The enthusiasm in the room was palpable as five children's book editors each introduced a middle-grade title that has them especially thrilled. The editors were Alvina Ling, editorial director, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Virginia Duncan, publisher of Greenwillow; Kate O'Sullivan, executive editor at Houghton Mifflin Books for Children; Jason Rekulak, creative director of Quirk Books; and Steve Geck, editorial manager of Sourcebooks Jabberwocky.
Ling introduced Grace Lin's Starry River of the Sky (Oct.), a companion to her Newbery Honor–winning Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Ling, who has been a personal friend of Lin's since they were both 10 years old, mentioned the "lavish" design and production value of Lin's book, which centers on a boy who runs away to the enigmatic village of Clear Sky, where, among other unusual events, the moon disappears. While the novel stands alone, Ling said that familiar characters from Where the Mountain Meets the Moon do appear.
Duncan spoke about the debut novel from 18-year-old author and musician Stefan Bachmann, who lives in Zurich. She described The Peculiar (Sept.) as a "gothic, steampunk, fairy, and fantasy" story. Among the phantasmagorical characters appearing in the novel: a changeling boy named Bartholomew, a lady who dresses entirely in the color plum, and a girl with tree branches for hair.
Houghton Mifflin's O'Sullivan, introduced Malcolm at Midnight (Sept.) by W.H. Beck, which she happily acquired at auction. The novel is about a secret society of class pets, including a small rat named Malcolm, who is frequently mistaken for a mouse. Beck's story is likely to appeal equally to boys and girls, O'Sullivan concluded, with its "intimate, personal arc about becoming one's own best self."
Rekulak at Quirk introduced the first book in an illustrated paranormal series, Tales from Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman, which feature lenticular covers that depict characters transforming into monsters. Professor Gargoyle (Sept.) centers on a 12-year-old who is struggling to fit into Lovecraft Middle School, which is constructed of materials salvaged from a haunted house.
Finally, Geck at Sourcebooks presented Mira's Diary: Lost in Paris (Sept.) by Marissa Moss. The book follows a "dazzling" young aspiring artist named Mira (her sketches appear throughout the book) who travels with her brother and father to Paris. Mina discovers that she can "time-slip" into the 19th century, where she encounters impressionist artists and seeks to right a great injustice.