Smoking Hot Controversy


The Scarecrow’s Wedding by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler has garnered some criticism from parents for having an evil scarecrow who smokes.  Evidently, it’s not enough that the bad guy is the one smoking, nor that the other characters actually say out loud that smoking is bad, but just the image of a cigar is enough to cause concern for children.

I have a copy of the book and wanted to see what the fuss was about.  I must admit I was surprised at how clearly smoking was dealt with as something bad and then that even the bad guy doesn’t really successfully smoke.  I’ve taken a picture of the page in question, and honestly it is just a single page in the entire book.  This way you can make up your mind if it’s appropriate for your school, library or children.

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I also appreciate the fact that the cigar is actually part of the plot.  When it falls from Reginald’s hand, it starts a fire that is important to the progress of the story. 

So what do you think?  Should children’s books have smoking in them?  Is it ever OK? 

Publisher’s Weekly Spring 2015 Sneak Preview

Publisher’s Weekly has released their Spring 2015 sneak preview for children’s books.  The list includes picture books, middle grade and teen.  Listed by publisher, this is a great way to see the books long before they arrive, build your future must-read list, and start a list of books to keep an eye on for your library purchases. 


Spring 2014 Kids’ Indie Next List

The American Booksellers Association has a preview of their Spring Kids’ Indie Next List which features fifty titles picked by booksellers at independent bookstores from across the nation.  They also select a top ten:

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend The Boundless Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Firefly July and Other Very Short Poems 18079812

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Following Papa’s Song by Gianna Marino

Grasshopper Jungle The Secret Box A Snicker of Magic

Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith

The Secret Box by Whitaker Ringwald

A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

Sparky! The Strange and Beautiful  Sorrows of Ava Lavender

Sparky! by Jenny Offill

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Autumn “13 Kids” Indie Next List Preview

Here are the top ten titles in the new Indie Next List just for children’s books.  Head to the American Booksellers Association website to see more than the top ten.  All of the books are selected from nominations from independent booksellers across the U.S. 


The Beginning of Everything The Coldest Girl in Coldtown Counting by 7s

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Fangirl Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures Fortunately, the Milk

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Skottie Young

If You Could Be Mine 17262290

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Journey by Aaron Becker

The Snatchabook The Song of the Quarkbeast (The Last Dragonslayer, #2)

The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty, illustrated by Thomas Docherty

The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde

Fall 2013 New Voices Titles

The American Booksellers Association has announced the ten picks for the fall crop of New Voices titles.  The books must be by a first-time author and be published between July 1 and December 31, 2013.  The picks are listed in two categories:

Ages 8-12

After Iris The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root Rooftoppers

After Iris by Natasha Farrant

The Mysterious Woods of Whistle Root by Christopher Pennell

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Magic Marks the Spot (The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates, #1) What We Found in the Sofa and How it Saved the World

The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates: Magic Marks the Spot by Caroline Carlson

What We Found in the Sofa and How It Saved the World by Henry Clark



The Brokenhearted How to Love If You Could Be Mine

The Brokenhearted by Amelia Kahaney

How to Love by Katie Cotugno

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

The Paradox of Vertical Flight The Theory of Everything

The Paradox of Vertical Flight by Emil Ostrovski

The Theory of Everything by Kari Luna

PW’s Spring 2014 Sneak Previews

Publisher’s Weekly gives us a glimpse into the children’s titles coming next spring.  Hot picks will include:

The fifth book in the Origami Yoda series

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

W.A.R.P. Book Two: The Hangman’s Revolution by Eoin Colfer

Fancy Nancy and the Wedding of the Century by Jane O’Connor

Chu’s First Day of School by Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex

Pete the Cat: Big Easter Adventure by James Dean

Panic by Lauren Oliver

The final book in the Hero’s Guide Series: The Hero’s Guide to Being an Outlaw

Rupert Can Dance by Jules Feiffer


What can you spot on the list that would make your must-read pile for next year?

PW’s Best Summer Books 2013

Publisher Weekly has released their list of the best books coming this summer.  Here are their top picks for Children’s books:


If You Want to See a Whale Odd Duck Yes, Let's

If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano, illustrated by Erin Stead

Odd Duck by Cecil Castelucci

Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth and Maris Wicks



The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1) Gorgeous The Lucy Variations

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr

The Moon and More P.S. Be Eleven 

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked This Is What Happy Looks Like

Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

New Lemony Snicket Series Coming!

A new Lemony Snicket series is coming this fall.  The “All the Wrong Questions” series will begin with “Who Could That Be At This Hour,” the first of four books in the series.  The series will be a prequel to the very popular “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

In keeping with the persona of Lemony Snicket, the author is apparently trying to postpone the announcement and wonders “why anyone would be interested” in the books.  Sounds like it’s going to be another smash hit!

Children’s and YA Book News


A fall harvest of recent children’s book news that caught my eye today:

The New York Times takes a look at The Children’s Authors Who Broke the Rules and became the people behind the classics.  The authors include Maurice Sendak, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein.  So thank goodness they broke the rules!

Maurice Sendak takes on children’s books today in an article in The Guardian:

"There’s a certain passivity, a going back to childhood innocence that I never quite believed in. We remembered childhood as a very passionate, upsetting, silly, comic business." Max, the wolf-suited star of Where the Wild Things Are, "was a little beast, and we’re all little beasts", Sendak said.

NPR celebrates a new book of Shel Silverstain’s poetry that had never been published before.  I can’t wait to get my hands on this one!

USA Today shares some YA book news with a list of well-known authors of adult books who will be releasing teen novels soon.  They include Philippa Gregory, Jodi Picoult, Richard Paul Evans, among others.

And to finish up, you can read Katherine Paterson’s take on paper books and young adult literature.

Photo by samiams46.