With more than 30 authors and illustrators introducing and signing new work at CI2023, booksellers will head home with tall to-be-read stacks and an abundance of fresh ideas. All presenters will participate in the author reception on Tuesday, June 6, 5–6:30 p.m., except those noted below as participating in the Scholastic Graphix After Party, scheduled for that night, 9:30–11:30 p.m.

Picture Books

Monica Arnaldo

Mr. S (HarperCollins/Tegen, June; $19.99; 40,000-copy announced first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “Kindergartners arrive for school and can’t find their teacher, only a delicious-looking sandwich and the name ‘Mr. S’ scribbled on the board. Chaos ensues as the kids argue whether the sandwich is their teacher. Mr. S will have kids and adults alike laughing all the way to the sneakiest ending in picture book history. Consider this a modern-day Miss Nelson, if Miss Nelson were a sandwich.” —Mabel Hsu, executive editor, Katherine Tegen Books

Opening: “The kids in room 2B could tell something was wrong.”

Raj Haldar

This Book Is Banned (Sourcebooks Explore, Sept.; $18.99; illus. by Julia Patton; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “Raj Haldar’s work is as hilarious as it is wise. Julia Patton has a similar subversive, funny-yet-smart approach in her illustration style. The two of them together are pure genius and create so many entry points to this topic. This Book Is Banned subtly teaches readers something important.” —Kelly Barrales-Saylor, editorial director, Sourcebooks Explore

Opening: “Oh no! Didn’t you read the title before you decided to open this book?! It’s B-A-N-N-E-D.”

(For our q&a with Haldar, see “No More Silent Letters” on p. 10.)

Vikram Madan

Zooni Tales: Keep It Up, Plucky Pup (Holiday House, Oct.; $13.99, $8.99 paper; 65,000-copy announced first printing, hardcover and trade paper combined; ages 5–8)

Why the buzz: “With the launch of the Zooni Tales graphic novel series, we’re proud to have Geisel Honoree Vikram Madan bring casual diversity to the graphic novel space. Vikram has illustrated his main character wearing a traditional Indian shirt, and his daughter weighed in on the shade of Zooni’s fur.” —Sara DiSalvo, publicity manager, Holiday House/Peachtree/Pixel+Ink

Opening: “That nap was nice./ And restful too!”

Tanisia Moore

I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams (Scholastic Press, Sept.; $19.99; illus. by Robert Paul Jr.; 35,000-copy announced first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “Tanisia Moore weaves an electrifying anthem to great Black men that shines a light on the promise within every Black child. With vibrant illustrations from Robert Paul Jr., I Am My Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams is set apart by its propulsive first-person narrative and its inclusion of lesser-known Black men in history as well as contemporary figures kids know and admire.” —Elisabeth Ferrari, publicity manager, Scholastic

Opening: “I am fly.”

Moore will participate in the Scholastic After Party, June 6, 9:30–11:30 p.m.

Jerome and Jarrett Pumphrey

There Was a Party for Langston (S&S/Dlouhy, Oct.; $18.99; written by Jason Reynolds; 250,000-copy announced first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “Sure, I could rave about the fierce joy in Jason’s text and about Jerome and Jarrett’s illustrations that were crafted from hundreds of individual stamp carvings, but it’s the interpretation of the great Langston Hughes by ‘the Js’—Jason, Jerome, and Jarrett—for kiddos that is its own celebration. Langston freed words, and in doing so freed so much else—including a book like this, more than half a century later, to be conceived, so the youngest readers could have a greater sense of what freedom can be.” —Caitlyn Dlouhy, v-p and publisher, Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Opening: “There was a party for Langston at the library.”

Matt Tavares

Dasher Can’t Wait for Christmas (Candlewick, Sept.; $17.99; 200,000-copy announced first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “I’m beyond thrilled to return to Dasher’s magical world, and so impressed that Matt has managed to include so many important themes: the anticipation of the season, the satisfaction of having given just the right gift, the joy that comes from an unexpected friendship, and—maybe most importantly—the power that comes from being able to orient yourself toward home.” —Katie Cunningham, executive editor, Candlewick Press

Opening: “Dasher lives with her family at the North Pole.”

