Our reviews editors put together eight virtual panels, each featuring the editors of several big fall titles in a given category or age range. Here, those editors tell us why their books stand out.


Tuesday, May 24, 2–3 p.m.

Moderator: PW reviews editor Meg Lemke

Maggie Lehrman, editorial director, fiction, Abrams Children’s Books

Adventuregame Comics: Leviathan

Jason Shiga (Amulet, $14.99, Aug. 2)

“A graphic novel that’s also a game and a commentary on the power of story—Jason Shiga is back! Jason is the inventor of an innovative pick-your-path comics format, first used in our backlist bestseller Meanwhile. The reader gets to make choices for the main character, deciding who they want to be and what they want to explore using tubes connecting the panels and leading the reader to different pages. It’s smart, kind of addictive, and tremendously fun.”

Jill Schwartzman, v-p, executive editor, Dutton, editorial director, Plume

A Career in Books: A Novel About Friends, Money, and the Occasional Duck Bun

Kate Gavino (Plume, $20, Aug. 2)

“From time to time, we all look back on the start of our own book publishing careers, right? The struggles, triumphs, and unexpected realities. When I read Kate Gavino’s A Career in Books, I was instantly brought back to those memories, but even more so, amazed and delighted by the world and characters she created, where three friends, all Asian American women like Kate herself, support each other through all the ups and downs of a career in books.”

Peggy Burns, publisher, Drawn & Quarterly

Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands

Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly, $39.95, Sept. 13)

“Kate has been sharing deep-seated personal stories as short strips on her Tumblr and Twitter over the past five years as she pieced together her memories to create Ducks. This is the untold story of Canada: the graphic novel touches on the environment, regionalism, class, gender, money, and sexual harassment and trauma. Kate tells her story with humor, grace, and empathy for everyone.”

Kiara Valdez, editor, First Second


Claribel A. Ortega, illus. by Rose Bousamra (First Second, $12.99, Oct. 18)

“I’ve always wanted a graphic novel about a young Dominican girl who stops straightening her hair and learns to love her curls because it took me way too long to do so. I want girls out there who are taught that straightening their hair is the ‘proper’ way, to see that there are other options. Frizzy is a lush and heartwarming story about hair, family, generational healing, and self-love.”

Eric Reynolds, v-p and associate publisher, Fantagraphics Books

Men I Trust

Tommi Parish (Fantagraphics, $34.99, Nov. 22)

“When I acquired Tommi’s first book, The Lie and How We Told It, I thought it was one of the most powerful works of coming-of-age fiction I’d ever read in comics, a defining generational voice not unlike Ghost World was for Gen Xers. With Men I Trust, Parrish cements themselves as one of the most exciting contemporary voices and stylists in comics. This is the epitome of the kind of serious, adult work for our times that an idealistic comics publisher like me aspires to publish.”

Tracy Mack, v-p and publisher, Scholastic trade group

The Tryout

Christina Soontornvat, illus. by Joanna Cacao
(Scholastic/Graphix, $12.99, Sept. 6)

“Christina and I were at NCTE in 2019 when she first told me about trying out for cheerleading—in front of her entire seventh grade. I felt riveted, indignant, horrified, and deeply empathic. The story had everything: friendship and gut-wrenching betrayal, competition and cringe-inducing comedy. I especially admire Christina’s directness in addressing casual racism within a breezy, compulsively re-readable story. And Joanna Cacao’s pictures bring the middle school hijinks to life with humor, athleticism, and flair.”

Susan Van Metre, executive editorial director at Walker Books U.S.

Two-Headed Chicken

Tom Angleberger
(Walker U.S., $12.99, Sept. 6)

“I’ve worked with Tom Angleberger for many years on many smart, hilarious books, but I’ve always known he was holding a part of himself back: the part that understands you can never be too silly or too smart for kids. That part has been fully activated in this absolutely bananas graphic novel that reads like a mash-up of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a fried chicken commercial. It’s one of the most purely kid-friendly books I’ve ever published, and I think—pock, pock—it will fly off shelves.”

Kelly Lonesome, senior editor,

Tor Nightfire

Where Black Stars Rise

Nadia Shammas and Marie Enger (Tor Nightfire, $17.99, Oct. 18)

“I’m thrilled to share Nightfire’s very first graphic novel—Diana Pho ushered the script to its final form, and I’m honored to help bring it to readers. Nadia and Marie have created such a stunning and wholly original world in their reimagining of Robert Chambers’s The King in Yellow. Readers follow two women on an increasingly trippy journey, ultimately ending up in the cosmic realm of Carcosa, where they grapple with their past so that they may find peace in their future.”

