Drawn from the pages of PW’s Fall Children’s Announcements issue, here are our editors’ picks for the most notable and hotly awaited titles for children and teens out this fall. (Click here for PW’s list of most anticipated fall adult books.)
A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston (Candlewick, Sept.) - PW’s review described this collaboration between illustrator Jeffers and typographic artist Winston as a “hymn to the power of imagination.” The phrase applies as much to the book’s subject (the value of reading) as to its execution, as swaths of text from classic works of literature are manipulated and transformed into surging waves, towering peaks, and dark caves to explore.
Freedom Over Me by Ashley Bryan (Atheneum/Dlouhy, Sept.) - Acclaimed author-artist Bryan returns with a powerful and poignant work of historical fiction this fall, crafting poetic narratives for and vibrant portraits of 11 enslaved men, women, and children, using as his starting point an 1828 document that appraised the value of the individuals as part of their owner’s estate upon his death.
Home at Last by Vera B. Williams, illus. by Chris Raschka (Greenwillow, Sept.) - Two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Williams died in late 2015, and this story—of a gay couple and their adoptive son—is her final children’s book. Empathic writing and two-time Caldecott Medalist Raschka’s tender illustrations draw readers into the ups, downs, laughter, and tears that come as Daddy Albert, Daddy Rich, and Lester grow to better understand each other.
King Baby by Kate Beaton (Scholastic/Levine, Sept.) - Comics creator Beaton made a splash in children’s books with 2015’s The Princess and the Pony. In her second picture book, she demonstrates a keen awareness of the way a new baby can assert a downright regal dominance over a family, with parents and relatives at the ready to serve their new ruler’s every wish and whim.
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, Oct.) - Klassen concludes a trio of much-loved and slyly funny stories with one last tale of a hat lost and found. This time, two turtles come across a wide-brimmed white hat in the desert. Two turtles + one hat = one very obvious problem. The hat thieves in I Want My Hat Back and This Is Not My Hat met with grim fates, but Klassen has something different in mind this time.
Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson (Atheneum/Dlouhy, Oct.) - Anderson brings her Revolution War–era Seeds of America trilogy to a close as Isobel, a onetime slave, is finally reunited with her younger sister, Ruth. Much remains for the sisters to resolve, however, and Anderson provides a visceral account of the hardships, conflicting loyalties, triumphs, and losses that defined the birth of the nation.
The Best Man by Richard Peck (Dial, Sept.) - In his first book in three years, Newbery Medalist Peck combines the close-knit family stories he’s known for with a thoroughly modern setting as he introduces Archer Magill, a boy learning what kind of person he wants to be. Peck mixes media circuses, gay rights, budding friendships, and other topics with a featherlight sense of humor and a deep understanding of human character.
Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix, Sept.) - Sisters Cat and Maya face the prospect of imminent loss as their family moves to a foggy, coastal California town, where the sea air may help Maya’s cystic fibrosis. Incisive dialogue and telegraphic comics paint a vivid picture of the sometimes uneasy dynamic between the sisters, as well as their growing awareness of mortality once they discover that the town is home to some very real ghosts.
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illus. by Hatem Aly (Dutton, Sept.) - Gidwitz, author of the bestselling Grimm trilogy, shifts from fairy tales to the illuminated manuscripts and oral storytelling traditions of 13th-century Europe in a dazzlingly inventive story about three (possibly miracle-working) children and one (possibly reincarnated) dog, told in multiple voices à la The Canterbury Tales.
The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner, (S&S, Sept.) - Fitting in isn’t easy, and that’s true whether you’re human or a not-so-mythical Bigfoot. Weiner, the bestselling author of numerous books for adults including Good in Bed and In Her Shoes, makes her children’s book debut with an entertaining yet empathetic story of cross-species friendship set at a boarding school in the country.
Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury, Sept.) - Maas brings readers back to the world of Aelin Galanthynius, formerly known as Celaena Sardothian, in this fifth addition to the bestselling series that began in 2012 with Throne of Glass. In this installment, Aelin works to regain the throne that is rightfully hers, but looming war won’t make this an easy quest for the onetime assassin.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel and Friends, Nov.) - Now that Meyer has finished giving fairy tale characters futuristic transformations in her Lunar Chronicles series, she turns her attention to another well-known figure from literature: the Queen of Hearts. Envisioned as a prequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Meyer’s standalone novel imagines the future queen’s life before any heads begin to roll.
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Delacorte, Nov.) - Yoon’s debut novel, Everything, Everything, arrived in 2015 to critical acclaim, and plans for a feature film based on the book are well underway, with casting news recently announced. Like that book, Yoon’s sophomore novel also centers on a “can this work?” romance, this time involving a girl whose family is threatened with deportation and a boy who has always toed the line.
Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs (Dutton, Sept.) - Riggs’s first novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, heads to the big screen on September 30 in an adaptation directed by Tim Burton. For readers ready to further immerse themselves into Riggs’s world of strange and exceptionally talented individuals, this collections of stories of “peculiar” legend and lore should fit the bill.
What Light by Jay Asher (Razorbill, Oct.) - This is Asher’s first book since 2011’s The Future of Us, co-written with Carolyn Mackler, and his first solo novel since the phenomenon that was/is Thirteen Reasons Why. This story, a romance between a girl whose family runs a Christmas tree farm and a boy who has made some past mistakes, might be an ideal read for the holidays, though Asher’s fans may not opt to wait that long.