100 Scope Notes
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10 to Note: Spring Preview 2015

Spring is coming (it’s coming, right?), which means a new crop of books will be hitting shelves. Every season I sit down and make an “oooh, that looks good” list. Some of these books I’ve read and loved, others I’m excited to get my hands on – all of them are noteworthy to me. Here we go then, with books that are showing promise publishing in March, April, or May.

Picture Books

My Pen by Christopher Myers

March 10, 2015 | Disney-Hyperion | Grades PreK-1

My Caldecott spidey sense buzzes when I look at this book about the creative spirit. It’s inventive and bold – a picture book that makes you sit up and take notice.

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner; illustrated by Mark Siegel

May 5, 2015 | Chronicle Books | Grades K-3

How’s this for meta? A book about how to read a book. But it’s also a perfect introduction (or re-introduction) to to process of reading – picking a book, choosing a place to read, and entering a story.

The Five of Us by Quentin Blake

March 31, 2015 | Tate (ABRAMS) | Grades K-2

Why do I watch Ocean’s Eleven whenever it is on TV? Because I love a good “team of specialists” story. Judging by the success of books like Swindle or The Dunderheads, it’s safe to say kids do too. Living legend Quentin Blake brings us a story of five friends who work together when disaster strikes.

Early Readers

Buck’s Tooth by Diane Kredensor

May 12, 2015 | Aladdin (Simon & Schuster) | Grades 1-4

Most beavers have two front teeth, but Buck has only one – and it’s huge. Buck’s one-toothedness ruins all his great ideas for the upcoming talent show – what’s a beaver to do?

Chapter Books

Super Fly: The World’s Smallest Superhero! by Todd H. Doodler

May 5, 2015 | Bloomsbury | Grades 1-2

Super Fly is the world’s smallest superhero. When looking at this book my thoughts (as they often do) go to Fly Guy. But this is a chapter book rather than an early reader, perhaps making it a great step into more complex reading for fans of the Fly Guy series.

Middle Grade Fiction

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

May 26, 2015 | Philomel Books (Penguin) | Grades 5 and up

Lisa Graff has been on a roll, coming off A Tangle of Knots (National Book Award finalist) and Absolutely Almost  (four starred reviews). This new book begins with a jolt: a fifth grader is dealing with the death of a classmate – a death he may have caused.

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones; illustrated by Katie Kath

May 12, 2015 | Knopf (Random House) | Grades 3-7

A hen with the power to move things with her mind is at the center of this unusual middle grade story. The format is unusual to match – told in letters, quizzes, to-do lists, etc. Looks like fun to me.


Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor (An Abolitionist Tale) by Nathan Hale

April 21, 2015 | Amulet (ABRAMS) | Grades 3-6

This is exciting: a Hazardous Tale about Harriet Tubman. Aside from breaking the record for longest title ever, this book looks like another promising entry into this already wonderful series.

Graphic Novels

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 1 by Eric Colossal

March 24, 2015 | Amulet Books (ABRAMS) | Grades 3-6

Rutabaga the Adventure Chef might be the most unique book in this preview. After you’ve slayed the dragon, why not throw him on the grill? Rutabaga, armed with his cooking skills and magic pot, is out to “save the day through cooking”. I’ll be looking for this with interest.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

March 10, 2015 | Dial Books | Grades 4-7

All credit to teacher Colby Sharp for alerting me to this one. Four starred reviews and counting, and being touted as a book for fans of Smile, chances are good you’ll be hearing more about this book. I know I can’t wait to read it.

See you back here in May for another installment of 10 to Note.

(Top Image: ‘Streaking green‘ http://www.flickr.com/photos/26270791@N08/2962173995 Found on flickrcc.net)

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Travis,
    You and anyone else from Michigan, especially, should watch out for Sweep Up the Sun by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder. Not only is it another fabulous poem/photo collaboration like Step Gently Out (which had folks seriously considering this one for the Caldecott), but all of the birds in it are ones that Michigan students see regularly in their own backyards. It is a Candlewick title. It is a gorgeous book that already has two (maybe more) starred reviews. As a teacher, I can see PLENTY of ways to use this one in the classroom.

  2. Thanks for noticing BUCK’S TOOTH, Travis, and marking it as noteworthy. I loved creating Buck and hope he speaks to a lot of kids when he hits the shelves!
    My best,

    • Travis Jonker says:

      Hi Diane – thanks for saying hi

      • My pleasure!! I just booked my first school visit to read BUCK and talk to the kiddos abt learning to love the things you hate about yourself. I must admit, I’m well versed in that!
        I cannot wait to read THE FIVE OF US. Quentin Blake is a genius. And Roller Girl! Thanks again for your support. DK