Mysteries & Thrillers

Wednesday, May 25, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Moderated by PW senior reviews editor Peter Cannon

Jenny Chen, senior editor, Bantam

All Good People Here

Ashley Flowers (Bantam, $28, Aug. 16)

“The experience of reading All Good People Here is to be a fly on the wall of a harrowing investigation, in the house with the victim’s family, and finally, at the scene itself, as it happened. Ashley takes you inside the minds and into the shoes of the people closest to a sensationalized murder. After a few pages, I forgot that what I was reading wasn’t real—it was equally thrilling and terrifying. She made me question the integrity of the people closest to me.”

Catherine Richards, executive editor, Minotaur

Blackwater Falls

Ausma Zehanat Khan (Minotaur, $27.99, Nov. 1)

“Blackwater Falls introduces detective Inaya Rahman, a Muslim investigator looking into a series of crimes against Syrian refugee girls that have been largely ignored by the police. Through Inaya’s eyes and Khan’s powerful, propulsive storytelling, we discover the heart of a town in Colorado where race and religion, identity and belonging intersect—both in the [police] force and in the community. I am so proud to publish this timely story from one of crime fiction’s finest writers.”

Pamela Dorman, v-p and publisher, Pamela Dorman Books

The Bullet That Missed: A Thursday Murder Club Mystery

Richard Osman (Viking/Dorman, $27, Sept. 20)

“The Bullet That Missed, by New York Times bestselling author Richard Osman, is the third in the irresistible Thursday Murder Club series starring four septuagenarian sleuths. When a real-life murder takes place in their midst, the fun really begins for this irrepressible and hilarious crew. Richard Osman’s dry British wit has made him a multimillion-copy bestseller around the world. I love publishing this series of curl-up-and-read books that are pure pleasure.”

Carl Bromley, executive editor, Melville House

The Deal Goes Down

Larry Beinhart (Melville House, $27.99, Aug. 9)

“One of the primary reasons that I love Larry Beinhart’s new novel (other than the fact that it has contract killing, skiing, and the Catskill Mountains in it) is that it’s a portrait of an old private eye wounded by the past who can’t rely on the same physical prowess that he was once able to. Beinhart’s wonderful character study gives this frenetic thriller-satire extraordinary depth and nuance.”

Jessica Case, deputy publisher, Pegasus Books

Double Exposure

Ava Barry (Pegasus Crime, $25.95, Oct. 4)

“We’re so excited to publisher Ava’s sophomore novel after her successful debut with Windhall last year. Contemporary noir is exceedingly difficult to pull off without falling back on clichés and tropes, but Ava finds a way to pay homage to pillars of the form while crafting a PI—Rainey Hall—that is authentic to this generation and time. She captures the rich textures of Los Angeles today while still giving the reader that claustrophobic feeling necessary for a great noir potboiler. Double Exposure is a breath of fresh air.”

Esi Sogah, executive editor, Kensington Books

Murder in Westminster

Vanessa Riley (Kensington, $26, Aug. 30)

“As a longtime fan of historical mysteries, what a thrill to have Vanessa Riley enter the scene with her ingenious plots, devotion to history, and ability to draw readers into the racial diversity of an era that is too often seen as homogeneous rather than the thriving, multicultural world [Regency London] was. This series isn’t to be missed.”

Juliet Grames, senior v-p and associate publisher, Soho Press


Ramona Emerson (Soho Crime, $25.95, Aug. 2)

Shutter is an intoxicating combination of bighearted, spooky, elegiac, gritty, funny, glitteringly visual, and straight-up exciting. I’ve never read anything like it, and neither has anyone else. The depiction of the Navajo Nation and the insight into Diné culture sparkle, and the book fills a hungry hole on the library shelf. Devotees of at least three different genres—crime fiction, horror, and coming-of-age stories—are going to fall head over heels.”

Doug Jones, deputy publisher, Harper Group/Harper Collins

The Twist of a Knife

Anthony Horowitz (Harper, $29.99, Nov. 15)

“We’re always thrilled to be publishing a new novel by New York Times bestselling author Anthony Horowitz, and I can’t wait for readers to experience The Twist of a Knife, the fourth in his brilliantly inventive, deliciously witty ‘meta’ series, which began with The Word Is Murder and followed with The Sentence Is Death and A Line to Kill, where Horowitz once again inserts himself as an integral character in the story to great aplomb.”

Biography & Memoir

Wednesday, May 25, 12:30–1:30 p.m.

