A Look at Some New Children’s Books

I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be in a profession where my colleagues and I share book recommendations with one another almost daily. And, even better, I regularly also hear about titles that aren’t even out yet.

A couple of weeks ago, my good fortune was rewarded once again when I attended Cuyahoga County Public Library’s “Youth Book Buzz”. This virtual event offered several publishers, including Norton Books, Penguin Random House, Workman and Baker and Taylor, an opportunity to share some of their new Summer and Fall children and teen book releases. Librarians all over Ohio were invited to learn about hundreds of forthcoming books to be prepared to recommend that “perfect” new title to patrons and parents.

Here are just a few books that caught my fancy from that day:

The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill is a fantasy for readers aged 10 and up and is about the power of generosity and love, and how a community suffers when it loses sight of those things. Already published in March, it’s technically not a forthcoming title, but I still can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho will be published in November. In this romantic comedy, Lari Ramires falls hard for Pedro Molina, but knows, as the grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries, their love can never be. With a beautiful setting, a star-crossed romance and amazing-sounding food, this new teen novel will be one to devour.

A Library is a lyrical picture book by poet Nikki Giovanni with illustrations by fine artist Erin Robinson. Together they have crafted a love letter to the magic places that libraries are. A Library will be published in September this year, and while it might seem obvious, I will be sure to check it out.

The Flamingo by Guojing is my kind of illustrated book. This wordless, graphic novel/chapter book follows an imaginative girl who becomes obsessed with flamingoes while on a beach vacation with her grandmother. I can already tell that this title, out in September, will make a great holiday gift.

Elephants Remember by Jennifer O’Connell is a nonfiction picture book that tells the story of Lawrence Anthony and his animal reserve in South Africa. There, he developed a deep bond he with the matriarch of an elephant herd that he helped to save. Look for it in October.

Beatrice Likes the Dark by April Genevieve Tucholk and illustrated by Khoa Le is picture book that will be published in September. It is heartwarming, slightly spooky tale about two very different sisters, Beatrice and Roo, who learn to celebrate their individuality, understanding that love runs deeper than their differences. I’m looking forward to reading this one to my favorite four-year-old.

While these titles are (almost) all too new to be in our catalog. Make sure you look for them starting this Summer. In the meantime, visit us at Rocky River Public Library and we’ll suggest some other great books for you to read.

-Carol

Cozy up with a new book

The family had been hiding in the backwoods of the Kentucky mountains all of Honey Lovett’s life. Now it is 1953 when 16-year-old Honey’s parents are in jail for intermarrying between blue and non-blue folk. (The blue condition is called methemoglobinemia. It is a blood disorder in which an abnormal amount of methemoglobin is produced. This causes the skin to show blue tones.) Honey needs to marry or find a guardian. If not, Honey will be taken to the Kentucky House of Reform until she turns twenty-one.

Sadly, Honey’s guardian passes away and she is alone again. A very independent Honey takes on her mother’s old packhorse librarian route delivering books to isolated people in the county. She even rides her mother’s ornery but protective mule, Junia. Most people are happy to have the book delivery service again, but a couple of individuals make her life miserable. To avoid trouble with the state and social service officials, lawyer Bob Morgan offers to represent her in a bid for legal emancipation. Despite lies told in court, friends come to Honey’s aid to testify to her character and to her ability to be independent.

This is a terrific book for readers of historical fiction. You will want to start with the first title in the series – The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek published in 2019.

~Emma

Cozy up with a new book

After her mother dies, Hanna Rombauer is sent to live with wealthy Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Otto in Berlin. Their goal is to find her a high-ranking SS officer to marry, and Hanna soon learns that she has no choice in the matter. Klara Schmidt, Hanna’s friend, is also expected to marry an SS officer.

Gifted seamstresses Mathilde Altman (Tilde) and her Jewish mother run a fabric shop. Tilde who looks Aryan waits on customers while her mother hides upstairs. Tilde’s Aryan father left his family when it became dangerous for Jews in Germany. Eventually Tilde’s mother immigrates to the United States.

