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10 to Note: Fall Preview 2017

Fall Preview 2017

It’s about that time.

Time to look at the children’s book offerings of the upcoming season and point out 10 that have me especially excited.

Picture Books


Hilda 1

Hilda and the Runaway Baby by Daisy Hirst

September 12 | Candlewick Press | PreK-1

Babies: comedy gold. Daisy Hirst has been making a bunch of great picture books lately (including one with one of my favorite titles ever), but this one features a runaway baby, so it will clearly be her best work to date.


Fall 1

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat

October 3 | Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) | Grades K-3

I could go on and on about this fantastic book, but to spare you, I’ll just say this: Everything A Fuse #8 Production says is true.


Purloining 1

The Purloining of Prince Oleomargerine by Mark Twain and Phillip Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead

September 26 | Doubleday (Random House) | Grades 3-7

Steads could have taken Mark Twains notes and created a straightforward picture book. No, no, no – instead, they’re trying things, and isn’t that what this world needs? It’s 160 pages. It’s heavily illustrated. It’s timeless and timely and funny and sweet and weird just generally full of personality and beauty. It’s great. *Related Book Recommendation Pro Tip* I think fans of The Tale of Despereaux will be all in on this book.

Chapter Book


Beatrice 1

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes

September 19 | Disney-Hyperion | Grades 2-4

Can we have enough quirky oddballs in the literary universe? I say no. Beatrice Zinker is a quirky oddball all right, but she’s also a kid trying to come to grips with a friendship that is changing. This is a great one for fans of Dory Fantasmagory and Clementine.

Middle Grade


Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar

October 10 | Candlewick Press | Grades 3-7

Remember Hour of the Bees? I loved that book. Lindsay Eagar is back, and she’s bringing some adventure. And pirates. And treasure (of course).



Cookie 1

How the Cookie Crumbled: The True (And Not-So-True) Stories of the Invention of the Chocolate Chip Cookie by Gilbert Ford

October 24 | Atheneum (Simon & Schuster) | Grades 1-3

Last time out Ford delivered a wonderful picture book bio about the creator of the Slinky, now he’s tackling a topic even more ubiquitous – the chocolate chip cookie. Never, and I mean never, has a book presented a better opportunity for a librarian to bring in fresh-baked cookies for a story time (which will go down as “The Greatest Storytime Ever” by your students from that day forward). Do it, people.


Elephant 1

How to Be an Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild by Katherine Roy

September 19 | David Macaulay Studio (Macmillan) | Grades 2-5

We learned from Sibert-honor-winning Neighborhood Sharks that Katherine Roy is a nonfiction bookmaker to watch, and her latest is an in-depth yet accessible look at elephants. And Roy is dedicated to her art – she’s willing to take an acacia tree spike in the name of research:



Rhyming 1

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith

September 26 | Little, Brown | Grades 1-6

I love quiet, beautiful poetry. I also love loud funny poetry. This book is the latter and it’s really good. Playful as all get out and illustrated by Lane Smith, it’s a poetry book that’s going to make a lot of kids happy.

Graphic Novel


Keeper 1

The Dam Keeper by Robert Kondo, illustrated by Dice Tsutsumi

September 26 | First Second (Macmillan) | Grades 2-6

When I read this book, I couldn’t get over its cinematic feel. Come to find out that the book (which is the first in a planned trilogy) is adapted from an Oscar-nominated short film of the same name. A pig is charged with keeping his village free from the dangerous black fog, but what is on the other side of the dam?



Pelé: The King of Soccer by Eddy Simon, illustrated by Vincent Brascaglia

October 24 | First Second (Macmillan) | Grades 4-6

There have been a couple good picture book bios of the greatest footballer of all time, but not a graphic novel. The book covers Pelé’s entire career, from the first goal to the last – ups (there were a lot of ups) downs (which were also surprisingly numerous) and all. Soccer fans will take notice.

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. Hi Travis, Thanks for sharing such great stuff!