Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Book Bounty Winter/Spring 2018

It has been another prolific season for Illinois SCBWI authors and illustrators.  This issue covers books released between December 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. The range is far-reaching, including titles for scientists still in high chairs to sparkling romances for young adults. Enjoy and celebrate these books created here in Illinois!


Board Books

Baby Loves Gravity!

Written by Ruth Spiro

Illustrated by Irene Chan

When baby drops food from a high chair, why does it fall?

-The Baby Loves Science series introduces STEM topics in a developmentally appropriate way

-Explores the ups and downs of gravity

-Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder

Publisher:  Charlesbridge Publishing

ISBN:  978-1580898843

Release date:  June 5, 2018


Baby Loves Coding!

Written by Ruth Spiro

Illustrated by Irene Chan

Accurate enough to satisfy an expert, yet simple enough for baby, this clever board book showcases the use of logic, sequence, and patterns to solve problems.

-The Baby Loves Science series introduces STEM topics in a developmentally appropriate way

-Presents the screen-free pre-coding concepts of sequencing, problem solving, cause and effect, and thinking step-by-step

-Beautiful, visually stimulating illustrations complement age-appropriate language to encourage baby’s sense of wonder

Publisher:  Charlesbridge Publishing

ISBN:  978-1580898843

Release date:  June 5, 2018

Picture Books

The Field

Illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara

Written by Baptiste Paul

Gorgeously illustrated and authentically told, this book highlights the joys of fútbol (soccer), along with its universal themes:  teamwork, leadership, diversity, and acceptance.

-Starred reviews from Booklist and Kirkus Reviews

-Debut picture book from Jacqueline Alcántara, winner of the inaugural “We Need Diverse Books Illustration Mentorship Award”

-“A vibrant depiction of a joyful pastime that so many love to play all over the world, and a reminder of some of the ways we are more alike than different.”–Booklist, starred

Publisher:  North South Books

ISBN:  9780735843127

Release date:  March 6, 2018


The Two Mutch Sisters

Written by Carol Brendler

Illustrated by Lisa Brown

A playful look at sisterhood and honoring differences when having some things in common doesn’t mean having everything in common.

-For ages 4-7 (and beyond)

-An entertaining read-aloud

-“[T]he message is unmistakable and reassuring:  love is thicker than clutter.”–Publishers Weekly

Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion)

ISBN:  0544423844


Release date:  March 13, 2018


Voices From the Underground Railroad

Illustrated by Larry Day

Written by Kay Winters

Told in the voices of Jeb and Mattie, two siblings in 1861, escaping the cruelty and horrors of enslavement.

-Realistic introduction to escaping enslavement for readers ages 6 and up

-Told through first-person poems

-Compelling illustrations

Publisher:  Dial Books for Young Readers

ISBN:  9780803740921

Release date:  January 9, 2018

Everything You

Illustrated by Jay Fleck

Written by Elizabeth McPike

A lyrical, heartfelt picture book celebrating the love between parents and their children

-“Rhyming verse expresses animal parents’ love for their little ones and is accompanied by cartoon-style illustrations of animal families rendered in bold colors and rounded forms.”–Kirkus Reviews

-“McPike adopts the voice of a parent celebrating everything that makes a child special.”–Publishers Weekly

-“A gentle and simple look at animal families awaiting a new arrival.”–School Library Journal

Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN:  0374301417

Release date:  December 5, 2017


Tilly & Tank

Written and Illustrated by Jay Fleck

A sweet and funny picture book that looks at the blossoming friendship between an elephant and a tank and encourages kids to make friends, not war.

-“An endearing picture-book debut about tolerance and the assumption of enmity instead of friendship.”–Kirkus Reviews

-“(A) closing note of peace reveals how persistent kindness can win out over aggression.”–Publishers Weekly

Publisher:  Tundra Books

ISBN:  1101917865

Release date:  January 9, 2018



Illustrated by Jay Fleck

Written by Kyo Maclear

A witty picture book, starring an adorable panda, that celebrates relaxing, stopping to smell the roses, and being yourself.

