Friday, January 29, 2016

Geeky Peaches: January 2016 Edition

This week marks the end of the month, and the end of the month here at Peachtree always includes a night when the book-smart, analytical, and generally intelligent (geeky) members of the Peachtree Publishers team (Peaches) leave our purple halls, gather at the nearby taqueria, and talk about books. This month, the books on the table (literally and figuratively) were the 2016 Caldecott Honor Books.

If you don’t already know the titles, the Honor Books were Trombone Shorty illustrated by BrianCollier and written by Troy AndrewsWaiting illustrated and written by Kevin HenkesVoice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement illustrated by Ekua Holmes and written by Carole Boston Weatherford; and finally The Last Stop on Market Street illustrated by Christian Robinson and written by Matt de la Peňa. We all took some time to flip through these lovely books one more time, being careful to keep them away from the guacamole and salsa, and then the talk started and didn’t stop for an hour and a half.

For some of the younger Peaches at the table, we started off by remembering what the criteria for the Caldecott medal are. Our beloved Awards Coordinator (among other titles), Courtney, briefly explained some of the factors and requirements to provide some context for our discussion (and if you’re curious, check out the official criteria and terms here). There was a brief lull as our taco orders were taken, but then we dug into the books themselves.

Abrams, 2015

Trombone Shorty didn’t take much time to discuss as there was little debate—we all loved it, and we were all ready to take a trip to New Orleans. The vivid colors and images of a picture book were a great backdrop for the fun and inspiring true story of Troy Andrews. Awards and critiques aside, we all enjoyed learning about the childhood and influences of the talented musician and author. 

Harper Collins, 2015
On the other hand, every time we thought we'd laid it to rest, our conversation about Waiting bubbled up again. When Vicky, one of our editors, confessed that she'd thought long and hard about the possibility of a deeper philosophical meaning behind the little book, the gears immediately started churning in everyone else’s heads as we tried to think of something posh and intelligent to say. Unfortunately, we had no “eureka” moment, got back to our tacos, and declared that we liked the gentle and friendly illustrations that contrasted with the bright and loud books surrounding it. Our parting thought was a curiosity to see how a child would react to the five little windowsill friends.

Penguin Random House, 2015

The art in Voice of Freedom received favorite status from a few of us, and we spent some time flipping through to find our favorite spreads to share with each other. In particular, we discussed how the book combined a classic approach with the separation of art and text on many of the pages, and yet the art itself was so fresh and vibrant and really not traditional at all. Although we spent a fair amount of time on the art in voice, we also loved that the text did not shy away from sharing the realities and suffering of the era.

The Last Stop on Market Street, which also won the Newbery
Medal, didn’t spur as much talk because its various awards had already sparked conversations over the last several weeks, and we’d all become very familiar with it. When looking at the art of all four books, however, we did particularly enjoy the textures that were in each illustration.

We were pleased with the diversified range of authors and books that were represented among the honored titles, and, as always, it was fun to see a few new names in the mix.

What did you think about this year's Caldecott Honorees? Let us know in the comments.

Want to join in the fun? At next month's Geeky Peaches we're discussing the 2016 Newbery results

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

New Book Wednesday: A Friend for Mole

Coming out March 1st, Nancy Armo’s story A Friend for Mole features an adorable Mole and his experience after he decides to leave his dark and cozy burrow.

Struggling with his overwhelming fear of the unknown, Mole stumbles across a friendly Wolf who is trying to conquer fears of his own. As they keep each other company and learn from one another, the two discover that friendship can be one of the strongest shields against fear. 

Through Mole and Wolf's experiences, young readers learn that differences aren't necessarily weaknesses, and strengths are most powerful when used to help a friend. With simple but humorous text, and soft, bright illustrations to guide the way, this picture book is a gentle, fun journey through fear to friendship.

To find out more about the talented debut author-illustrator Nancy Armo, check out her website, and look for A Friend for Mole this spring!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

New Book Wednesday: The Sound of All Things

Author Myron Uhlberg and illustrator Ted Papoulas bring readers into the world of a young hearing boy and his deaf parents as they explore Brooklyn and Coney Island on a summer day in the 1930s. 

There is much to hear and see on the bright and busy day, but as much as his father wishes to understand the multitude and variety of sounds all around them, his son struggles to find the right words to explain each one to his father.

However, when they visit the library on their way home, the young boy discovers that the words to describe the sound of all things may be within his reach after all.

With the rich illustrations of Ted Papoulas and the carefully crafted words of Myron Uhlberg, readers will see, hear, and love The Sound of All ThingsComing out this spring, March 1st, don’t miss this beautiful story of family and discovery. 

Friday, January 15, 2016

ALA Midwinter Conference Highlights

We were thrilled to once again attend the American Library Association’s Midwinter Conference in Boston this past weekend. Although winters in Boston have a reputation, the weather cooperated beautifully, and we were able to thoroughly enjoy the conference. We wanted to share some highlights from this year, so here goes!

