Hey Kid Lit Fans!
Welcome to the inaugural issue of The Kids Are All Right, Book Riot’s newsletter for all things kid’s books. I’m Karina Yan Glaser, Book Riot contributing editor and children’s book author and illustrator, and I am thrilled to be writing this weekly newsletter!
Today’s newsletter is sponsored by the Book Scavenger series by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman.
Calling all book lovers, puzzle solvers, and treasure hunters! Don’t miss The Unbreakable Code, the sequel to the bestselling novel Book Scavenger. Perfect for readers of all ages, Shelf Awareness says, “Fans of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library will appreciate the abundant literary allusions.” Join the hunt—start reading now!
Each week we’ll be exploring some aspect of children’s books, plus exciting new titles that are coming out as well as backlist recommendations.
This week, I’d like to talk about children’s literature podcasts! I love listening to podcasts in the morning when I’m getting ready for the day (yay for my bluetooth waterproof shower speaker!) or when I’m cleaning or making dinner.
First up, the Books Between Podcast. This is hosted by Corrina Allen, a fifth grade teacher. She is deeply passionate about children’s books, and she explores interesting topics, like How the Newbery Awards Work and Common Classroom Library Mistakes (And How to Fix Them). She also gives some great middle grade book recommendations at the end of the podcast (which I always put on hold at my local library immediately!).
The Yarn is an excellent School and Library Journal podcast hosted by Colby Sharp, an elementary school teacher, and Travis Jonker, an elementary school librarian. Their podcasts are very author focused, with each show featuring a different author of a newly released book. One of my favorite episodes features Grace Lin and her editor (and best friend) Alvina Ling at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. It was such a touching, behind the scenes story about the dedication of her National Book Award finalist book When the Sea Turned to Silver (and yes, I cried when I listened to it). Another great episode features Jason Reynolds, author of As Brave as You and National Book Award finalist Ghost.
Middle grade author Jack Cheng has an excellent podcast called See You on the Bookshelf. He is the author of See You in the Cosmos, one of my favorite middle grade books that have come out this year. His weekly podcast focuses on the publishing process, from how a book gets acquired by an editor to how it ends up on the shelves on bookstores. There are great interviews with his editors, publicists, audiobook producer, and many more people involved in the publishing journey.
Another podcast I enjoy is the All The Wonders Podcast, hosted by Matthew Winner. Matthew is an elementary library media specialist in Ekridge, Maryland, and this podcast focuses mainly on interviews with esteemed writers such as Nikki Grimes (author of Garvey’s Choice), Raina Telgemeier (author of Ghosts and Smile), Marla Frazee (author of The Boss Baby and The Farmer and the Clown), and Grace Lin (author of Ling and Ting and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon trilogy). There are hundreds of interviews on the podcast, so it’s very likely your favorite children’s book author is interviewed there!
My final pick is the Publisher’s Weekly PW KidsCast, another interview-based podcast hosted by John Sellers, the children’s reviews editor at Publisher’s Weekly. Amazing authors have been interviewed on this podcast, including Ann M. Martin (author of The Baby-Sitter’s Club series and Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure), Jewell Parker Rhodes (author of Towers Falling), and Linda Urban (author of Weekends with Max and His Dad).
Are there kid lit podcasts that you love? Send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know about it!
I just finished Laurel Snyder’s middle grade book Orphan Island, which is a story about nine kids each a year apart who live on an island on their own. Every year, a green boat comes to bring a new child and take away the oldest child. The story begins with the main character Jinny, watching the boat drop off Ess and pick up her best friend Deen. Jinny, now the Elder of the island, must teach Ess how to live and survive. The story is beautifully and hauntingly told, and I read it in one day. This title came out on May 30th.
Puffin Books never fails to delight me with their whimsical reprints, and this collection of classic middle grade titles are no exception. They partnered with Pantone to repackage The Secret Garden, Treasure Island, The Wizard of Oz, Anne of Green Gables, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Heidi, each with a distinctive Pantone color spectrum. These books will be released on June 6th.
Another new middle grade release I’m super excited about is One Shadow on the Wall (June 6, 2017, Atheneum Books for Young Readers) by Leah Henderson. Set in contemporary Senegal, it is about recently orphaned eleven-year-old Mor who finds himself struggling to honor a promise made to his father: to take care of his sisters and keep his family together. The Senegal sun burns from this book, and I was entranced from the first page.
Jabari Jumps is a delightful new picture book released on May 9th. The illustrations are gorgeous, and the story is so relatable especially as kids get ready for the pool and face that inevitable first jump off of the diving board. Jabari toes that line between wanting to jump and finding every excuse not too, including thinking about what special jump he wants to do and having to do his stretches. I adored this book!
I’m enjoying two backlist titles right now. I am a huge fan of Wicked the Musical, which I recently saw with my nine-year-old daughter, and The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainini reminds me of that with it’s creative way of retelling fairy tales and flipping the hero/villain trope. I’ve been seeing lots of kids reading and enjoying this series lately, and I thought I’d better catch up! The fourth installment in this series releases on September 19, 2017.
And – Katherine Paterson. That lady can write! I read Bridge to Terabithia when I was young, but I had never read Jacob Have I Loved (first published in 1980s). Katherine Paterson weaves a beautiful story, and I cannot wait to get my hands on her new book (!!!) coming out on October 10, 2017, called My Brigadista Year. Check out the cover reveal and synopsis on Publisher’s Weekly here.
Well, that’s it for this week! Next week I will share exciting stories from the floor of Book Expo. Until then, happy reading!
This is my rabbit, Izzy. She guards my TBR pile.