Children’s books are a bright spot in a flat industry these days, and plenty of forthcoming titles were generating buzz on the convention floor. The hottest category in children’s is fiction, and the biggest print runs of the season reflected that. Candlewick is printing 500,000 copies of Kate DiCamillo’s new novel, TheMagician’s Elephant(Sept. 8), and she’ll go on a 10-city tour. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Sept. 1), the followup to last fall’s The Hunger Games, was a hot “get” at the show; Scholastic gave out 1,000 galleys in just 10 minutes on Friday morning and Saturday mornings, and upped its print run from 250,000 to 350,000 copies, based on reaction at the show. And Abrams has the fourth of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid books due out on October 12; a print run has not yet been set, but the last Wimpy Kid title had a million-copy first printing.

Kris Vreeland, children’s book buyer at Vroman’s in Pasadena, said she is jazzed about both Catching Fire and Fire by Kristin Cashore (Dial, Oct. 6), and finds it interesting that the two hot titles at the show, both sequels, each have “fire” in their title. “They’re even better than [their first book], which is difficult to do for the middle book in a trilogy,” she said. Authors Cashore and Collins were both mobbed by fans at the convention; Penguin Young Readers publicity director Shanta Newlin said she was also deluged by bookseller requests for visits from Cashore. Penguin gave away 1275 ARCs of Fire during the show.

Egmont USA’s first list—of 15 titles—debuted at the show; publisher Elizabeth Law said she was “so proud and so excited.” Among the novels: Candor by Pam Bachorz, which she called “Stepford Wives for kids”; The Society of Unrelenting Vigilance, a steampunk adventure by Glenn Dakin that’s the first in a trilogy; and Riot by Walter Dean Myers (who also has a picture book, Looking Like Me, on the first list, illustrated by son Christopher Myers).

Jane Smiley has her first book for younger readers at Random House, The Georges and the Jewels (Knopf, Sept.); she signed at the booth on Saturday and had a huge line. Another hot book for the company is The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Delacorte, Oct.), a YA thriller that may have crossover appeal. And Libba Bray, author of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, has a new novel, Going Bovine (Delacorte, Oct.).

Rick Yancey’s Monstrumologist (S&S, Sept.) was getting some bookseller buzz; it’s a horror story set in 1888, in which a boy becomes an assistant to a doctor who it turns out is a monster hunter. Editorial director David Gale called it “so bloody but so good.” Also big at S&S is Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan (Simon Pulse, Oct.); the author of the Uglies series sets his new novel in an alternate world with fantastic machines.

Witch & Wizard by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet (Little, Brown, Dec.), was under lock and key until Saturday morning, when eager conventioneers snatched up every copy. Also for LB: Beautiful Creatures, a first novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (Dec.), a southern gothic mystery with a supernatural twist, written from a boy’s perspective. And staffers gave out t-shirts at the booth to promote Alphas, first in the new series by Clique author Lisi Harrison for the Poppy imprint; a 300,000-copy first printing is planned.

Michelle Andelman, a scout at Franklin & Siegal, grabbed a copy of another LB first novel, School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari because it looked “quirky”; the middle-grade novel has a 50,000-copy first printing run and a September pub date.

And yet another debut novel, Another Faust, due in August, was getting “huge buzz” at the Candlewick booth, according to marketing director Jennifer Roberts; brother-and-sister team Daniel and Dina Nayeri spoke at the New Voices lunch and signed galleys at the booth.

At HarperCollins, Neil Gaiman signed copies of his Newbery-winning The Graveyard Book for an enormous crowd. His new novel, Odd and the Frost Giants (Sept.), is aimed at middle-grade readers, but will likely cross over, as The Graveyard Book did. Another widely anticipated title for the company is The Amanda Project, across-platform,interactivemystery series for teen girls developed by Fourth Story Media; book one, invisible iby Stella Lennon, arrives in September.Also drawing buzz: Secret Society by Tom Dolby and The Everafter, a debut YA novel from Amy Huntley.

Abrams is launching a new series, NERDS (National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society), from Sisters Grimm author Michael Buckley; three books have been signed up, and Book One arrives in September with a 100,000-copy first Michele D. Kwasney (Oct.).

Sourcebooks was showcasing Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse, a debut novel by 20-year-old blogger and “Twilight Guy” Kaleb Nation; as well as its first YA novel, Dreaming Anastasia by Joe Preble (Sept.). Chronicle Books will also release its first-ever YA this fall: Blueplate Specialby Michele D. Kwasney (Oct.).

Disney publicity director Jennifer Levine called The Devil’s Kiss by Sarwat Chadda (Disney-Hyperion, Sept.) “The Da Vinci Code meets Twilight.” The book, which involves Knights Templar, comes out two weeks before the new Dan Brown novel, which should give the book some extra attention.

