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10 to Note: Fall Preview 2014

Every four months I like to take a look at the books to be released in the upcoming season. Some make me say “I gotta see that”. Here are the ten books arriving in September, October, and November that perked my ears up. Maybe you’ll agree?


Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy

September 30, 2014 | David Macaulay Studio (Roaring Brook Press) | Grades 3-6

How’s that for an opener? One of the first books in the new David Macaulay Studio imprint of Roaring Brook Press, this is a nonfiction winner. It’s an interesting hybrid of narrative and nonfiction, but (oddly enough) I don’t think I’d quite call it narrative nonfiction. The narrative progresses and occasionally stops for more straightforward nonfiction segments. An appealing format and a topic that is always in demand.

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant; illustrated by Melissa Sweet

September 15, 2014 | Eerdmans Books for Young Readers | Grades 2 and Up

In general, we don’t think a whole lot about what goes into the making of things. Often, when enlightened, a whole new appreciation forms. That’s the case with The Right Word, a book about Roget, inventor of the thesaurus. This is the team that brought us Caldecott Honor A River of Words, and they are in fine form once again.

Picture Books:

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies

September 30, 2014 | Henry Holt (Macmillan) | Grades K-2

While the story of rescuing an animal only to set it free is quite common, The Storm Whale presents it better than most. A simple story filled with beauty and emotion. In person, it’s impressive – for my money one of the best-looking books of the year. It’s a quiet book that will likely stick with readers.

Draw! by Raúl Colón

September 16, 2014 | Paula Wiseman Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades PreK-3

Raúl Colón has been doing great work for years, and this wordless story (based on his childhood) has been receiving a lot of positive attention – four starred reviews and counting.

Arto’s Big Move by Monica Arnaldo

October 14, 2014 | OwlKids Books | Grades PreK-3

Ah, moving. It’s a life-changing event that many can relate to. While books often deal with leaving home for good, Arto’s Big Move approaches the subject from a different angle – what if the move is only temporary? An interesting and wonderfully illustrated take on the moving experience.

Early Readers:

The Boulder Brothers: Meet Mo and Jo by Sarah Lynn; illustrated by Pierre Collet-Derby

November 11, 2014 | Blue Apple Books | Grades K-3

I’m always on the lookout for early readers, and this book the from the Jump Into Chapters series by Blue Apple Books is one that stood out to me. Mo and Jo speak “cavemen-ese”, an excellent device for emerging readers who need things to be basic. And with stories about odd smells and games of hide and peek, it sounds funny too.

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale; illustrated by LeUyen Pham

October 14, 2014 | Candlewick Press | Grades K-3

Still sad about the end of the Mercy Watson series? The Princess in Black is here to save the day. Short chapters. Loads of full-color illustrations. Oh, and a story about a princess who secretly fights crime. I’ve read it, loved it, and can’t wait for it to be out in the world.

Chapter Books:

Yeti Files #1: Meet the Bigfoot by Kevin Sherry

September 30, 2014 | Scholastic Press | Grades 2-5

You know the picture book I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean? Same guy. Yeti Files is a new chapter book series about a Yeti that studies other cryptids – creatures that are rumored to exist, but haven’t been officially discovered. It promises plenty of illustrated wackiness – I know some readers who will be pleased.

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman

October 28, 2014 | Henry Holt (Macmillan) | Grades 1-3

I see this as a bit of a Zen Shorts for the early chapter book set, with thought-provoking lessons embedded in 12 brief stories. Simple black and white illustrations add to the sometimes action-packed, other times reflective mood.

Graphic Novels:

A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories by John Martz

September 9, 2014 | Koyama Press | Grades PreK-K

A collection of comic stories aimed at the youngest of readers, the publisher is calling A Cat Named Tim “when Richard Scarry and Rube Goldberg collide”. To my eyes it has two things going for it – humor and cuteness. That’s an impressive one-two punch for kids.

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. The Right Word is fantastic. Sweet and Bryant are clearly eating something magical for breakfast.

    The Princess in Black looks intriguing…

  2. The Right Word looks fabulous. It looks like a book that I MUST have…I am already planning lessons in my mind using it when I introduce the thesaurus to my students. Thanks for the previews!

  3. Can’t wait to see Melissa Sweet’s amazing illustrations in The Right Word and as I’m still riding the joyful wave of delicious wordless books, I’m also excited for Draw… what a great list… visiting 100 scope notes is always very worthwhile… and expensive!
    Thank you

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