-“Fleck’s whimsical, bold, bright, acrylic illustrations set the tone perfectly for this lighthearted tale.”–Kirkus Reviews

-“Dreamy Flo will be a sympathetic figure to many children, and her example will encourage adults and kids to ‘get floppy,’ at least on a lazy Sunday.”–Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Publisher:  Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN:  0374305269

Release date:  January 16, 2018


Bear’s Scare

Written and Illustrated by Jacob Grant

When Bear finds a spiderweb in his tidy house, he searches everywhere for the messy guest, but what he finally discovers might just be an unlikely friend.

-Opposites attract in this adorable story, where new friends come in all shapes and sizes

-A humorous look on the absurdity of what we assume about others

-A story of growth and acceptance

Publisher:  Bloomsbury

ISBN:  978-1681197203

Release date:  June 12, 2018



Not ‘Til Tomorrow, Phoebe

Illustrated by Denise Holmes

Written by Julie Zwillich

Phoebe is frustrated because everyone keeps telling her “not ’til tomorrow,” until Grandma comes in and shares a secret ingredient to turn today into tomorrow:  a good night’s sleep.

-Offers gentle lesson on the meaning of time

-Addresses the sense of unease and injustice kids may feel as the day unfolds

-“As a counselor, I can use this text to discuss feelings (frustration), communication, and copying strategies with primary students.”–Deanna on Goodreads

Publisher:  OwlKids Books

ISBN:  978-1771471725

Release date:  March 15, 2018


Triceratops Would Not Make a Good Ninja

Written by Lisa Katzenberger

Illustrated by Steph Calvert

Millie the Triceratops is determined to be a ninja, but her Triceratops traits pose quite the problem!

-Interactive look-and-find fact section

-Discussion questions

-Back matter includes additional Triceratops facts

Publisher:  Capstone

ISBN:  978-1515821274 (library binding)

987-1515821311 (pbk)

Release date:  January 1, 2018



Big Tree Down!

Written by Laurie Lawlor

Illustrated by David Gordon

Neighbors and community workers come together during an emergency.

-Engaging picture book (4-8) illustrates how community workers help after a storm topples beloved landmark

-“Community togetherness at its best.”–Kirkus Reviews

-“Excellent selection for public and school libraries. . . a go-to title to read after a thunderstorm.”–School Library Journal

Publisher:  Holiday House

ISBN:  978-0-8234-3661-3

Release date:  February 15, 2018


Bye Bye Pesky Fly

Illustrated by Janet McDonnell

Written by Lysa Mullady

When Pig’s peaceful, feel-good kind of day is interrupted by Pesky Fly, can he get his feel-good feelings back and maybe make a new friend along the way?

-Includes Note to Parents, Caregivers, and Professionals with more information on helping children deal with frustration and build positive relationships.

Publisher:  Magination Press

ISBN:  9781433828553

Release date:  March 2018


I Am the Rain

Written and Illustrated by John Paterson

The story of Water, in its own words.

-“A lyrical and educational look at the water cycle.”–Kirkus Reviews

-“As a mother and scientist, I seek out stories that hold special meaning about the natural world and are shared in a way that speak directly to a child’s mind and heart.”–Dr. Abigail Derby Lewis, The Field Museum, Chicago

-“This cross-curricular gem is a beautiful tribute to the many colors, shapes, and fluid forms of water.”–Foreword Reviews, starred

Publisher:  Dawn Publications

ISBN:  978-1-58469-615-5 (hardcover)

ISBN:  978-58469-616-2 (pbk)

Release date:  March 1, 2018


Astronaut Annie

Written by Suzanne Slade

Illustrated by Nicole Tadgell

-An inspiring read-aloud about a determined girl who reaches for the stars at her school’s Career Day

-Back matter includes STEM content about 4 ground-breaking women astronauts and the phases of the moon 

-“A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories.” — Kirkus Reviews

Publisher:  Tilbury

ISBN:  978-0884485230

Release date:  March 6, 2018



A Lullaby of Summer Things

Written by Natalie Ziarnik

Illustrated by Madeline Valentine

Open this warm, lyrical picture book and find a little girl dreamily remembering a perfect day at the beach with her family.

