We're still talking about our favorite children's books of 2015 and the 2016 Youth Media Award winners, but it's time to get excited about what 2016 holds, including new books from Kate DiCamillo, Jon Klassen and more. With a list like this, we can't wait to see what other great children's books await us this year!
Ideas Are All Around by Philip C. Stead (Roaring Brook, March 1)
We're always a sucker for a new Stead picture book, but this one looks especially magical. It’s sort of a book about nothing, or everything: In search of writing ideas, an author takes a walk with his dog around the neighborhood. View all our reviews of Stead's previous books.
Summerlost by Ally Condie (Dutton, March 29)
The author of the critically acclaimed, bestselling Matched trilogy makes her middle-grade debut with the story of 12-year-old Cedar, who is grieving the sudden deaths of her father and younger brother while working for the renowned Summerlost Shakespearean theater company.
Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley and Lauren Castillo (Two Lions, April 1)
This beachy bedtime book is the first-ever picture book from Pulitzer Prize winner Smiley, and we're ecstatic to see she's collaborating with Caldecott Honor winner Castillo (Nana in the City).
Booked by Kwame Alexander (HMH, April 5)
Alexander follows up his Newbery Medal winner, The Crossover, with another novel-in-verse, this one a heartfelt tale of soccer. Most importantly, one of the characters is a rapping librarian named The Mac.
Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick, April 12)
Two-time Newbery Medalist DiCamillo pulls generously from her own life for this much-anticipated middle-grade novel about 10-year-old Raymie Clarke, whose father has just run away with a local dental hygienist. Specifically, DiCamillo grew up in small-town Central Florida, competed in (and lost) the Little Miss Orange Blossom contest, and her father left the family when she was very young. View all our reviews of DiCamillo's previous books.
Are We There Yet? by Dan Santat (Little, Brown, April 12)
Don't let the innocuous title fool you, as there's also a T-Rex on the cover of Caldecott Medalist Santat's road trip picture book, so we're expecting more than a few wonderfully ridiculous surprises. On this most unusual road trip, time seems to be moving so. slowly. . . . that it starts moving backward. View all our reviews of Santat's previous books.
Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier (Amulet, April 5)
It seems like we've waited FOREVER for Auxier to take us back to the world of Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes (2011). But our patience is rewarded: This new middle-grade book is set two years after Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort, and now they're back to find a 12-year-old bookmender named Sophie Quire. View all our reviews of Auxier's previous books.
Gordon and Tapir by Sebastian Meschenmoser (NorthSouth, April)
Mr. Squirrel and the Moon was one of our very favorite 2015 picture books, and we can't wait to see the humor and charm that will no doubt fill Meschenmoser's odd-couple tale. And it's already been shortlisted for the German Children’s Book of the Year Award.
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, illustrated by Yuyi Morales (Little, Brown, May 10)
National Book Award-winner Alexie and Caldecott Honor winner Morales (Viva Frida) team up for a picture book about a little boy, son of Big Thunder, who's looking for his own special name.
There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith (Roaring Brook, May 3)
We were granted a sneak peek of Smith's picture book for last September's cover reveal and Q&A, and we still can't wait for this one. Plus, I crack up everytime I think of a group of Lane Smiths being an "annoyance of Lanes." View all our reviews of Smith's previous books.
A Clatter of Jars by Lisa Graff (Philomel, May 24)
The latest middle-grade novel from National Book Award nominee Graff returns to the world of A Tangle of Knots (2013) for another magic-filled camp adventure. View all our reviews of Graff's previous books.
Nine, Ten by Nora Raleigh Baskin (Atheneum, June 28)
Ruby on the Outside was one of our favorite 2015 middle-grade novels, so we're definitely watching for Baskin's next book, about four middle schoolers whose lives are dramatically impacted by the tragic events of 9/11.
School's First Day of School by Adam Rex and Christian Robinson (Roaring Brook, June 28)
Robinson just picked up a Caldecott Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for Last Stop on Market Street, and he's quickly becoming one of our all-time favorite illustrators. His back-to-school book with Rex sounds like a collaboration made in heaven.
Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes (Little, Brown, July 12)
Another 9/11 middle-grade novel? We trust Rhodes to do the tragic events justice. View all our reviews of Rhodes' previous books.
Travis and Stinky by Jacqueline Kelly (Macmillan Children's, October 4)
This is the first installment in a new spinoff series of chapter books from Kelly's beloved The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate. A new generation of readers will get to meet all those wonderful characters we immediately fell in love with. View all our reviews of Kelly's previous books.