Donna L. Washington

Prak Fills the House (Peachtree, Sept.; $18.99; illus. by Lauren Emmons; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “Award-winning storyteller Donna L. Washington’s virtual reading of Boo Stew was the talk of Children’s Institute in 2021. We’re elated that booksellers will now meet Donna in person and learn about her latest fractured fairy tale, a humorous and kindhearted retelling of ‘The Three Little Pigs.’ ” —Elyse Vincenty, associate marketing manager, Holiday House/Peachtree/Pixel+Ink

Opening: “Prak lived with her father and two brothers in a brick house built by her great, great grandpig.”

Rowboat Watkins

Go-Go Guys (Chronicle, Sept.; $15.99; 25,000-copy announced first printing; ages 6–9)

Why the buzz: “This new humorous comics-style picture book from the creative mind of Rowboat Watkins turns bedtime on its head with the help of the Go-Go Guys—perfect for kids who have a hard time winding down at night and whose brains are GO GO GO!” —Caitlin Ek, publicist, Chronicle

Opening: “We’re Go-Go guys, we never sleep!”

Jack Wong

When You Can Swim (Orchard, May; $18.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 4–8)

Why the buzz: “Jack Wong has crafted a stirring modern classic that is poised to be a summer reading staple. Inspired by generations of his family’s varying feelings toward swimming, which Wong calls a ‘mishmash of layered and clashing cultural attitudes,’ When You Can Swim is about more than swimming. It’s about the freedom we have to shape our own ideas of the world.” —Elisabeth Ferrari, publicity manager, Scholastic

Opening: “When you can swim, first, I’ll take you to the ocean past the sandpipers tracing the shape of a wave on the shore past the edge of wet splashing at your ankles—to receive the water’s welcome.”

Wong will participate in the Scholastic After Party, June 6, 9:30–11:30 p.m.

Middle Grade

Kate Albus

Nothing Else but Miracles (Holiday House/Ferguson, Sept.; $17.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Children’s booksellers fully embraced author Kate Albus, honoring her 2021 debut, A Place to Hang the Moon, with a Kids’ Indie Next List selection. It’s only fitting that we launch Kate’s sophomore novel, Nothing Else but Miracles, with this audience. Booksellers will once again fall in love with Kate’s heartwarming historical fiction, this time set in the States.” —Alison Tarnofsky,
marketing manager, trade, Holiday House/Peachtree/Pixel+Ink

Opening: “If you were looking for Dory Byrne—not that there’s any reason you would be—you’d most likely find her at the Castle.”

Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Susie King Taylor (Aladdin, Sept.; $19.99, $8.99 paper; 65,000-copy announced first printing, hardcover and trade paper combined; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “There’s always been a distance for kids learning about history, a feeling that this happened ‘a long time ago.’ It is the hope with this series that these amazing Black women’s stories are told in a way kids can connect with, experience, and understand how they shaped where we are today.” —Valerie Garfield, senior v-p and publisher, Aladdin Books

Opening: “For many years now, my grandmother had been hired out to work as a laundress off the plantation. It was hard work making ends meet, but it afforded her time away from the fields and the opportunity to get paid for her work, and she managed to squirrel away a bit of that money for herself.”

Jessixa Bagley

Duel (Simon & Schuster, Nov.; $14.99; illus. by Aaron Bagley; 200,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Who could resist a story of sister-rivals challenging each other to a duel? This funny and poignant story about fractured family and fencing captured my heart from the moment I read it—and I wasn’t alone. It was among the most competitive auctions of 2020, and I was thrilled to bring Jessixa and Aaron’s unique collaboration to Simon & Schuster!” —Kendra Levin, editorial director, S&S Books for Young Readers

Opening: “I can’t believe I have to take the bus on my first day of middle school.”

Jorge Cham

Oliver’s Great Big Universe (Amulet, $15.99; Sept.; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Wow! Greg Heffley meets Bill Nye! Oliver reigns over his own turf. He’s irreverently inquisitive, obliviously insightful, and unknowingly knowledgeable. He’s in middle school. With his finger on the pulse of the universe, Oliver goes to great lengths to explain it all to his classmates. I learned a lot reading this book, and I know kids will too!” —Howard W. Reeves, editor-at-large, Abrams

Opening: “I know what you’re thinking. What makes an average eleven-year-old kid like me qualified to tell you anything about the universe?”

