Books to Look Out For (October/November)


If you thought this past month was an exceptional month for books (it was!), you’re in for a treat — this upcoming month is jam-packed with just as many amazing new releases. Below are a handful of the books coming out in the next few weeks that I’m most excited about. I STRONGLY suggest you don’t miss out on a single one!

. . .

Books to Look Out For: October 17, 2017 — November 15, 2017

OPEN IF YOU DARE, by Dana Middleton — October 17, 2017

open if you dare

What it’s about:

Like Birdie Adams didn’t have enough problems this summer. But Birdie’s Birdie. And if a long-buried box has “Open if you dare” written on its lid, then Birdie and her best friends, Ally and Rose, are going to open it.

And now, along with everything else that’s going on―Ally’s pitching slump, Rose’s banishment to Britain, and Birdie’s annoying younger sister being, you know, annoying―the best friends are caught up in solving a mystery planted by a dead girl forty years ago.

What people are saying:

“The author of The Infinity Year of Avalon Jones (2016), Middleton sets the story in Atlanta and peoples it with well-drawn individuals from different generations. Birdie makes mistakes and, as narrator, lets readers in on her thoughts as events, others’ comments, and personal reflection gradually shift her perspective. Each element of the story resonates more fully through Middleton’s strong portrayal of the girls’ intricately interwoven friendship. A rewarding chapter book” — Booklist Online

Why I want to read it:

I guess I’m a bit like Birdie and Ally and Rose, because if you write “OPEN IF YOU DARE” on something — especially a book — well, I’m going to have to open it. I’m also a giant fan of mysteries. And “a mystery planted by a dead girl forty years ago?” Are you kidding?! Count me in!

Visit Dana here to learn more about her and her books.

SAM & EVA, written and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi — October 17, 2017

sam and eva

What it’s about:

Harold and the Purple Crayon meets Tom and Jerry in this sweet and funny picture book about a boy and girl who must balance their creativity and figure out how to cooperate after their drawings come to life.

When Sam starts drawing a super cool velociraptor, Eva decides to join in. But Sam isn’t too happy about the collaboration. Soon Eva and Sam are locked in an epic creative clash, bringing to life everything from superhero marmots to exploding confetti. But when their masterpieces turn to mayhem will Sam stay stubbornly solo or will he realize that sometimes the best work comes from teamwork?

What people are saying:

“The kids themselves, rendered in black and white, sparkle….When their mural becomes frantic and out of hand, the kids escape in a way that Crockett Johnson’s Harold would be proud of. Expressive, high-spirited one-upkidship via artwork on walls—there’s nothing wrong with that.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Ohi celebrates creativity and cooperation in this story of two young artists, Sam and Eva, who don’t see eye to eye…and although the final pages tease another potential argument, readers will finish the book confident that these two will work through their creative differences once again.” — Publisher’s Weekly

Why I want to read it:

Debbie is simply incredible — ALL her work is great. This book, though, promises to be extra special. I am a huge fan of meta picture books (I’ve written about them on this blog several times!), and I know this one about creative kids and cooperation/collaboration will be an essential addition to my collection.

Visit Debbie here to learn more about her and her books.

THE WITCH BOY, written, drawn, lettered, and colored by Molly Knox Ostertag — October 31, 2017

the witch boy

What it’s about:

In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be.

When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. It will take the encouragement of a new friend, the non-magical and non-conforming Charlie, to convince Aster to try practicing his skills. And it will require even more courage to save his family . . . and be truly himself.

Why I want to read it:

A rule-bound family and a boy whose interests won’t allow him to neatly fit in — as far as I’m concerned, there can’t be enough books like this written for kids (and their teachers and parents!). Add in shapeshifting and witchery and Molly’s smart, evocative art — and then go and publish the thing on Halloween — and you’ve got a winning package if there ever was one. The Witch Boy is the first graphic novel Molly has both drawn and written. I know I’m not the only one hoping it’s the first of many.

Visit Molly here to learn more about her and her books.

THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK, written by Julie Segal-Walters, illustrated by Brian Biggs — October 31, 2017

this is not an animal book

What it’s about:

This is a book about animals.
It is? I mean, it sort of is. It does have animals in it.
It’s a book about animals.
I hear you, but you have to admit it’s pretty strange. This is NOT a normal animal book.
You should read it.
At least we can agree on that.

This offbeat picture book is a hilarious behind the scenes look at the picture book creation process. It shows the importance of collaboration and compromise, and highlights the beauty of both words and art. Plus, it really gets you thinking about…BLOBFISH.

What people are saying:

“A knowing and very funny behind-the-scenes look at the art — and negotiation — of collaboration.” — Publishers Weekly

“Has much to incite both giggles and insight into the creative process.” — Booklist

Why I want to read it:

I love animal books, and as I’ve already mentioned, I also love meta picture books, so for me this is a big no-brainer. It’s also yet another picture book about the creative process that takes on themes of cooperation/collaboration — a natural pairing with SAM & EVA. Even better, both books are yellow (my favorite color)! They are going to look GREAT on my shelf.

