There are some great books coming out this fall! Let’s not waste any time on small talk—we’ll go straight to the good stuff.
“I Am Darn Tough” written by Licia Morelli and illustrated by Maine Diaz
This gorgeous book is about a girl running in a cross-country race. The watercolor illustrations and poetic first-person narration place the reader alongside the protagonist. The girl persists through weariness, self-doubt and a painful skinned knee, to cross the finish line with a realization that, “I am darn tough.” I spent about five years in martial arts as a kid, so this book really calls to me. It’s wonderful to see determination, discipline and perseverance celebrated like this.
“Catch the Sky: Playful Poems on the Air We Share” written by Robert Heidbreder and illustrated by Emily Dove
I’m lucky enough to have a window by my desk, and I’ll often spend my breaks gazing out at the sky. Birds, rain, leaves and planes, I love to watch the changing skies. This collection of poems is all about things you can see in the sky! It features delightful quatrains like, “Black on black, / swish-soft swirls. / Night bats feast / in whirling twirls.” The illustrations use a variety of settings and diverse children to highlight the wonders of nature found in the sky, and the quatrains are the perfect length to hold a little one’s attention and capture their imagination.
“The Big Sibling Getaway” written and illustrated by Korrie Leer
What do you do when your new baby sibling won’t stop crying? Hop in a cardboard box and sail away, of course! Cassie is looking for a place to escape the constant wailing, but her sailboat box can’t take her far enough. When the box transforms into a hot air balloon, and then finally a rocket ship, Cassie relishes the silence. Older siblings will understand Cassie’s plight and enjoy her imaginative solution, and the short sentences and detailed illustrations will be great for young readers.
“Letters From Space” written by Clayton Anderson and illustrated by Susan Batori
Obviously astronauts can’t send physical letters from space, but what if they could? Clayton Anderson, who spent five months on the International Space Station, writes letters to friends and family about life in outer space. The letters are filled with fascinating information, like how long astronauts have to wear the same pair of underwear or how spiders and butterflies behave in zero gravity. This book absolutely sizzles with a love of science, and the description of day-to-day routines only heightens the sense of wonder and exploration. This book is a great bridge between fiction and nonfiction and should satisfy fans of each.
Can we get a little spooky?
“The Monster Who Wasn’t” by T.C. Shelley
Fairies are born from a baby’s first laugh, and monsters are born from a person’s dying sigh of regret. When both these things happen at the same time, a half-fairy half-monster is born. One who looks astonishingly like a preteen human. This Imp-Boy is secreted away from the kingdom of monsters, and brought “upstairs” to the world of humans, where he is taken in by a kind family. As he begins to settle into a human life, danger threatens the family, and he must journey back to the underground world of monsters to save them. Set in London, this imaginative book brims with originality while evoking the classic feel of Tolkien or Rowling. Fair warning: this is a planned trilogy, so don’t expect any tidy endings!
“The Sisters of Straygarden Place” by Hayley Chewins
Surreal, lyrical, eerie and enchanting, this is a perfect choice for readers willing to step into the unknown. Mayhap lives with her two sisters in Straygarden Place—a house that magically tends to their needs and keeps out the sentient silver grass that is always trying to come in. When their parents left them in the house seven years ago, they warned the sisters never to leave the house and never to go into the grass. When her eldest sister disobeys and falls ill, Mayhap has to search for a cure, but she’ll find answers to questions she never thought to ask. Unsettling and phantasmagoric, this intense read is ultimately about the strength of love and family.
“Embassy of the Dead” written by Will Mabbitt and illustrated by Taryn Knight
If you prefer your spooky books with more humor, try this one! Jake leads a pretty boring life…until he opens a cursed package that was mistakenly delivered to him. The package contains the severed finger of an evil Reaper who is intent on ruling the world and needs his finger back to do so. Suddenly Jake is thrust into a world of monsters and ghosts and must take the finger to the Embassy of the Dead to save himself and probably the world. This book is a fast-paced, creepy adventure, with plenty of laughs along the way.
“The Language of Ghosts” by Heather Fawcett
Despite the word “ghosts” in the title, this book is fantasy rather than spooky. Three siblings again, but this time it’s a brother and two sisters, exiled royalty after their family was overthrown. The eldest sibling Julian is a mage, and he enchants an island to constantly move around and protect them (complete with a cake-loving sea serpent!). In this world, there are nine magical languages, and most mages can only speak one or two. Julian can speak all nine, which makes people assume he must be very powerful and evil. As the siblings plan to regain their throne, Julian’s little sisters do their best to steer him toward the path of good. The characters in this book are all wonderfully developed, and the world building deftly balances whimsy and politics. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!