Friday, June 09, 2006

More from BEA 2006

I have a little time now, so I can continue telling you about the exciting new books coming out in the fall that I saw at Book Expo America, and the authors I met.

I am really excited about a novel called Alabama Moon (FSG, 09/06), by first time author Watt Key. This is for middle grade to teen readers and is about a boy who grew up in the wilderness with an anti-establishmentarian father. When his father dies, Moon must make his own way in the world, trying his best to follow his father's philosophy of not taking anything from anyone. Full of adventure, hunting, and survival skills, this will be a favorite of reluctant reading boys and fans of books like Gary Paulsen's Hatchet. I attended a lunch with Watt Key and he was a fun and engaging speaker. Most of the skills and scrapes that Moon experiences are things that he experienced himself, growing up in the swampland of the Deep South and during a survival project in college. The writing is tender and tart and smacks of true experience. Look out for this one, it should be a winner.

New author Obert Skye visited a group of school children I was involved with in Alexandria, Virginia, when he wrote Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo, (Shadow Mountain, 4/05). This fantasy novel completely grabbed the imaginations of these kids, as did the author's own sincere belief in every aspect of the world he created. Months later, these kids were still talking about the book and saying it was their all-time favorite. Well, the second book, Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret, will be released this fall and the series has been picked up by Simon & Schuster with a big advertising campaign behind it. I hope more readers will pick up the series and get sucked in to the world of Foo.

A new mystery series for young readers, Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin, will open this fall with The Fall of the Amazing Walendas (Scholastic, 9/06). Written by the editor of Chasing Vermeer, the book uses many of the same techniques to draw kids in, with ciphers, mysterious artwork, and a fairly mature tone. It has been a number of years since a kids book took up the story of Holmes's child spies and this one should be welcome. The book's design is really beautiful, with old-fashioned art and tooling. I am eager to read more of this chapter in the series and hope to see more to come.

Other new books to watch for:
Fablehaven, by Brandon Mull (Shadow Mountain, 8/06)

Kiki Strike, by Kirsten Miller (Bloomsbury, 5/06)

I've Got an Elephant, by Anne Ginkel (Peachtree, 9/06)

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl, by Barry Lyga (Houghton Mifflin, 10/06)

Snow Spider, by Jenny Nimmo (Orchard, 9/06) UK edition available now.

One of the highlights of my trip to BEA was the private pop-up book making workshop I attended, taught by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. There were about 20 people in attendance and we all were offered personal help as we learned to make creative cuts in paper and create our own pop-ups. These guys are so much fun! The team's most recent pop-up is Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters (Candlewick, 4/06). They also have Castle (Orchard Books) coming out in August. Matthew Reinhart's new book this fall will be a pop-up version of The Jungle Book (Simon & Schuster, 10/06). I can't believe how many new books they have coming out with so much detail! They are so passionate about what they do.

Your Friendly Librarian

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