On the sequels side, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart, third in the series from Little, Brown, will be released on October 6. Penguin has high hopes for Al Capone Shines My Shoes by Gennifer Choldenko (Dial, Sept.), which continues the story begun in her Newbery Honor-winning Al Capone Does My Shirts. Candlewick has The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Sept.), followup to last year’s acclaimed The Knife of Never Letting Go (a paperback edition pubs in July). Kids Can was showing If America Were a Village, from the creators of If the World Were a Village, which has sold 400,000 copies since its 2002 publication.

Tundra gave word of a fourth Jacob Two-Two book, Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas (Sept.), commissioned after the death of author Mordecai Richler in 2001. It will be a prequel to the three books, written by Canadian author Cary Fagan. The company will also reissue the first three books with new art and covers.

And Groundwood will offer an omnibus of Deborah Ellis’s award-winning Breadwinner Trilogy (The Breadwinner, Parvana's Journey and Mud City). The new edition pubs in September.

New in Picture Books

Rufus Butler Seder’s Waddle! is the third book featuring Scanimation technology, following the bestselling Gallop! and Swing! This new title is the first to feature color images. Workman will release Waddle! in October with a 300,000-copy first printing; a Spanish edition, ¡Al Galope!, will also pub in the fall. Also from Workman: a new songbook from Sandra Boynton, called One Shoe Blues, with B.B. King (Nov.).

Lane Smith is on the Random House list for the first time; he’s illustrated Florence Parry Heide’s Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated (Sept.), for the Schwartz & Wade imprint.

Patrick McDonnell returns with a new picture book, Wag!, (Little, Brown, Oct.), and has also illustrated Guardians of Being, by spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle, for New World Library; though it's not a children's book, the publisher is printing 150,000 copies and is hoping for some crossover success.

Scholastic has Lois Lowry’s first picture book, Crow Call, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline; and a holiday title, The Christmas Magic by Lauren Thompson, illustrated by Jon J Muth.

Stereobooks are a new line from Chronicle; publicity director Cathleen Brady calls them a “breakthrough in sound” because each book has surround sound. The series will launch with three books. A surprise hit for the publisher was Creature ABC from photographer Andrew Zuckerman (Sept.); “people are drawn to it,” said publicity director Cathleen Brady.

Loren Long’s Otis is Penguin’s lead fall picture book (Philomel, Sept.); another big title for the company is Judy Schachner’s new SkippyJon Jones: Lost in Spice (Dutton, Sept.). And Putnam has a 20th anniversary edition of Jan Brett's The Mitten for October; Brett signed copies at the booth for a long line of fans.

Two big books for DK are Lego Star Wars Visual Dictionary (Oct., 150,000 first printing) and The Lego Book (Oct., 100,000 ). Also from the publisher: McSweeney’s Presents 101 American Heroes (Plus a Dozen or So Villains) , which pubs in October with a 50,000-copy print run; DK is including the galley in a white box mailing.

Mo Willems has what Hyperion is calling a “pop-out” title, Big Frog Can’t Fit In (Oct.), and Sterling’s big picture book is Day Is Done by Peter Yarrow, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Oct.); Yarrow and his guitar were surprise guests at Friday’s children’s breakfast.

Another singer, Tom Paxton, has a picture book, The Marvelous Toy, which features a CD; BookMasters is releasing the title in August with a 75,000-copy first printing. The big news at Groundwood is the latest in the Stella picture book series by Marie-Louis Gay, When Stella Was Very, Very Small (Sept.).

Reader’s Digest’s big fall title is The Princess and the Frog Storybook and Movie Projector, due in October; this movie projector format continues to sell very strongly for the company. And The Jonas Brothers Rockin’ the Dream! Book and Musical Microphone, which pubs in July, should appeal to tween fans.

Bad News for Outlaws from Lerner’s Carolrhoda imprint is a nonfiction picture book by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie, about the life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal; it’s due out in November.

From Charlesbridge there’s Poodle and Hound by Kathryn Lasky, illustrated by Mitch Vane , a set of thre e stories for beginning readers; Haunted Party by Iza Trapani, a Halloween picture book with a 10,000 copy print run; and The Importance of Wings by Robin Friedman, a middle-grade novel set on Staten Island in the 1980s.

The Creative Company is featuring picture books by two of its most notable illustrators: The House by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti (Sept.); and Moon Theater by Etienne Delessert (Sept.).

A new AniMotion picture book from Andrews McMeel is Lights Out, Nights Out by William Boniface, illustrated by Milena Kirkova, pubbing in September.

Clavis has Peek-a-Poo: What’s in Your Diaper, a lift-the-flap novelty picture book by Guido van Genechten, for October.

Blue Apple will offer Lights on Broadway by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Elliot Kreloff (Sept.); actor Brian Stokes Mitchell has written the introduction, and the publisher hopes to do a tie-in with PBS. Also from Blue Apple: Poppy’s Pants by Melissa Conroy , daughter of writer Pat Conroy; she already has a second book in the works with the publisher.