Sayantani DasGupta

The Chaos Monster (Secrets of the Sky #1) (Scholastic Press, $17.99; July; 35,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “There’s nothing Sayantani DasGupta can’t do. Expand her award-winning The Kingdom Beyond universe? Sure. Create an accessible and gentle introduction to the climate crisis through magical bees? No problem. Feature adventurous twins and an adorable, rainbow-winged dog as our heroes? Obviously. I can’t wait for you to meet Kiya and Kinjal in the Secrets of the Sky series!” —Lia Ferrone, senior publicist, Scholastic

Opening: “Kinjal and Kiya Rajkumar were regular, normal brother-sister twins.”

DasGupta will participate in the Scholastic After Party, June 6, 9:30–11:30 p.m.

(For our q&a with DasGupta, see “Storytelling Is Good Medicine”)

Isi Hendrix

Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans (HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, Sept.; $19.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “A thrilling, bighearted debut Afrofantasy inspired by Nigerian folklore, about a kitchen apprentice at the Academy of Shamans who must ally with a snarky goddess and knife-wielding warrior to save her kingdom. It’s a fast-paced adventure that’s also a story about questioning what you’ve been taught to believe about your world—and yourself. Adia is an absolutely pitch-perfect tween heroine.” —Kristin Rens, executive editor, Balzer + Bray

Opening: “The Swamplands were not a place most people in Zaria ever thought about.”

Nina LaCour

The Apartment House on Poppy Hill (Chronicle, Nov.; $14.99; illus. by Sonia Albert; 40,000-copy announced first printing; ages 7–10)

Why the buzz: “A true Bay Area dream pairing between San Fran resident Nina LaCour and publisher Chronicle Books, LaCour’s first early chapter book follows a girl and her two mothers who live in a rambling apartment house. Both The Apartment House on Poppy Hill and Nina speak to how organic inclusivity and representation matter, including the importance of depicting all types of families.” —Caitlin Ek, publicist, Chronicle

Opening: “1106 Wildflower Place was what many considered to be a perfect building, plunked right in the middle of Poppy Hill, a not entirely perfect hill but a good one all the same.”

(For our q&a with LaCour, see “A Child’s Tales of the City”)

Justine Pucella Winans

The Otherwoods (Bloomsbury, Sept.; $17.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “We’re so excited for the humor and heart Justine brings to their middle grade horror debut. Readers will be cracking up as much as they’re cowering as they follow reluctant hero River Rydell on their adventure to save their best friend—and crush—with cat sidekick Mr. Fluffy Pancake!” —Lex Higbee, publicity manager, children’s and YA, Bloomsbury

Opening: “River Rydell always knew they were destined for greatness, but they were very determined to make sure it didn’t happen.”

DaVaun Sanders

Keynan Masters and the Peerless Magic Crew (Inkyard, Oct.; $18.99; 40,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “There are certain voices that as a reader you remember forever. Keynan Masters is a young poet who learns that his fancy new art school is hiding the existence of magic, and that his burgeoning freestyling skills have the power to harness that magic. Rooted in a celebration of hip-hop, this unique middle grade fantasy is not to be missed.” —Claire Stetzer, editor, Inkyard

Opening: “Quiet as it’s kept, this summer is my most epic yet.”

Traci Sorell

Mascot (Charlesbridge, Sept.; $17.99; coauthored with Charles Waters; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 10 and up)

Why the buzz: “I’m always excited when Traci Sorell sends me a new manuscript, and this time the book was coauthored by Charles Waters, whom I’ve admired from afar for years. Native American mascots are an ongoing issue. Change is being made, but often much too slowly. I knew right away that young readers—and gatekeepers—could learn a lot through a book like Mascot.” —Karen Boss, senior editor, Charlesbridge

Opening: “Last class each day.”

Janet Sumner Johnson

Final Word (Pixel+Ink, Oct.; $18.99; 35,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Having launched The Recess Genius series this spring, Pixel+Ink can’t wait to have an offering for older readers from award-winning author Janet Sumner Johnson, the first installment in the Winterton Deception series. An intense, clever clue hunt unafraid to tackle the secrets often kept behind closed doors, Final Word is a gripping middle grade series starter sure to satisfy the most voracious armchair detectives.” —Morgan Hillman, sales director, Holiday House/Peachtree/Pixel+Ink

Opening: “It rained the day we went to see the grave of Brandon Winterton.”