Visit Julie here to learn more about her and her books. Visit Brian here to learn more about him and his books.

CATSTRONAUTS: SPACE STATION SITUATION, written and illustrated by Drew Brockington — October 31, 2017


What it’s about:

In the third book in the CatStronauts graphic novel series, your favorite elite team of cat astronauts is a member short–one of the team has quit!

When chief science officer Pom Pom rejoins the CatStronauts on the International Space Station, she has to get to work right away–the Hubba Bubba Telescope isn’t working, and CATSUP is losing funding by the day!

But as the CatStronauts and Mission Control race to find answers, the unthinkable happens and pilot Waffles is forced to orbit the Earth in nothing but his space suit. Even though he’s no scaredy cat, Waffles has a hard time staying out in space. When disaster on a global scale rears its head, will a fractured CatStronauts team be enough to save the day?

In this full color graphic novel, debut author/illustrator Drew Brockington takes the CatStronauts to the brink, adding in mounds of jokes, charm, asteroid showers, and enough tuna for everyone!

What people are saying:

“With its appealing blend of cuteness, substance, and humor, this should have readers over the moon. ” — Kirkus Reviews

“Brockington’s off-the-wall kitty sci-fi series packs the full-color panels with cute cats, space travel, and comical high jinks… sure to elicit lots of giggles among middlegrade comics fans.” — Booklist

“The engagingly lighthearted drama and positive resolutions, and the expressive characters, who are as adorable as they are adventurous, provide… fun purchases that will do well on their own or paired with heavier nonfiction titles on history or the environment.” — School Library Journal

“Humor and suspense compete throughout… In playful, mock-heroic, full-color cartoons, Brockington mines space theater for everything…. Even the chapter headings get in on the fun.” — Publishers Weekly

“There’s lots of enthusiasm for graphic novels for this age range, and the CatStronauts deserve a spot.” — BCCB

Why I want to read it:

If you haven’t been keeping up with the CatStronauts, do yourself a favor and CATCH UP. The series is about cats — in space! What else do you need to know?! This third volume promises to be just as excellent as the first two.

Visit Drew here to learn more about him and his books.

DANIEL COLDSTAR #1: THE RELIC WAR, by Stel Pavlou — November 7, 2017

daniel coldstar.jpg

What it’s about:

Below the surface on a forgotten planet, Daniel Coldstar searches for relics from a lost civilization. Daniel has no memory of his past. All he knows is to do his job and fear the masters of the mines.

Until he unearths a relic more powerful than anything he has ever seen. A relic that might help him escape…

What follows is an epic outer space adventure filled with Truth Seekers, anatoms, Leechers, and the evil Sinja who seek to control the universe.

All that stands in their way is a boy named Daniel Coldstar, whose journey will change the galaxy forever.

What people are saying:

“[An] action-packed journey [with] interesting themes on truth, power, and wisdom…[A] zany outer space adventure. Sure to be a hit for sci-fi readers who love a wild romp.” — School Library Journal

“Outrageously creative.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A breathless adventure full of surprise twists, daring escapes, awesome tech, and sinister conspiracies!” — Joel Ross, author of Beast & Crown

“Sci-fi has never been so much fun. I loved it!” — Eoin Colfer, bestselling author of Artemis Fowl

Why I want to read it:

Stel has been penning sci-fi and speculative fiction stories for years now, but Daniel Coldstar marks his first foray into kid lit, and I hope he sticks around for a good long while. The novel sounds like a rip-roaring, action-packed blast. And of course it doesn’t hurt that he’s already got two of the best, Joel Ross and Eoin Colfer, on his side. With praise like that from them, this book can’t not be good.

Visit Stel here to learn more about him and his books.

VOICES FOR ALL, by Scott Vincent — November 15, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 11.42.12 AM.png

What it’s about:

12-year old Stacey discovers the secret to communicating with animals. Animals rejoice, thinking she is their long awaited savior who can return them to a world where animals and humans once lived as equals. But not everyone loves a savior. A small clan of cats has kept this secret hidden from humans for generations, ensuring that dogs and cats remain humans’ favorite companions. They are determined to destroy Stacey and keep her discovery a secret. Stacey must find and overthrow them before they silence her forever.

Voices for All is an adventure comedy about friendship, freedom and equality, no matter what your species. Join Stacey, her friend Alex, a wise-cracking gorilla, and a cast of animals yearning to be free as they fight for a world where animals are not as voiceless as we once thought.

Why I want to read it:

Kid lit is full of stories with animal protagonists, and to my mind, that’s a wonderful thing. Animal stories done right can often be more powerful than stories featuring only humans. Voices for All promises to be a worthy addition to this tradition.

Visit Scott here to learn more about him and his books.

. . .

Are you looking forward to a book this month that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know! That way, I can start looking forward to it, too!

2 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For (October/November)

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