My Friday afternoon at Harper Collins

Yesterday I wrote about the publisher preview I attended at Random House as part of Kidlitcon; today I tell of my afternoon at Harper Collins!  Once again there were tasty snacks, and once again the editors took the time from their busy lives bringing books into the world to tell us bloggers about them.  Thank you!

The Harper Collins folks talked about their 2013 titles, which include many books that gladdened my middle grade sci fi/fantasy loving heart.

First and foremost of the books I'm looking forward to is Fyre, by Angie Sage (April 2013), the seventh and final Septimus Heap book.    I love this series, with all its intricate details of place and plot, and its lovable cast of characters, and apparently Fyre is a stunner.

But lots of other books sound excellent as well.  I'm just going to talk about the fantasy/sci fi ones that appealed to me in particular...starting with one that I promise will fly off the shelves into the hands of your average 7-9 year old--Stick Dog, by Tom Watson (January 8).  This is the epic quest of four dogs, drawn stick style, in search of a...hamburger.  It just exudes kid appeal.  I handed it to my nephew on Friday evening--he read it cover to cover.  I handed it to my own nine year old on Sunday--he read it cover to cover, chuckling. 

There a new series for that same elementary school aged kids that I wasn't sure at first was for me--The Fairy Bell Sisters, by Margaret McNamara, about Tinkerbell's siblings.   It's for readers 7-9, and the covers reflect this.  But when I heard it described as "Little Women with wings," how could I not be interested?

Moving middle grade-ward:

There's a "kids moving into a mysterious house that leads them into a fantasy adventure" book (I like these)-- House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini (April 2013).  

Superheros are big these days--Sidekicked, by John David Anderson (June 2013) sounds like a good addition to this subgenre.  For young fans of mythical creatures, The Menagerie, by Tui T. Sutherland and Kari H. Sutherland (March 12) looks like a winner.  And in January from Walden comes The Fellowship for Alien Detection, by Kevin Emerson, coming Feb. 2013, and here is where I fail Utterly and Completely as a reporter of previews, because I put a really emphatic checkmark next to its picture on my handout, but didn't actually write down details.  However, I'm sure I can trust myself to look forward to it...(I'll try to find it closer to the date and do a Waiting on Wednesday post on it).

The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani, got even more than an emphatic checkmark--my notes show a star taking up the entire lined space next to it.  The Harper Collins folks were very excited about this one.  It's "the tale of two girls, one fair and beloved, the other homely and reviled, who are kidnapped from their village by a charismatic storyteller who runs the legendary School for Good and Evil, where students prepare to become future fairy tale heroes and villains."

The new Seven Wonders series by Peter Lerangis sounds like one to give your basic Percy Jackson fan; I'm looking forward to the first book, The Colossus Rises  (February 5).   And one to give to your geeky young sci fi reader--Case File 13: Zombie Kid, by J. Scott Savage (December).    Speaking of sci fi, the authors of The Familiars series, Adam Jay Epstein and Adam Jacobson, have a new series (about kids marooned in space with alien convicts!) coming out this summer--book 1 is Starbounders.

The editor of Jinx, by Sage Blackwood (January 8) sold me on that one by saying it was reminiscent of Diana Wynne Jones, and I am looking forward lots to Merrie Haskell's new book, Handbook for Dragon Slayers, coming in May--a historical fantasy with strong girl character that sounds excellent (the cover hasn't been officially revealed yet.  But I bet it makes you all want the book too!)

Moving on to YA:  

The Madman's Daughter, by Megan Shepherd, (coming January 29) was one included in our gift bag of ARCs, which elicited a very pleased ooohhh from me--the titular madman is none other than Dr.  Moreau, as in "Island of..." 

And how could any reader of YA fantasy not look forward to City of A Thousand Dolls, by Miriam Forster (Feb. 5)--"Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins."   

Or how about this one, pitched as "The Korean Blue Sword, with martial arts."   That would be Prophecy, by Ellen Oh (January 2).

Or "Rapunzel in the Catskills" aka Towering, by Alex Flinn (May), or "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children meets The Shining" aka Asylum, by Madeline Roux (April).

But the book preview that impressed my impressionable mind most of all isn't a middle grade or YA fantasy.  It is: 

Stardines Swim High Across the Sky, a book of poems by Jack Prelutsky (Feb. 26).

I find myself murmuring "stardines" at odd intervals, and getting great satisfaction from it.

So thank you very much, Harper Collins, for a. publishing books I want to read b. being so generous with your time and ARCs!  (and the non sci fi/fantasy MG and YA ARCs that you gave me I put on the book swap trolley at kidlitcon and they found good homes with people who were, I assume, as excited to have them as I was to have the sci fi/fantasy ones!)


  1. Sidekicked sounds good, although there are two recent books called Sidekicks.

  2. Okay, The School for Good and Evil sounds AWESOME! Can't wait for that one!

  3. So excited about Fyre myself--but so many of these sound promising! I know my son will want the Seven Wonders series (aside: we just started playing the game Seven Wonders and highky recommend. Bonus: it plays fast).


  4. Hi Charlotte! It was great to meet you at KidLitCon!! Love this recap of our time at Harper Collins. Do you remember the name of the blogger who was at that session as well from Pennsylvania, she was a librarian and she got there early too and sat with us in the lobby, it wasn't Sheila or Sondra...it's ok if you don't remember, but I just thought I would ask :)

    1. Oh gee, I remember a face, but no clue on the name!


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