Moderated by PW reviews editor Steph Buschardt

Mindy Marques, v-p, executive editor, Simon & Schuster

Dinners with Ruth: A Memoir on the Power of Friendships

Nina Totenberg (S&S, $27.99, Sept. 13)

“Countless books have been written about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but none provides an intimate portrait of the beloved Supreme Court justice. Through their remarkable friendship of nearly 50 years, Nina’s compelling account details what it took for female strivers of their generation to break barriers. Those of us who came behind know the headlines, but Nina’s memoir breaks down the gutsy moves they had to pull to survive and thrive, leaning on the power of their friendships.”

Lauren Marino, editorial director, Hachette Books


Elissa Bassist (Hachette, $28, Sept. 13)

“It’s difficult to find a bold, fresh voice that says something original. Elissa Bassist does that in Hysterical, and her deadpan humor almost compensates for the fury I felt while reading it. I’ve always been told that I’m too loud and opinionated, but the fact is, women have been told to shut up since the beginning of time. When we do talk, we’re often ignored, belittled, or flat-out disbelieved. This book gets into the nuance of why that is and how, as women, we internalize what the culture has told us.”

Andrea Fleck-Nisbet, v-p and publisher, Harper Horizon

Me and Paul: Untold Stories of a Fabled Friendship

Willie Nelson (Harper Horizon, $29.99, Sept. 20)

“In 2020, Paul English, Willie Nelson’s lifelong business partner, drummer, and friend died at age 87. They met in 1955 and became fast friends against the backdrop of a quickly evolving social, political, and musical culture. Me and Paul is an atmospheric read that weaves the story of two friends with a shared passion for music and entertaining who survived multiple scrapes, marriages, and hard times to pass into legend. Horizon is proud to share these untold stories with current and future Willie fans.”

Barbara Epler, president, publisher, and editor-in-chief, New Directions

My Pinup

Hilton Als (New Directions, $11.95, Nov. 1)

“In My Pinup, Hilton Als pours us a deliciously potent cocktail of a memoir, with the kick of a mule. Mixing in the ’80s downtown queer nightclub scene, racism, an ill-fated peach pie, heartbreaks, Prince’s ass in his tight little pants, the AIDS crisis, and Dorothy Parker, Als shares his own profound desire for true love: ‘Like a figure in a Platonic dialogue, I had always longed to meet my other half, my Prince half.’ ”

David Ebershoff, v-p and editor-in-chief, Hogarth


Javier Zamora (Hogarth, $28, Sept. 6)

“When I started reading Javier Zamora’s Solito, I could not—would not—put it down. Javier was just nine when he traveled unaccompanied by bus, boat, and foot from El Salvador to the United States to reunite with his parents. Written with enormous narrative power, Solito places the reader at Javier’s side on his nearly 3,000-mile migration. Both timely and timeless, Solito is Javier’s story, of course, but it’s also the story of millions of others who had no choice but to leave home.”

Thomas Gebremedhin, v-p and executive editor, Doubleday

Stay True

Hua Hsu (Doubleday, $26, Sept. 27)

“From Stay True’s opening lines, I sensed an emotional sophistication bleeding on the page; the writing felt so close to the bone. I knew I had to be a part of bringing Hua’s memoir to life. It’s largely about friendship, a subject matter not often explored in nonfiction. It’s also about the many other forces that informed Hua’s coming-of-age: ’90s music and counterculture, philosophy, immigration, and assimilation. Stay True is about self-discovery, rediscovery, and the often rocky path taken to encounter life’s moments of sheer beauty.”

Sara Birmingham, editor, Ecco

Weightless: Making Space for My Resilient Body and Soul

Evette Dionne (Ecco, $26.99, Dec. 6)

“Evette brings her trademark clear-eyed criticism to Weightless, exploring how fat Black women navigate relentless surveillance. But for the first time, she also dives deep into her own life. I was bowled over by her vulnerability and raw honesty as she discusses everything from being catfished by her teenage boyfriend to being diagnosed with heart failure. Her journey of unlearning cultural expectations around size, race, and gender and forging a new relationship with her body is truly unmissable.”

Gretchen Young, v-p, executive editor, Grand Central

The Wind at My Back: Resilience, Grace, and Other Gifts from My Mentor Raven Wilkinson

Misty Copeland (Grand Central, $30, Nov. 15)

“Misty has a keen sense of how much respect and gratitude we owe to those who paved the way. For Misty, that was her hero and mentor, Raven Wilkinson. With this book, Misty celebrates the importance of mentorship, history, and their profound intergenerational bond, sharing the story of how they changed each other—and the dance world. I was deeply moved by the love and appreciation Misty has for Raven, a reminder to us all that honoring the past is the key to a better future.”


Wednesday, May 25, 3–4 p.m.