-A lovely book to take on vacation to the sea or lake

-A celebration of the simple joys of family life in the summer

-A rhythmic, seasonal bedtime story

Publisher:  Schwartz & Wade

ISBN:  978-1-101-93552-1

Release date:  May 15, 2018

Chapter Books

Ellie Ultra:  Superhero for President

Written by Gina Bellisario

Illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner

When Ellie runs for class president against third-grade mastermind Dex Diggs, it’s up to her to prove that she is the real super leader.

-Early chapter book with diverse characters

-Story about showing leadership qualities

-Discussion questions and activities at the end help with reading comprehension

Publisher:  Capstone/Stone Arch Books

ISBN:  1496552407

Release date:  January 1, 2018

Ellie Ultra:  Mighty Pet Sitter

Written by Gina Bellisario

Illustrated by Jessika von Innerebner

Ellie is ready to take care of the new class hamster for the weekend.  But when an accident with her parents’ invention makes her three inches tall, she worries her mistake will stop her from doing a good job.

-Early chapter book with diverse characters

-Story about showing leadership qualities

-Discussion questions and activities at the end help with reading comprehension

Publisher:  Capstone/Stone Arch Books

ISBN:  1496552407

Release date:  January 1, 2018

Middle Grade

The Wish List #3:  Keep Calm and Sparkle On

Written by Sarah Aronson

In Level Two of Fairy Godmother Training, Isabelle’s newest practice princess isn’t who she expected–and granting her wish means making her old princess, Nora, really unhappy.  What’s a godmother to do?

-Different learning styles

-All the drama of theater!

-Family, friendship, empathy

Publisher:  Scholastic

Release date:  December 26, 2017


The Wish List #3:  Halfway to Happily Ever After

Written by Sarah Aronson

With two levels of fairy godmother training behind her, Isabelle is actually looking forward to Level Three, but when half the trainees go on strike, regular training seems to go up in sparkles again.

-Civil disobedience

-STEM in action

-Family, friendship, empathy

Publisher:  Scholastic

Release date:  May 29, 2018


Drum Roll, Please

Written by Lisa Jenn Bigelow

Rock band camp holds many surprises for shy 13-year-old Melly, but none is as exciting or confusing as falling for her band mate Adeline.

-Middle grade novel of friendship and self-discovery

-Diverse cast, including LGBTQ tweens

-“A perfect summer read for fans of Raina Telgemeier and Jennifer Holm.”  School Library Journal, starred review

Publisher:  HarperCollins Children’s Books

ISBN: 978-0062791146

Release date:  June 26, 2018


Questions I Wanted to Ask You

Written by Michelle Falkoff

Patrick “Pack” Walsh may not know where he’s going in life, but he’s happy where he is, until a letter from his past changes everything.

-Questions is about a boy who grows up thinking his mother is dead until she spends him a letter on his 18th birthday

-The book is about learning what it means to have a family and how to let people into your life

-It’s also about curiosity and learning to expand your sense of how big your world can be

Publisher:  HarperCollins/HarperTeen

ISBN:  978-0062680235

Release date:  May 29, 2018


The Mortification of Fovea Munson

Written by Mary Winn Heider

When 12-year-old Fovea Munson’s camp plans fall through, she has to spend the summer working at her parents’ storefront cadaver lab.

-Hilarious and heart-filled story of friendship and talking heads

-“The Mortification of Fovea Munson has to be the funniest thing I’ve read in years.”–Christie Olson Day, ABA Indies Introduce

-Loosely based on the author’s time working in a cadaver lab

Publisher:  Disney-Hyperion

ISBN:  978-1484780541

Release date:  June 5, 2018


HP? Who’s He?

