As a new year begins, 2017 brings us much more children’s and young adult literature to devour, and we couldn’t be more thrilled! Here are just a look at some of the titles we are most excited about in 2017 (Reviews from GoodReads, Amazon, Kirkus, and original CCYAL reviews):
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever. Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. One of only two out lesbians in her small town and standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the responsible adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, her responsibilities weigh more heavily than ever.
The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool.
As Ramona falls more in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift as well, and she must decide if knowing who she is is more important than figuring out who she might become. (Expected Release May, 2017)
Inexplicable Logic of My Life
From the Printz Honor winning author, Benjamin Alire Saenz, brings us the story of three Latino college bound seniors navigating their way through heartbreak, grief, love, family, and whatever life hurls at them.
Growing up in El Paso, Salvador (Sal), born to white parents, but adopted at age three by a gay Mexican-American dad, struggles to deal with his own identity and how he fits into the universe. Samantha (Sam), Sal’s best friend, is an extroverted girl who struggles to discover how she makes sense of life when her life slowly started to crack and break into pieces. Fito, an acquaintance-turned-friend of Sam and Sal, who struggles to deal with his relationships with his family and his high-maintenance boyfriend, all while essentially being homeless and seeking a way out of his current situation.
Beautifully written with lyrical lines told in varying formats (verse lines, journal entries, text messages, etc), The Inexplicable Logic of My Life attempts to answer some of the most challenging of all life questions: Who am I? Who loves me? Why do they love me? Who will I become? How does my past affect my future? While some of these deeply profound questions are partially answered, some questions still remain, but the narrative journey of this book does not disappoint readers. Filled with emotion and heart, The Inexplicable Logic of My Life is the perfect book for readers of all ages.
Expected Release: March 2017
Fabiola Toussaint is a black immigrant girl whose life is flipped upside down when she moves to Detroit, Michigan, from her homeland of Haiti and her mother is detained by the INS, leaving her to go on alone.
Though Fabiola was born in the U.S., she has lived in Haiti since she was an infant, and that has now left her unprepared for life in America. In Detroit, she lives with her aunt Marjorie and her three thoroughly Americanized cousins, Chantal, Primadonna, and Princess. It’s not easy holding on to her heritage and identity in Detroit; Matant Jo fines Fabiola for speaking Creole (though even still “a bit of Haiti is peppered in her English words”), and the gritty streets of Detroit are very different from those of Port-au-Prince. Fabiola has her faith to help keep her grounded, which grows ever more important as she navigates her new school, American society, and a surprising romance—but especially when she is faced with a dangerous proposition that brings home to her the fact that freedom comes with a price. Fabiola’s perceptive, sensitive narration gives readers a keen, well-executed look into how the American dream can be a nightmare for so many. Filling her pages with magic, humanity, tragedy, and hope, Zoboi builds up, takes apart, and then rebuilds an unforgettable story.
Expected Release: February, 2017
The Hate You Give
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Expected Release: February, 2017
Dingus by Andrew Larson
Summer vacation is starting, and soon-to-be-sixth-grader Henry is facing two months with nothing to do. He can sadly feel himself being pulled by the gravitational force of nothingness. His best friend, Max, who may not even be his best friend anymore, is going away to chess camp. And all Henry's stay-at-home father has planned for him and his toddler brother, Sam, is something called a staycation. Things start looking up, however, when he finds out they'll be dog-sitting his grandfather's dog, Rupert. That is, until the day they bring Rupert to the park, where Henry does something irresponsible. Something with real consequences. And suddenly Henry would give anything to go back to the nothingness. Can Henry make things right? Or has he turned into the dingus Max said he shouldn't be?
Expected Release: May, 2017
The Lotterys Plus One
Sumac Lottery is nine years old and the self-proclaimed "good girl" of her (VERY) large, (EXTREMELY) unruly family. And what a family the Lotterys are: four parents, children both adopted and biological, and a menagerie of pets, all living and learning together in a sprawling house called Camelottery. Then one day, the news breaks that one of their grandfathers is suffering from dementia and will be coming to live with them. And not just any grandfather; the long dormant "Grumps," who fell out with his son so long ago that he hasn't been part of any of their lives.
Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps's clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household... He's worse than just tough to get along with -- Grumps has got to go! But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs?