We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen (Candlewick, October 11)
The epic Klassen hat saga reaches its end, after I Want My Hat Back and the Caldecott Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal-winning This Is Not My Hat. This time, two turtles have found a hat, both of whom look good in said hat. Who will win the hat? Will one turtle eat the other turtle? These questions must be—will be—answered.
A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 by Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (FSG, October 11)
Olshan and Blackall brought us the outstanding The Mighty Lalouche (2013), so another (mostly true) history lesson from the duo is a real treat. Check out our interview with Blackall on The Mighty Lalouche and collaborating with Olshan.
What children's books are you most looking forward to this year? Share in the comments below.
A critically praised novel and two compelling memoirs top the list of new paperbacks on sale today:
A God in Ruins
By Kate Atkinson
Back Bay • $17.99 • ISBN 9780316176507
Announced last week as the winner of Britain's Costa Award, Atkinson's evocative novel also made many best books of the year lists in the U.S. (including the BookPage Top 50, where it ranked #11). A follow-up to her dazzling 2013 bestseller Life After Life, Atkinson's latest chronicles the life of British World War II pilot Teddy Todd.
Born with Teeth
By Kate Mulgrew
Back Bay • $15.99 • ISBN 9780316334327
In her own unmistakable voice—confident, frank and feisty—the TV and film actress recounts her adventures growing up in a Midwestern Irish-Catholic family and navigating the road to stardom.
Leaving Before the Rains Come
By Alexandra Fuller
Penguin • $17 • ISBN 9780143128427
The author who captured her unorthodox African upbringing in Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight reveals the other side of her story—what happened after she married an American adventurer, moved to Wyoming and took aim at domestic tranquility.
The latest installment of the Austen Project finally has an on-sale date: April 19, 2016. Eligible is bestselling author Curtis Sittenfeld's take on what is perhaps the ultimate Austen novel, Pride & Prejudice. No pressure!
Fortunately, it sounds like Sittenfeld has spent plenty of time considering her approach. Since it no longer makes sense for a mother to be worried about whether her teen- and 20-something daughters will be married, Jane and Lizzie are now in their late 30s. They're working in New York City when their father's health scare causes them to return home to Cincinnati, where they find their younger sisters' lives, in disarray—but also meet two handsome, single doctors. Intriguing!
RELATED CONTENT: Don't miss our interview with Sittenfeld about American Wife, and check out our coverage of previous installments of the Austen Project from Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith and Joanna Trollope. You can also read more news about 2016 releases.
Happy New Year! Let's start things off right with an update on an author who's been a book club favorite for years: Chris Cleave. The British author returns on May 3 with a new novel, and it's his first foray into historical fiction.
Everyone Brave Is Forgiven (great title) is set during World War II and stars a courageous young socialite who volunteers to teach evacuees despite her highbrow family's diapproval. But Mary's work draws her into the orbit of best friends Tom and Alastair, and she soon finds herself involved in a love triangle that could have tragic consequences.
Cleave's publisher, Simon & Schuster, says of the book: "A sweeping epic with the kind of unforgettable characters, cultural insights, and indelible scenes that made Little Bee so incredible, Chris Cleave’s latest novel explores the disenfranchised, the bereaved, the elite, the embattled."
Will you read it?
Mark your calendars, horror fans: Joe Hill will publish a new story of supernatural suspense on May 17. In The Fireman, people worldwide are suddenly bursting into flames, thanks to an unstoppable, contagious virus known as Dragonscale. When Harper Grayson, a nurse who has made caring for infected patients her life's work, realizes she has been infected with the virus, she's desperate to survive long enough to give birth to the child she carries. Could a mysterious stranger, known only as the Fireman, teach her to control the disease and save her child's life as well as her own?
Terry McMillan, the acclaimed author of modern classics of popular fiction like Waiting to Exhale, returns June 7 with I Almost Forgot About You. Like much of McMillan's work, the book is centered on a woman who is accomplished and intelligent but still feels something missing from her life. Can Georgia Young, a successful doctor, make changes that will get her out of her comfortable rut—and maybe even find a second chance at love?
The publisher, Crown, promises this book "will show legions of readers what can happen when you face your fears, take a chance, and open yourself up to the world." It certainly has a fabulous cover. Will you read it?
Merry Christmas to me—well, OK, and probably a lot of other book lovers too. Anthony Marra, author of the luminous bestseller A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, has sold a second novel to his publisher, Hogarth.
The Peacock Palace isn't set in Eastern Europe, like most of Marra's previous work, but it continues to explore morality in wartime. The story takes place in midcentury Italy, and it centers on the prison island of Lipari, off the north coast of Sicily. Mussolini sent his political adversaries to this isolated spot during World War II, and the setting is a significant one for the author, whose ancestors came from Lipari and mingled with the prisoners during those years.
