Ellen Myrick Publisher Preview: Fall 2023/Winter 2024 (Part One)
It’s that time again!
For those of you unfamiliar with what’s about to happen, let me give you a rundown. First up, please be so good as to meet Ellen Myrick of Myrick Marketing and Media. Ellen represents a slew of small publishers, many of whom bring international children’s books to the States. And, if you know anything about the publishing industry, much of the work these publishers do comes in the form of letting folks know what you have on offer. That’s why Ellen comes to me. She tells me what folks have coming out, and then I do these round-ups of the coming season.
The trick to all of this is that being only human, I sometimes peter out before I get to the end of the previews on these posts. So this time around let’s try something different. First, Ellen has begun the preview with the second half of the publishers (a.k.a. the ones I sometimes miss) and then circles back to the first half. Second, I’m going to be a bit more choosy about what I feature. I’ll try to give each publisher at least one book they have coming out. More than that? We’ll see . . .
So! Let’s get cracking! First up on the list is everybody’s favorite . . .
Here’s a true fact: When my children were young and apps were the hot commodity, we used to really enjoy the Nosy Crow fairy tale apps of Jack and the Beanstalk or Cinderella or The Three Little Pigs. Now, of course, they eschew the app work for the book one, and after you see some of these you’ll understand why.
A Whale of a Time: A Funny Poem for Every Day of the Year by Lou Peacock, ill. Matt Hunt
Pub Date: September 29, 2023
If you’re anything like me, you tend to search with unending passion for decent children’s poetry every year. But writing a good poem for children is exceedingly difficult. So difficult, in fact, that only a handful of wonderful poetry books are even released annually! This particular book might be worth looking out for. It includes a poem a day (so take note, poetry-loving teachers). Want to go through it systematically? You can. Want to can dip in and out? You can. It’s written by a range of different poets, including everyone from Gwendolyn Brooks to (I believe) Linda Sue Park. Here’s one of my favorite spreads:
I’m Going to Be a Princess by Stephanie Taylor, ill. Jade Orlando
Pub Date: December 6, 2023
No shade on princesses but more than one mom reading this book is going to identify with Maya’s mother. When her girl declares that she wants to be a princess, mom tries countering with, oh say, rocket scientist Annie Easley. Nice try, mom. What I kind of appreciate is that the character of Maya isn’t against strong Black female historical figures. She just prefers her own, like Princess Amina, ruler of the Zazzau kingdom in West Africa. In a sea of princess stories on the one hand and books with strong, Black, historical figures on the other, it’s a smart author that has the wherewithal to combine the two.
Grandpa and the Kingfisher by Anna Wilson, ill. Sarah Massini
Pub Date: October 9, 2023
Ever since Mel Fell by Corey S. Tabor won itself a Caldecott Honor, I’ve been quite fond of kingfishers. Though, honestly, they’ve been in American children’s picture books as far back as Margaret Wise Brown (a.k.a. “Golden MacDonald”)’s The Little Island, now haven’t they? This particular adorable book (and isn’t that a stunner of a cover?) follows a grandfather and grandson. The two have a relationship with the river and the kingfisher that lives there. Over time, the grandfather explains the cycle of life to his grandson. Then, after his grandpa is gone, the boy comes back and remembers. And just look at those illustrations!
Transported: 50 Vehicles That Changed the World by Matt Ralphs, ill. Rui Ricardo
Pub Date: October 3, 2023
Now THIS is a neat idea for a book. A step above your average catalog. Essentially, what Ralphs has done here is to consider a wide range of vehicles around the world, from the tractor to the kon-tiki raft, and talk about how they changed history. I mean, just look at the table of contents:
Each vehicle is given a section full of “Facts and Stats” as well as a justification for why it “changed the world” in the way that it did. it’s a bit of smart thinking. How had no one else thought to do this before?
Goddess: 50 Goddesses, Spirits, Saints, and Other Female Figures Who Have Shaped Belief by Dr. Janina Ramirez and Sarah Walsh
Pub Date: September 5, 2023
It’s like they always say. If you’re gonna do a book of goddesses, go big or go home. And by “big” I mean “include absolutely everyone in it”. That’s why this book has Inanna, Athena, Mami Wata, Nut, Ezili Danto, Rhiannon, Xiwangmu, Baba Yaga, Durga, Juno, Venus, Chalchiutitcue, Brigid, and many more. Heck, they even got Lilith in there! A world view, I was very pleased to see the inclusion of Mama Wata in particular. With the upcoming release of The Little Mermaid in theaters, expect Mama Wata to get a bit more attention these days than she may have had in the past.
The Mouse Who Ate Books by Jose Carlos Andres and Katharina Sieg
Pub Date: October 31, 2023
Oh, friends. Beware a book this cute that also features a love of books as well.
Is it just me, or does this book have some Leo Lionni trappings about it?
A Frederick-like mouse named Klaus eats and eats and is always unfulfilled. Unfulfilled, that is, until he tries a book. Turns out, they’re delicious! But these destructive eating habits do not go unnoticed, and soon Klaus is enlisted by a kindly bookseller to become a marketer for the bookstore. Thanks to him he’s able to bring people in for storytime (to consume books in other ways). And, because this is the publisher nubeOCHO we’re talking about, the book will (of course) be released in both English and Spanish. Lovely art.
Okay, enough of that cute stuff. Let’s talk about butts now.
The Big Book of Butts by Eva Manzano and Emilio Urberuaga
Pub Date: September 5, 2023
Believe it or not, this book is actually nonfiction. And, as its title suggests, it’s entirely butt-related. Now remember how that book The Day My Butt Went Psycho was banned from a school library not all that long ago? Americans have a hard time with butts sometimes. Those that do are gonna hate this book. Those that don’t? Let’s just say it might be a most popular title with a certain age-level of child out there. Justifiably so.
If You See a Bluebird by Bahram Rahman and Gabrielle Grimard
Pub Date: October 17, 2023
This book comes with a bit of a pedigree. Author Bahram Rahman wrote a different picture book called The Sky Blue Bench, which got a fair bit of attention after it won a Schneider Family Book Award. Bahram is, himself, from Afghanistan and his books take their inspiration from that land. In this story, a boy and grandma have both recently immigrated to Canada. She appears to be adapting nicely but the boy, Ali, is having a hard time adjusting. In the course of things, Ali is asked to make a wish on a bluebird after which, slowly, over time, he begins to learn to adjust where he is.
And that’s all she wrote for tonight! Expect Part Two soon with many many more books worth discovering. And, as ever, thanks to Ellen Myrick for this preview!
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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