September 15 marks the birthday of renowned author Agatha Christie. To celebrate this esteemed writer, who penned 82 mystery novels, we have a hunch that you’re in the mood for some mysteries as well! From the classic whodunit to riddles of a stranger nature, mysteries offer great ways to spark curiosity in readers of all ages, encouraging them to find out what could happen next and if they can guess correctly. So, grab a magnifying glass and a handy notebook as we take a look at some of our favorite mysterious titles.
Will You Help Doug Find His Dog?
An interactive picture book title from Barefoot Books, Will You Help Doug Find His Dog? keeps readers guessing the answer to the very last page. Doug has lost his canine companion at the dog park and needs help finding him. After describing his four-legged friend to readers, Doug asks his audience to whistle, clap, and tickle their way through a group of dogs until the missing pup is found. Written by Jane Caston, and illustrated by Carmen Saldaña, this story encourages a playful response and will have little ones wanting to read it again.
There’s a Walrus in My Bed!
A young boy who is spending his first night in a big boy bed has a large problem in this picture book from Andersen Press, written and illustrated by Ciara Flood. Flynn keeps coming downstairs when he’s supposed to be asleep, claiming that the walrus needs food, blankets, or a glass of milk. In this case, the mystery is for the readers themselves to solve. Is the walrus just an excuse Flynn created, as his parents suspect, or could there really be a giant walrus in Flynn’s bed?
Detective Gordon: A Case in Any Case
Ulf Nilsson and Gitte Spee’s beloved series follows Gordon, a toad detective, and his enterprising assistant, Buffy the mouse, as they take on curious cases. In the latest illustrated chapter book installment, published by Gecko Press, Buffy seeks out Gordon’s help to solve the mystery of strange noises coming from outside the police station each night. Once this mystery is solved, they can get back to what they love best, which includes drinking tea and stamping important papers.
The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries: The Gravediggers’ Club
Robert J. Harris’ middle grade series harkens back to a different monumental mystery writer. The Artie Conan Doyle Mysteries from Floris Books imagines that the Sherlock Holmes stories were based on adventures that their author, Arthur Conan Doyle, had when he was a boy growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland. In the first installment, Artie and his best friend Ham follow the clues of a ghostly lady in grey and the pawprints of a gigantic hound to discover the secrets of the spooky Gravediggers’ Club.
The Theory of Hummingbirds
Alba has her eyes set on running in the sixth-grade cross-country race as soon as the final cast comes off her “directionally challenged” foot. She’s counting on support from her best friend, Levi, but he is consumed by his latest science obsession—wormholes. Is Levi just dreaming, or does the librarian really have a wormhole in her office? Written by Michelle Kadarusman and published by Pajama Press, this middle grade novel is about friendship, big challenges, and even bigger questions.
One season can change your life, a concept that twelve-year-old Eliot is learning daily as he spends his summer in a place he absolutely detests—Point Aconi, Nova Scotia. As Eliot learns how to perform the mundane tasks well-known to other residents of the small fishing town, he begins to realize that there is more to this seaside village than meets the eye. Why is Mary-Beth always reluctant to go home? How does Miss Gifford always know when trouble is brewing? What’s hidden in the pages of Great-great-grandfather Steen’s diary? Eliot wonders if he’ll find the answers to these prodding questions before the summer’s up. Written by critically-acclaimed author and artist Frank Viva, this work of graphic fiction is about broadening perspectives is published by Toon Books.
When Marion and her mother inherit an old family house, complete with its own private beach, they see it as a wonderful opportunity for a new life. This graphic novel from Lion Forge, written by Mathieu Reynès with art from Valérie Vernay, follows Marion’s exploration of her new town as she begins to uncover unanswered questions and local legends haunting the surrounding area. What secrets are hidden away in the nearby lighthouse, and why does she feel an eerie tie to the lighthouse watchman? As time passes, Marion begins to wonder if this idyllic place isn’t nearly as peaceful as it first appeared.
Five suburban children must fight to keep their world from tearing apart after they discover the body of the world’s most powerful superhero, Plutona, laying discarded in the woods near their school. As they wrestle with how to handle this weighty secret, their personal lives spin dangerously out of control. The real question—who killed Plutona?—lurks in the back of everyone’s mind, but the group of five might not be alive to uncover the whole story if they can’t solve their own problems soon. This dark coming-of-age tale from Image Comics is written by Emi Lenox and Jeff Lemire, with striking art by Emi Lenox and Jordie Bellaire.
We’re here at the Texas Library Association’s 2016 conference and having a blast (now that the rain has stopped)! Among some of new finds you can make at Booth 1630 are both children’s and adult graphic novels from a variety of publishers, including TOON, Papercutz, Fantagraphics, and NBM. Thanks to Diamond Bookshelf and IDW, we also have the new-to-America–and we think an award-winner here as well as in Europe–Paracuellos, by Carlos Giménez, which earned him the Heritage Award at the Angoulème Festival in 2010. This is a memoir about a place and period American readers rarely meet in books: life in an orphanage during Franco’s dictatorship over Spain.