Moderated by PW reviews editor David Varno

Jenna Johnson, editor-in-chief, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Bliss Montage

Ling Ma (FSG, $25, Sept. 13)

“We acquired Bliss Montage as a partial collection, along with the novel Severance, and on the strength of one story title alone—’Yeti Lovemaking’—I would have turned somersaults to bring it to the list. This is an electric collection, threaded with strangeness, existential sadness, humor, invention, and toppling insight. I love it because, as the book itself promises: ‘The person who entered the dream was not the same one who awoke from it.’ Bliss Montage is that kind of dream.”

Jonathan Lee, editorial director, Bloomsbury

The House of Fortune

Jessie Burton (Bloomsbury, $28, Aug. 30)

“Jessie Burton’s irresistible The House of Fortune—a standalone follow-up to her two million–copy bestseller The Miniaturist—immediately transported me to the fantastical world of 18th-century Amsterdam. I love the novel’s unique atmosphere of magic and warmth, the way it brings history to life with the modern immediacy of books like Matrix or the Wolf Hall trilogy, and the fact that Jessie pours so much heart, humor, and vibrancy into her portrayal of an 18-year-old girl figuring out a future that doesn’t depend on a man.”

Andy Ward, executive v-p and publisher, Random House

Liberation Day

George Saunders (Random House, $28, Oct. 18)

“It’s hard to believe, but it’s been nine years since we published George’s last collection, Tenth of December—and my god, the things that have happened since then. Too many things, really—too much pain, too much chaos and strife. All of that has been swirling in George’s head, of course, and it’s fascinating to see how it’s affected his fiction. Things have gotten a little more political, maybe, a little darker, more urgent. And yet, the humanity remains.”

Amber Oliver, editor, Tiny Reparations Books


LaToya Watkins (Tiny Reparations, $27, Aug. 23)

“Perish by LaToya Watkins is a deeply moving story about a Black family whose history and present contain a lot of pain and trauma. But there is also love. Redemption. Hope. Powerfully crafted, Perish lays bare the secrets that can destroy a family and reminds us that family bonds, like budding tree branches, can sometimes bloom again. LaToya is a stunning new voice, and I’m thrilled to help launch her career as an author.”

John Freeman, executive editor, Knopf

The Rabbit Hutch

Tess Gunty (Knopf, $28, Aug. 2)

“So often novels make us choose—between tragedy and farce. Between romance and social fiction. The Rabbit Hutch excites me because it accepts there’s a reader who wants all of the above. So here’s a warm, enchanting tale about a woman who quests to be free, and also a 21st-century epic about America and its crummy sense of endings. Gunty’s faith in the novel is so radical it’s hopeful, and her book is a dazzling display that more is possible.”

Mark Doten, v-p and executive editor, Soho Press


Ernesto Mestre-Reed (Soho Press, $27, Sept. 6)

“In Sacrificio, Ernesto Mestre-Reed marvelously plies the novel form, building multiple identities for characters by nesting stories within other stories, dialogues within other dialogues, and allowing these fascinating mosaics of narrators and narrated to create a shifting composite whole. Sacrificio deftly explores what it means to be queer in a culture where queerness is only sometimes tolerated; to have dark skin in a country where light skin is valued; and to live in a country once at the center of global politics, now marginal and in decline.”

Andrea Schulz, v-p and editor-in-chief, Viking Penguin

The Unfolding

A.M. Homes (Viking, $27, Sept. 6)

“Homes is a brilliant writer across genres, but her novels are a particular joy. In The Unfolding, she entwines a could-be-true alternate history of our recent past, in which a group of powerful men scheme to keep that power, with a pitch-perfect portrait of a family whose secrets are erupting to the surface. She just gets more masterful with every book, and she’s reached a new height with this dazzling read that takes us into the heart of a divided country.”

Rakesh Satyal, executive editor, Amistad

The Women Could Fly

Megan Giddings (Amistad, $26.99, Aug. 9)

“Megan Giddings’s debut novel, Lakewood, bowled me over with its concise yet alluring prose and a premise on which it delivered through the very last page, so getting to work on her second novel has been an honor. In this book, Megan takes the oft-explored world of witches and approaches it in a fresh, distinctive way, infusing it with her signature wit and creating, in Jo Thomas, a unique and unforgettable protagonist. This is a brilliant next step for this supremely gifted writer.”

Current Affairs

Wednesday, May 25, 4–5 p.m.

