Simon and Schuster's Summer 2008 Preview event

Last Thursday was the summer preview event at Simon and Schuster and, like the last one, the editors shared some exciting upcoming books and invited a hilarious author to speak. The last time was Jon Scieszka – not too shabby! – and this time was Alan Katz, author of Take Me Out of the Bathtub and Other Silly Dilly Songs (S&S, 2001) and the newly published poetry collection, Oops (McElderry, 2008). Well, I can tell you that Mr. Katz is one of the funniest authors I’ve had the pleasure of listening to – he just had the whole room in stitches, telling such fantastic stories. It was the perfect way to start off the morning.

Demi has a new book coming out, The Magic Pillow (6.3.08). Demi’s work is visually stunning and does not disappoint here. My only concern with Demi’s style is that it lacks some accessibility with children; that’s been my impression, anyway. Has anyone encountered any kids that were really drawn into Demi’s books? Or able to use her books in programs? Just curious… Nevertheless, it’s always a treat to pore over the details and beauty in her books.

What are two things that are sure things to grab kids’ attention? Pirates and penguins, of course. Put them together in one book and you have Uncle Pirate by Douglas Rees, illustrated by Tony Auth (6.3.08). I didn’t get to look at the interior of this one but, at 112 pages, I’m thinking it’ll be a good “boy book” recommendation. According to the editors, a sequel is already planned.

When I saw the cover for Bees, Snails, and Peacock Tails by Betsy Franco and illustrated by Steve Jenkins (6.17.08), I sort of felt nonchalant. My initial impression was “there they go again.” Then I mentally kicked my own rear because that’s really no way to think. How can you be blasé about so much talent and gorgeousness? So they’re at it again and there’s nothing ordinary about its fabulousness.

Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman have another “Bear” book coming out, Bear Feels Scared (8.5.08). There really isn’t much else to say about that. The books are enormously popular, and there will definitely be multiple copies purchased for my library system.

Okay, so let me tell you the book I am most excited about. Seriously, this sounds so cool. It’s called Acting Out (6.17.08) and it’s a collection of one-act plays. Every library needs more plays, right? Okay, maybe it’s just Queens… Anyhoo, wait for it…you won’t believe the line-up of Newbery stars: Avi, Susan Cooper, Sharon Creech, Patricia MacLachlan, Katherine Paterson, and Richard Peck. Shazam! All edited by Justin Chanda, publisher extraordinaire. Justin explained to us that he and the authors wanted some way to unify the whole work. So each author picked a single word – six words total – and each author had to incorporate each of those words into their own play. Justin shared the six words, but I don’t remember all of them. I can tell you one of the words, though, because it’s a hard one to forget: “Justin.” Funny, right? I’m real excited about this one.

Yay, another middle-grade graphic novel! More of them, publishers! More! This one is called Chiggers by Hope Larson (6.17.08). It’s a summer camp story centering on female friendships and the growing pains of adolescence.

Andrew Clements book about twins, Lost and Found (7.1.08). He’s a master. Enough said.

Delight! A picture book illustrated by Mark Siegel and written by Lisa Wheeler, Boogie Knights (8.5.08). I love Mark’s style, for one thing. For another thing, having listened to him speak to groups of librarians a couple times, I have no problem admitting I have such a crush on him. He’s incredibly eloquent, artistic, wrote a book with his wife, handsome, and brings graphic novels to all us librarians starving for them – how could you not love him?

The Reminder by Rune Michaels (8.26.08) is possibly the oddest novel I’ve heard of. A girl’s mother dies. She hears her mother’s voice. Then she hears her dad talking to her mom behind a closed door. Yeah, so she finds out that her dad has constructed a robotic head in the likeness of her mom, and he’s been conversing with her! Wha?! So the dad starts dating again and the head disappears…naturally, the girl has a chance to save her mother this time. Totally out there, right? Which naturally means I’m intrigued and longing to read it.

The Fartiste by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (6.3.08). Need I say more? This will crack kids up.

Independent Dames by Laurie Halse Anderson, illustrated by Matt Faulkner (6.3.08) looked fantastic. Can’t wait to have it in the collection.

Doing a happy dance! Tony DiTerlizzi is coming out with a new middle grade fiction, Kenny and the Dragon! (8.5.08)

Got a galley of Dan Gutman’s new one, Nightmare at the Book Fair (7.29.08) How must it feel to be so universally popular among kids?

S&S is also publishing an intriguing series: 10 Days That Shook Your World (7.1.08). The concept is almost like time travel where you take a single historical figure (Thomas Edison, Anne Frank, and Benjamin Franklin) and you zoom in on the 10 most important days in their life. And on the front of the covers that S&S showed us, it states in big numbers how many days each person lived. Obviously, Anne Frank’s cover is incredibly poignant. This appears to be an exciting addition to the biography genre.

Unfortunately, I can’t report on the Simon Pulse presentation because I had to leave early to get to another meeting. Alas, perhaps next time!

The photos are thanks to Baker and Taylor. Keep in mind that all the covers, pub dates, titles, etc. are based on the information given to me at the time. All subject to change.


Erin said...


Jenn said...

oo! super excited about "chiggers." hope larson is aces and the story sounds fab.

Unknown said...

Oh, I know, Erin! You should have been there to hear the publisher talk about it - he got the whole room so jazzed. Unfortunately, there weren't any galleys available for this one so, alas, I haven't read it either.

Stasia D said...

I was lucky enough to get a copy of Chiggers a little while ago. It is *fabulous*!