Picture Books

Matthew Cordell

Hello, Neighbor! The Kind and Caring World of Mister Rogers (Holiday House/Porter, May; $18.99; 100,000-copy first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “Writing and illustrating a book about his childhood hero Mister Rogers has been a lifelong dream of Matt Cordell’s, and his admiration shines through on every page. It was also a pleasure to work with the Fred Rogers Company on the book and ensure that every detail is accurate and true to Fred’s spirit.”—Neal Porter, publisher, Neal Porter Books

Opening: “Welcome to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”

Lunchtime author reception

Cori Doerrfeld

The Welcome Wagon: A Cubby Hill Tale (Abrams, Mar.; $17.99; 100,000-copy first printing; ages 3–7)

Why the buzz: The Welcome Wagon is such a great story, and we love its warm focus on community and inclusion. Cori Doerrfeld is fantastic—she’s very empathetic and has a sense of humor perfect for kids. Parents and kids can pore over Cori’s read-aloud text and adorable illustrations again and again, helping with real anxieties that kids can face when welcoming someone new. We’re so excited for The Welcome Wagon to find its way into the world!”—Russ Busse, senior editor, licensing and entertainment, Abrams

Opening: “Cooper was the first to find out.”

Evening author reception

Michael Genhart

Accordionly: Abuelo and Opa Make Music, illus. by Priscilla Burris (Magination, Apr.; $14.99; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “I’m so excited about Accordionly because it invites us all to come together, celebrate one another, and find our place and belonging as a big beautiful family and community. This book also includes a lively fold-out scene and a note from Michael and Priscilla sharing the true story of their own multicultural families.”—Kristine Enderle, editorial director, Magination Press

Opening: “The accordion is a funny-looking instrument.”

Evening author reception

Seamus Kirst

Papa, Daddy, and Riley, illus. by Devon Holzwarth (Magination, May; $14.99; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: Papa, Daddy, and Riley is a touching story about how love makes a family. This book is so important and timely, and has a heartfelt message that there’s no right way to have a family. It’s gentle and affirming, and the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. Plus, there are a lot of books that feature families with two moms, but not many with two dads, so we’re excited to add this book as a resource for many families!”—Katie Ten Hagen, editor, Magination Press

Opening: “On the first day of school, my parents walked me to my classroom.”

Lunchtime author reception

Joseph Kuefler, illustrator

The Night Is for Darkness, written by Jonathan Stutzman (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, June; $17.99; 50,000-copy first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “This picture book is an evocative lullaby that also pays tribute to the beauty of the natural world. Joseph Kuefler chose to interpret the text in an unexpected way, following a family on a nighttime road trip, and we see the world from the children’s points of view as they’re in the car. The way he plays with light and perspective in this book is breathtaking.”—Alessandra Balzer, v-p, co-publisher, Balzer + Bray

Opening: “The night is for darkness and bright golden beams.”

Evening author reception

Colin Meloy

Everyone’s Awake, illus. by Shawn Harris (Chronicle, Mar.; $17.95; 75,000-copy first printing; ages 5–8)

Why the buzz: “I’ve been singing along to Colin Meloy’s words since I was in high school, and I’ve been Shawn Harris’s editor for years. But Everyone’s Awake is the best work I’ve ever seen from either of them. Shawn invented a new way to do art for this book, and Colin’s words are in Merriam-Webster when you look up ‘perfect read-aloud.’ Every time I read this book, I’m in awe: both text and art set new standards for the picture book.”—Taylor Norman, editor, children’s books, Chronicle

Opening: “The crickets are all peeping./ The moon shines on the lake./ We should be soundly sleeping.[/] But everyone’s awake.”

Evening author reception

Dashka Slater

A Book for Escargot, illus. by Sydney Hanson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Apr.; $16.99; 50,000-copy first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “I am excited about A Book for Escargot because if a tiny French snail wearing a striped shirt and jaunty neckerchief can make his way through a perilous library and find a way to be the hero of his own story, there is hope for all of us.”—Joy Peskin, editorial director, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Opening: “Bonjour! I see you are reading a book. I will try not to distract you.”