Moderated by PW reviews editor Dave Adams

Jamison Stoltz, editorial director, Abrams Press

Bravo Company: An Afghanistan Deployment and Its Aftermath

Ben Kesling (Abrams Press, $28, Nov. 1)

“Ben Kesling’s Bravo Company is an account of one company of paratroopers, their deployment to a deadly valley in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and how the experience has ricocheted through their lives in the decade since. Kesling is a superb writer and was a Marine Corps infantry officer in Iraq and Afghanistan, and this is a moving, insightful, and timely book. The war may be over, but the veteran crisis is ongoing, and he shows one pilot program offering a way forward.”

Trish Daly, senior editor, Portfolio

California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas and Electric— and What It Means for America’s Power Grid

Katherine Blunt (Portfolio, $28, Aug. 30)

“Katherine Blunt drew me in with her combination of clear, authoritative (and Pulitzer-nominated) reporting. Her character-driven narrative is at the intersection of energy, politics, and business, making one company’s downfall something bigger—not just a cautionary tale, but a warning. Like the best business journalism, this story illuminates complex issues—and since West Coast friends and family respond fiercely whenever PG&E comes up, I hope the book starts conversation.”

Hillary Brenhouse, editorial director, Bold Type

Chaotic Neutral: How the Democrats Lost Their Soul in the Center

Ed Burmila (Bold Type, $29, Sept. 20)

“We Democrats have cause to worry: the Biden administration has bungled its response to the pandemic, labor shortages and student debt are wracking the nation, and it’s looking likely that the Dems will get creamed in the midterms. How did the Democrats get here? In Chaotic Neutral, the refreshingly accessible political scientist Ed Burmila uses historical narrative to identify 10 mistakes that the Democrats have made over and over, tracing the party’s metamorphosis and laying out a potent strategy for how the party might shift back into drive.”

Wendy Wolf, associate publisher, Viking

The Fishermen and the Dragon: Fear, Greed, and a Fight for Justice on the Gulf Coast

Kirk Wallace Johnson (Viking, $28, Aug. 2)

“Kirk Johnson’s book addresses the convergence of two of the most urgent issues of our times: the long reach of racism and the unchecked assault of industrial pollution on our environment. His taut narrative subtly teaches the lessons of history—how fear and prejudice once worked their way through a community under siege but blind to the actual enemy, and how the brave persistence of a few individuals can make a huge difference.”

Jamia Wilson, v-p and executive editor, Random House

On Critical Race Theory: Why It Matters & Why You Should Care

Victor Ray (Random House, $26, Aug. 2)

“In a cultural landscape where Fox News mentioned ‘critical race theory’ almost 2,000 times in three months [last year], we need renowned scholar Dr. Victor Ray’s concise, informed, and incisive book to set the record straight about how the concept emerged as a political necessity and a way of understanding America’s deep and lasting racial inequality. On Critical Race Theory examines the centrality of race in American history, culture, and politics, and demystifies why CRT has been misconstrued in the popular consciousness, in school board rooms, and in legislatures across the nation.”

Sarah Murphy, executive editor, Ecco

Raising Them Right: The Untold Story of America’s Ultraconservative Youth Movement—and Its Plot for Power

Kyle Spencer (Ecco, $29.99, Oct. 18)

“Once I started reading this manuscript, I stopped being able to sleep at night. If you’re liberal, this book will terrify you. With unprecedented insight, Kyle Spencer shows just how successful the ultraconservative youth movement has become at popularizing the divisive ideologies of the far right. But I’m relieved to say it’s also incredibly galvanizing, as progress can only come from understanding what you’re up against. No book feels more consequential as we head toward the midterm elections and 2024.”

Alexander Star, executive editor, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Ransomware Hunting Team: A Band of Misfits’ Improbable Crusade to Save the World from Cybercrime

Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden (FSG, Oct. 25, $30)

“Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden’s The Ransomware Hunting Team is the rare work of narrative nonfiction that combines vivid characters and wild adventures with deep, revelatory reporting on a topic of massive but neglected importance. The race to decrypt [locked] files and defeat criminal gangs becomes richly dramatic and morally complex, as schools, hospitals, cities, and pipelines shut down, and the hunting team and their foes strive to outduel each other.”

Tim Bartlett, executive editor, St. Martin’s Press

Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control

Josh Chin and Liza Lin (St. Martin’s, $29.99, Sept. 6)

“The authors have uncovered fascinating stories of real people affected by China’s burgeoning surveillance system—most affectingly, a Uighur family whom we follow as the vice begins to tighten through to the harrowing moment when they have to flee Xinxiang. [Chin and Lin’s] ability to explain the wider context—the history of why China’s leaders followed this course, how the technology works, and how Chinese people of different backgrounds feel about it—makes the book a truly ‘groundbreaking’ (as the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos described it) look at modern China.”