Laini Taylor and Jim Di Bartolo

Billie Blaster and the Robot Army from Outer Space (Amulet, Aug.; $17.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “I’ve been a fan of Laini and Jim’s for years, and it has been a thrill to work with them on their first middle grade graphic novel, the out-of-this-world Billie Blaster! I love the sly, wry humor in Laini’s writing and Jim’s art. The story leaps all over the galaxy, light as a feather.” —Maggie Lehrman, editorial director, fiction, Abrams

Opening: “This is Billie Blaster. She might look like an ordinary girl... having an ordinary swim on an ordinary farm. But looks can be deceiving.”

Justin Weinberger

Zombie Season (Scholastic Press, Sept.; $14.99; 40,000-copy announced first printing; ages 8–12)

Why the buzz: “Suspenseful, action-packed, and mysterious, Zombie Season is a reminder of why we need to bring back water-gun battles. In all seriousness, Weinberger’s pitch-perfect series opener captures a feeling so many kids have, that a world full of monsters is not as it seems, and the grown-ups in charge might know more than they’re letting on.” —Lia Ferrone, senior publicist, Scholastic

Opening: “DUSK ALERT: take precautions immediately.”

Weinberger will participate in the Scholastic After Party, June 6, 9:30–11:30 p.m.

Sherri Winston

Shark Teeth (Bloomsbury, Jan. 2024; $17.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 9–11)

Why the buzz: “This is Sherri Winston at her absolute best. Main character Kita has one of the most singular, stunning voices I’ve ever read, perfectly capturing that heartbreaking kind of hopefulness we all cling to in moments of uncertainty. If you’re looking for a book that will genuinely blow you away, Shark Teeth is it.” —Alex Barbolla, senior editor, children’s, Bloomsbury

Opening: “We stumbled over Mama’s best memories, like tripping on old bones, as we ran backwards through time.”

Young Adult

Deb Caletti

Plan A (Labyrinth Road, Oct.; $18.99; 35,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14 and up)

Why the buzz: “I do not say lightly that I believe Plan A is the best book award-winning author Deb Caletti has ever written. A wrenchingly timely story about bodily autonomy and the way that choice should be a right rather than a gift, this tour de force is also a tender love story and a quirky road trip adventure, unfolding in prose that sings with humor and hope.” —Liesa Abrams, v-p and editor in chief, Labyrinth Road

Opening: “When I’m not at school, you can find me at Euwing’s Drugs, and so that’s where I am that day, in the staff break room, surrounded by a shipment of pain relievers.”

Amanda DeWitt

Wren Martin Ruins It All (Peachtree Teen, Nov.; $18.99; 30,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14 and up)

Why the buzz: “The YA romantic comedy market has been booming for some time, but has yet to include adequate representation of asexual characters. With humor, hijinks, and an unforgettably quippy and endearing narrator, Wren Martin Ruins It All offers an authentic reflection on the complexities of falling in love while asexual.” —Bree Martinez, publicist, Holiday House/Peachtree/Pixel+Ink

Opening: “There’s something about decision-making and running full tilt down an empty hallway that doesn’t pair well.”

M Hendrix

The Chaperone (Sourcebooks Fire, June; $11.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–18)

Why the buzz: “I’m so excited to publish The Chaperone. M Hendrix has created such an intense and frightening world
of the near future, one that sometimes feels like it could be real. At its heart, this is
a story about women finding their voices and their power, a message that all teens should hear.” —Annie Berger, senior editor, Sourcebooks Fire

Opening: “I hear it while I’m in my room getting ready for Sunday Visitation.”

Kim Johnson

Invisible Son (Random House, June; $18.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14 and up)

Why the buzz: “In fall 2020, Kim Johnson was working on a novel set in the 1950s when she realized that she needed to write a different book first, to mark the history we were actively living through and the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on Black and brown communities. Invisible Son is a social justice thriller, weaving important themes into a powerful, emotional, and timely mystery.” —Caroline Abbey, associate publisher, Random House Books for Young Readers

Opening: “I live in the whitest big city on the Blackest block.”