Evening author reception

Ruth Spiro

Baby Loves Political Science: Democracy! (Charlesbridge, Apr.; $8.99 board book; 75,000-copy first printing; ages up to 3)

Why the buzz: “We’re excited to take Ruth Spiro’s wildly popular Baby Loves Science series into new territory with political science, starting with Democracy! Especially in this election year, little ones will be seeing and hearing a lot about American democracy. And, when toddlers start asking ‘why?’, sharing a book like this is a great way to explore the basics, involve them in the process, and support a love of reading.”—Donna Spurlock, director of marketing, Charlesbridge

Opening: “Baby likes to color. She’s making a sign for Election Day!”

Evening author reception

Jillian Tamaki, illustrator

My Best Friend, written by Julie Fogliano (Atheneum, Mar.; $17.99; 100,000-copy first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “This pitch-perfect friendship story is stunning in every way. Julie has the brilliant ability to write the way children feel and play and speak, and in this book she captures childhood friendship in all of its quirky, lovely detail. Jillian’s lush illustrations are done in a limited palette of soft, warm colors that feel like a hug. My Best Friend has the feel of an instant classic from two incredible talents.”—Reka Simonsen, editorial director, Atheneum

Opening: “i have a new friend.”

Evening author reception

Middle Grade/YA

Janella Angeles

Where Dreams Descend (Wednesday, June; $18.99; 75,000-copy first printing)

Why the buzz: “I am always on the lookout for stunning stories that I can just sink into, ones with lush, beautiful worlds full of powerful, diverse characters with complicated choices to make. Janella’s debut is exactly that. Immersive, romantic, and wonderfully feminist, this is the kind of novel you are going to begin reading and hours later look up from, blissfully happy, not understanding how so much time has passed.”—Vicki Lame, senior editor, Wednesday

Opening: “Never come to Hellfire House without wearing a mask.”
Evening author reception

Dean Atta

The Black Flamingo (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, May; $18.99; 60,000-copy first printing; ages 14–up)

Why the buzz: The Black Flamingo, originally published in the U.K., has one of the most raw, vivid voices I’ve read in a long time. This is the first YA that has come across my desk with a drag artist as the protagonist, which I loved. The poetic verse is fearless and incredibly honest. Michael’s story will sear itself in your memory.”—Alessandra Balzer, v-p and co-publisher, Balzer + Bray

Opening: “I am the black flamingo.”

Evening author reception

Kalynn Bayron

Cinderella Is Dead (Bloomsbury, July; $18.99; 75,000-copy first printing; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: “I’m so excited to introduce Kalynn and Cinderella Is Dead to independent booksellers. When queer black girls team up to overthrow the patriarchy, everybody wins—except the patriarchy. Kalynn has created a fantasy world that is thrilling, original, and inspiring.”—Erica Barmash, senior director of marketing and publicity, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Opening: “Cinderella has been dead for 200 years. I’ve been in love with Erin for the better part of three years. And I am about two minutes away from certain death.”

Evening author reception

Deb Caletti

Girl, Unframed (Simon Pulse, June; $18.99; ages 14–up)

Why the buzz: “Award-winning author Deb Caletti wows us with every book she writes, always finding new perspectives and angles on timely and essential themes. She truly took my breath away with Girl, Unframed, bringing the framework and hook of a slow burn thriller together with a story that explores that crucial intersection for a teen girl of both enjoying and fearing becoming a sexual being and navigating the many emotions and experiences—both good and bad—that come with that in our society.”—Liesa Abrams, v-p, editorial director, Simon Pulse

Opening: “I had a bad feeling, even before I left home.”

