Publisher Preview: Ellen Myrick Presents Small Presses of Fall 2022 (Part Five!)
This preview of a host of smaller publishers continues! If you missed the first part of this multi-pronged publisher preview, you can catch Part One here, Part Two here, Part Three, and Part Four here. At the rate I’m going I should probably be able to get these done before fall is actually here. Dare to dream, right?
Lionel Poops by Éric Veillé and Lionel Eats All By Himself by Éric Veillé
The name “Éric Veillé” may not ring any bells for you, but this particular artistic style . . . there’s something familiar about it, isn’t there? Is it possible that years ago you remember reading a strangely alluring (or maybe just strange) picture book called My Pictures After the Storm? That book also featured a lion on its cover, albeit a displeased one. Lionel’s a bit different. He’s the star of this new board book series, and let me tell you, this little lion has a definite bit of flair. I mean, look at the expressions on this guy:
Resistance is futile.
A Perfect Wonderful Day with Friends by Philip Waechter
German import alert! It’s nice when you can occasionally find a picture book about simply being alive. This is a story about a day when you are being observant and finding adventure wherever you can. And just take a gander at that art:
The Grizzled Grist Does Not Exist! by Juliette Maclver and Sarah Davis
Y’know, it’s like I always say. If you can write a book in which the phrase “It’s finis diem!” successfully rhymes with “He’s eaten Liam!” then I will be your friend for life. Now this isn’t the first Maclver/Davis collaboration we’ve ever seen. I seem to recall a certain picture book by the name of That’s Not a Hippopotamus! This book, in contrast, is more of a snipe hunt field trip story. I’m getting some strong Gruffalo vibes coming off of this book, I won’t lie to you. And here’s the spread that won me over:
The Ape Star by Frida Nilsson
You ever find out that something is popular all over the world and feel a little bit left out, being an American that doesn’t pay attention to entertainment overseas that much? I sure do. For example, when I learned that this early chapter book had been turned into a movie that’s making the international film circuit, I was surprised. Initially the plot didn’t appeal to me. In this story an ape owns a junkyard and goes to the local orphanage to adopt someone. But the first line of the book: “When I was nine, I was adopted by a gorilla” is pretty good. And then I read these random two pages and something about the text really and truly appealed to me:
Citizen She: The Campaign for Women’s Rights to Vote Around the Globe by Caroline Stevan, ill. Elina Braslina
Some fun facts about this one. First off, it marks the debut of Helvetiq, a Swiss publisher, on the American stage. And the focus is very much GLOBAL women’s suffrage. I mean, America’s great and all but it’s a good thing to know how this is a hard fought fight everywhere you go. There are sections on menstruation and “the right to control one’s own body”. There are women featured like Huda Sharawi in Egypt. Her section begins with the unforgettable sentence, “Daughter of a politician and a slave, Huda Sharawi grew up in a harem…” Covering women’s suffrage from the 18th century to today, check out this toolkit!
The Ugly Place by Laura Deal, ill. Emma Pedersen
Oh yeah. I know this place. You know this place. We all know what it feels like to be in an “ugly place” where everything around you looks ugly. Extra points if the very rock under your butt looks like it could take Oscar the Grouch in a grump-off. The publisher, Inhabit Media, specializes in Inuit books, and this one really has its focus on mindfulness in an Arctic setting. How do you climb yourself out of a bad day? This book may have some answers.
The Amajurjuk by Levi Illuitok, ill. Ben Shannon
You know what the problem is with children’s books today? Not enough child-stealing ogresses, that’s what. When was the last time you sat yourself down and thought, “Now THAT is an ogress I can get behind”? Happily, I may have an answer to that statement. What we have here is a traditional tale told by an Inuit elder. In the story, a hunter leaves his family and while he is gone an ogress called an amajurjuk steals his child. Now he has to find a way to rescue the kid, all the while keeping clear of the amajurjuk. Extra Bonus: Her rope is made of sinews. *shudder*
Ahiahia the Orphan by Levi Illuitok, ill. Nate Wells
And now in the 10-14 year old age range we have a graphic novel about a legendary Inuit hero. You know how Batman saw his parents murdered before he eyes and that’s part of his origin story? The same could be said of Ahiahia. The publisher calls him an Arctic superhero and who are we to object? Plus, there are some killer images in this book. Check this one out:
Maybe You Might by Imogen Foxell, ill. Anna Cunha
Who are you to resist the siren song of a new picture book illustrated by Anna Cunha? Set in Brazil this story features a girl in a drought ridden environment who wants to restore the water. To do so, she must decide what she can do herself to effect change. Now, I’m a children’s librarian by training, and so that means my mind is forever trying to pair books together. After I heard the plot of this one I was immediately reminded of another 2022 picture book release from a small publisher that could be an ideal pairing with this one in a storytime or picture book unit. Consider reading this book alongside Itzel and the Ocelot by Rachel Katstaller, which is Salvadoran but has a somewhat similar plot. And check out this art! A true charmer:
Superjoe Does Not Say Story by Michael Catchpool and Emma Proctor
I doubt very much that you’ll hear a statement any truer than this today: “A lot of manners went out the window with the pandemic.” Put me down for a Yup and a Yup. In this story, as the publisher says, the lesson that needs to be learned is that “sometimes the job you need to do is not the job you want to do.” And that’s a lesson that I think even the adults among us can attest to.
Starlet Rivals by Puneet Bhandal
This the year that Lantana starts launching their new middle grade line. The setting, Bollywood Academy. Here’s a reference only you gatekeepers will get: “It’s Fame but Bollywood style.” And if I were to invoke Joseph Campbell I’d say the plot is that classic “A stranger comes to town.” In this case, a new kid comes to the academy and has to make it on her talent alone.
Mwikali and the Forbidden Mask by Shiko Nguru
Masks? They’re cool. Forbidden masks? SO much cooler! This Kenyan-based tale is set in Nairobi and features a heroine destined for something she really doesn’t want to do. Mwikali has discovered that she’s descended for a line of legendary warriors. Needless to say, this is a book about “resisting the call” if you get my meaning. There’s plenty of thrilling adventures and it’s all fast paced.
Stay tuned for future updates! There are more titles on the way.
Filed under: Publisher Previews
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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