Winging It With Peanut Butter and a Pocket Cross

Written by Patricia Karwatowicz

How does a 12-year-old boy get accepted when he hates his name?  Grandfather’s death, newly separated parents, and a relocation to a new state spark a eureka moment for HP to step out on a mission to change from Hating Person to Honorable Person.

-Explores Knights of the Lunch Table virtues like faith, truth, and honor

-Shows kids how prayer works to solve problems

-Includes peanut butter recipes, birding information, and discussion questions

Publisher:  4RV Publishing

ISBN 978-1-940310-64-0 (pbk)

ISBN 978-940310-65-7 (hardcover)

Release date:  January 2018


Flower Moon

Written by Gina Linko

In this spellbinding story of friendship and family, follow mirror twins Tally Jo and Tempest Trimble through their magical thirteenth summer.

-“Deep, complex, and beautiful . . . like sisterhood itself.”–Elana K. Arnold

-“A quirky read perfect for those fascinated by twins.”–School Library Journal

-“A lovely story that’s as thrilling as a carnival ride and salty-sweet as kettle corn.”–Natalie Standiford

Publisher:  Sky Pony Press

ISBN:  9781510722743

Release date:  January 2, 2018


Captain Superlative

Written by J. S. Puller

It’s Don Quixote for middle school students when Captain Superlative shows up at school, performing random good deeds and the shy Janey makes it her mission in life to learn the reason behind such madness.

-Strong anti-bullying message, targeting bystanders

-A diverse cast of characters

-A strong father-daughter relationship

Publisher:  Disney Hyperion

ISBN:  9781368004275

Release date:  May 8, 2018


Grump:  The (Fairly) True Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Written by Liesl Shurtliff

A grumpy cave-dwelling dwarf escapes to the surface, only to get mixed up in a royal feud between a vain queen and her bratty stepdaughter, Snow White.

-A fun twist on a classic tale

-“Sure to be a hit with fantasy fans looking for comedy.”–Booklist

-“Deftly balances lighthearted humor with emotional weight.”–School Library Journal

Publisher:  Knopf/Random House

ISBN:  1524717010

Release date:  May 29, 2018



Iraq (series: Where We Come From)

Written by Miriam Aronin

This is a nonfiction book about Iraq at a grade 1-2 reading level.

-This bright, exciting nonfiction book teaches young readers about Iraq.

-Readers can learn about Iraq’s land, wildlife, history, cities, and food.

-Readers can learn a few words in Arabic and Kurdish

Publisher:  Bearport

ISBN:  978-1-68402-476-6

Release date:  February 2018


A Lady Has the Floor:  Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women’s Rights

Written by Kate Hannigan

Illustrated by Alison Jay

This picture book biography celebrates the life of early suffragette Belva Lockwood, who broke barriers in classrooms, courtrooms, and politics in 1884 when she became the first woman on the ballot for president.

-Belva championed the rights of girls in the classroom

-As we approach the centennial of women winning the right to vote, this story helps us examine the barrier-breaking life of an early suffragette

-Earning four starred reviews, this book explores American history through the life of an early advocate of women running for mayor, governor, senator, and even president

Publisher:  Boyds Mills Press

ISBN:  978-1629794532

Release date:  January 30, 2018


A Few Red Drops:  The Chicago Race Riot of 1919

Written by Claire Hartfield

A white man threw a stone that hit and killed a teenage black boy, and a day at the beach–July 27, 1919–exploded into an urban nightmare.