Evening author reception

Sharon Cameron

The Light in Hidden Places (Scholastic Press, Mar.; $18.99; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz: “Based on a true story, The Light in Hidden Places is a magnificent exploration of courage, humanity, and the choices we make when faced with monstrous circumstances. Sharon Cameron’s triumphant celebration of one young Polish woman’s bravery during WWII has a heart that beats with devastating beauty. This book will not only keep readers turning pages, but will inspire people of all ages.”—Lisa A. Sandell, editorial director, Scholastic Press

Opening: “Someone is out there. In the dark.”

Scholastic reception

Traci Chee

We Are Not Free (HMH, June; $17.99; 50,000-copy first printing; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz: “I had been eager to work with Traci Chee ever since seeing her first novel on submission, and I’m so honored to have edited We Are Not Free. The book is historical fiction, but the powerful stories of its characters—the injustice they face, their pain and their resilience—all resonate powerfully in today’s climate. It’s both timeless and timely.”—Cat Onder, senior v-p, publisher, HMH Books for Young Readers

Opening: “It’s been over three months since the attack on Pearl Harbor, and my oldest brother, Mas, has told me to come straight home from school each day.”

Lunchtime author reception

Ernesto Cisneros

Efrén Divided (HarperCollins, Mar.; $16.99; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: Efrén Divided by debut writer Ernesto Cisneros is a heartfelt tribute to all the children who fear that their parents will be deported—and the story of one boy whose mother is sent back to Mexico. I love Ernesto’s clear-eyed sympathy for his characters. He knows deeply what he is writing about, and his connection to his subject shines through brilliantly.”—Rosemary Brosnan, v-p, editorial director, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Opening: “Once again, Efrén Nava woke up to a chubby pajamaed foot in his face.”

Indies Introduce presentation

Hannah Abigail Clarke

The Scapegracers (Erewhon, May; $17.95; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: “We jokingly call The Scapegracers the anti-Craft since it’s a book about an outcast lesbian teenage witch who finds her coven and, with it, true friendship and acceptance. It’s also masterfully written, with a unique voice and glittering prose, especially impressive from such a young writer. I desperately wish I’d had this book as a teenager, and we’re thrilled to publish it for today’s young witches and queers, their admirers, and the grown-ups they’ve become.”—Liz Gorinsky, publisher, Erewhon

Opening: “The punch was the color of my first and second knuckles and it tasted a little like lye.”

Evening author reception

Brandy Colbert

The Voting Booth (Disney-Hyperion, July; $18.99; ages 12–18)

Why the buzz:The Voting Booth is the perfect antidote for anyone who is already feeling like a ball of nerves over the 2020 presidential election! I fell in love with Duke and Marva the moment I met them and couldn’t stop swooning over their instant romantic spark. Not only is The Voting Booth a warm, funny, triumphant read, it starts a crucial conversation about an issue that we should all be paying attention to—voter suppression.”—Laura Schreiber, senior editor, Disney-Hyperion

Opening: “I don’t like it when people make hyperbolic statements, so I really mean it when I say I’ve been waiting for this day my entire life.”

Evening author reception

Jennifer De Leon

Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (Atheneum/Dlouhy, May; $18.99; 125,000-copy first printing; ages 14–up)

Why the buzz: “For people of color, ‘Where are you from?’ is not always an innocent—or easy—question. Jennifer De Leon’s unforgettable debut is brave and deeply insightful, hitting at the subtle ways people of color encounter racism every day. Microaggressions and code-switching are just as important to the conversation surrounding racism as the bigger issues, but they are rarely discussed. Jenn sheds needed light on these issues naturally and masterfully, all the while telling a searing, gripping story.”—Caitlyn Dlouhy, v-p, editorial director, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Opening: “Picture it: me in the middle of Making Proud Choices class—that’s SEX ED for anyone not born in this century.”

