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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

2014: It’s Never Too Early to Get Excited

Howdy, folks!

So as crazy as it sounds, some 2014 titles have been wandering into my arms.  And if that weren’t enough, some of them look positively awesome.  With the given understanding that I’ve only read a few of these (and they were picture books, so I’m not exactly straining my abilities here) I present to you some 2014 titles that I, at the very least, am rather interested in taking a closer gander at on January 1st:

Five, Six, Seven, Nate by Tim Federle

It’s almost here!  For those of you who, like myself, enjoyed Federle’s 2013 debut in Better Nate Than Ever (I watch the trades daily for the moment when E.T.: The Musical actually becomes a reality), the sequel is on the horizon.

Yellow Is My Color Star by Judy Horacek

When Horacek appeared on the U.S. stage again this year with Mem Fox’s Time for Bed, I was thrilled.  I consider her work on Where Is the Green Sheep? to be a seminal delight.   Now Horacek’s breaking out on her own, and here’s the result.  Man oh man, I like how she draws people.

Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins

He’s done bones.  He’s done why you should smile at monkeys.  He’s done the actual size of gorilla hands, and the best way to clean hippos, and all manner of interesting stuff.  Now he tackles eyeballs.  And to this we say, high bloody time.

How to Cheer Up Dad by Fred Koehler

THIS is how you write a picture book.  It is amazing.  The kid perspective is spot on from start to finish.  Keep tabs on Koehler.  He’s one to watch.

The Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Lofton

I could have just taken the official jacket and used it for this post but I wanted you to see the sheer number of blurbs they have all over the galley’s cover.  This is just a smattering.  I think they’re on the back and maybe inside as well.  Note too that it’s a book starring an African-American girl.  Penguin is making a concerted effort in 2014 to up the number of multicultural characters in middle grade books.  As you will soon see.

Sparky by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans

No.  Do not even attempt to resist this.  You cannot.  You are powerless against it.  I’m going to go out on a limb (ha ha) right now and say this:  With apologies to Eric Carle, this is the best damn sloth-related picture book I have ever read.

Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover by Josh Schneider

Adoration.  There is little else that I can say.  The love I feel for this is extreme.  It’s the ending, man.  I’m not even going to ruin it for you.  Just read this when you can.

Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Because sometimes you gotta love the weird.  Weird is easy to write but hard to do well.  This book is about a chicken with human arms.  To those of you who are instantly interested, this one’s for you.  It is done exceedingly well.

The Ghost of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage

Helloooooooo, sequel to Three Times Lucky!  And with a ghost to boot?  Woo-hoo!

Saving Baby Doe by Danette Vigilante

Don’t know much about this one but the cover’s great and the author’s last name is “Vigilante”.

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

If the name “Brenda Woods” sounds familiar, she’s the one who wrote St. Louis Armstrong Beach a couple years ago.  On the strength of that I’m looking forward to reading this one as well.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Betsy,

    Brenda Woods also did the Red Rose Box, several years back. It was amazing and, I believe, a Coretta Scott King honor book. So we have even more reasons to be excited!

  2. Emako Blue! And more!

  3. Great list. Am also excited for a new book by Brenda Woods. LOVED St. Louis Armstrong Beach! And am a fan of Fred Koehler’s work; he’s a local talent and has shared sneak peeks of his work. Very fun stuff!

  4. You had me at ‘chicken with human arms.’ All the books look superb, but Henny has my heart. Thanks for the preview.

  5. Steve Jenkins + Eyeballs = I’m in!

  6. Mary Hoskinson-Dean says

    And maybe, just maybe, Steve Jenkins will get the Caldecott Medal he so richly deserves in January 2015…

  7. What a great line-up of books. I’m especially excited about Tim Federle’s NATE sequel (loved the first) and Fred Koehler’s debut picture book. Fred showed me the F&Gs for HOW TO CHEER UP DAD earlier this month — SUCH a good picture book. Can’t wait to see it in bookstores. As for HENNY by Elizabeth Rose Stanton, how could anyone resist a picture book about a chicken with human arms??? 😀

  8. Thanks, Betsy! Sadly, I can’t take any credit for my last name. That’s all my hubby’s doing! 🙂 Hope you enjoy Saving Baby Doe.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      As someone who willingly turned herself into a Bird, I more than understand.

    • Hey Danette! My good buddy’s last name is Justice. I’m seeing an arranged marriage for your kids and his… And thanks for the shout-out Elizabeth!!!

      • Fred, that is so funny! Love it! People think I’m kidding when I tell them my last name. Maybe I should perfect my walk– you know, some kind of cool swagger to let them know yeah, I’m for real so watch out! *Snort* Right after I play with cute puppies and chase butterflies! 🙂