Shade Lapite

Goddess Crown (Walker Books US, Sept.; $18.99; 50,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13–17)

Why the buzz:Goddess Crown offers so many things we treasure as readers: a kick-ass hero, a swoony romance, a mystery. There’s old-world glamour in the fantastic setting, yet Kalothia is a hero for today—a young Black woman blazing with strength, beauty, energy, and humor, in charge of her own story. This Afrofantasy YA will delight readers who like plenty of intrigue and great clothes.” —Susan Van Metre, executive editorial director, Walker Books US

Opening: “The sun wouldn’t set for another few hours, but evening came quickly in the forest, and Aunty had made Kalothia promise to be back at a decent time so they could enjoy her age-day meal.”

Shelby Mahurin

The Scarlet Veil (HarperTeen, Sept.; $21.99; 125,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14 and up)

Why the buzz:The Scarlet Veil is the vampire romance of my dreams. It takes the world and characters of the bestselling Serpent & Dove series and expands on them in deliciously magical ways, with all of Shelby Mahurin’s trademark romance and magic.”—Erica Sussman, v-p and publishing director, HarperCollins Children’s Books

Opening: “It is a curious thing, the scent of memory.”

Vanessa Montalban

A Tall Dark Trouble (Zando Young Readers, Aug.; $19.99; 75,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–17)

Why the buzz: “I was dazzled by this Latine twist on Practical Magic, told in dual points of view, set in the sizzling heat of contemporary Miami and 1980s Cuba. It’s dangerous to fall in love with a Sanchez woman, but these brujas stole my heart: from Delfi who tastes emotions, to Lela who reads memories from objects, to Anita who commands the spirits of the dead.”—Tiffany Liao, executive editor, Zando Young Readers

Opening: “Anita had nothing left to cling to. Nothing to shield her from what was to come next.”

Aden Polydoros

Wrath Becomes Her (Inkyard, Oct.; $19.99; 40,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13–17)

Why the buzz: “Not only does Aden Polydoros give us a badass Nazi-killing heroine to root for in Vera the golem—he also gives us an exquisite, honest exploration of what it means to be human, and to carry hope within you at even the darkest of times in history.” —Meghan McCullough, editor, Inkyard Press

Opening: “July 1942; Rudniki Forest, Lithuania: Fireflies bobbed through the night sky, their green glow adding to the low, banked radiance of the fire.”

Beth Revis

Night of the Witch (Sourcebooks Fire, Oct.; $18.99; coauthored with Sara Raasch; 150,000-copy announced first printing; ages 14–18)

Why the buzz: “I’m thrilled to publish Night of the Witch. The world Sara Raasch and Beth Revis have created, with roots in medieval Germany, is wholly consuming, as is the steamy romance between their two protagonists. Readers looking for romantasy will fall in love with their stunning duology.”—Annie Berger, senior editor, Sourcebooks Fire

Opening: “My mother’s eyes are fire embodied, smoldering with such fury that I feel their heat on my skin.”

Hal Schrieve

How to Get Over the End of the World (Triangle Square, Oct.; $18.95; 25,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13–17)

Why the buzz: “Welcoming us into the world of some inarguably cool queer teens, Hal ditches the more obvious conventions of YA literature and instead gives us a story that’s raucous, earnest, and genuinely punk. It’s a love letter to trans youth, beautifully capturing the balm that is queer kinship, the importance of intergenerational connection, and the complexities of being in community.” —Tal Mancini, assistant editor, Seven Stories/Triangle Square

Opening: “The ship is spherical, like a pink pearl in black space. It flashes in and out of my dreams.... It feels as if the aliens are getting closer.”

Jessi Sheron

The Sea in You (Iron Circus Comics, July; $15; 10,000-copy announced first printing; ages 13 and up)

Why the buzz: “I knew from the first page that Jessi’s reimagining of ‘The Little Mermaid’ in The Sea in You was something special, with its scary mermaid design, super-sweet romance, and a triumph over adversity that makes you cheer. I heart this book and I know it’ll find so many fans who feel the same.” —Andrea Purcell, managing editor, Iron Circus Comics

Opening: “Ugh! Come on! Where is all this garbage coming from? It’s off-season!”

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