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Beware the Jabberbook!

nonsense quote

Or don’t beware. Be excited. Picture books with made-up words that make complete sense are my new favorite trend.   There’s Best Frints in the Whole Universe by Antoinette “Kleebo” Portis (Roaring Brook, July 2016; received a starred review in the May/June 2016 Horn Book Magazine), about two residents of Boborp who have been best […]

Updated not-so-new New Yorkers

nelsonNewYorker

We just HAD to update this post to include this beautiful Kadir Nelson cover: Read 2011’s Kadir Nelson Talks with Roger about Nelson’s book Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans and publisher Donna Bray’s 2012 profile of Nelson. There are many more…here are a couple others of note. *    *    * […]

Harrumph.

Grumpy_Cat

Protagonists are having terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in these new and upcoming picture books: (What’s with the pissy penguins? I thought they were supposed to have happy feet.) Fortunately, these grumpy characters find ways to turn their frowns upside-down. The protagonist of Jory John and Lane Smith’s Penguin Problems gets a reality […]

Ribbon writing

charaipotra_shiny broken pieces

Cover art fads are such fun to watch. There have been Headless Torsos; Girls in Red; Girls in Flowy Dresses; Girls Looking Over their Shoulders; Teens on the Edge; Apples; and so, so many more. Another one I’ve noticed recently: ribbon writing.       I like it, I think. It looks sassy but classy. And, […]

Books in bloom

marr_seven black diamonds

It’s almost summer! The weather is getting warmer, the daydreams are kicking in, and the flowers are blooming — outside and on YA covers. Take a look:    

Trending: cults in YA

oakes_sacred lies of minnow bly

Lately the YA sci-fi/fantasy market has been dominated by Strong Female Protagonists who take down corrupt regimes or lead groups of survivors in the post-apocalypse. Meanwhile, Strong Female Protagonists in realism have been dealing with more day-to-day issues: boyfriends, girlfriends, dead parents, mental illness, etc. These young ladies, while being emotionally courageous, have not been […]

Red.

red coated nails

Red. Red tells us a young lady is daring. Bold. Bright. She’s ready to break out of old, familiar roles and start anew, maybe with a new boy (or a new boy, or a new boy). She’s ready for anything. Except showing her face. ‘Cause that’s a bit much, y’all.       Also, she […]

This title trend

schwab_this savage song

This trending structure seems to indicate that something serious is going down. It could be the reanimation-via-clockwork of the deceased. It could be that someone’s in love, but at the worst possible time. It could be a mysterious death. Or it could be a war between humanity and monsters. In any case, this dramatic phrase […]

Dream, dream, dream

The Horn Book Guide

The cover of the Fall 2015 Horn Book Guide is a beautiful Rafael López illustration from Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle (which, by the way, just won the Charlotte Zolotow Award). In this story, saturated acrylic-on-wood illustrations capture the island’s musicality and the surreal dream-images that inspire young Millo — a Chinese-African-Cuban girl who […]

Trend alert: authors who <3 authors

viorst dedication 2

In the process of checking the bibliographic info of Judith Viorst’s forthcoming poetry collection What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem (Atheneum/Dlouhy, February 2016), I happened to notice something a little more interesting than an ISBN: Visions ensued of a power friendship between two […]