100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

10 to Note: Summer Preview 2019

It was 75 degrees here in Michigan yesterday and I am feeling summerish. So summerish, in fact, that I decided to sift through the 8oo some odd children’s books publishing in June, July, and August and pick 10 that I am especially excited about.

Picture Books

A Normal Pig by K-Fai Steele

June 4 | Balzer + Bray | Grades K-3

After the incredible Noodlephant, I’m excited to read K-Fai Steele’s debut author/illustrator book.

My Teacher is a Robot! by Jeffrey Brown

June 25 | Crown | Grades K-2

I thought Jeffrey Brown did a pretty great job with the first few books in the Jedi Academy series, and this book has the makings of a fun read aloud.

Chapter Book

Fabio The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: The Case of the Missing Hippo by Laura James, illustrated by Emily Fox

August 6 | Bloomsbury | Grades 1-3

Give me a heavily illustrated chapter book any day of the week. Especially if it’s a mystery that reminds me of the Digby O’Day series.

Middle Grade

A Small Zombie Problem by K.G. Campbell

June 4 | Knopf | Grades 3-7

Picture book maker and Flora & Ulysses illustrator K.G. Campbell is trying something new – middle grade fiction. I have high hopes for this new series about a boy who brings home a zombie.

King of the Mole People by Paul Gilligan

August 27 | Henry Holt | Grades 2-5

How to balance school, friends, and being king of the Mole People? This is the problem facing Doug Underbelly in this illustrated novel.

Each Tiny Spark by Pablo Cartaya

August 6 | Kokila | Grades 5 and Up

I’m looking forward to this story about a girl trying to reconnect with her father after he returns from deployment.

Graphic Novel

Best Friends by Shannon Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham

August 27 | First Second | Grades 3-7

The first time Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham teamed up for a graphic novel memoir, the result was something special. The story continues here and I can’t wait.

The Dam Keeper: Return from the Shadows (Dam Keeper, Book #3) by Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi

July 2 | First Second | Grades 3-6

I loved the first two books in this epic graphic novel series based on an Oscar-nominated animated short film.


Look! I Wrote a Book! (And You Can Too!) by Sally Lloyd-Jones, Neal Layton

July 23 | Schwartz & Wade | Grades K-3

There are plenty of “how to write” books. But how many of them are fun to read? Not a lot. This one looks like one of the good ones.

Birthday on Mars! by Sara Schonfeld, illustrated by Andrew J. Ross

June 4 | Penguin Workshop | Grades K-2

Get to know Mars through the eyes (cameras?) of the Curiosity rover. A nonfiction picture book about the robot’s one-year birthday back in 2013.

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. Thanks as usual, for helping me build my order. I had no idea there was a Shannon Hale sequel! I’m reading Each Tiny Spark right now and loving it.