-Explores historical race and class tensions with no shortage of contemporary relevance

-Closeups of major historical figures from the period put human faces on this sweeping drama

-A great resource for history papers and projects on immigration, early black history in the northern United States, the Great Migration, the growth of industry, labor unions, and the early growth of urban housing segregation

Publisher:  Clarion

ISBN:  978-0-544-78513-7

Release date:  January 2, 2018



Country Profiles (Includes titles on Germany, England, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Russia, and Sweden)

Written by Amy Rechner

“The Country Profiles series nicely balances its scope and depth of information for middle-grade researchers.”–Booklist

-Leveled content includes timeline and fun facts

-Short chapters include geography, wildlife and culture

-Native language, game and recipe included

Publisher:  Bellwether Media, Blastoff Discovery

ISBN:  9781626177321 

Release date:  2018

Young Adult

The Window

Written by Amelia Brunskill

After Jess Cutter’s twin sister dies in what appears to be a tragic accident, Jess becomes obsessed with tracking down the identity of her sister’s secret boyfriend.

-“A gripping tale of suspense, secrets, and the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.”–Karen M. McManus

-“It’s a heartfelt depiction of the grieving process and a thought-provoking exploration of secret lives kept hidden.”–Publisher’s Weekly

-“THE WINDOW is a fast-paced mystery anchored by a bold and intriguing protagonist.”– Caleb Roehrig

Publisher:  Delacorte Press

ISBN:  9781524720292

Release date:  April 3, 2018



The Dating Debate

Written by Chris Cannon

Dating the girl next door has bad idea written all over it.

Even though hottie West Smith is fluent in Harry Potter, Nina Barnes isn’t sure he’s boyfriend material. West has a big secret, and even though Nina checks all the right boxes for a girlfriend, if she finds out—it could mean the end of everything.

Publisher:  Entangled Publishing

ISBN:  978-1983998829

Release date:  February 5, 2018


All That I Can Fix

Written by Crystal Chan

Ronney, a 15-year-old mixed race boy, struggles to reconcile with his father after his dad’s suicide attempt,; meanwhile a local exotic zoo outbreak leads to lions running around attacking people in his small Indiana town.

-Based on a true event that happened in Zanesville, Ohio in 2011

-Tackles timely issues of mental health and gun control in an even-handed, nuanced way

-Includes a hero who stays with you, whose voice is unafraid to shy away from how silly life and love and the world we live in can sometimes be

Publisher:  Simon and Schuster

ISBN:  978-1534408883

Release date:  June 12, 2018


American Panda

Written by Gloria Chao

An incisive, laugh-out-loud contemporary YA about a Taiwanese-American MIT freshman who defies parental and cultural expectations.

-“A soulful and hilarious debut.”–Booklist, starred

-“This deserves a place on every shelf, though it will not stay there long.”–VOYA, starred

-“Universal.”–School Library Journal, starred

Publisher:  Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster

ISBN:  978-1481499101

Release date:  February 6, 2018


Here, There, Everywhere

Written by Julia Durango and Tyler Terrones

When Zeus’s mom moves the family to Middle-of-Nowhere, Illinois, Zeus finds friends in unexpected places . . . and a bit of himself as well.

-A funny and honest coming-of-age story about first love, finding yourself, and the power of music.

-“Durango and Terrones masterfully weave together Zeus and Rose’s story.”–Booklist

-“Readers should find it easy to fall for Zeus and everyone else in his new life.” –Publisher’s Weekly

Publisher:  HarperTeen

ISBN:  978-0062314031

Release date:  December 19, 2017



Written by Susan Miura

17-year-old Shilo Giannelli possesses an amazing God-given gift, but in the face of danger and heartbreaking loss, she struggles with the immensity of being a healer.

-“Miura’s ever-present theme of ‘be careful what you wish for’ is carefully balanced with the supreme message of what faithfulness, acceptance, and love do to heal our wounds and bind up our hearts.”–Lisa Samson

-“Evocative in its possibilities and yet totally relatable, this is a book that will not only keep any reader turning pages, but also stop and think,’What if that happened to me?'”–Allie Pleiter

-“Shilo’s struggle to learn what her gift means for herself and those around her parallels questions many have about their identity and purpose.”–Amy Alessio

Publisher:  Vinspire Publishing

ISBN:  978-1981752034

Release date:  January 23, 2018