Kiddosphere: It’s Time For…Fall Books!
It’s FALL. Or almost (meteorological fall started September 1, but the autumnal equinox is September 23). Fall is my favorite season, so I am PUMPED. September also brings the onslaught of fall books, and there are some awesome books coming our way. Here’s what I can’t wait to get my hands on:
A young patron was recently in search of Raina Telgemeier’s The Baby-Sitters Club graphic novels and the Who Was? biography series. Being a fan of both, we had a nice chat while we looked for books. I was obsessed with the original BSC series created by Ann M. Martin when I was in elementary school, so reading Telgemeier’s graphic novel adaptations is an intense nostalgia trip. I’m sure a few details were jettisoned or changed in order to make it contemporary for young readers, but the major details and story lines stay the same (I apparently reread the BSC books many times!). Kristy’s Great Idea (#1) introduces the original four characters; The Truth About Stacey (#2) is about Stacey dealing with diabetes, and Baby-Sitters Club #3: Mary-Anne Saves the Day (out 10/27) features the first big fight among the club members.
Katherine Applegate’s first novel since winning the Newbery Medal for The One and Only Ivan (2013) is one of the most anticipated children’s novels of 2015, and it’s already received tremendous reviews. Jackson’s family has fallen on hard times. Jackson invents an imaginary friend (a super-sized cat) named Crenshaw in order to beat off loneliness and to deal with the instability that comes with chronic homelessness (at one point, the family lived in their minivan for several months). If you’re familiar with “The One and Only Ivan” (if you’re not, you’re missing out–this is one of the best Newbery books in recent memory) or her earlier but also poignant novel Home of the Brave, you know that Applegate tackles serious subjects in a deeply emotional (yet not manipulative) manner.
Donna Jo Napoli’s latest YA novel, Dark Shimmer, has received excellent reviews for her deliciously creepy revisionist take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, told from the stepmother’s point of view. Publishers Weekly calls it an “achingly lovely, sometimes frightening reimagining.” Very excited about this one.
I’m really looking forward to hearing feedback on Everyone Loves Bacon. Bacon is a superstar at the local diner; everyone says he smells so good, everyone wants to be next to him…everyone, except for French Toast. All this praise and attention makes Bacon thinks he’s quite the cool dude, until the inevitable happens. As you can guess, this is an offbeat cautionary tale about pride and excessive attention; this should be quite popular!
Another historical novel from Laura Amy Schlitz! I adore A Drowned Maiden’s Hair, so I am on pins and needles for The Hired Girl. Joan Skraggs leaves her confining home in Pennsylvania to work as a hired girl for a Baltimore Jewish family. Joan performs tasks that her observant Jewish family cannot perform on the Sabbath; as a Catholic girl growing up at the turn of the last century, this is her first encounter with Jewish family life and customs, so faux pas are to be expected. This historical coming-of-age novel has earned tremendous reviews (as have Schlitz’s previous titles, so no surprise there!).
I usually don’t rush to read companion novels to classic novels, but I’m making an exception for A Little in Love. Given the long-lasting popularity of Les Miserables, I figured that it might be popular in our YA collection (crossing fingers that I am right!), but when I read the ecstatic reviews, I knew I had to read it! I have an inordinate fondness for the musical (yes, the lyrics are hokey and trite, but whatever), and it’s one of the few high school classics that I actually enjoyed reading in high school (highly recommend reading a good abridged version of the novel, unless you really, really, really want to read pages-long descriptions of sewers and obscure post-Revolution French politics). As you can see from the cover, this is from the perspective of tragic Eponine (who’s the more compelling character–Cosette or Eponine? Team Eponine over here.). I may have to check out the CD recording of the musical for background music.
The Marvels is absolutely on my fall reading list, but this is going to be an intense read. Out of 640 pages, nearly 500 pages (the beginning of the book) are pure illustrations. We follow a theatrical family through several generations (1760s-1900s) until we arrive at the 1990s, in which we meet a runaway from a British boarding school. School Library Journal enthused: “complex, entertaining, and full of gorgeous art and writing.” Not a casual read, but I’m very intrigued.
Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novels are complex reads for mature readers; Secret Coders is aimed at the middle-school crowd and seems remarkably lighter in tone than his previous graphic novels. The founder of Stately Academy has left an avalanche of clues and puzzles for his students to solve, but not without having to deal with robotic birds and sinister school administrators. Coding/computer programming concepts are big parts of the story (Gene Luen Yang was a high school computer science teacher until very recently), and the main characters include both girls and boys of different ethnic backgrounds. The sequel will be out in 2016.
Jennifer Holm is on my list of authors who get an automatic read whenever they publish a new work. Sunny Side Up (created with her brother and collaborator for their adorable Babymouse graphic novel series) is an autobiographical graphic novel of sorts. Set in 1976, this explores the effect of a troubled sibling (due to drug abuse) on a young family. Sunny is sent to her grandparents in Florida to escape the upheaval and finds escape through comic books (and recovering the neighbors’ wayward golf balls and cats with a new friend). Kirkus hails this as being “funny, poignant, and reassuringly upbeat by the end but free of glib platitudes or easy answers.” Sounds like a must read for Raina Telgemeier fans, El Deafo fans and Roller Girl fans.
Jennifer Donnelly’s Revolution is one of the most brilliant YA novels written in the past five years (A Northern Light is also exceptional), so I must find a way to be patient until These Shallow Graves is released (10/27). Jo wants to be like the adventurous and daring journalist Nellie Bly, but her social class calls for her to marry someone of her same social standing and host endless rounds of gatherings. When her father unexpectedly dies due to an apparent suicide or unfortunate accident, Jo begins to investigate the truth behind his death when she hears a journalist speculating about the details. Horn Book Magazine names this “a most entertaining read.”
In recent years, Mr. Buzz Aldrin has become a strong advocate of Mars exploration, specifically establishing a permanent colony on Mars. Welcome to Mars: Making a Home on the Red Planet envisions what life would be like on a permanent Mars colony: how would you live? sleep? eat? This is published by National Geographic Kids, so expect a great layout of both text and images.
That’s just a sample of the books arriving in September or October! Read (and subscribe to!) Wowbrary to learn more about recent titles (children’s, YA, adult, DVDs, ebooks, etc) that have been ordered or added to the collection.
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library