Two weeks ago, we attended Book Expo America, the largest book industry trade show in the U.S. Here’s some of the interesting things that we saw and books we came home with. I’ll start with the books, in no particular order. All descriptions are provided by the publishers, and in no way reflect my opinion of these books. I haven’t read any of these yet.
- The Penguins of Doom (From the Desk of Septina Nash) – by Greg Fishbone
Description: Dear Reader, In order to make this book I had to escape from a mad scientist, adopt a trio of wild penguins, become an Olympic freestyle skateboarder, collect a whole bunch of empty yogurt containers, and find my missing triplet sister. In order to enjoy it, all you have to do is read every page. Thanks for doing your part! Sincerely, Septina Nash, Main Character
Blooming Tree Press / 182 pages / Ages 9 – 12 / On sale date: July 7, 2007 (7/7/07!)
- Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey
Description: Charlie Benjamin isn’t like other kids. His nightmares are so powerful, they open portals straight to the heart of the Netherworld, letting horrifying monsters come through. After a Class 3 Netherstalker invades a sleepover and tries to eat everyone, the Nightmare Academy offers to help. But when Charlie’s entrance exam allows a deadly Named into our world, he and his new friends must fight to protect us all from the monsters that rush in when the lights go out.
Harper Collins / 320 pages / Ages 10 and up / On sale date: August 21, 2007
- Two Moon Princess by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban
Description: To Andrea, the life of a princess is not a dream; it’s tedious and stifling. But the certainties of her life, both good and bad, are thrown into chaos when she accidentally travels to an alternative world, from a cave on a forbidden beach in her family’s kingdom to the warm and carefree life of Southern California. Then, a careless visit to the cave results in terrible consequences: a brewing war between kingdoms, her sister’s love for the wrong man, Andrea’s own conflicted feelings for an enemy leader, and dark family secrets exposed. Andrea must act to resolve problems which she helped to create, and she faces many difficult choices, torn between duty and desire on so many levels.
Tanglewood / 324 pages / Ages 9 and up / Pub date: October, 2007
- Unlocking Harry Potter: Five Keys for the Serious Reader by John Granger
Description: Unlocking Harry Potter offers the serious reader five keys to open the text of the best selling books and reveal why they are so popular. Ranging from the familiar Hero’s Journey to the esoteric symbols of Literary Alchemy in Harry Potter, Unlocking is a delightful explanation and exploration of the qualities in Ms. Rowling’s work that resonate with the spirit of our times and those that transcend it. The five keys Granger discusses are narrative misdirection , how the point-of-view shapes our understanding (and mis-understanding) of what happens, literary alchemy, the historical language of personal transformation, postmodern themes, how Ms. Rowling is writing the epic of our politically correct times, hero’s journey, the repeated elements that give each book its structure and narrative drive, and traditional symbolism, the iconographic use of images and events to transcend the world in story. No serious fan of Harry Potter, no serious reader of great fiction, will want to miss the Hogwarts Professor’s unlocking of Ms. Rowling’s wonderful stories.
Zossima Press / 312 pages / On sale now
- What-the-Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire
Description: When ten-year-old Dinah and her two siblings are trapped by a terrible storm, cousin Gage keeps their spirits up with an unlikely story—that skibbereen, aka tooth fairies, live in warring colonies right in your neighborhood. Dinah is skeptical at first, but when the real world seems unbearable, stories told by candlelight have a way of becoming real. Dinah starts to—wants to—believe. Don’t we all?
Candlewick / 304 pages / Ages 10–13 / Pub date: October, 2007
- The Strand Prophecy by J. B. B. Winner (J.B.B. Winner is a pseudonym for a father and twin daughters who wrote the book together)
Description: The Strand Prophecy is a science fiction epic set in the present day. The action begins on the steps of the White House, with stops in the jungles of Brazil and the deepest regions of Africa. Strand, a troubled and reluctant superhero discovers the beginning of a rapid evolutionary cycle. One in which new life and new predators will quickly emerge to threaten all of human existence. He races against time and the U.S. military to protect the innocent, safeguard his niece and along the way, perhaps find redemption for his brothers death. Strand’s action-packed adventure delivers non-stop intensity, mystery and surprise from its first page to it’s last. (Read David’s review of this book)
Missile Rider Publishing / 336 pages / Available now
- Igraine The Brave by Cornelia Funke
Description: Princess Igraine dreams of becoming a famous knight just like her great grandfather, but the truth is, life at the family castle is rather boring. Until the nephew of the baroness-next-door shows up. He’s got a dastardly plan to capture the castle and claim as his own the wonderful singing spell books that belong to Igraine’s magician parents. To make matters worse, at the very moment of the siege, her mom and dad botch a spell, turning themselves into pigs! Aided by a Gentle Giant and a Sorrowful Knight, it’s up to Igraine to be brave and save the day–and the books!.
