Ellen Myrick Publisher Preview Spring 2023 (Part Two)
Welcome one and all to the second part of our fabulous recap of Ellen Myrick’s marvelous publisher preview. Myrick Marketing, as I’ve mentioned before, represents a large swath of smaller publishers who need their time in the sun just as much (if not more so) than the big fellas. That’s where I come in. I don’t show you everything I’ve been presented with, though. Just the things that pique my interest. And today, these books were the very essence of pique.
Food for Hope: How Jon Van Hengel Invented Food Banks for the Hungry by Jeff Gottesfeld, ill. Michelle Laurentia Agatha
Back in 2021 you may recall that there was a pretty darn decent book published the same team you’re seeing here called The Christmas Mitzvah book (which won a 2022 Silver Medal from the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee). That book was categorized as fictional by folks like Kirkus, though it was based on a real fellow. This book probably won’t fall into the same trap (and I see that Baker & Taylor has already deemed it nonfiction and a biography). The subject, Jon Van Hengel was indeed the fellow who came up with the concept of food banks that we use today. The books shows how he created the system that is currently in use in the U.S. today. Essentially, this is a book about being an active member of your community in a good way. Yet at the same time it never makes what he did sound easy, and takes care to show his struggles. And for you backmatter nerds out there, take a look at this:
Love that note on dialogue. Wish it was an industry standard for informational picture book texts for kids.
Scurry: The Doomed Colony by Mac Smith
For the next book, I am obligated to tell you that this might not be the final cover. If it does get changed, though, it’ll be a friggin’ cryin’ shame, because I feel like they got a hole in one with this:
Ist not glorious? This is basically about a colony of mice trying to survive in some post-human dystopia, and you get ALL of that from this book jacket. Besides, what kid wouldn’t want to pick up a book that looks like this? In the story itself, mice in the past got very reliant on humans when it comes to food. Now the humans are all gone (for some unnamed reason) and the mice have to find it on their own. Trouble is, it’s a hazardous world out there and the cats are also foraging. Ultimately it becomes a story about a quest for finding a safe place to be.
Blitz: Volume 2 by Tsukasa Mori, Cedric Biscay and Daitaro Nishihara
You’d be forgiven for wondering why Garry Kasparov’s name is so prominent on the cover here. Turns out, he’s a consultant on this SoJo series. Now, normally I wouldn’t highlight a sequel, but I missed the first book in this series and I’m rather charmed by the concept. A rather nice companion to those kids that got obsessed with chess after The Queen’s Gambit (you know they’re out there) this enters the world of high stakes chess at a high school chess club. Better still, the backmatter covers chess rules, strategies, and more.
Kaya by Wes Craig
It’s bad enough to be caught in a dystopia. Even harder when you have to take along your bratty younger brother. In this series a girl with a magical arm (excellent) has to take her little brother to a safe harbor. He’s apparently the key to saving their world. He is also annoying and it is hard. And there are giant lizards involved. Drop the mic.
Ava’s Demon – Book One: Reborn by Michelle Fus
The background to this particular title is that it was initially a webcomic and then it turned into the largest Kickstarter for a webscomic in history. By the time it was slated to be turned into a book, 1.2 million people followed it online. The story involves a girl who has a demon living inside of her. Naturally, this is a difficult thing to live with. All the more when it becomes clear that the “demon” is actually an ancient alien queen… and she wants to make a deal. This is definitely more on the YA side of things, so hand it to your teens into Lore Olympus and you should be fine.
Actually, let me just pause a moment on this one. Eye of Newt Books is a relatively new publisher here today, and good reason too. According to Ellen it was started by one of the co-founders of Inhabit Media. Inhabit Media, as you can probably know, is the publisher that specializes in Inuit creators, artists, and stories. The books you’ve find at Eye of Newt are the ones that didn’t fit with the mission of Inhabit Media. Case in point . . .
What Lurks in the Dark? by Kelly Ward-Wills and Steve James
Don’t be fooled by the cover. This title is part of a new board book series for slightly older readers. Replete with additional backmatter, it slots neatly into the STEM board book trend we’ve been tracking the last few years. It’s not the first in the series (What Dwells in the Deep took that honor) but it’s coming up in 2023 and has some fairly nice visuals. Always assuming you’re into eels (I am!!).
Mina Belongs Here by Sandra Niebuhr-Siebert, ill. Lars Baus
We need a new category. What do you call children’s books in which the protagonist goes to a new place and the artist renders that space different in a variety of innovative ways? I’m thinking of books like Here I Am by Patti Kim and Gibberish by Young Vo (to say nothing of Shaun Tan’s The Arrival or Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai). Welp, add Mina Belongs Here to this Yet To Be Named category. In this story Mina is coming to a new place and trying to adapt. To give a sense of her disengagement everything about this new space is rendered in black and white. That is, until Mina begins to build relationships and things start to appear in more and more in color. And Baba Yaga gets a cameo, so that’s always a good thing.
And that’s all she wrote for today! But stay tuned. I’ve only a little bit of time before my 31 Days, 31 Lists start coming out. Time to get everything done now!
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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