Hanna and Tilde are barely aware of each other, but their lives soon become entangled. Hanna is sent to a “Nazi Bride School” to learn to become the proper Nazi wife. Tilde is pregnant, her Jewish husband has disappeared, and she needs a safe place to give birth. Klara, one of Tilde’s customers, is also attending the school and is aware of Tilde’s predicament. Klara discovers an abandoned cabin near the school where Tilde can be relatively safe. Both Hanna and Klara take extraordinary risks when Tilde and her newborn are discovered.

For fans of historical fiction, this is a tale of love, loss, and survival.

~Emma

Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin

I love Jason Reynolds. His books are always powerful, beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful, and his newest offering, produced with his best friend, does not disappoint. In fact, it is so stunning that after enjoying a library copy I immediately purchased a copy for my personal collection.

Find a copy here

Reynolds penned three long sentences. Griffin filled 300 pocket-sized moleskin pages of art. Together they capture the feelings of fear and uncertainty most of us felt during 2020. Around the world and in our own communities people were isolate, separated. By Covid. By politics. But also, people took to the streets to protest. All the while, we sat glued to the news. Mostly bad news. It was a long, dark year. But not entirely without hope.

This book is almost 400 pages long and weighs almost 2 pounds, but you can read it in 15 minutes. Or linger over each drawing. Or revisit favorite pages. It’s a treasure.

Dedication page

These are a few pages that stuck out to me and I think they are excellent examples of the wide range of feelings expressed throughout the book. The next time someone says they don’t like poetry, hand them this and see if you win them over!

~Megan

May is Mystery Month

May is National Mystery Month and there are a bunch of YA mysteries coming out this month that sound fantastic!

The Agathas by Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson

Who killed Brooke Donovan? It’s the biggest mystery of the summer, and everyone in Castle Cove thinks it’s the wrong guy. Fans of One of Us Is Lying and Riverdale can’t miss this page-turning who-done-it that’s sure to be the next must read Young Adult thriller!

Last summer, Alice Ogilvie’s basketball-star boyfriend Steve dumped her. Then she disappeared for five days. She’s not talking, so where she went and what happened to her is the biggest mystery in Castle Cove. Or it was, at least. But now, another one of Steve’s girlfriends has vanished: Brooke Donovan, Alice’s ex-best friend. And it doesn’t look like Brooke will be coming back. . .
Enter Iris Adams, Alice’s tutor. Iris has her own reasons for wanting to disappear, though unlike Alice, she doesn’t have the money or the means. That could be changed by the hefty reward Brooke’s grandmother is offering to anyone who can share information about her granddaughter’s whereabouts. The police are convinced Steve is the culprit, but Alice isn’t so sure, and with Iris on her side, she just might be able to prove her theory.
In order to get the reward and prove Steve’s innocence, they need to figure out who killed Brooke Donovan. And luckily Alice has exactly what they need–the complete works of Agatha Christie. If there’s anyone that can teach the girls how to solve a mystery it’s the master herself. But the town of Castle Cove holds many secrets, and Alice and Iris have no idea how much danger they’re about to walk into. 

Two Truths and A Lie by April Henry

A group of teens are trapped in an old motel with a murderer in this chilling YA mystery by New York Times  bestselling author April Henry.

Nell has always wanted to be an actor, but doubts her ability. As a member of her school’s theater program, she prefers working backstage. On the way to a contest, an unexpected blizzard strands her acting troupe in a creepy motel. Soon they meet a group of strangers from another high school–including the mysterious and handsome Knox, who insists they play the game Two Truths and a Lie. When it’s Nell’s turn, she draws a slip of paper inked in unfamiliar handwriting:
I like to watch people die.
I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve killed.

Suddenly a night of harmless fun turns into a matter of life and death. As guests go missing, it becomes clear that a murderer is hiding in their midst ready to strike again. In a room full of liars and performers, the truth is never quite what it seems. Nell is going to have to act like her life depends on it–because it does.

The Counselors by Jessica Goodman

From New York Times bestselling author Jessica Goodman comes a twisty new thriller about three best friends, one elite summer camp, and the dark secrets that lead to a body in the lake.