Evening author reception

Jenny Downham

Furious Thing (Scholastic/Fickling, Jan.; $18.99; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz: “In the brilliance of Furious Thing, Lex has been made to feel like she’s a monster by a man who at times is able to go as far as gaslight the reader. Jenny Downham has given this specific kind of anger a voice in the masterful way that only she can do. I can’t wait for readers to feel heard and validated through the lens of Lex and the voice that Jenny Downham has given her.”—Sam Palazzi, editor and publishing manager, David Fickling Books and Chicken House

Opening: “Once, there was a girl who grew up wicked.”

Scholastic reception

Richard Fairgray

Black Sand Beach: Are You Afraid of the Light? (Pixel + Ink, May; $22.99 hardcover, $12.99 trade paper; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz:Black Sand Beach: Are You Afraid of the Light? is the perfect example of the Pixel + Ink name—as Richard Fairgray does all his work, including inking, by hand. Thrilled for the launch of this haunting graphic novel series and the launch of Pixel + Ink!”—Bethany Buck, editor, Pixel + Ink

Opening: “Hello, and welcome to Black Sand Beach, a place of mystery and intrigue where your darkest nightmares run alongside you as the waves lap at your toes.”

Lunchtime author reception

Robin Ha

Almost American Girl (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Jan.; $22.99 hardcover, $12.99 trade paper; 65,000-copy paper first printing; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: “A graphic memoir is the ideal format for this story of immigration, assimilation, and the transformative power of art. Through Robin’s eyes, we experience—on a visceral level—her confusion and hurt, but ultimately her triumph, when she is suddenly transplanted from Seoul, South Korea, to Huntsville, Alabama, as a girl.”—Alessandra Balzer, v-p, co-publisher, Balzer + Bray

Opening: “I was 14 years old.”

Evening author reception

Gibby Haynes

Me & Mr. Cigar (Soho Teen, Jan.; $18.99; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz: “Elevator pitch: Gibby Haynes, the front man of the legendary and genre-defying psychedelic rock band the Butthole Surfers, has written a YA novel about a boy and his dog. Wait, what?”—Paul Oliver, v-p, director of marketing and publicity, Soho Press

Opening: “By all accounts, 12-year-old G. Oscar Lester III was a lucky boy.”

Lunchtime author reception

Leah Henderson

The Magic in Changing Your Stars (Sterling, Apr.; $16.95; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “There are so many layers to this book—the genre blending of historical fiction and magical realism allows readers to consider some very heady possibilities. Then there’s the characters’ names: Ailey, his teacher Ms. Hansberry, his nemesis Mahalia. These are just a few examples of callbacks to prominent black Americans. The Magic in Changing Your Stars is a time travel adventure and a celebration of capital-B Black capital-E Excellence.”—Suzy Capozzi, executive editor, Sterling Children’s Books

Opening: “It hadn’t been two minutes since Ailey’s last mini fiasco, but before Mr. Rock could even read the first word of the announcement, Ailey was out of his seat—again.”

Lunchtime author reception

Abigail Hing Wen

Loveboat, Taipei (HarperTeen, Jan.; $18.99; 150,000-copy first printing; 13–up)

Why the buzz: “It’s the story of one character’s rebellious summer in a faraway country—but look closer, and it’s much more. It’s an examination of that moment when parents’ expectations come into direct conflict with the dreams teens have for themselves. It’s about Ever, who grows up in Ohio feeling very much like the other, then experiences Taiwan and feels her otherness fall away. Debut author Abigail Hing Wen’s voice sings with crystal clear sincerity. An #OwnVoices knockout.”—Kristen Pettit, executive editor, HarperCollins

Opening: “The envelope drops through our mail slot like a love letter.”

Evening author reception

June Hur

The Silence of Bones (Feiwel and Friends, Apr.; $17.99; 50,000-copy first printing; ages 13–up)

Why the buzz: “From the first page of the first draft, I found myself enthralled by The Silence of Bones. Never before has a book so utterly transported me back in time. I will be forever grateful to June Hur for taking me on this deeply impactful journey—as for our heroine, Seol, for many it is a journey home. I can’t wait for more readers to come along and lose themselves in it as I did.”—Emily Settle, associate editor, Feiwel and Friends and Swoon Reads

Opening: “The capitol lay deep in stillness.”

