Summer is around the corner and you are likely deciding on books for your own and your kids’ summer reading list. We thought we would do a round-up of a few new indie kidlit books that have been published in the last few months in case they might pique your interest.
We discovered some of these ourselves (much to our delight). Inkspokes readers sent in news of others. If you have a new book that is indie-published or published by a small press that you would like included in the next round-up (generally posted end of the month – sometimes in alternate months), please send us a note!
I is for Iguana Feasting on a Ripe Banana
Ngaire Elder released in March a wonderfully imaginative alphabet book titled My Nature Friends: A-Z Rhyming Picture Book. The book is intended for girls and boys ages 5 to 10 and is illustrated by Ngaire’s daughter Fearn Elder. It contains a pairing of alphabet rhymes with animal characters doing a host of silly and unusual things. The alphabet rhymes are imaginative and fun and are accompanied by Fearn’s brilliant, whimsical drawings. My favorite: “I is for iguana feasting on a ripe banana.” Kids like animals. They are often are mesmerized with the alphabet. It’s a delightful pairing. The book is available in Kindle format as well as in print via Amazon. In the print version, a young reader can color in the illustrations to make the book her very own and write down notes from her nature explorations in field note pages appended to the end of the volume. Ngaire Elder is also the author of the children’s book series, The Adventures of Cecilia Spark. The third book in the series, Dragon’s Star, was also published earlier this year.
Teeny Bits of Teeny Magic
At the end of March, author and illustrator (and a great supporter of children’s authors) Karen Emma Hall published a magical children’s book titled Teeny Pheeny. It’s a charming story that takes place in Boohoo Village, a place whose denizens are owls, each with her or his own particular habits and quirks. Part of the magic of the book comes from Karen’s colorful hand-sketched illustrations that capture the characters and story beautifully and that invite the young reader to go in the hunt for magic. From Karen: “Have you discovered the magic hidden inside Boohoo Village? It is a quaint little place that beckons to tell its story. Join the parade and find out what is at the end of the lane. Welcome to the land of Magic Owls! Mrs. Phoenix the Owl lives in Boohoo Village and is about to get a rather special surprise. Come closer. Come closer so you can hear all about it. In the first book you can find out how to get to the Magic Village of Boohoo and meet all the charming inhabitants. Here are Teeny bits of Teeny magic! It’s all about the Owls!” The book is intended for kids age 4 to 8 but kids and adults of any age will likely find much to like in it. Karen is also the founder of Kid Literature Authors (KLA), a group of children’s authors who collaborate to promote children’s literacy and children’s books. KLA can be found on Facebook and on a separate website Karen created.
There’s a New Detective in Town: Her Name is Dani P.
K. Lamb published in May a second book in her children’s detective mysteries (the Dani P. Mysteries) involving almost-eight-year-old Shady Hollow detective Danielle P. Spinelli, titled Dani and the Mall Caper. In the Mall Caper, Dani is hired to do surveillance at the Shady Hollow Shopping Mall. Dani, with her best friend Chloe, soon discovers that not all is as it should be at the mall as she uncovers a robbery plot. She may not be very big but, as the denizens of Shady Hollow find out, she gets the job done. Dani P.: “I know most people might not believe that I can do it, because I’m just a kid. My uncle had a long talk with me about that, though. My Uncle Joey believes in me. He knows I can do the job. So if you have a mystery, you know who to call.” The first book in the series is titled Dani and the Haunted House. Readers have been thrilled with K. Lamb’s books, remarking on her engaging writing style, her solid story lines and characters and the manner in which her books inspire kids to read. The Dani P. mysteries are intended for kids ages 7 to 11.
If First You Don’t Succeed …
Danielle Soucy Mills published her children’s book Tina Tumbles in April. Tina Tumbles is a book about a little girl, who after seeing gymnasts on television, wants to try gymnastics herself. She tries to stand on her hands but falls initially. She tries to cartwheel and falls (initially). Tina is disappointed but she doesn’t give up. With tips from her coach, she tries again, practices and learns to tumble. It is an inspiring book about resilience and achieving success through hard work and practice. The book is illustrated by Kimberly Soderberg. You can learn more about Tina Tumbles in our interview with the author. (We received a free electronic version of Tina Tumbles as background for our interview with the author.)
Salis: An Animated and Illustrated Episodic Novel
Daniela Morelli (writer and screenwriter) and Paolo d’Altan (illustrator) send us news of the launch of their new illustrated and animated “episodic novel” called Salis. The first episode, titled Salis Escapes, was released this month as a eBook App for the iPad, as an illustrated eBook (through Amazon) and in print. In the first episode, a 14-year-old girl named Salisedine (Salis for short) begins to tell about her life in a slave camp monitored by beings known as the Salt Crystals. She hears the voice of the moon and plans her escape. The structure of Salis appears to be in the format of a serial novel – for which Salis Escapes is the beginning chapter, a teaser of sorts. Salis’s narration is touched with longing and sadness (it has an epic quality to it); the story line is accompanied by powerful illustrations by Paolo d’Altan, which are haunting almost. It will be interesting to see how this story develops. Interesting also, the novel is being published in diverse formats: from eBook app to illustrated eBook to print. “To be read, touched, opened and explored,” we are told. Here is part of Salis’s story: “It isn’t a good time to run away, but I have this really strong urge inside me to do it… I must do it. After delivering the last load of salt last night, I slept like a baby. I was so terribly tired… I’d never have thought I’d find the strength to get up in the middle of the night and actually leave. But I did it. I dreamt of the Moon. It was yellow and full like it is on the roster’s whiteboard and it said to me, ‘Salis, run away.’ I got up and left my hut.” Salis is intended for older kids – at least 11 years old or perhaps older – or for young adults. (We received a free electronic version of Salis Escapes as background for this book news announcement.)