Publisher Preview: Ellen Myrick Presents Small Presses (Part Six!)
This preview of a host of relatively 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, Part Four here, and Part Five here.
One might assume that with a logo that incorporates a palm tree, Little Island might have somewhat tropical roots. One would be wrong in this assumption. This Irish publisher styles itself as “Ireland’s premiere English-language children’s book publisher.” Are there palm trees in Ireland? Well, there are Cordyline australis, a New Zealand import, and by gum that’s good enough for me.
Evie’s Christmas Wishes by Siobhan Parkinson, ill. Shannon Bergin
Come for the Irish Christmas traditions. Stay for the pudding. Like most Americans, there are some traditions listed here that we know and most certainly some we do not (see: aforementioned pudding). The tagline on this one is that sometimes the wish you receive is not necessarily the wish you made. Fun Fact: The dad in this book looks like the author’s son. I’m not sure when you’ll use that information, but you may! You may.
The Philosophy Resistance Squad by Robert Grant
In the pantheon of great 2022 middle grade titles, this one has just GOT to rank. So I’ve recently been watching The Good Place with my kids, and I gotta say that there is probably not a better vehicle for philosophical contemplation than that show … until now? In this book, it is the future. And in a prestigious school, the children are processed and turned into veritable zombies. How do you get out of it? Learn philosophy! Think Sophie’s World but more fun. The power of critical thinking is getting a workout in our children’s literature these days. Let’s see how this one ranks!
Wildlord by Philip Womack
If you were offered infinite power or freedom, which would you choose? My problem is that too few books for kids these days are science fiction. Not a problem with Wildlord, though the cover might make you think “Fantasy” upon first glance. When an orphan boy finds old diaries with allusions to a secret super race of aliens he finds that he has to stop those same aliens from taking over the world. There’s a bit of mystery, a bit of fantasy, and a lot of science fiction in these pages. In short, a very different kind of story.
Feminist Kids by Blanca Lacasa and Luis Amavisca, ill. Gusti
If you’ve ever seen a book from the publisher nubeOCHO then you know that a big part of their deal is how they simultaneously publish their picture books in both Spanish and English. With this title they’re using it to follow up on the previous publication That’s Not Normal. The art itself is by Gusti, which is a pretty smart move since his is a style that is hard to resist. In showing me this book, Ellen made sure to display her favorite image of a Zoom classroom that shows different kinds of hair. I’m still keen on anything that shows what life was like when the pandemic started. Pretty cool.
The U-nique Lou Fox by Jodi Carmichael
It would seem to me that if one were writing a middle grade novel about a girl that’s dyslexic and has ADHD, it might make complete and utter sense if said book were written in a dyslexia friendly font. So often this is just simply not the case, and it’s nice to see Pajama Press making a bit of an effort here with this publication. In this story Louisa Elizabeth Fitzhenry-O’Shaughnessy wants to be a writer, but has to deal with things like a teacher who simply doesn’t understand what having ADHD actually means. Fortunately, Lou has a lot of good coping techniques and the book takes time and attention to display these. And here, let me show you what the font looks like on the page. It’s pretty neat.
If You Can Dream It Do It: How 25 Inspiring Individuals Found Their Dream Jobs by Colleen Nelson and Kathie MacIsaa, ill. Scot Ritchie
When young, I was a practical child. I didn’t spend my days dreaming about unattainable jobs because, quite frankly, I was a bit perturbed by occupations where there wasn’t already a clear cut path. I mean, how exactly do you become a human rights lawyer or a museum curator or, I dunno, a farmer? Apparently Colleen Nelson and Kathie MacIsaa may have been kids like me back in the day, since they’ve created a book where 25 people of a wide range of occupations explain precisely how they got those jobs in the first place. How cool is that? And check out the layout on this thing. It actually looks like something a kid would get a kick out of reading. This is so cool.
The Happiest Lion Cub by Oleksandr Shatokhin, translated by Zenia Tompkins
If I were to tell you that a new picture book written and illustrated by a Ukrainian author/illustrator was coming out this fall, you’d have a very specific kind of book in mind, wouldn’t you? Instantly you’d assume that the title in question was about war. Possibly metaphorical. Definitely bleak. What you would not necessarily expect would be a picture book about a lion who wants to just make music and not be king. This cover would not be the first to pop to mind, but it is rather nice to see a wide variety of art of and text coming out of the Ukraine on beyond war and battle.
Albie On His Way by Jutta Bauer, translated by Matthias Wieland
German Jutta Bauer is one of those children’s book creators world famous everywhere… except for here in the States. She’s a Hans Christian Andersen Award winner (no small thing) but all that matters here today is what her latest book looks like. And frankly, it looks adorable. In this tale Albie is fast and the king needs someone to take a message. Thus the journey begins. Be sure to pay attention to the storyline happening on the bottom of the page, by the way. There’s a lot of info to follow here, but it’s worth it if you have sharp eyes.
Gustav & Henri by Andy Matthews and Peader Thomas
There is a special place in my heart for any new graphic novel series for kids where the title is such an unapologetic import. Three stories are presented in an accessible, let’s say Dog Man-ish sort of way. A couple things to note here. 1: Henri is a girl. 2: She totes around a “portable Zen garden”.
My Hands by Néjib
And finally, this last one. Don’t be fooled by its board bookish vibe. This is a picture book to its core and a very simple one at that. Tunisian creator Néjib has created an extraordinarily simple story. There’s something appropriate about ending on it today.
Thanks once more to Ellen Myrick for presenting to me the books in this preview. We’ll have one last summary next week and then we’ll be good to go. Till then!
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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