This year, we were excited to have three of our talented authors join us at our booth for signings and giveaways. Bill Harley, author of the Charlie Bumpers series, joined us on Friday. If you missed the freebies, you can find the latest Charlie Bumpers adventure, Charlie Bumpers vs. the Perfect Little Turkey, at your local library or bookstore!

Melissa Stewart and Farhana Zia joined us on Saturday for signings of their new books coming out this spring. Melissa is bringing us a revised version of A Place for Frogs, coming out April 1. Melissa’s book reaches young readers with the message of their responsibility to the world’s creatures and their habitats.

Farhana brings a contemporary Indian village to life in her new book Child of Spring, coming out March 1. It was great having some time with a few of our authors, so thanks to all three of you for coming out!

We were also happy to hear the announcements of many of the prestigious awards handed out at the conference. Like many others, we were excited to see the picture book The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, win the Newberry Medal for children’s books in 2015. The rare occurrence of a picture book receiving this honor proves just how special The Last Stop on Market Street really is.

G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015

Overall we were pleased with the growing diversity and variety that was present among the many deserving authors and titles that were honored with awards this year.

Thank you to ALA for another great year!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Dress Up Your Pet Day!

In honor of “Dress Up Your Pet Day” today, we at Peachtree want to give a shout out to the best-dressed pet we know. With his fabulous red sweater and ever useful beret, Claude is back this spring in the country!

Although ordinary dogs don’t usually dress up, Claude is not an ordinary dog, so his sweater and beret are really just a normal part of his adventurous life. 

From the wonderful imagination of Alex T. Smith, Claude in the Country is coming out April 1! Claude and Sir Bobblysock are at it again as their simple walk in the country turns into a wild day of horseback riding, sheepherding, and pampering pigs for a beauty contest!

If you want to catch up on Claude’s adventures before then, check out: Claude at the Beach (paperback coming out April 1, too!); Claude in the CityClaude at the CircusClaude on the Slopes; and Claude in the Spotlight.

Mark your calendars for more adventures with the always impeccably dressed Claude and Sir Bobblysock this April!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Book Wednesday: Little One

In the delicately illustrated pages of this black and white picture book, debut author/illustrator Jo Weaver gives readers the personal journey of a mother bear and her cub traveling through the seasons of the year. 

Big Bear is a gentle guide and teacher as her Little One sees, hears, and experiences life for the first time. The two explore the forests, rivers, lakes, and everything in them. From the awakening of spring to the falling of heavy snowflakes, Big Bear shows her curious cub many of the joys and surprises of the wide world.

Through the stunning charcoal artwork and simple yet lyrical language, Jo Weaver reveals the wonder of nature, the first steps of independence, and the strength of parental love.

Little One is a thoughtful tale of discovery, and we are eagerly awaiting its release date, March 1st. Put it on your GoodReads list  for this year, and look for your own copy this spring!

To learn more about this talented author and illustrator, check out her website here

Friday, January 8, 2016

New Year, New List

It's 2016! And a new year means a new season of children's books to share with the world! We at Peachtree are delighted to announce our Spring 2016 list, which is brimming with award-winning talent, adorable characters (new and familiar), touching stories, and exciting adventures!

NEW Picture Books

The first in a series of three board books about discovering weather, In the Wind perfectly captures the thrill and possibility of blustery days.

Debut author-illustrator, Nancy Armo, combines adorable illustrations with humorous text in A Friend for Mole, a gentle journey through fear to friendship.

A thoughtful exploration of togetherness and independence, Jo Weaver’s debut picture book Little One is a joyful tale of discovery as Big Bear teachers her Little One about the world around them.

A sly, subversive retelling of the classic story “Little Red Riding Hood,” Bethan Woollvin’s award-winning debut Little Red is a tribute to the power of little girls.

Experience the sights and sounds of 1930s Brooklyn and Coney Island through the eyesand earsof a hearing boy and his deaf parents in The Sound of All Things.

NEW Middle Grade

Engaging writing and a delightful protagonist bring a contemporary Indian village to life. Child of Spring is a humorous and lighthearted story of privilege and opportunity through the eyes of a servant girl.

New York Times-bestselling author Henry Cole offers this charming illustrated novel—The Somewhat True Adventures of Sammy Shine—featuring an adorable mouse, an exciting adventure, and an action-packed plot.

NEW Young Adult

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon GirlMelissa Keil’s second novel, is a warm, quirky YA romance at the intersection of comic book geekdom and Armageddon. Alba wants to stop time so she can stay in her small town forever—but the end of the world might just force her to confront her future.

NEW Additions to Your Favorite Series

It’s going to be a busy day for Stanley delivering letters and packages to all of his friends! Young children can join their favorite hamster on his mail route where they explore processes and colors in Stanley the Mailman.

In Claude in the Country, Claude and Sir Bobblysock are at it again as their simple walk in the country turns into a wild day of horseback riding, sheepherding, and pampering pigs for a beauty contest!

Check out our full Spring 2016 catalog here, and stay tuned for giveaways, interviews, and more.

2016 is going to be a good year!