Picture Books

Thursday, May 26, 11 a.m.–noon

Moderated by PW contributor Libby Morse

Luisa Beguiristaín, assistant editor, Roaring Brook Press

The Coquíes Still Sing and Los coquíes aún cantan (Spanish edition)

Karina Nicole González, illus. by Krystal Quiles, trans. from the English by Amparo Ortiz (Roaring Brook, $18.99, Aug. 23)

The Coquíes Still Sing perfectly captures the emotions felt in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, embracing the darkness and silence experienced by families living in Puerto Rico, as well as those of us who’d migrated to the States. As a Puerto Rican, I’m so proud of how Karina and Krystal explored the beauty of home and community in this story. I’m especially excited to publish simultaneously in English and Spanish, creating more accessibility for Spanish-speaking communities.”

Susan Rich, editor-at-large, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Sophie Blackall (Little, Brown, $18.99, Sept. 13)

Farmhouse is a book to swoon over, with dollhouse-like cutaways that invite readers into the impeccably recreated world of a busy family farmhouse in the 1930s. Throughout, Sophie incorporates material she salvaged from the real family’s actual falling-down house—scraps of wallpaper and curtains, catalogs, and calendars. Farmhouse is built on facts and found material, but its deepest truth is the astonishing way it acknowledges the ability of story to outlast us all. I weep every time.”

Neal Porter, v-p and publisher, Neal Porter Books/Holiday House

I Don’t Care

Julie Fogliano, illus. by Molly Idle and Juana Martinez-Neal (Holiday House/Porter, $18.99, Oct. 11)

“Why do I care so much about I Don’t Care? Because I’ve adored Julie Fogliano’s glorious text since she first sent it to me. Because when I asked Molly Idle to do the pictures, she had the inspired notion to invite her own best friend, fellow Caldecott Honoree Juana Martinez-Neal, to collaborate on this story about two best friends. And because I hope readers will share this joyful book with their own best friends.”

Victoria Rock, founding children’s publisher and editor-at-large, Chronicle Books


Annie Barrows, illus. by Leo Espinosa (Chronicle, $17.99, Sept. 20)

“Nothing is more exciting than watching a book by master creators unfold. Annie Barrows is never here to tell readers what to think, but to offer up some thoughts for consideration. Her conversational text cleverly twists a perennial idea—that humans are more alike than we are different—just slightly, giving readers a new way to think about it. And Leo Espinosa, whose artwork always buzzes with color and heart, runs with these musings, making them not just accessible and funny, but a joy to look at.”

Anne Schwartz, v-p and publisher, Anne Schwartz Books, Random House Children’s Books

Me and the Boss: A Story About Mending and Love

Michelle Edwards, illus. by April Harrison (Random/Schwartz, $18.99, Oct. 11)

“There’s much packed into the 32 pages of Me and the Boss: the oh-so-true push/pull relationship between our narrator and his big sister; one child’s journey to mastering a skill; and, of course, the bonus of sewing instructions. How the remarkable Michelle Edwards and April Harrison worked their magic to create a thoroughly engaging book that will empower kids as it enables them to see themselves is a story I look forward to sharing.”

Rosie Ahmed, associate editor, Dial Books for Young Readers

Nana, Nenek & Nina

Liza Ferneyhough (Dial, $17.99, Aug. 9)

“On the surface, Liza’s debut is a lushly illustrated spot-the-difference picture book featuring a child’s trips to her Nana and Nenek at opposite ends of the world. But woven throughout is the gentle love between grandparent and grandchild that ties so many of us together across language, place, and culture. It’s an ode to growing up multiracial and multicultural, and to the shared sense of home we cultivate with family stretched across the globe.”

Paula Wiseman, v-p and publisher, Paula Wiseman Books, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

On Her Wings

Jerdine Nolen, illus. by James E. Ransome (S&S/Wiseman, $18.99, Sept. 27)

“Toni Morrison changed the world. Her work is as relevant or even more relevant today as it ever was, and the story of her life, vision, determination, and unwavering commitment will inspire a young audience. When she sadly passed in the summer of August 2019, we all felt the loss. I talked with [S&S president and publisher] Jon Anderson about a picture biography about her life and at the same time James Ransome had the thought. James reached out about the book and we approached Jerdine Nolen, whose writing style seemed the perfect fit, and Jerdine was thrilled to take on the project. Both James and Jerdine have channeled Toni Morrison’s spirt in this remarkable book.”