Scholastic / 224 pages / Ages 8-12 / Pub date: October, 2007
- In the Serpent’s Coils by Tiffany Trent
Description: Ever since her parents died, Corrine’s dreams have been filled with faeries warning her of impending peril. When she’s sent out to live at Falston Manor, she thinks she’s escaped the danger stalking her. Instead the dreams go stronger, just as girls begin disappearing from school. Then Corrine discovers letters of forbidden love from a medieval monk who writes of his entanglement with a race of vampiric Fey—the same Fey who haunt Corrine’s dreams. Who are these creatures and what do they want? Corrine knows only one thing for sure: another girl will disappear soon, and that girl might just be her.
Mirrorstone / 304 pages / Ages 12 and up / Pub date: September, 2007
- Erec Rex: The Monsters of Otherness (Erec Rex, book 2) by Kaza Kingsley
Description: Erec Rex has returned to save Alypium from the grasp of the evil Shadow Prince. But it is not without a price. If he succeeds, he could turn into a far worse villain than his own enemies. Erec learns more about his past, trust, honesty, and friendship as he hurtles toward his inevitable fate.
Firelight Press / 368 pages / Ages 9-12 / Pub date: October, 2007
- Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star (Fablehaven, book 2) by Brandon Mull
Description: At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother, Seth, find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble? Can they overcome paralyzing fear? Find out in book 2 of this bestselling series
Shadow Mountain / 456 pages / Ages 9-12 / Available now
- Beowulf by Gareth Hinds
Description: The epic tale of the great warrior Beowulf has thrilled readers through the ages — and now it is reinvented for a new generation with Gareth Hinds’s masterful illustrations. Grendel’s black blood runs thick as Beowulf defeats the monster and his hideous mother, while somber hues overcast the hero’s final, fatal battle against a raging dragon. Speeches filled with courage and sadness, lightning-paced contests of muscle and will, and funeral boats burning on the fjords are all rendered in glorious and gruesome detail. Told for more than a thousand years, Beowulf’s heroic saga finds a true home in this graphic-novel edition.
Candlewick / 128 pages / Ages 9-12 / Available now
- Muggles and Magic: An Unofficial Guide to J.k. Rowling and the Harry Potter Phenomenon by George W. Beahm
Description: “Muggles and Magic” is the first general interest book, resource guide, and reference work for Rowling’s millions of fans. Organized in six sections with appendices, this 400-page book is a treasure trove of information and trivia about Harry Potter, Rowling’s most famous literary creation, and the phenomenon that surrounds him.
Hampton Roads Publishing Company / 377 pages / Available now
- The Feathered Cloak: The Trilogy of the Tree: Part I by Sean Dixon
Description: When eleven-year-old Freya meets Morton—a peregrine falcon who has been stripped of his feathers—in the woods near her home, she has no idea what to make of him. What has happened to this poor creature, and what force has destined that he cross her path? Before long, Freya and Morton have embarked on an adventure that will take her far, far away from her goatherd father’s small house. As the often bad-tempered girl and the once-majestic bird begin to form an unlikely bond, they find themselves at the centre of a battlefield—one that pits old against new, god against mortal, peace against war, pagan against Christian, and brother against brother. Is this the end for the race of Norse gods and goddesses, and the Vikings who fight in their shadows? Or simply the beginning of a bigger story…
In The Feathered Cloak, newcomer Sean Dixon whisks us back to a time part real and part imagined, weaving myth and history into an epic tale for young readers.
Key Porter Books / 200 pages / Young Adult / Pub date: August, 2007
- Atherton #1: The House of Power by Patrick Carman
Description: Edgar, a gifted climber, is a lonely boy scaling the perilous cliffs that separate the three realms of Atherton: a humble fig grove; a mysterious highland world of untold beauty and sinister secrets; and a vast wasteland where he must confront an unspeakable danger that could destroy the people of Atherton. When Edgar discovers a book which contains the history of Atherton’s origins and ultimate apocalypse, his world–quite literally–begins to turn inside out.
Little, Brown Young Readers / 352 pages / Ages 8-12 / Available now
And here’s a couple of non-book items that caught my interest:
- Butterflies are one of my family’s interests, so we couldn’t resist The Book Bug, a cute little critter that holds your book open while you read. Perfect if you read while eating, like I do!
- Miyu Magic Stones are a fascinating concept that has the potential to be the next big thing. They’re real, polished semi-precious stones, designed for kids to collect. But more than that, each stone is associated with a “magic power,” and also comes with a code that can be entered on the interactive web site. There’s a variety of accessories, including a necklace that you can swap stones in and out of, and a collector’s box. There’s also a book tie-in, The Emerald Boy. They aren’t available in the U.S. yet, but according to the company they are very popular in the Netherlands, where they originated. They should be coming to the U.S. soon. Why do I think this could be the next big thing? Because while the cynical parent in me sees this as a clever marketing scheme, my inner child really, really wants one…or two.