Category Archives: YA Books

HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS ALA AWARD WINNERS

Posted by | January 30, 2014 | 1 Comment

Working in children’s books, there are few days that can compare to the Monday morning of the ALA Midwinter conference, when the ALA Youth Media Awards are announced.  Cheers and gasps follow the announcement of every award named, and hugs and happiness end the conference on the highest of notes. What a great day for authors, illustrators, librarians, teachers, publishing professionals, and book lovers all over the world! We are so honored that awards committees named the following HarperCollins Children’s Books titles amongst the best and the brightest this year:

ps beCoretta Scott King Author Award to Rita Williams-Garcia, for P.S. BE ELEVEN

billy millerNewbery Honor to Kevin Henkes, for THE YEAR OF BILLY MILLER.

handbookSchneider Family Book Award for Middle Grade to Merrie Haskell, for HANDBOOK FOR DRAGON SLAYERS

penny and herTheodor Seuss Geisel Honor to Kevin Henkes for PENNY AND HER MARBLE

dariusCoretta Scott King Author Honor to Walter Dean Myers, for DARIUS & TWIG

nelson mandelaCoretta Scott King Illustrator Honor to Kadir Nelson, for NELSON MANDELA

tito puentePura Belpre Illustrator Honor to Rafael Lopez for TITO PUENTE, MAMBO KING (written by Monica Brown)

 

We’re grateful to publish these books, written and illustrated by the most creative, dedicated folks we know, and put them into your hands, the teachers and librarians who give them to children and promote a life-long love of learning. What a fine day to do what we do!

WINTER 2014 NEW VOICES SNEAK PEEK!

Posted by | January 29, 2014 | 8 Comments

We’re thrilled to introduce our New Voices picks for Winter 2014! We absolutely loved these four debut novels, and we think you will, too. Be sure to click on the links below to read the first chapter of each title, and if you’re hungry for more, comment and we’ll send you a galley (while supplies last).

And now, without further ado . . .

Salvage

SALVAGE, by Alexandra Duncan, is a sweeping, epic, literary science fiction story with a feminist twist. Teenaged Ava has lived aboard the male-dominated, conservative deep space merchant ship Parastrata her whole life. When a passionate mistake causes Ava’s people to turn against her, she faces banishment and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean. Her struggle to survive outside the insular world of her childhood is harrowing, full of surprises, and constantly thrilling. You’ll be rooting for Ava all the way! Read the first chapter here!

 

Faking Normal

FAKING NORMAL, by Courtney C. Stevens, is a powerful, moving story about a teen girl struggling to forget a traumatic experience from her recent past. Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer by her backyard pool. Instead, she hides in her closet, counts the slats in the air vent, and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does. When Bodee Lennox—”the Kool-Aid Kid”—moves in with the Littrells after a family tragedy, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in this quiet, awkward boy who has secrets of his own. As their friendship grows, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her summon the courage to find her voice and speak up. Read the first chapter here!

 

Cruel Beauty

CRUEL BEAUTY, by Rosamund Hodge, is a dazzling twist on the story of Beauty and the Beast. Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday, when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is as she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart. Read the first chapter here!

 

School of Charm

SCHOOL OF CHARM, by Lisa Ann Scott, is an enchanting story full of spirit and hope, with a hint of magic. Eleven-year-old Chip has always been her daddy’s girl, so when he dies she pins her hopes on winning a beauty pageant to show her family of southern belles that she still belongs. The problem is, she’d rather be covered in mud than makeup! Can a rough-and-tumble girl ever become a beauty queen? SCHOOL OF CHARM tells the tale of one girl’s struggle with a universal question: How do you stay true to yourself and find a way to belong at the same time? Read the first chapter here!

Stay tuned for “Opening the Book” Q&A’s with the authors and insightful words from the editors of these fantastic New Voices!

 

SEE YOU AT NCTE 2013!

Posted by | November 19, 2013 | No Comments

ncte 2013

We’re packing up and heading up to Boston tomorrow for the Annual Conference of the National Council of Teachers of English. We’ll be in HarperCollins Children’s Books Booth #1008 every day, handing out materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards (like posters and teaching guides) and galleys galleys galleys!

