For readers of all ages and interests, there were no shortages of titles to grab, snag, and talk about. YA continues to generate long lines and lots of attention. At Simon & Schuster, one of the big teen titles was Scott Westerfeld's Afterworlds—and not just because BEA factors into the story line (the protagonist makes an appearance at the 2014 BEA).
Macmillan releases its first Swoon Reads title in August: A Little Something Different by teen librarian Sandy Hall, a contemporary romance told from 18 perspectives. The publisher crowdsourced five covers to find out which one readers wanted. Trial by Fire launches a new trilogy from Josephine Angelini (Feiwel and Friends, Sept.), a reimagination of Salem and witches. And Caragh M. O'Brien follows her Birthmarked trilogy with The Vault of Dreamers (Roaring Brook, Sept.), set in a sinister boarding school in which students are filmed by day and their dreams are mined at night
Endgame by James Frey is HarperCollins's big YA title of the show; it releases in September with a one-million-copy first printing. A Google-based game and an in-book puzzle are part of the series' multiplatform concept, and a film is in the works. In other Frey news, The Revenge of Seven, the second-to-last title in the Lorien Legacy series, arrives in late August with a 400,000-copy first printing. Other big fall titles from Harper include the second volume in the graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book; The Guardian Herd: Starfire, first in a new series (“It’s Warriors with horses,” said publicity director Sandee Roston); The Swap by Megan Shull, a Freaky Friday–style story set in in middle school; Madeline Roux’s sequel to Asylum, titled Sanctum; Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang; and Positive, a memoir from 19-year-old first-time author Paige Rawl about her experiences with bullying while growing up with HIV.
Candlewick's Tracy Miracle described Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire (Sept.) as "sophisticated and rich, with a lot of fairy tale elements." Also from Candlewick, Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen, first in a YA series that Miracle says is marked by "smart, campy humor" in the vein of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
HMH titles attracting attention included the final book in Robin LaFevers's His Fair Instruments trilogy, Mortal Heart (Nov.) "That has been the book people have requested more than any other," said HMH's Karen Walsh. “We weren’t quite prepared for the onslaught.” New from Little, Brown is The Walled City by Ryan Graudin, a YA Buzz Pick about teenagers surviving in a dangerous, labyrinth-like settlement, inspired by the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. Holiday House delves into YA with The Devil's Intern (Aug.) by Donna Hosie, about a 17-year-old who interns in Hell's accounting office.
Releases from Sourcebooks Fire include Night Sky, first in the Dangerous Destiny series, a collaboration between adult novelist Suzanne Brockmann and her daughter Melanie; and H2O by Virginia Bergin, set in a near future in which rain has become deadly.
In August, Carolrhoda Lab will publish Knockout Games by G. Neri, with a premise based on stories the author heard on school visits, about real-life gangs of teens who assault strangers with a single punch; and, in October, Perfectly Good White Boy, Carrie Mesrobian's follow-up to Sex & Violence. Another Midwest-based publisher, Capstone, was celebrating the launch of its new YA imprint, Switch Press. The imprint's first books, The Isobel Journal and Grace and the Guiltless, arrive in August, with more titles to follow.
Scholastic's Tracy van Straaten said 200 people lined up on Thursday for Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, a companion to the Shiver trilogy. Another eagerly awaited galley was Bombay Blues by Tanuja Desai Hidier, the sequel to Born Confused.
Just outside the Harlequin booth, a Fiat 500 announced Adi Alsaid's August road-tripping debut, Let's Get Lost. Talon launches a new series for Julie Kagawa, set in a different world from her popular Iron Fey series. "Bloggers love Julie," Harlequin Teen's Jennifer Abbots said. And Robin Talley's debut, the civil rights–era Lies We Tell Ourselves (Oct.), a YA Editors' Buzz pick, is a bit of a departure for Harlequin Teen—"more library- and "school-focused," Abbots said.
Soho Teen's Daniel Ehrenhaft described songwriter Cynthia Weil's I'm Glad I Did (Jan.), a murder mystery set in the Brill Building, as "a YA Mad Men." Another big book for the imprint is The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone by Adele Griffin, about a fictional art-world superstar who dies under mysterious circumstances. Visitors to Algonquin were asking for Jackaby, a series-launching debut from William Ritter. It pubs September 16, with the second book due in fall 2015.
Penguin's major YA releases include I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson (Dial, Sept.), a “painfully accurate” portrayal of a sibling relationship that also includes LGBT themes, grieving, and the arts; and Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (Dutton, Sept), a riff on The Bell Jar. "The galleys are flying," said Shanta Newlin.
