Ellen Myrick Publisher Preview: Spring 2024 – Nosy Crow, NubeOcho, and Pajama Press (Part Five)
I’ve no time to do a comparison of which ALA YMA winners this year won from big publishing houses vs. smaller publishing houses, but do I even have to? Most of the time the big boys have the big money to do the big publicity. But for my part, it’s the little guys who often do the most interesting work. Today, we return to our fifth entry in this quickie rundown of some of the smaller companies putting out books for kids in America this year. See if you can find something you like. Odds are, there’s something for everyone on this list.
Make Tracks: Farm by Johnny Dyrander
Publication Date: February 6, 2024
If you saw my round-up of my favorite board books of 2023 then you already know that I’m a big fan of this “Make Tracks” series. The entire premise is that kids are given a small circular token with an image of a vehicle on it. They then have to employ a fair amount of hand/eye coordination to move their vehicle through the streets or (in this case) corn rows on the opposite page. It’s the perfect combination of an intriguing big vehicle text on the one hand, and an interactive puzzle on the other. And now they get to do all this and drive a combine harvester (sorta)? Count me in!
The Quickest Bedtime Story Ever by Louise Fitzgerald and Kate Hindley
Publication Date: April 2, 2024
I like it when I’m watching one of these previews and then someone will off-handedly say, “This got a lot of interest in Frankfurt!” That would be the Frankfurt Book Fair, which is the world’s largest trade fair for books, based on the number of publishing companies represented. The whole point of this book is that it’s for kids that are trying to delay bedtime. It’s fast. It’s funny. It has cats in footie pajamas. What more do you need?
She’ll Be the Sky: Poems for Women and Girls, selected by Ella Risbridger, ill. Anna Shepeta
Publication Date: February 6, 2024
Every single year I look for around eight different categories of children’s books. And the category that I can never find enough submissions to fill? Poetry. Poetry for kids, GOOD poetry for kids, is incredibly difficult to locate. Fortunately, I’m lucky to have discovered this poetry anthology on women and girls this early in the year. From the same team that did the Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright compilation a couple years ago comes a collection with poetry from everyone from Amanda Gorman and Maya Angelou to Wendy Cope and Amineh Abou Kerech. Or, as the publisher put it, “Discover poetry for every moment and every mood!” It’s pretty cool.
A Different Kind of Fairy by Susana Torrubiano, illustrated by Giulia Orecchia
Publication Date: June 18, 2024
I like a book that looks interesting from the cover onward. What happens when a fairy gets jaded? In this story a fairy (who appears to have a great deal of difficulty granting wishes that go against her own gender stereotypes) decides she’d rather not grant wishes at all. She’d much rather become mean and turn into an ogre. Interested to see where this one goes when it becomes available. And naturally, since we’re dealing with the NubeOcho press here, the book is available in both English and Spanish.
Charlie’s Eye Glasses, Pub Date: April 9, 2024, ISBN: 9788419253910
Charlie’s Great Big Backpack, Pub Date: June 4, 2024, ISBN: 9788419607508
Charlie Super F, Pub Date: August 27, 2024, ISBN: 9788419253958
All right, folks. What we have here is a brand new picture book series by Margarita del Mazo, illustrated by Guridi, and available simultaneously in both English and Spanish. And quite frankly, I am charmed by it already. The name of this series (here in the States anyway) is the “Another Charlie Book” series. In each one, Charlie sets out to fearlessly represent both the smaller kids in the world and the eyeglass wearing ones (I don’t have a Venn diagram in front of me right now, but I suspect that there’s a fair amount of overlap between these two categories). But it wasn’t until I started reading some of the selections of these books that I fell in love with Charlie and his odd little world. Guridi feels like he’s channeling Sempé by way of Marc Boutavant, and it WORKS! Check out these little selections, if you don’t believe me:
Bunny Loves Beans by Jane Whittingham
Publication Date: March 19, 2024
Shameless. Utterly shameless. But can you blame them? Honestly, I have a hard time understanding why more publishers don’t go the uber-cutie route of board book publishing. I’m calling this a board book, but if it’s anything like its predecessors (Animals Move and the equally adorable Bear Has a Belly) then when you get this book you’ll see it’s board book sized (9″ x 9″) but with a padded cover and reinforced (but not board) pages. The publisher calls them “Toddler Tough” pages. As for the story, it essentially shows how animals and young children enjoy the same food. So come for the sweet little fluffy things. Stay for the healthy eating messaging.
The Sun Never Hurries by Roxane Turcotte, illustrated by Lucie Crovatto
Publication Date: May 28, 2024
I have a colleague who loves picture books about bears. Whenever I get a new bear book picture book in, I have to show it to her stat. And while I haven’t yet had the chance to show her this particular book, I already can’t wait to. The essential premise is that a grandfather is teaching his granddaughter how to take a deep breath and take your time. With art that just sort of pulses on the page, this was a Bologna Children’s Book Fair discovery. And I get the messaging. My kids? They operate at top speeds hardly visible to the human eye. They’re like hummingbird wings in human form. Fortunately mine are a bit on the older side. If you’ve a younger kid that you want to teach the benefits of slowing down to, this might be a good place to start.
Out of the Valley of Horses by Wendy Orr
Publication Date: March 26, 2024
Wendy Orr is back! Do you remember her novel for kids called Nim’s Island? They turned it into a movie back in 2008 with big name stars like Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. I was also fond of her writing style, so it’s very nice to see her back (and with a recommendation from the Junior Library Guild as well). This book takes place in Australia with a family living in a van. So the book encompasses that whole economic challenge, but it’s also open to the mystical things that happen around you all the time. Ultimately, this is a book about restoration and the faith that you’ll get through the hard times.
And what better book to end on today? Stay tuned for future installments in this series. I still have (I kid you not) fifteen more publishers to go. Who will be next? You’ll see!
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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