Come say hello to the amazing authors who will be signing copies of their books:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 22nd:
12:00–1:00pm, Jarrett Krosoczka
1:00–2:00pm, Anne Ursu
2:00–3:00pm, Hilary T. Smith
3:00–4:00pm, Rita Williams-Garcia
4:00–5:00pm, Kevin Emerson
*5:00–6:00pm, 50 Years Later C.S. Lewis Legacy Celebration! Come by for hot chocolate, cookies, a free copy of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and a free CCSS-aligned Narnia series Teaching Guide!*

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23rd:
10:00–11:00am, Patricia MacLachlan
12:00–1:00pm, Neal Shusterman
1:00–2:00pm, Jerry Spinelli
3:00–4:00pm, Pat Mora

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24th:
9:30–10:30am, Katie Cotugno
11:00am–12:00pm, Chris Crutcher

 

Hope to see you there!

New Voices, a Word from the Editor: Not a Drop to Drink

Posted by | September 26, 2013 | No Comments

Yesterday we heard from Mindy McGinnis about her fantastic debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink. Today, we hear from her editor, Sarah Shumway. Sarah, take it away!

There’s nothing like falling into the spell of a new voice, a striking view of reality, and into the life of a character you know you’ll never forget.  Falling in love with a book is sometimes a thing that happens gradually over the course of a story, but sometimes the first words on a page signal that the feelings are going to come tumbling out of a book and straight into your heart. The very first words of Not a Drop to Drink have that spark for me: “Lynn was nine the first time she killed to defend the pond…”

The books I’ve always loved most are those that show me something that I’ve never even imagined and make it real, make me feel. And I love wild books – ones where characters, especially strong girls, have to work to squeeze a good life from a harsh world. I started young with those books, as in Laura Ingalls in the Little House books and Karana in Island of the Blue Dolphins. I love books that challenge me, along with the characters, to rise above difficulty, limitations, and to become more than we knew we could be.  And Lynn, the heroine of Not a Drop, is such a strong character. Not a doubt there. She’s strong in a way that is more than physical or emotional. She’s real. She’s a product of her circumstances, stubborn and rough, but she discovers her heart.   And her story pushes every one of my “appeal” buttons: that strong and distinctive heroine, a gripping survival story, beautiful, sometimes poetic writing, a vivid setting in a fully-realized world, and plot twists like WOAH.  Oh, and it has some good kissing.

One of the most interesting discussions I’ve had with Mindy and with my colleagues here at HarperCollins is about how to categorize this book – is it dystopian? Post-apocalyptic? But I’m kind of proud to say that it really defies genre. While Not a Drop has plenty to offer fans of hugely popular dystopian fiction, what I appreciate is that it’s more than that. It’s different and special because it’s not about challenging a world gone wrong, but it’s about challenging people to be stronger in their own lives and hearts.  And when the trends have come and gone, I think Mindy’s book – Lynn’s story – will persist in grabbing readers’ hearts and imagination, the same way that the frontier or desert island books many of us loved as children and teenagers are still perennial favorites.

I’m so proud to have helped bring Mindy McGinnis and Not a Drop to Drink to an audience. Almost two years after I first read a draft, this book still makes my heart pound, my spine tingle, and my fingers itch to turn pages, and I hope all readers will feel the same when they get their hands on it.

Sarah Shumway is an editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books.

New Voices: Opening the Book with… Mindy McGinnis!

Posted by | September 25, 2013 | 1 Comment

Imagine a world where water is the hottest commodity. Author Mindy McGinnis has done it in a thrilling, terrifying way in her debut novel, Not a Drop to Drink.

Regret was for people with nothing to defend, people who had no water.

Lynn knows every threat to her pond: drought, a snowless winter, coyotes, and, most importantly, people looking for a drink. She makes sure anyone who comes near the pond leaves thirsty, or doesn’t leave at all.

Confident in her own abilities, Lynn has no use for the world beyond the nearby fields and forest. Having a life means dedicating it to survival, and the constant work of gathering wood and water. Having a pond requires the fortitude to protect it, something Mother taught her well during their quiet hours on the rooftop, rifles in hand.

But wisps of smoke on the horizon mean one thing: strangers. The mysterious footprints by the pond, nighttime threats, and gunshots make it all too clear Lynn has exactly what they want, and they won’t stop until they get it….

Of course, after reading this fantastic dystopian novel, we jumped at the chance of having Mindy come by and open the book with us!

Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?