Ally Condie and Marie Lu have finished their respective trilogies and are moving on to new projects: Condie has written her first stand-alone, Atlantia (Dutton, Nov.), and Lu signed samplers of The Young Elites (Putnam, Oct.). Rick Yancey's 5th Wave series is still ramping up; book two, The Infinite Sea, arrives in September. No galleys were on hand, though "everybody was asking."
Perusing the Picture Books
Several high-profile picture books could be found on stands throughout the convention. For Candlewick, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole is the latest collaboration between Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, and features "their trademark humor," according to Tracy Miracle. New York Review Children's Collection has Alphabetabum by Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka, an October collection of vintage photos that have been turned into an alphabet book. "It's our first original picture book," said publicity manager Nicholas During.
Celebrity picture books weren't hard to find. Actor B.J. Novak of The Office has the pictureless picture book, The Book With No Pictures (Dial, Sept.). In September, Little, Brown will release Gus & Me: My Granddad and My First Guitar by Keith Richards, illustrated by his daughter, Theodora. And Glee's Jane Lynch had long lines as she promoted her September picture book, Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean (Random).
Several fall picture books build on previous successes. Chronicle's lead is Mix It Up (Sept.) by Press Here's Hervé Tullet; Lizi Boyd’s Flashlight (Aug.) follows her Inside Outside title from last year; The Bear’s Sea Escape is Benjamin Chaud’s sequel to The Bear’s Song, and Flora and the Penguin is another story of friendship from Molly Idle, creator of the Caldecott Honor–winning Flora and the Flamingo. Kathryn Otoshi's Two is a sequel to One, the 2008 picture book that has shipped more than 200,000 copies for KO Kids.
Charlesbridge was celebrating its 25th anniversary; on Thursday they hosted a party featuring brothers Paul and Peter H. Reynolds, who are launching the Sydney & Simon series with Full STEAM Ahead (Sept.) (three books are currently planned, according to Charlesbridge’s Donna Spurlock). Spurlock also pointed to Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons, an August picture book from Alice B. McGinty and Jennifer Black Reinhardt that takes readers through a year of Jewish holidays, as a title that had been attracting notice at BEA. “It’s really about the community and the closeness of this particular congregation and the way they support each other,” said Spurlock.
At S&S, big picture books include Mem Fox's Baby Bedtime, Marla Frazee's The Farmer and the Clown, and Judith Viorst's Alexander, Who's Trying His Best to Be the Best Boy Ever, which pubs just before a movie based on her classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
"Narrative nonfiction is a big thing for us," said Creative Editions' Anna Erickson.“We noticed that they were among our bestselling picture books over the last five years. Good storytelling is not restricted to fiction.” For August they have Mocha Dick: The Legend and the Fury by Brian Heinz and Randall Enos, about the whale that inspired Moby-Dick. And Eerdmans had hot-off-the-press proofs for The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet, a picture book biography. "It's a project that was years in the making," said Anita Eerdmans. She also was showing In Search of the Little Prince: The Story of Antoine de Saint-Exupery by Bimba Landmann, the second book of the year on the same subject (Peter Sís’s The Pilot and the Little Prince came out last month). “We had no idea there was going to be another one!” she said.
Macmillan featured a debut picture book, Little Elliot Big City by Mike Curato (Holt), winner of the SCBWI New Talent Award; giveaway totebags featuring Elliot, a baby elephant, were in much demand. And from Roaring Brook, Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads combines the talents of Bob Shea and Lane Smith (Oct.).
Michael Eisenberg at Boyd Mills, fresh out of a sales meeting, said that reps were excited about an in-house favorite, The Problem with Not Being Scared of Monsters by Dan Richards, illustrated by Robert Neubecker (Aug.). "It's always nice when the reps agree with us," he said. A sequel, The Problem with Not Being Scared of Kids, will show the monsters’ perspective.
Diversity is a watchword at Barefoot. Cailin Chenelle said that September's My Big Barefoot Book of Wonderful Words by Sophie Fatus, which shows people of various ethnicities, cultures, and disabilities without calling attention to them. "We worked with an inclusivity specialist." Stella Blackstone’s retelling of The Wheels on the Bus, illus. by Melanie Williamson, is set in Guatemala.
Sami Grefe at Peachtree gave word of the Stanley the hamster series by Williambee, padded hardcovers with a "vintage-y" look. Stanley the Builder and Stanley's Garage arrive in August.