NBM, a comics publisher with a long and deep track record of providing North Americans with literary graphic novels, is just now releasing Guardians of the Louvre, acclaimed manga artist Jirô Taniguchi’s beautiful and compelling fantasy that seamlessly twines together many of the treasures in the Paris museum, and its environs, with the experiences of a lonely young tourist from Japan. I couldn’t put this one down from the moment I opened its beautiful watercolor-reminiscent right to left layout pages and met the young man as he, in turn, meets a variety of great figures from art’s history, including a countryside chat with Van Gogh and a tour of World War II’s art rescue history with the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Pair this one with Anthony Doerr’s 2015 Alex Award winning All the Light We Cannot See to bring vivid life to art history.
We have many other comics and graphic novels for you as well! Come visit–oh, and you might want to enter to win a whole basket of beautiful goodies!
Tucking into Steven T. Seagle and Jason Adam Katzenstein’s Camp Midnight (Image Comics, 2016) offers a trip through those late tween/early teen years when, yes, everyone–except you–is a monster, adults are clueless, and even the ghost of childhood has its problems if you hang out with her too long. The action-packed and expressive panels fairly pop with morphing personalities as the mean girls go witchy and the cute boy turns into a hairy wolf. The palette is vivid and offers another layer of that too-bright feeling with which a good dose of hormones can shock your pubescent system.
The storyline features Skye, truculent about everything in her life and especially her divorced dad’s new wife and the camp where they’ve dared to send her for the summer. Run by a witch, who turns out to be both wise and kind, and literally overrun by kids who aren’t afraid to show their “true”–emerging–selves, Skye deals with being out of her depth by whining, screaming, and, eventually, taking up the challenge to grow up.
This one’s perfect for both middle schoolers and anyone who is willing to revisit that stage in life to get a funny, articulate handle on the sheer and terrifying messiness of it all. For the former group, there’s reassurance, and for the rest of us, an easy to swallow dose of sympathy-building memories.
And oh yeah, it’s coming to us for Free Comic Book Day, this year on 7 May, so there are positively no excuses for not getting yourself a copy!
We’re traveling to Boston today and looking forward to seeing all of you attending the American Library Association’s 2016 Midwinter meeting there! You’ll find us at Booth 1917 in the Exhibits…and why would you want to find us? Because:
We’re bringing cool new picture books, comics, and books for older youth from a variety of quality publishers, including Pajama Press (Canada), Leminscaat (Netherlands), Gecko (New Zealand), Floris Books (Scotland), Karadi Tales (India), Udon Entertainment (Canada/Hong Kong), and, from the United States, Diamond, Tilbury House, Gannon & Wyatt, Namelos, No Starch, and Two Lions.
We’re hosting signings by Rebecca Emberley, Bill Thomson, Licia Morelli and Jennifer E. Morris, and Susan Schwake.
We have a librarian staff who know books, audiobooks, and kids.
Plus, we are a lot of fun and generous, too…hmm, prizes anyone?
Ellen and Mary are in Columbus, Ohio, this weekend, at the annual conference of the American Association of School Librarians. The conference, as AASL ones are, is packed with rich options for continuing development and opportunities for that ever helpful networking need we have to inspire improvements we can make in school libraries, and kids’ lives, locally.
The Publisher Spotlight booth (which is number 441) in the exhibits hall has books from a variety of our publishers, including Gecko, Pajama Press, Karadi Tales, Diamond, No Starch, Udon, Enchanted Lion Books, and Travels with Gannon and Wyatt. We’re also showing more from Workman, Eerdmans, DK, Holiday House, TOON Books, Arte Publico, and Norton. We’ve got a big prize basket for a raffle and a couple of author signings scheduled, too.
In addition to all these good things, we can talk with you about a couple new services and initiatives related to multi-modal literacy. Mary Burkey is on hand to discuss Sound Learning, the Audio Publishers Association’s literacy project. And we have EPIC! in the booth so we can show you how this new e-reouce for books and audiobooks for kids works.
Have a good conference, tweet often, and we’ll retweet you! #aasl15 @pubspotlight
We’ve just put up a page of activities inspired by Magnetic Press’ second book in the wordless graphic novel “Love” series. And we know you are going to love this book, too!
This beautifully imagined and chronicled day in the life of an Arctic fox shows abundant detail about animal life, the environment, and the dramatic elements that comprise nature.
It’s Monday, the start of a new blog tour featuring a Publisher Spotlight author! Just right for this time of year, we’re going to hear all around the dial from bloggers looking at Oddly Normal‘s latest trade collection and interviewing his creator, Otis Frampton. There will be giveaways, too!