100 Scope Notes
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10 to Note: Fall Preview 2021

What is it with this fall? Everywhere you look, a new highly anticipated book is being released (particularly in the Middle Grade category). Is is coincidence? Is it books being pushed back due to the pandemic? Whatever the reason, I feel like George Clooney standing on the deck of the Andrea Gail:

So after sifting through two thousand some-odd books coming out in September, October, and November, here are the ten that most caught my eye.

Picture Books

Everybody in the Red Brick Building by Anne Wynter, illustrated by Oge Mora

October 19 | Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) | Grades PreK-1

Anne Wynter makes an impressive debut with Everybody in the Red Brick Building. It’s an urban cumulative bedtime story with a timeless feel. And the great Oge Mora on the illustrations? Excellent through and through.

Amos McGee Misses the Bus by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead

November 23 | Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) | Grades PreK-1

A companion book one decade in the making, Amos ambles into the 2020s as if he never left, bringing his distinctive brand of unwavering kindness with him.

Chapter Book

Audrey L. & Audrey W. (Book 1) Best Friends-ish by Carter Higgins, illustrated by Jennifer K. Mann

October 5 | Chronicle | Grades 1-4

What does the world need? The world needs more funny and authentic chapter books. What do Audrey L. & Audrey W. bring? Exactly that.

Middle Grade Fiction

Stuntboy, In the Meantime by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Raúl the Third

November 30 |  Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades 2-6

When I heard that Jason Reynolds and Raul the Third were making an illustrated middle grade novel together, I learned the true meaning of universal peace and order. It’s just a perfect combination, is it not? This book is at the top of my Books I Want to Add to My To Be Read (BIWTATMTBR) pile, a close sibling to the TBR pile.

Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper

November 9 |  Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades 5 and Up

What with Amos McGee and Pax returning, it’s shaping up to be the season of the not-quite-expected sequel. Add this book to that list. Out of My Mind has been a bestselling staple since 2010, and this follow-up finds Melody in search of a summer camp.

Willodeen by Katherine Applegate

September 7 | Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan) | Grades 3-6

And the heavy hitters just keep on coming. Katherine Applegate returns with something on the fantastical side.

The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Eugene Yelchin

October 12 | Candlewick Press | Grades 5 and Up

With five starred reviews and counting, Eugene Yelchin’s illustrated memoir is shaping up to be one of the most celebrated books of the season. And with good reason – It’s funny, surprising, and heart-wrenching.

Graphic Novels

Cranky Chicken by Katherine Battersby

September 7 | Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster) | Grades 1-4

Do we sometimes for get that books are entertainment? I know I do. I give thanks for graphic novels like Cranky Chicken, that come along and remind me. Bursting with humor and life, I’m betting this book won’t stay on your library shelf for long.

Bad Sister by Charise Mericle Harper, illustrated by Rory Lucey

September 14 | First Second (Macmillan) | Grades 3-6

A fresh take on an age old conflict: sibling rivalry. Cherise Mericle Harper brings us the true story of the epic power struggle between her and her younger brother – a power struggle that brought out plenty of bad sister behavior.


Fallout: Spies, Superbombs, and the Ultimate Cold War Showdown by Steve Sheinkin

September 7 | Roaring Brook Press (Macmillan) | Grades 4-8

Another not-quite-expected follow up? Yep. Sheinkin is a narrative nonfiction master and so I was very happy to see him return to the same themes as his multiple award winning book, Bomb.

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.

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