Sydnee Monday, associate editor, Penguin Young Readers/Kokila

Sam’s Super Seats

Keah Brown, illus. by Sharee Miller (Kokila, $17.99, Aug. 23)

“I often go back to Keah Brown’s words on her experience with shame as a disabled child who often needed rest in ‘Can We Sit for a Sec?,’ the galvanizing first chapter of her memoir The Pretty One (2019). In Sam’s Super Seats, Keah has gifted young readers a powerful vision of a young Black girl with cerebral palsy resting comfortably and enjoying the giggly excitement of picking out (very cute, Sharee Miller–illustrated) outfits with her best friends for the first day of school.”

Middle Grade

Thursday, May 26, 1–2 p.m.

Moderated by PW editorial assistant, children’s books, Ayana Jones

Stacey Barney, associate publisher, Nancy Paulsen Books at Penguin Young Readers

The Big Dreams of Small Creatures

Gail Lerner (Penguin/Paulsen, $18.99, Oct. 4)

“When I first read The Big Dreams of Small Creatures, it was like falling through the looking glass in the very best way. I was utterly charmed. At the heart of this story is the magic of unlikely friendships and the power of empathy. It’s a funny, fresh, and heartfelt tale of possibility from the eyes of the smallest among us and has great STEM themes as well. I think readers are going to be completely swept away.”

Tricia Lin, editor, Random House Books for Young Readers

Futureland: Battle for the Park

H.D. Hunter, illus. by Khadijah Khatib (Random House, $16.99, Nov. 8)

“Where do I begin with this novel? Futureland is everything I wanted as a kid, with its high stakes, dazzling world, and characters that feel like your best friends. H.D. Hunter’s snappy writing instantly draws you in, Khadijah Khatib’s illustrations are stunning, and the book has the coolest design elements to help foster the immersive read. It’s fast-paced, gripping, and one of a kind—and I can’t wait for it to reach young readers everywhere.”

Erica Finkel, executive editor, Amulet Books and Abrams Books for Young Readers

Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party

Saadia Faruqi, illus. by Ani Bushry (Abrams/Amulet, $14.99, Oct. 18)

“I’d admired Saadia Faruqi’s Yasmin books, so when this series hit my inbox, I jumped on it, and the read exceeded my high expectations. Marya feels just like a real kid—she can be annoyed, mischievous, and go too far to get what she wants, but at the end of the day, she has a good heart. She’s like a Ramona for a new generation. I know young readers will see themselves in Marya and be as charmed by her as I was.”

Dana Chidiac, senior editor, Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

Mihi Ever After

Tae Keller, illus. by Geraldine Rodríguez (Holt, $16.99, Nov. 8)

“I feel very lucky to continue the editorial work that John Morgan and Tiffany Liao did with Tae Keller on Mihi Ever After as we kick off this series. Mihi and her friends are such lovable, real characters, and I love the way Tae questions what it means to be ‘the princess type.’ This series is a fairy tale romp starring girls of color, and I’m really grateful to be part of bringing it into the world.”

Reka Simonsen, editorial director, Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Naomi Teitelbaum Ends the World

Samara Shanker (Atheneum, $17.99, Sept. 6)

“I love a good girl and her golem story, so I was excited when Naomi Teitelbaum Ends the World came across my desk. As I read, I discovered that Samara Shanker’s wonderful novel is so much more than just a great fantasy. It also explores themes of acceptance, faith, and personal responsibility, all of which resonate deeply these days. And it’s a tremendously fun read with characters readers are going to adore.”

Tracey Keevan, editorial director, Union Square Kids

Nothing Interesting Ever Happens to Ethan Fairmont

Nick Brooks (Union Square Kids, $16.99, Oct. 4)

“Nick Brooks has a gift for crafting vivid characters and delivering page after page of dynamic dialogue. Ethan Fairmont is one of those characters who sticks with you long after you finish the book. I love his curiosity, his ingenuity, and his strong sense of morality and justice. I can’t wait for kids to meet Ethan and his friends as they attempt to help an adorable, bouncy, ever-hungry alien (named Cheese!) stranded on Earth.”

Andrea Tompa, executive editor, Candlewick Press

Undercover Latina

Aya de León (Candlewick, $18.99, Oct. 11)

“There’s nothing I love more than a book that explores meaty issues in a compulsively readable package, so it’s been a thrill to work on Undercover Latina, which is at that perfect intersection of fun and smart. Who can resist the story of a teenage spy who goes undercover for an agency that defends people of color? Aya de León addresses racism, colorism, and feminism with action and suspense, a smidge of romance, and a fantastic female friendship.”

