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10 to Note: Summer Preview 2017

Summer Preview 2017

Here we go, folks. One season, Ten books that I’m excited about. Books that make me go . . .


Let’s begin.

Picture Books


Monster 1

Monster’s New Undies by Samantha Berger, illustrated by Tad Carpenter

Orchard Books | June 27 | Grades PreK-2

Decades from now we will look back at the twenty teens and remember one thing and one thing only: it was a golden age for underwear in children’s literature. And this here is cream of the crop children’s literature about underwear. With bouncy rhyming text and humor that is truly funny, it is a read aloud can’t miss.


Siesta 1

The Perfect Siesta by Pato Mena

NubeOcho | June 13 | Grades PreK-2

A sloth must give a wake-up call. She just has to stay awake to give it. The rare book that will play well at bedtime or storytime.

Chapter Books


Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Macmillan) | July 11 | Grades 2-4

This is the first book in a new series. All the second-borns out there will relate to the title character’s problem of always being number two when it comes to growing up milestones. Jasmine is feeling left out of the family tradition of rolling mochi balls in advance of the New Year, so she decides to be first in another way.


Toby Goes Bananas by Franck Girard, illustrated by Serge Bloch

Graphix (Scholastic) | June 27 | Grades 2-4

This one could have gone in the graphic novel section, but it so closely rides the line between illustrated novel and G.N. that I decided to put it here. It’s about a class clown. It’s full of humor.

Middle Grade


Thornhill 1

Thornhill by Pam Smy

Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) | August 29 | Grades 3-6

After The Invention of Hugo Cabret, I expected to see more books that combine text an images in a similar way. But that didn’t exactly happen. Thornhill is one of the few that I’ve seen that do a similar “pages of text and then pages of illustrations” style. Bonus points for the fact that it’s creepy. I see kids taking to this book quite nicely.


The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

Viking (Penguin) | August 22 | Grades 4-7

Well, where do I begin on the things about this book that look promising? I’ll just list them:

  • It’s a debut novel from a long-time punk zine maker.
  • It’s a school story that looks like it will appeal to the Telgemeier set.
  • It’s being billed as “Roller Girl meets School of Rock” – those are two good things right there.
  • It has one of the best covers of 2017 so far.


Good Fight

The Good Fight: Feuds of the Founding Fathers (and How They Shaped the Nation) by Anne Quirk, illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

Knopf | August 8 | Grades 3-5

A book about how differences (and compromises) shaped the founding of the United States. This book focuses on four specific feuds that changed the course of our country.

Graphic Novels


Fox 1


The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner

First Second | June 20 | Grades 2-4

“Translated from the French” is a phrase that makes me smile. That’s because so often French imports have a playful, expressive quality that can be an easy sell for kids. That looks to be the case with this book, about a fox that wants to wreak havoc on some chickens, but ends up taking care of some of them instead.

Dinosaur Empire

Dinosaur Empire! (Earth Before Us #1) by Abby Howard

Abrams | August 1 | Grades 3-7

Given the popularity of graphic novels and the popularity of dinosaurs, you would think that there would be more dinosaur graphic novels, right? This book helps out with that problem. Full of facts, it might also prove to be a good book to hand fans of Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, too.

Alls Faire

All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson 

Dial (Penguin) | September 5 | Grades 4-7

Here’s the thing about this preview: I make my own rules, and I break ’em all. This book just misses the June-August pub date window I’m working with, but it’s best to get it on your radar now. The creator of the Newbery Honor winning Roller Girl is back with a book about a Renaissance Faire kid entering the world of public education for the first time.

See you back here in August to preview the fall.

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.