Indies Introduce presentation

Jordan Ifueko

Raybearer (Amulet, Apr.; $18.99; 150,000-copy first printing; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz:Raybearer is everything I look for in a fantasy novel, plus so much more! It has a lush and vivid world, a conflicted hero coming into her own, creative magic, and a fresh and unexpected plot. I’m so excited for readers to get to meet Tarisai and travel with her through the 13 nations of Aritsar—and to root for her to outsmart her ‘destiny.’ We’re so proud to be publishing Jordan Ifueko’s debut.”—Maggie Lehrman, editorial director, Abrams

Opening: “I shouldn’t have been surprised that fairies exist.”

Indies Introduce presentation; evening author reception

Jessica Kim

Stand Up, Yumi Chung! (Kokila, Mar.; $16.99; 50,000-copy first printing; ages 9–12)

Why the buzz: “Everyone at Penguin immediately fell in love with this hilarious debut novel about a shy girl whose dreams of being a stand-up comedian don’t align with her Korean parents’ plans for her future. At times funny and heartbreaking, Stand Up, Yumi Chung! is a pitch-perfect read for fans of Front Desk and Better Nate Than Never.”—Shanta Newlin, v-p, publicity and corporate communications, Penguin Young Readers

Opening: “I should have known better than to think anyone would listen to me at the Korean beauty salon.”

Indies Introduce presentation

Janae Marks

From the Desk of Zoe Washington (HarperCollins/Tegen, Jan.; $16.99; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: From the Desk of Zoe Washington is a masterclass in how to balance a middle grade story and youthful earnestness with tough topics. Amidst complicated parental relationships, there’s also just a girl trying to do well at her bakery internship and manage changing friendships. Janae Marks dives into a traditionally overlooked experience of children living with incarcerated parents and weaves in an intriguing mystery, supportive family members, and a determined, compelling protagonist in Zoe Washington.”—Mabel Hsu, editor, Katherine Tegen Books

Opening: “The day I turned 12, I was certain it’d be my favorite birthday yet, but then I got the letter.”

Indies Introduce presentation

Tobly McSmith

Stay Gold (HarperTeen, May; $18.99; 75,000-copy first printing; ages 14–up)

Why the buzz: “Already an Indies Introduce pick and a ‘Lead Read’ in-house, Stay Gold is capturing hearts with every new reader, because debut author Tobly McSmith has penned a love story between a trans boy and a cis girl that has enough humor, compassion, and hope to fill its Texas setting to bursting. Clear a space on the shelf beside If I Was Your Girl, What If It’s Us, and Dumplin’—this YA is the real deal.”—Andrew Eliopulos, executive editor, HarperTeen

Opening: “Fade in, exterior parking lot. The imaginary director calls action, and the scene opens on New Kid sitting alone in his car on the first day of school.”

Indies Introduce presentation

Tehlor Kay Mejia

Paola Santiago and the River of Tears (Disney/Riordan, Aug.; $16.99; 150,000-copy first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “I love Paola Santiago not only because it is chock-full of suspense and magic, but also because the characters are so relatable.”—Rick Riordan

Opening: “It was 118 degrees in Silver Springs, Arizona, and the Gila River was thick with algae.”

Evening author reception

Gabby Noone

Layoverland (Razorbill, Jan.; $17.99; 50,000-copy first printing;

ages 14–up)

Why the buzz: “Fans of The Good Place will love this novel about two teens, one stuck atoning for her sins and one destined for heaven, who fall in love in purgatory. Debut novelist Gabby Noone is a wickedly funny new talent with a dark sense of humor, and we expect Layoverland to be a favorite hand-sell of the season!”—Shanta Newlin, v-p, publicity and corporate communications, Penguin Young Readers

Opening: “You know the kind of crying where you’re crying over one thing and then you think about a slightly less upsetting but still definitely upsetting thing and it makes you cry even more?”