Mary Kate Castellani, publishing director, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

The Vanquishers

Kalynn Bayron (Bloomsbury, $16.99, Sept. 20)

“What always stood out as I worked with Kalynn on The Vanquishers is that she clearly had so much fun creating this world, mixing up several of her favorite concepts—Buffy, Watchmen, Goosebumps, and more—with her trademark inclusive, escapist, joyful storytelling. The story absolutely shines with Kalynn’s love for her characters, as readers meet Malika “Boog” Wilson and her close friends. Their sweet, funny, banter-filled dynamic eases readers in, and then the inventive and adventurous lore of the Vanquishers will sweep them away.”

Young Adult

Thursday, May 26, 3–4 p.m.

Moderated by PW reviews editor Amanda Ramirez

Ashley Hearn, acquisitions editor, Peachtree Teen

Aces Wild

Amanda DeWitt (Peachtree Teen, $17.99, Sept. 6)

Aces Wild is the book I needed as a teen: a wild romp with an entirely asexual cast that celebrates the importance of online friend groups and how fandoms provide safe spaces for teens discovering their gender and sexual identities. I can’t wait for readers to meet Jack Shannon—how he oozes competence on one hand, but is just a scared teenage mama’s boy underneath—and the unforgettably quirky crew he’s assembled.”

Ruqayyah Daud, associate editor, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow

Zoulfa Katouh (Little, Brown, $18.99, Sept. 13)

“I set out with a mission to uplift Middle Eastern and North African voices. Zoulfa Katouh’s gripping writing and her searing story captured me from the first page. It’s an intricate look at grief and trauma, but it also opened my eyes to the level of injustice occurring in Syria, in ways I hadn’t previously been aware of. It’s my hope these voices, which we’re often desensitized to, will be given humanity.”

Kaylan Adair, executive editor, Candlewick

Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World

Frederick Joseph and Porsche Joseph (Candlewick, $19.99, Oct. 11)

Better Than We Found It by husband and wife team Frederick Joseph (The Black Friend) and Porsche Joseph is so much more than a phenomenal book—it’s a call to action and a call to empathy. Highlighting 16 critical issues, including gun violence, transphobia, healthcare, and climate change, and featuring interviews with luminaries such as Elizabeth Warren, Julián Castro, Robert Reich, and Nic Stone, the Josephs make a clear and impassioned case for effecting positive change—and doing so now.”

Sarah Alpert, editor, Algonquin Young Readers

Dead Flip

Sara Farizan (Algonquin, $17.99, Aug. 30)

“Sara Farizan writing a Stranger Things–esque retro horror novel is a dream come true. She takes this crazy, supernatural premise and makes it both approachable and deeply human. Yes, Dead Flip is about a boy who gets kidnapped by an evil pinball machine. But it’s also about changing friendships, being in the closet, and the transformational chasm between who you were six years ago and who you are today. This book is scary, funny, diverse, and perfectly larger than life.”

Polo Orozco, editor, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

How to Succeed in Witchcraft

Aislinn Brophy (Putnam, $18.99, Sept. 27)

“Teen witches vying for a scholarship, enemies-to-lovers sapphic romance, delightfully awkward high school theater—what’s not to love about How to Succeed in Witchcraft? Set in an alternate, magical America that’s confronting racism and entering its own #MeToo era, this spellbinding contemporary fantasy combines high-octane entertainment with searing social commentary, and it heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in YA.”

Maggie Lehrman, editorial director, fiction, at Abrams Children’s Books

Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution

Kacen Callender (Amulet, $19.99, Sept. 27)

“I’ve been an admirer of Kacen’s writing for years, and so I’m thrilled and honored to be publishing their new YA novel. Kacen captures queer Black life like no one else writing today, and their newest book asks some big questions about identity, accountability, and who deserves love. This book also has a swoon-worthy romance and a social media mishap plot that kept me hanging on every page. It’s a book you’ll want to share with everyone you know.”

Mara Delgado Sánchez, assistant editor, St. Martin’s Publishing Group

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove

Rati Mehrotra (Wednesday, $18.99, Oct. 18)

Night of the Raven, Dawn of the Dove is a clever romp with monsters, complex family relationships, blood, and kissing. Katyani and the monsters wreaking havoc will always be fun to read. But for me, the biggest gem of this story is its characters and their dynamics. Katyani’s relationships are the pillars of who she is; as a result, when these relationships evolve, collapse, or reach a standstill, Katyani grows into herself and where she belongs.”

Claire Stetzer, editor, Inkyard Press


Susan Lee (Inkyard, $18.99, Sept. 20)

Seoulmates is everything you could want in a rom-com. Hannah and Jacob are childhood friends turned enemies turned more than friends, who are both exploring what it’s like to grow up Korean American in a world newly obsessed with K-drama and K-pop. Genuinely hilarious and heartfelt, this story is one you won’t soon forget.”

Correction: The price of The Big Dreams of Small Creatures has been updated.

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