses a cochlear implant).
The Memory of Things is one of several recently published children's and YA fiction that focus on the tragedy of September 11, 2001 (others include Somewhere Among and All We Have Left, both also published this year). Two teens deal with the events of that terrible day in this "poignant" (School Library Journal) YA novel.
I learned about Shame the Stars several months ago, and I've been anxiously awaiting it ever since. This quasi-Romeo and Juliet story set during the Mexican Revolution along the Texas border has already earned enviable advance praise from Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly.
I'm a fan of historical fiction that covers several decades, so I'm eager to read Ashes of Fiery Weather. This saga of women in a family of New York firefighters spans generations from famine-stricken Ireland to an entire decade after 9/11; Publishers Weekly calls this "a moving testament to the men and women who risk their lives every day." Cannot wait.
The Fortunes is another multigenerational historical fiction saga, but this exploration of Chinese-American history adds some much welcome diversity to historical sagas. Beginning with Chinese immigrants working on the Central Pacific Railway in the mid 19th century and ending with a present-day biracial Chinese-American couple adopting an infant girl from China, this has received high praise for its depiction of Chinese-American life and history throughout the ages.
That's just a smattering of my ever-growing to-be-read list! If you need more titles to add to your own list, check out current and past editions of Wowbrary.
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library