Indies Introduce presentation

Julian Peters

Poems to See By: A Comic Artist Interprets Great Poetry (Plough, Mar.; $24; ages 13–18)

Why the buzz: “This stunning anthology of favorite poems visually interpreted by comic artist Julian Peters breathes new life into some of the greatest English-language poets of the 19th and 20th centuries. These are poems that can change the way we see the world, and encountering them in graphic form promises to change the way we read the poems.”—Sam Hine, editor, Plough

Opening: “Poetry and comics may seem like an unlikely combination, but the truth is that the two art forms share a number of common elements.”

Lunchtime author reception

James Ponti

City Spies (Aladdin, Mar.; $17.99; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz:City Spies is a middle grade mystery at its best—it’s that edge-of-your-seat-type of page-turner that also tugs on your heartstrings. Not only has James delivered another clever and honest read, he has crafted an electrifying, STEM-infused series opener that readers are hungry for. This action-packed adventure features characters from around the world, and I am so excited for kids to see themselves in the city spies and recognize their own ability to triumph and make a difference.”—Tricia Lin, editor, Aladdin Books

Opening: “Sara looked at the water stain on the wall and imagined it was an island.”

Evening author reception

Pam Muñoz Ryan

Mañanaland (Scholastic, Mar.; $18.99; 100,000-copy first printing; ages 9–up)

Why the buzz: “Whose lives have value? Could you risk your own well-being to help another? Does everyone deserve to live in safety without fear of repression? Seamlessly melding myth, magical realism, and social justice into an absorbing adventure that reads like a timeless fable, Mañanaland invites courageous conversation and models human goodness in the face of danger. Its graceful example of compassion in action gives me hope for healing and solidarity in these divisive times.” —Tracy Mack, v-p, publisher, Scholastic

Opening: “Somewhere in the Americas, many years after once-upon-a-time and long before happily-ever-after, a boy climbed the cobbled steps of an arched bridge in the tiny village of Santa Maria, in the country of the same name.”

Scholastic reception

Loriel Ryon

Into the Tall, Tall Grass (S&S/McElderry, Apr.; $18.99; ages 10–up)

Why the buzz: “This #OwnVoices debut is a lyrical, intergenerational story that takes readers into the heart of a family damaged by prejudice and misunderstanding. In one remarkable, difficult journey, a girl learns about the terrible secrets of the past, she discovers her own unique abilities, and searches for a way to heal her family and create a brighter future. Deeply moving and full of love and life.”—Karen Wojtyla, v-p, editorial director, Margaret K. McElderry Books

Opening: “Yolanda crept to her bedroom door, cracking it just so and peering inside.”

Indies Introduce presentation

Cynthia Salaysay

Private Lessons (Candlewick, May; $17.99; ages 14–up)

Why the buzz:Private Lessons is a debut novel that gracefully explores how difficult it is to find your voice when people who you admire want to silence you. It beautifully describes the hard work and emotion that go into playing the piano competitively, as well as the therapeutic power of music. It’s poignant and incredibly timely, and I hope that it sparks discussions about consent, race, and power dynamics.”—Kate Fletcher, executive editor, Candlewick

Opening: “I’ve done everything I could to make Paul Avon like me.”

Indies Introduce presentation

Christina Soontornvat

A Wish in the Dark (Candlewick, Mar.; $17.99; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “I can’t wait for readers to be introduced to A Wish in the Dark, Christina Soontornvat’s middle-grade interpretation of Les Misérables set in a Thai-inspired fantasy world. It’s rare and special to find a novel that is beautifully written and raises urgent and relevant questions about justice and morality, while at the same time providing a totally compulsive, just-one-more-chapter read complete with thrilling cliffhangers, laugh-out-loud moments, and characters to root for.”—Andrea Tompa, executive editor, Candlewick

Opening: “A monster of a mango tree grew in the courtyard of Namwon Prison. Its fluffy green branches stretched across the cracked cement and hung over the soupy brown water of the Chattana River.”

