Reading Ahead – August

Welcome to our roundup of new arrivals that have cover appeal! Every two months, we publish this list of books that at first glance look like they could hook kids on reading. This edition is a little different because I did a post-Book Expo America list, so we there are two lists for June/July.  Some of these are brand new books, some of them are just new to us.

As crazy as it may sound, we are turning away requests to donate books. We have received nearly400 books so far this year, and we want to keep a “steady pace” of processing them (cataloging, reading, reviewing, placing with a reader in need). This month we’ll be placing more than 100 books with students in Minnesota for our Use Your ABCs Program.

Bilingual Books (All Ages)

Bella LunaBeautiful Moon / Bella Luna by Dawn Jeffers, Ill. Bonnie Leick (Raven Tree Press, 2009) – Kids love images of the Man in the Moon, and he is smiling at them on the front cover.


Picture Books (All Ages)

Houdini's GiftThe Coping Series by Jeanne Gehret, MA, Ill. Michael LaDuca (Verbal Images Press, 2009). These picture books are for families dealing with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and learning disabilities: Eagle Eyes; A Child’s Guide to Paying Attention; Houdini’s Gift; The Don’t-Give-Up Kid and Learning Disabilities.

Rip SqueakRip Squeak and His Friends by Susan Yost-Filgate, Ill. Leonard Filgate (Raven Tree Press, 2009) – Two baby mice, a kitten and a baby frog are on the cover … and they’re reading a book!

Waiting for WinterWaiting for Winter by Sepastian Meschenmoser (Kane Miller, 2009) On the backcover there is an image of a squirrel and a Hedghog sitting on a branch that is just adorable.


Easy Readers (Early, Emerging, Transitional)

Land of the Left SockLand of the Left Sock by P.P. James, Ill. Dale James (CreateSpace, 2009) The title of the book is printed in socks! There is one illustrated spread inside where a girl with pigtails and a petticoat and her friend are falling with socks. It looks really cute.


Middle Grade/Young Adult

Museum of Mary ChildThe Museum of Mary Child by Cassandra Golds (Kane Miller, 2009) The eyes of the girl on the cover drew me in and caused me to read the blurb on the back. I’m intrigued by the idea that this is “part fairy tale, part romance and part mystery.” That would seem to be ideal for a broad audience.

secret_christmas_boxSecrets of a Christmas Box by Steven Hornby (Ill. Justin Gerard and Gabriel Hordos) (Ecky Thump Books, Inc., 2009) More often than not, Christmas books are geared to the picture-book set. I’m intrigued by the idea of a middle-grade fantasy. And if, as the blurb says, I can learn why “pine needles find their way into rooms no one has been in,” that’s cool, too.

Just because we haven’t had a chance to review them doesn’t mean you haven’t! If you have written a review, just click on the cover image or book title. It will take you to our website page where you can add your review via Mr. Linky.

2 responses to “Reading Ahead – August

  1. I think it’s wonderful that you get so many donated books! I am guessing you must turn some away because of the time it takes to “process” each book, despite your panel of reviewers.

    Ecky Thump publishers intrigued me because I remember “ecky thump” from TV show The Goodies. It seems to be a publisher with one book. This seems to be happening more and more, because technology is making it easier to set up a company to publish a book.So far, my experience with books that fall outside the traditional publishers has not been great, so I look forward to your feedback.

  2. Hi Susan – We read every book we receive and they are all cataloged so that when I find someone who has an interest in the topic, I can place the book with that audience. We think it is better for the reader and (potentially) the creator.

    You’re right, it is a bit time consuming. Since last fall we’ve closed the mailbox to new authors/publishers. We continue to get books from existing donors and we’ve gotten about 400 so far this year. That is still a LOT of material to read.

    Our model is not first-in-first-out, but I am very conscious of wanting to have every book read in a timely fashion so that we can let an author/publisher know whether or not we’re going to publish a review.

    We have had some truly wonderful, well-received books that are from smaller, nontraditional presses. As you say, though, the publisher who sets up shop to print/promote just its own work is more often “miss” than “hit.” There is so much more to the process than writing and illustration. All audiences want quality work, but for our audience – kids who are already struggling with reading – lots of typos, poor sentence structure, redundant/run-on text, and weak grammar – can be devastating. We can’t use those books at all. The make or break point often pivots on editing. Independent editors – not spouses, friends, or Aunt Pearl – are so critical to moving from hobby to industry professional.

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