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10 to Note: Summer Preview 2011

With all the summer catalogs properly pored over, now is the time for the quarterly season preview I call 10 to Note.

The following is a highly subjective list of books set to arrive in June, July, and August that are intriguing to my eyes and ears.


Missing on Superstition Mountain by Elise Broach; illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo

Jun. 21, 2011 | Henry Holt | Grades 3-5

Elise Broach has written something quite different than her E.B. White Read Aloud Award winner, Masterpiece. An adventure about a family with three boys who think they may have moved next door to a Bermuda Triangle on land. Bonus points (at least in the eyes of readers who like spooky) for the kids’ discovery of human skulls. This is the first in a planned trilogy, and has already received Publishers Weekly props.

The Detention Club by David Yoo

Jun. 21, 2011 | Balzer + Bray | Grades 5-8

David Yoo has been praised for his ability to take the school story genre and make it fresh. Here’s hoping that’s the case with this story of using detention to build popularity.

The One and Only Stuey Lewis by Jane Schoenberg; illustrated by Cambria Evans

Jul. 5, 2011 | Farrar, Straus & Giroux | Grades 1-3

I’m a sucker for books where each chapter can stand alone as a short story, yet are tied together with a common thread. This technique isn’t very common in early chapter books, however, so I’m interested in this collection of humorous linked stories about a boy’s second grade experiences. Also, the title has me wanting to rock out to The Power of Love, which is always a good thing.

The Absolute Value of Mike by Katheryn Erskine

Jun. 6, 2011 | Philomel | Grades 5-8

Maybe you’ve heard of Erskine’s last book? A little number called Mockingbird that split audiences into love it or hate it camps and snagged the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature? She’s back with a new novel featuring a protagonist who moves to rural Pennsylvania to find it isn’t what he expected. Early signs point to “Read This”.


America is Under Attack by Don Brown

Aug. 16, 2011 | Flash Point | Grades 1-4

As we approach the 10 year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, there are a number of 9/11-related nonfiction titles on shelves. But if you’ve read any of the books in the excellent Actual Times series, you know that this will likely be one to add. Brown covers historical events in simple and straightforward terms that work for this audience.

Trapped by Marc Aronson

Aug. 30, 2011 | Atheneum | Grades 5 and Up

How’s that for quick turnaround? Not even one year removed from the mine collapse that resulted in the miraculous rescue of a group of 33 Chilean miners and Marc Aronson, author of some of the best nonfiction today, investigates the event. I’m expecting solid, and revealing, results.

Picture Books

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

Aug. 30, 2011 | Roaring Brook | Grades K-2

How do you follow up one of the most unexpectedly controversial (and, by the way, hugely successful) picture books of 2010? Lane Smith grabs the heartstrings and gives them a tug with this tale of making a connection across generations. The artwork looks to be stunning (click the cover image above to get a better look).

Substitute Creacher by Chris Gall

Jul. 20, 2011 | Little, Brown | Grades K-2

Is it just me, or does it feel like it’s only a matter of time before Chris Gall gets Caldecott love? With Dear Fish, There’s Nothing to Do on Mars, and Dinotrux, the author/illustrator has crafted some of the most beautiful picture books of the last decade. All signs point to his latest being of the same high caliber.

Spin by Ido Vaginsky

Aug. 9, 2011 | Price Stern Sloan | Grades K-2

This may be an early contender for most entertaining book of the year. Think Ann Jonas’s Round Trip (where the illustrations can be viewed right side up or upside down, each taking on a different meaning), except in full color and with tabs and wheels that allow kids to manipulate the images themselves. Here’s an example:

Kids will have some fun with this one.

Graphic Novels

Bake Sale by Sara Varon

Aug. 30, 2011 | First Second | Grades 2-5

The insanely creative author/illustrator/graphic novelist who brought Robot Dreams (one of the first books I reviewed on this blog) into the world is back with an offbeat graphic novel about a cupcake that sells cupcakes. Perfect timing too, with cupcake shops exploding these days (note to cupcake shop owners: we could use one in my town).

Look for Fall Preview 2011 coming in August.

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. WOW – grandpa green looks amazing!
    Thanks for the heads up on all of these.

  2. I adore David Yoo’s YA stuff! Can’t wait! I just finished Absolute Value of Mike and the buzz is warranted IMHO; this endearing bunch of oddballs will stick with me. I loved the chapter headings.

    Thanks for the preview!


  3. PS: did Dan Santat do the art for the cover?

  4. I’ve been looking forward to The One and Only Stuey Lewis. Thanks for putting several others on my radar.

  5. Thanks, Travis. Can’t wait to for summer reading to start.

  6. Thanks for the heads up, Travis! :D I’m particularly intrigued by the Aronson title. Will have to look at for at ALA!

  7. He does a great job, doesn’t he? I’ll be looking forward to Trapped as well.

  8. Love these picks! I only wish they were out now, so I could get my hands on them. I’m especially excited for Sara Varon’s new graphic novel – yay cupcakes! :) Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thanks – this was so useful! Just went on an ordering binge and have already begun the mental preparation for the unavoidable taping the SPIN tabs will need.

  10. Sam Bloom says

    Hey Travis, it don’t take money… don’t take fame… and we certainly don’t need a credit card to appreciate this preview. Nice work – we have a lot to look forward to! Oh, and if I wasn’t driving down to NOLa for Annual I’d bring you a cupcake from a place here in Cincy… but it would probably be pretty gross after the 12 hour drive!