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10 to Note: Winter Preview 2017


Here’s how I come up with these 10 to Note lists:

  1. I go through every publisher catalog I can find.
  2. I mark any book that catches my eye (this could be for one of a bunch of different reasons)
  3. This usually results in a list of around 50-130 books.
  4. Now the listmaking happens. I start plugging things into my five categories (picture books, chapter books, middle grade, nonfiction, graphic novels)
  5. I try to balance books you’ve heard about with ones you might not’ve.
  6. I try to balance critical acclaim and fun (and no, the two aren’t mutually exclusive of course).
  7. I work until late in the night and agonize over which books to include right up until I run out of gas and hit “publish” while putting the lid back on the Chex Mix container.
  8. I emerge from my blogging cave to hit the hay.

Is this list made up of books I’ve read you ask? NO! How dare you ask that¹? It’s made up of books that I’m looking forward to getting a good look at A.S.A.P. Let’s get started.

¹Kidding, kidding.

Picture Books



This House, Once by Deborah Freedman

February 28, 2017 | Atheneum Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades K-3

Deborah Freedman makes some of the most destinctive and mezmerizing picture books around. This story, a poetic meditation on the meaning of home, looks to be another stunning affair.



XO, Ox: A Love Story by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Campbell

January 3, 2017 | Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) | Grades K-3

A Rex and Campbell collaboration? Sign me up. An epistolatory² tale of unrequited love/celebrity gazelle worship, this book is already getting love, including a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

²Fancy for “the story is told through correspondence³ between the main characters”.

³Not very fancy way of saying “communicating by letters sent back and forth”.



Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell

January 3, 2017 | Feiwel & Friends | Grades K-2

Here’s something I find cool about social media. I haven’t yet read Wolf in the Snow, but it already feels familiar. Why? Matthew Cordell has been sharing images from this mostly wordless book-in-progress for a couple years now. It’s a story of bravery and kindness as a girl decides to return a lost wolf pup to its pack. I’m looking forward to it, and Wolf in the Snow‘s four (and counting) starred reviews support the notion that this will be a book to keep an eye out for once the new year hits.



Little Fox in the Forest by Stephanie Graegin

February 28, 2017 | Schwartz & Wade (Random House) | Grades K-3

A wordless story about two friends who discover a hidden world deep in the forest. Check out that spread – are you digging how it’s a picture book that isn’t afraid to break out the graphic novel-like panels? Me too.

Chapter Books

Spy Next Door



Mutant Rat Attack (The Spy Next Door #1) by Jay Cooper

February 28, 2017 | Scholastic Press | Grades 2-5

Illustrated novels are the most popular novels in my K-4 school library. I’m always keeping an eye out for new stuff. This is the first book in a new series with hopes to appeal to Captain Underpants fans. A boy with a boring life has his world turned upside down by a radioactive rat. Sounds appropriately Underpants-y.

Middle Grade


The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters (#1): The Jolly Regina by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Jen Hill

January 10, 2017 | Amulet Books (Abrams) | Grades 3-6

It has to be said. The original title of this book was The Booty Myth. Any book that even tries to attempt that title gets a red check on my “I Like What You’re Trying Here” checklist. The title didn’t make the final cut, but this first book in a series about sisters who try their best to avoid excitement (but don’t succeed), still is high in the ol’ to-read pile.


Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh

January 3, 2017 | Crown Books (Random House) | Grades 3-7

You see that lineup on the cover? Yep. This is a book I can’t wait to read.




The Secret Project by Jonah Winter and Jeanette Winter

February 7, 2017 | Beach Lane Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades K-3

A picture book about the Manhattan Project. This book is on this list just for the fact that I’m very curious about how the mother-son team of Winter and Winter handle this topic in a book for the lower elementary crowd.



Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing by Kay A. Haring, illustrated by Robert Neubecker

February 14, 2017 | Dial Books (Penguin) | Grades K-3

2016 brought an excellent bio of an artist: Jean-Michel Basquiat in Radiant Child, so why shouldn’t 2017 do the same? Come on, 2017 – you need to live up to the standards set by previous years. It’s written by Kieth Haring’s younger sister, which should provide more insight into the man than your standard bio.

Graphic Novels



Time Museum by Matthew Loux

February 21, 2017 | First Second Books (Macmillan) | Grades 4-8

A girl is sent on time-travelling missions with a team of kids assembled from different periods of human history. Sounds fun. Sounds action-packed. Sounds like a graphic novel that young readers might be into.

10 to Note will return in February with books for spring 2017.

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.