Expected Release: March, 2017
From Annick Press
The phenomenon of desperate refugees risking their lives to reach safety is not new. For hundreds of years, people have left behind family, friends, and all they know in hope of a better life. This book presents five true stories about young people who lived through the harrowing experience of setting sail in search of asylum: Ruth and her family board the St. Louis to escape Nazism; Phu sets out alone from war-torn Vietnam; José tries to reach the U.S. from Cuba; Najeeba flees Afghanistan and the Taliban; Mohamed, an orphan, runs from his village on the Ivory Coast. Aimed at middle grade students, Stormy Seas combines a contemporary collage-based design, sidebars, fact boxes, timeline and further reading to produce a book that is ideal for both reading and research. Readers will gain new insights into a situation that has constantly been making the headlines.
Expected Release: April, 2017
You can Read- Helaine Becker
In this fun and funny celebration of literacy, kids of all ages will discover that the act of reading is a daring adventure that can take you anywhere! You can read at the playground, under the sea, at the opera and even in outer space! It turns out you can read everywhere! And when you do, you open yourself to a universe of adventure.
Presented in light-hearted, rib-tickling verse that's perfect for reading aloud, You Can Read sings it loud and proud: Books are awesome. And so are the people who read them.
Secrets I Know-By Kallie George
For Fans of Amy Krouse Rosenthal, comes a poetic book about the hidden wonders in our own backyard. Take a journey with a little girl and her pet to see the secrets that only she knows about throughout her day. Did you know that whispers hide in trees and trees make great umbrellas? The little girl finds hidden treasures throughout and the book ends with the best treasure of all!
Expected Release: May, 2017
When We Were Alone
In this illustrated book for children ages 4 to 8, a curious girl learns about how her grandmother held on to cultural touchstones when she was a child at a Native American residential school.
The young girl who narrates this book notices one day, while helping her grandmother in the garden, that her Nókom (Cree for “grandmother”) always does certain things. She dons colorful clothes; wears her hair long; speaks in Cree; and spends time with her brother, talking and laughing. But why? The book explains in the rhythm of a poem or song, repeating the structure of question and answer. For example, the girl asks, “Nókom, why do you wear so many colours?” and the grandmother replies, “Well, Nósisim…” and begins her story. She explains that as a girl, she once liked to wear many colors, but at her far-away school, all the children were dressed the same. Why? “ ‘They didn’t like that we wore such beautiful colours,’ Nókom said. ‘They wanted us to look like everybody else.’ ” But in autumn, the girls would pile kaleidoscopic fallen leaves on themselves and found happiness that way. Now, Nókom always wears the most beautiful hues. Similar explanations follow: the school cut the girls’ hair, wouldn’t let them speak Cree, and separated family members, all to enforce conformity. Today, though, Nókom can flaunt her culture openly. Robertson (The Chief: Mistahimaskwa, 2016, etc.) handles a delicate task here admirably well: explaining residential schools, that shameful legacy, and making them understandable to small children. It’s a dark history, and the author doesn’t disguise that, but he wisely focuses the grandmother’s tale on how, season by season, the students use creativity, imagination, and patience to retain their sense of identity. A beautifully quiet, bold strength arises from the continued refrain “When we were alone” and in how the children insisted on being themselves. Flett’s (We Sang You Home, 2016, etc.) gorgeous, skillful illustrations have a flattened, faux naïve feel to them, like construction paper collage, a style that works perfectly with the story. She nicely contrasts the school’s dull browns and grays with the riotous colors surrounding Nókom and gets much expression from her simple silhouettes.
Spare, poetic, and moving, this Cree heritage story makes a powerful impression.
Expected Release: March, 2017
We’re All Wonders
The unforgettable bestseller Wonder, soon to be a major motion piction, has inspired a nationwide movement to Choose Kind. Now parents and educators can introduce the importance of choosing kind to younger readers with this gorgeous picture book, featuring Auggie and Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R. J. Palacio.
Over 5 million people have fallen in love with Wonder and have joined the movement to Choose Kind. Now younger readers can meet Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, and his beloved dog, Daisy.
Countless fans have asked R. J. Palacio to write a book for younger readers. With We’re All Wonders, she makes her picture-book debut as both author and artist, with a spare, powerful text and striking, richly imagined illustrations. Palacio shows readers what it’s like to live in Auggie’s world—a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he’s not always seen that way.
We’re All Wonders may be Auggie’s story, but it taps into every child’s longing to belong, and to be seen for who they truly are. It’s the perfect way for families and educators to talk about empathy and kindness with young children.
Expected Release: March, 2017