Camp Alpine Lake is the only place where Goldie Easton feels safe.
She’s always had a special connection to the place, even before she was old enough to attend. The camp is the lifeline of Roxwood, the small town she lives in. Alpine Lake provides jobs, money and prestige to the region. Few Roxwood locals, though, get to reap the rewards of living so close to the glam summer that camp, with its five-figure tuition and rich kids who have been dumped there for eight weeks by their powerful parents. Goldie’s one of them.
Even with her “townie” background, Goldie has never felt more at home at camp and now she’s back as a counselor, desperate for summer to start and her best friends, Ava and Imogen, to arrive. Because Goldie has a terrible dark secret she’s been keeping and she is more in need of the comfort than ever.
But Goldie’s not the only person at camp who has been lying. When a teen turns up dead in the lake late one night, she knows that the death couldn’t have been an accident. She also knows that Ava was at the lake that same night.
What did Ava see and what does she know? Why hasn’t she said anything to Goldie about the death? Worse–what did Ava do?
But asking questions offers no answers, only broken bonds of lifelong friendship, with hidden danger and betrayals deeper than Goldie ever imagined.

YA mystery lovers are in for a fantastic summer of reading!

Cozy up with a new book

When 13-year-old Stefan Silbermann’s mother died, his father sent him away to a boarding school in Leipzig. (Gottfried Silbermann made and serviced church organs.) At the school Johann Sebastian Bach is the cantor. Stefan’s beautiful voice attracts the attention of Bach which causes bullying from the other boys. They are extremely jealous. Bach is aware of the bullying and invites Stefan to live at his home with his wife and children. Everyone lives and breathes music at the Bach home. All are required to practice and perform for the family. Anna Magdalena, Bach’s second wife, is a talented vocalist, but women are not allowed to sing publicly in church. She spends time with Stefan helping him to learn new music Bach composes on a regular basis. Catharina, Bach’s oldest child, becomes a favorite of Stefan.

The novel is told from Stefan’s point of view decades later. It’s a novel of love, loss, and grief.

~Emma

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here we have some new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

AN HONEST LIE by Tarryn Fisher – A girls’ weekend in Las Vegas takes a violent, desperate turn when one of the group is kidnapped by a killer, leaving the rest to piece together the diabolical clues he leaves behind for them.

I’LL BE YOU by Janelle Brown – An identical twin and former child TV star reassesses the complicated bond with her estranged sister after their panicked father says she stopped answering her phone and has checked into a mysterious spa in Ojai that might be a cult.

THE BAXTERS: A Prequel by Karen Kingsbury – On Kari Baxter’s wedding day, a building storm brings conflict and doubt to the family until a moment of danger reveals important truths, which could bring them back together or tear them apart.

CITY ON FIRE by Don Winslow – A mid-1980s longshoreman who does occasional stints for the Irish crime syndicate becomes embroiled in a conflict between rival factions in the first book of a new series from the New York Times best-selling author of The Force.

THE GOOD LEFT UNDONE by Adriana Trigiani – This richly woven tapestry of three generations of women faced with impossible choices follows Matelda, the family’s matriarch, as she, facing the end of her life, must decide what is worth fighting for and when to let go.

THE PALACE PAPERS: Inside the House of Windsor – The Truth and the Turmoil by Tina Brown – The #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Diana Chronicles takes readers inside the British royal family since the death of Princess Diana, showing the Queen’s stoic resolve as family drama raged around her.

COUNTRY BORN  by Linda Lael Miller – Discovering that he’s falling for his best friend’s sister, J.P. McCall decides to do whatever it takes to protect her after someone from her past returns to Painted Pony Creek in the third novel of the series following Country Proud.

UNMASKED: My Life Solving America’s Cold Cases by Paul Holes – An icon in the true crime world, the cold case investigator who finally caught the Golden State Killer provides an insider account of some the most notorious cases in contemporary American history and opens up to the most intimate scenes of his life.

THE WRONG VICTIM by Allison Brennan – When a charter boat holding nine people explodes near the San Juan Islands, FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt Costa and his Mobile Response Team must discover which one of the dead was the target—and who committed the largest act of murder in San Juan Islands history.

LITTLE SOULS by Sandra Dallas – In 1918 Colorado, as the Spanish Influenza runs rampant, sisters Helen and Lutie, after their tenant dies, must care for her daughter, which leads to murder, placing them both in danger from the ensuing investigation and the flu.

~Semanur