We spotlight the authors of six of the season’s most promising children’s and YA debuts.
Science and stories have always been twin threads running through Zoulfa Katouh’s life. Now a pharmacist working on cancer research and the debut author of the acclaimed novel As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow, set amid the Syrian revolution, Katouh has found a way to keep both sides of her heart engaged.
Debut author Skyler Schrempp's experience in theater helped her to home in on the voice of her historical middle grade novel, Three Strike Summer, about a girl whose family loses their Dust Bowl farm during the Great Depression.
“It was a drawing I did of my grandmother’s teacup,” author-illustrator Liza Ferneyhough says, recalling the image that set her on the creative path of transforming a mental catalog of multicultural family memories into her debut picture book, Nana, Nenek & Nina.
Debut author C.C. Harrington has felt a strong draw toward animal stories since her childhood in the English countryside. Set in 1963, her middle grade novel Wildoak follows two viewpoints: those of 11-year-old Maggie Stevens and snow leopard cub Rumpus.
Born in Exeter, in the southwest of England, Esme Symes-Smith spent a great deal of time in Cornwall, which would later influence the setting of their debut novel, Sir Callie and the Champions of Helston, a middle grade fantasy in which a nonbinary would-be knight pushes back against gender stereotypes and restrictions.
You could say it was written in the stars for flight attendant–turned–author Jas Hammonds to write books. Their YA debut, We Deserve Monuments, showcases a multigenerational story about a Black family and their roots in the small town of Burrell, Ga.