Evening author reception

Rebecca Stead

The List of Things That Will Not Change (Random/Lamb, Apr.; $16.99; 100,000-copy first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “I’m thrilled to publish The List of Things That Will Not Change, Rebecca Stead’s wonderful new novel. It’s classic Stead: unique, full of quirky humor and memorable characters, showing Rebecca’s deep understanding of children’s inner lives. This is also her most emotional book. Readers will love the heroine, Bea, and share her powerful feelings and her hopes as she navigates big changes and celebrates family and friendship.”—Wendy Lamb, v-p, publishing director, Wendy Lamb Books

Opening: “Just last weekend, my dad told me a story that explained one or two things about his wedding day.”

Evening author reception

Thomas Taylor

Gargantis (Walker, May; $16.99; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Middle school is a time when the world is opening up to children. Their attention turns outward from family and home toward the unknown world beyond and all the monsters and treasures it might hold. In Malamander and its sequel, Gargantis, Taylor creates an eerie seaside town in which monsters and treasures from the deep routinely surface. It’s a quintessential middle grade series, though its delightful nautical details and language make it enjoyable for all ages.”—Susan Van Metre, executive editorial director, Walker Books U.S.

Opening: “If there’s one thing hotels have a lot of, it’s strangers.”

Evening author reception

Christina Uss

The Colossus of Roads (Holiday House/Ferguson, May; $17.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 9–12)

Why the buzz: “I am excited to be publishing another quirky novel by Christina Uss, the author of The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle. In The Colossus of Roads, Carsick Rick is determined to become the Colossus of Roads and save his parents’ food delivery business by fixing all the traffic problems in Los Angeles.”—Margaret Ferguson, editor, Margaret Ferguson Books

Opening: “Rick Rusek’s stomach grumbled, trying to get his attention.”

Lunchtime author reception

Randy Wayne White

Fins (Roaring Brook, Mar.; $16.99; 50,000-copy first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Adventure! Humor! Sharks! Fins is a book with 100%, unquestionable kid appeal. It’s a wild ride with great heart, an unforgettable cast of characters, and a gentle, important environmental angle.”—Jen Besser, senior v-p and publishing director, Roaring Brook

Opening: “After a few weeks in Florida, Luke decided he wanted to be a fishing guide like his aunt, Captain Hannah Smith, and was learning faster than usual until the day he was struck by lightning.”

Evening author reception

Deborah Wiles

Kent State (Scholastic, Apr.; $18.99; ages 12–up)

Why the buzz: Kent State has made me rethink how history works and how I believe stories can be told. It’s about what happened 50 years ago and it’s about what’s happening today, and it is not only remarkable reading, it’s essential reading. It will take you an hour or two to read, and it will change you.”—David Levithan, v-p, publisher and editorial director, Scholastic

Opening: “You are new here,/ and we don’t want to scare you away,[/] but we want you to know the truth,/ so we will start by telling you what is most important:/ They did not have to die.”

Scholastic reception

Lauren Wolk

Echo Mountain (Dutton, Apr.; $17.99; 75,000-copy first printing; ages 10–up)

Why the buzz: “Lauren Wolk is a master of historical fiction. In Echo Mountain, the Newbery Honor author delivers a poignant and richly drawn story set in Depression-era Maine about a complex and resilient young woman who must help her family survive the unforgiving terrain of Echo Mountain after an accident leaves her father in a coma. Lauren’s exquisite prose and deep observations of the human psyche make this novel one of the stunners of the year.”—Shanta Newlin, v-p, publicity and corporate communications, Penguin Young Readers

Opening: “The first person I saved was a dog.”

Evening author reception

WI15: Adult Authors to Meet