Choosing is so hard! I’ll say A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. Right now I’m reading Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Tucholke.

What is your secret talent?

Um… I can flip a stack of quarters off my elbow and catch them in my palm. Also I have very fat thumb pads.

Fill in the blank: _______ always make me laugh.

British men.

My current obsessions are…

SHERLOCK, local history and the roots of criminal profiling.

Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?

Do your homework. Half the battle is learning the industry.

Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…

Didn’t steal it from the library.

How did you come to write this book?

I watched a documentary called Blue Gold, which is about a projected shortage of potable water on our planet due to overpopulation. It was a horrible thought – we all need water to survive, and it’s something we can’t make. I went to bed very grateful for the small pond in my backyard, and that night I dreamt I was teaching a young girl how to operate a rifle so that she could help me protect the pond. I woke up and thought, “Hey… I wrote a book in my head just now.”

I asked myself what this child would grow into, and my main character, Lynn, was the answer. I don’t plot at all, I simply write. With Drink I was very fortunate in that the book really wrote itself. It wanted to be told. Lynn’s transformation from isolationist to human being had to be slow and believable, but not at the expense of pacing. I knew I needed supporting characters that could make this an interesting read without lots of explosions and fight scenes. Stebbs walked in and saved me there!

Thanks, Mindy! You can find Not a Drop to Drink in stores now!

COMING UP NEXT: TEEN SERIES, PART I

Posted by | August 6, 2013 | 1 Comment

We love everything about books in series… except for waiting for the next one to hit the shelves! Torture! Thankfully, for those who have been waiting (im)patiently, we have your reward– so many great next-in-series Harper books are publishing oh so soon…

once we wereONCE WE WERE, by Kat Zhang

In this riveting sequel to WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, Addie and Eva struggle to share their body as they each fall in love with a different person, but it is their rebellion against the government that may tear them apart forever. There was so much buzz for WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, we know fans have been dying to read more!

fall of fiveTHE FALL OF FIVE, by Pittacus Lore

This is the fourth installment in the thrilling, action-packed Lorien Legacies series that launched with the #1 New York Times bestsellers I AM NUMBER FOUR (and a movie starring hunk Alex Pettyfer!). Reunited with Sarah and now joined by Number Eight, Number Four and the remaining Garde are desperate to find Number Five and Sam before it’s too late.

don't look nowDON’T LOOK NOW, by Michelle Gagnon

The second book in the thrilling DON’T TURN AROUND trilogy, which Kirkus called (in a *starred* review, no less!) “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens.” DON’T LOOK NOW finds Noa still on the run, with her and Peter’s alliance threatened and the stakes higher than ever. And fans, did you read the e-only NO ESCAPE?

 

We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to awesome continuing series: heck back later this week for round two!

 

 

 

GLOWING REVIEWS FOR THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING!

Posted by | August 2, 2013 | No Comments

We’re so excited about Robyn Schneider’s debut novel THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING, coming out at the end of August, and we couldn’t be happier that reviewers feel the same way! Check out what the journals are saying:

“This thought-provoking novel about smart kids doing interesting things will resonate with the John Green contingent, as it is tinged with sadness, high jinks, wry humor, and philosophical pondering in equal measures.”—Booklist (starred review)

“An engrossing romance . . . Schneider shows remarkable skill at getting inside her narrator’s head as his life swings between disaster and recovery.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Smart writing and a compelling narrator raise this book above ordinary depictions of high school drama. . . . Efficient use of language, evocative descriptions and subtle turns of phrase make reading and rereading this novel a delight.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Teens won’t want to put this one down.”—School Library Journal

And check out the book itself, of course! We have a feeling your teens will thank you for it.

The Beginning of Everything

September Girls

Posted by | July 29, 2013 | No Comments

 

Image by ModHero

Image by ModHero

September Girls, by Bennett Madison, is creating quite a sensation in certain circles. Oh, THAT book, some of you will nod knowingly. The book that is causing so much controversy on the blogosphere, which is addressed wonderfully in this interview with Bennett.

Hopefully others will also nod knowingly but say yes, THAT book, that book that has received five starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, BCCB, and School Library Journal and glowing praise from authors E. Lockhart, Jenny Han, Sara Zarr, and Nova Ren Suma.