At 8:45 a.m. Thursday, while people were waiting to storm the show floor, 45 Workman staffers donned rabbit ears for The Bunny Rabbit Show! flash mob, choreographed by Sandra Boynton's daughter Caitlin McEwan.
New IPG/Trafalgar Square children’s lines are b small publishing and Caramel Tree. It’s also the 25th anniversary of the first Elmer the Elephant book, and Andersen Press will have three new Elmer titles distributed by IPG in the U.S.
North-South was looking forward to Findus Disappears by Sven Nordqvist, which will launch the Adventures of Pettson and Findus. Publicist Nick Miller said the books are “huge bestsellers in [Nordqvist’s] native Sweden and in Europe in general,” but have yet to catch on in the U.S. In November, the house will also release the 160+ page omnibus Wonderment: The Lisbeth Zwerger Collection, which will collect seven fairy tales she has illustrated.
Akashic’s Black Sheep imprint continues to release one or two books per season according to Aaron Petrovich, who said they intend the line to “be reflective of our adult list and reflect the reverse gentrification of the literary world,” citing titles like Ziggy Marley’s new picture book, I Love You Too, and Go de Rass to Sleep, a Jamaican patois translation of their bestselling Go the F**k to Sleep (which is now available in 37 languages).
The publisher formerly known as Sylvan Dell, Arbordale, was exhibiting under its new name for the first time at BEA; publisher Lee German says the company’s sales are up 20% this year, with digital products accounting for 50% of revenue. Their free Fun eReader app (available for iOS and, as of this week for Droid devices) gives subscribers access to Arbordale’s full list of picture books.
Major middle-grade offerings for fall include a mix of the familiar and the new. Jeff Kinney's Greg Heffley returns in The Long Haul (Abrams/Amulet, Nov.), and Captain Underpants is back in August in his 11th adventure, Captain Underpants and the Tyrannical Retaliation of the Turbo Toilet 2000. Visitors to Scholastic's booth were grabbing Captain Underpants tote bags, galleys, posters, "pretty much anything that isn't nailed down," according to Scholastic's Tracy van Straaten. Over at Disney, the second book in Jennifer Donnelly’s Deep Blue series, Rogue Wave, arrives in January 2015. And Rick Riordan wraps up the Heroes of Olympus series in October with The Blood of Olympus.
The Princess in Black launches a series by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham. "It's all about girl power," said Candlewick's Tracy Miracle. American Girl is introducing the Journey series, in which modern girls are whisked back in time, while readers can choose among multiple plot paths. The first title is Full Speed Ahead: My Journey with Kit by Valerie Tripp, out in August. And actor Jason Segel had long lines waiting for signed teasers of his middle-grade debut, Nightmares!, co-written with Kirsten Miller.
Comics legend Stan Lee is branching into middle-grade with Zodiac (Disney), first in a series that stars a Chinese-American teenager enmeshed in a global chase. Lee and Disney senior v-p Jeanne Mosure conceived of the series, which stars a Chinese-American teenager enmeshed in a global chase. Penguin's fall middle-grade offerings include two Buzz picks, Pennyroyal Academy by M.A. Larson (Putnam, Oct.) and Life of Zarf by Rob Harrell (Dial, Sept.), as well as Jacqueline Woodson's memoir-in-verse, Brown Girl Dreaming (Penguin/Paulsen, Aug.).
Month9 is launching a middle-grade imprint, Tantrum Books, in September with Santa Command by Tracy Tam. Groundwood has a new novel from Deborah Ellis, The Cat at the Wall (Sept.), billed as "magical realism set in the West Bank," as Alison Steele described it. And Quirk looks at the U.S. presidents as children in Kid Presidents: True Tales of Childhood from America's Presidents by David Stabler, illustrated by Doogie Horner. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky's middle-grade releases include The Magician's Fire (Oct.), first in Simon Nicholson's Young Houdini series and Always Abigail (Aug.), a standalone story from Nancy J. Cavanaugh.
In nonfiction, Russell Freedman's Because They Marched releases in October from Holiday House. And Lerner's Lindsay Matvick said that librarians were especially interested in Ghost Walls: The Story of a 17th-Century Homestead by Sibert winner Sally M. Walker, out from Carolrhoda in October.
But it wasn't just titles from fall and beyond that drew attention. "I've never seen a line like this before," said HMH's Karen Walsh of the queue of readers waiting to get copies of The Giver signed by Lois Lowry (a film arrives in August). "And it's not even a new book."