Marra, who worked on the book during a fellowship in Berlin, says, “The constantly recalibrated moral compass is a fixture in all my work, and in this novel I’m interested in the Faustian bargains that confront ‘enemy aliens’ on both sides of the Atlantic in the lead up to World War II. Additionally, I want to return to the early years of cinema, when the screen began to reframe on a mass scale our understanding and expectations of everyday reality, human desire, and political power.”
No publication date has yet been set, but we'll be sure to keep you posted.
Here’s a stellar new entry in the world of niche publishing: A Coloring Book for Knitters is currently the #1 best-selling coloring book for knitters on Amazon. It’s also the only coloring book designed with knitters in mind, but that fact shouldn’t tarnish the ranking—or the fun! The brains behind this “whole new thing” in coloring are Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne, former BookPage editor, novelist and knitter extraordinaire. Gardiner and Shayne are the voices behind the popular blog, Mason-Dixon Knitting, and the co-authors of two knitting books.
“Coloring and knitting are a natural fit,” they write. “Coloring knitting patterns can soothe jangled nerves, and it can also inspire your knitting. You can experiment with color combinations for Fair Isle, stripes or log cabin—without all that pesky swatching.” The drawings in A Coloring Book for Knitters are by Juliana Horner, an illustrator with a background in fashion design. Her intricate artwork includes everything from sweaters, hats and mittens to knitting stores and skeins of yarn.
Coloring inside the lines should be a cinch for knitters—those masters of precision who can take a ball of yarn and turn it into a neatly stitched pairs of socks. But the patterns in this new collection will appeal to knitters and non-knitters alike—needles (and knitting skill) are not required.
The New York Times has announced that Jonathan Safran Foer would be publishing a new novel with a new publisher, FSG, in September 2016. Called Here I Am, the novel is set in Washington, D.C., over the course of a single month, "as a Jewish family with three sons falls apart after the parents’ marriage falters." The destruction of the family is mirrored by world events, as an earthquake and an invasion of Israel rock the Middle East. It will be Foer's first novel in more than 10 years.
It's easy to imagine that Foer might be looking to his own life for inspiration here: Foer is part of a Jewish family that consisted of three sons, and his marriage, to novelist Nicole Krauss, ended in 2014. But Foer's new editor, Eric Chinski, says this book is bigger than that and likens it to Portnoy's Complaint in the way it exposes American Jewish life. And readers of Foer's celebrated debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated, know that he has a talent for making the personal universal.
Fans worried that Foer's last two announced projects—an HBO comedy and another novel—never got off the ground should have hope this time around: TV and film deals fall through all the time, and the previous book was never officially included in a publisher catalog (or announced, with comments from the acquiring editor, in the NYT). So unless I just jinxed this one by saying so, I think it's OK to start the countdown.
Have you heard the big news in the publishing world? Coloring books aren't just for kids anymore. They've grown up, and coloring has been proven to be better for more than just killing time. Here's a quick rundown of some of the biggest benefits:
Calming and de-stressing
Famed psychologist Carl Jüng began asking his patients to color in mandalas as part of his treatment plans in the early 20th century. The simple act of coloring can deliver some of the same benefits as meditation, relaxing the amygdala—the fear center of the brain.
Illustration from Lost Ocean by Johanna Basford. Excerpted with permission from Penguin Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright 2015, Johanna Basford.
Get in touch with your creative side
Art skills feeling a little rusty and underused? Was your last foray with a colored pencil in a grade school art class? It's time to pick up some new markers and crayons and let those creative juices flow. As a bonus, you'll exercise your fine motor skills.
A fresh way to socialize
Wine and painting parties are immensely popular, so why not throw a wine and coloring party with a few friends? It's easy to color and chat at the same time, making it a perfect excuse to invite some people over.
Penguin Publishing Group President, Madeline McIntosh, and Associate Publisher-Editorial Director of Penguin Classics, Elda Rotor, getting in on the coloring fun.
Instant art for your home
Who says you can't hang your own masterpieces on the fridge? With intricate color-ready pieces from some of the world's most talented rising artists in coloring books like Outside the Lines, Too and top-notch designers like Joanna Basford publishing books filled with intricate pen-and-ink illustrations, your colored pages can be used for all kinds of crafts and decorating projects.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our feature on five of the biggest and best adult coloring books, from underwater scenes to the wizarding world of Hogwarts, right in time for the gift-giving season! Or read our interview with one of Penguin's leading coloring book editors to get the inside scoop on this growing trend.