I happen to agree with Maureen Johnson, who praised Bennett as “one of the best YA writers around” for his last book The Blonde of the Joke. I’m biased, of course—I’m his editor. I’m also a woman, and I grew up with three brothers—two details about myself that speak to my belief that September Girls is actually quite feminist, and that it pretty accurately portrays teenage boys.

September Girls took Bennett longer to write than he expected. He said in this interview with The Rejectionist that his editor was skeptical of the idea. To be fair, I wasn’t skeptical of his ability to write an amazing book (even though I didn’t really know what it was about!). I had faith in him.

What I MIGHT have been skeptical of were the delivery dates he kept promising me, especially since he kept sending me drafts with notes like this along the way:

infinite caveats apply. there’s a lot of stuff i already know i want to work on, change, recast, etc etc etc. but i wanted to get you a draft, and this is a draft. i’m pretty sure it’s free of TK’s and sentences that trail off without an ending but i could be wrong about that.

And this:

THE POINT IS, there’s still a lot of work to do on this and I hope it’s complete enough at this stage that you’re able to see where it’s going and give me some thoughts on what is most important to handle. There will be another draft, so read it with that in mind I guess. Basically I can barely bring myself to send it but I could keep working on it forever so here goes nothing.

And my favorite:

I looked over your letter and I’m in total agreement with 90% of it.

I’m so proud of September Girls––it’s been called mesmerizing and lovely and haunting and surprising and intoxicating, and even though some readers clearly haven’t gotten it, I’m thrilled that the book is creating conversation, and inciting readers like Emily May to speak up and talk about it in such an eloquent, thoughtful manner. I hope you have a chance to read it, and that it works its magic on you.

Tara Weikum is the editor of September Girls by Bennett Madison.

ALA ANNUAL RIDICULOUS RECAP

Posted by | July 16, 2013 | No Comments

Take a walk down memory lane with us via this photo-dump of our very favorite ALA images…

booth

Our booth was looking pretty snazzy.  This is before 26,000 people descended on the exhibit hall, so we still all had all of our fingers and toes…

alsc preconference

Were you lucky enough to attend this year’s ALSC Preconference, “A Wild Ride: 75 Years of the Caldecott Medal” at the Art Institute of Chicago? If so, we’re horribly jealous.

IMG_0009

It takes a village to run a Veronica Roth signing– and we are happy to be that village!  It’s amazing to see how involved fans feel in Veronica’s world, and how highly they (and we) are anticipating the movie (coming out in 2014!) and ALLEGIANT (on sale 10.22.13).

IMG_0015

A moment to pinch yourself and make sure you’re not dreaming: THREE Newbery medalists in our booth at the same time.  Katherine Patterson, Katherine Applegate, and Patricia McLachlan.  We might have gone a little paparazzi on these lovely ladies… but who can blame us?!

rainbow committee dinner

During our Newbery committee dinner celebrating THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky over the city.

betsy bird caldecott outfit

Our very own (we can claim her as all ours since she wrote GIANT DANCE PARTY for Greenwillow Books) Betsy Bird, wearing our favorite ensemble of the Newbery-Caldecott-Wilder Banquet, which represented all 5 of this year’s Caldecott books.

kittens first full moon

This crew (Kevin Henkes, Laura Dronzek, Judy Zuckerman, and Virginia Duncan) all dressed up in honor of Kevin’s 2005 Caldecott-winning KITTEN’S FIRST FULL MOON.

jon and mac smilingAnd finally, a little storytime in the booth! Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, genius and adorable duo, had us all smiling on the last day of exhibits (no easy feat).

 

A HUGE thank you to all who helped make this ALA one for the ages!

 

Weekend Reads!

Posted by | July 12, 2013 | No Comments

You know what’s better than commute-reading? Weekend reading. Hours and hours of uninterrupted, ahem, page turning.

entwined

This weekend, I’ll be devouring the rest of Entwined by Heather Dixon. I mean, it’s a darker, fantastical twist on the fairy tale of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I mean, could you put that down?

the-paradox-of-vertical-flight-pic

I’m also going to start a forthcoming debut by one of our debut authors, The Paradox of Vertical Flight, and it is going to be so good, I can’t wait!

fnl

My fellow school & library marketing teamster Robin let me know that she’d be hunkering down with Friday Night Lights, which (if you haven’t read it), is a seriously great read.

What are you reading this weekend? Share in the comments!

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