Publisher Preview: Simon & Schuster Spring and Summer 2016

So this past Friday I had the pleasure of attending Simon & Schuster’s Summer 2016 preview.  Some great stuff was touched on in the course of the preview, and while I won’t mention all of it here, I will give a shout out to the speculative fiction for kids on the list. Let’s kick things off with a look some exciting reprints this year!



The Harper Halls Trilogy by Anne McCaffrey.




One of my first SF/Fantasy discoveries as a tween, back in the summers I spent sprawled on the library carpet reading.  While some of the other Pern books have lost their shine for me (something for another time and another blog) this particular trilogy remains a well loved one.  Particularly the first two books.  Menolly has the music talent in a society where women can’t be Harpers, so she is punished for her tune twiddling and finally runs away.  While on her own she manages to gain an entire fair of fire lizards as her friends and companions.  This kind of misfit story has echoes for every child who has felt they don’t fit in to what everyone expects of them.  It was reprinted for the YA audience recently, but this newest reprint by Aladdin places the focus on Middle Grade audiences–something I’m frankly thrilled by.  I look forward to hand selling these to my enthusiastic readers.

The new covers are quite good in my opinion, though I’m fond of most of the renditions.

Expected publication (5/17/16)

The Great Mouse Detective by Eve Titus, illustrated by Paul Galdone

Basil of Baker Street

Basil and the Cave of Cats

So how many of you remember this classic series? First published in 1958, this delightful series about a brilliant mouse who studies (quite literally) at the feet of the Great Sherlock Holmes is now back in print!  Some of you may remember this character best for the Disney animated film (1986).  Given the uptick in Holmes related shows, it’s not so surprising this series is being reprinted.  I couldn’t be happier to see it.  The inner illustrations will remain those that Paul Galdone originally crafted for the series, but the cover treatments have changed–for the better I think!  The first two volumes are expected out  in May 2016.




And now for a glimpse at some of the new stuff coming out:

The First Last Day by Dorian Cirrone

New from Aladdin, this is the story of one girl who wishes the summer didn’t have to end.  Then she finds a magical box of paints that allows her to create a time loop and remain in one perfect day of summer.  As always though, this is a story of being careful what you wish for.  The cover on this is stunning!

Expected publication  6/7/16



Good Night, Baddies by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Juli Kangas

This picture book takes the classic concept of a bedtime book, but turns it slightly askew by having the story about the bedtime rituals of the bad guys and antagonists of fairy tales and nursery stories.  I’ve always been a fan on twists on fairytales, but it’s rare the baddies get a chance at their own bedtime book! Expected publication on 5/17/16.



Suite for Human Nature by Diane Charlotte Lampert and Wynton Marsalis, illustrated by Eric Puybaret

I just had to include this particular picture book.  This folk-tale style allegory is taken from a song written by the authors and transformed into this luminous story.  The art is what really caught my eye here. According to the publisher, the images were created by painting on linen.  It looks like a real feast for the eyes!

Expected publication 5/3/16/





The Hidden World of Changers series by  H. K. Varian, illustrated by Tony Foti

The Gathering Storm

The Emerald Mask

The Power Within

The Selkie Song

This new urban fantasy series features four middle school kids who discover they can transform into mystical animals of legend.  They’ve just begun to discover their talents and have yet to become friends.  But when evil threatens can they succeed in harnessing their powers to stop it?

Our diverse cast of characters each have a legendary animal that echoes their own ancestry.  Spirit Foxes, Jaguars,  Lightning Birds and Selkies  oh my! I’ll freely admit I love the cover treatments on all four novels, and I look forward to reading these.  The first two are expected out 6/14/16.



Trouble the Water by Frances O’Roark Dowell

This historical fiction novel (set in 1953 Kentucky) brings a black girl and a white boy together to try and solve a mystery of an old yellow dog who constantly prowls the river.  The story has a supernatural element in the form of two ghostly boys who haunt the area.  Color me intrigued.  Expected publication on 5/3/16.



The Data Set series by Ada Hopper, illustrated by Sam Ricks

March of the Mini Beasts

Don’t Disturb the Dinosaurs

The Sky is Falling

Robots Rule the School

Four neighborhood whiz kids have a mad scientist for a neighbor.  His wild inventions send the kids on all sorts of crazy adventures!  I haven’t seen much about this series yet, but I’m excited to see this kind of science adventure for the younger set of readers–it looks like it could be lots of fun!

The first two have an expected publication date for April 2016 followed by the third in May 2016 and the fourth in July 2016.



This is Not a Werewolf Story by  Sandra Evans

This stirring debut is the story of the boy Raul, a boy of few words who is a loner, but not lonely.  I’m intrigued since this was presented in glowing terms by the publisher, but not much information was given as to what the story was about. Clearly it has something to do with shapeshifting, but I’m hesitant to assume too much about it.  Newbery Honor winner Gary Schmidt  said that this is “a journey that every reader needs to go on.” Well count me in!

Expected Publication 7/27/16.

In Due Time series by  Nicholas O. Time, illustrated by Stephen Gilpin

Going, Going Gone

Stay a Spell

From Simon Spotlight is this new time-travel series that sends kids back in time for up to three hours.  They can go anywhere in the past, and while they can’t change anything big, they can change one small thing from the past.  Apparently there’s a librarian whose in charge of the time-travel device! Time travel stories are always fun and the obviously diverse cast of the first two stories certainly has made me take note.

Expected publication 7/5/16.



Waiting for Augusta by Jessica Lawson

Eleven-year-old Benjamin’s father has just died, and his life has been topsy-turvy.  Until a strange compulsion inspires him to take his father’s urn and make a journey to  Augusta, Georgia.  The publisher described the story as “magical realism” so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens!

Expected publication 5/10/16.






Finally, here are a few of the titles coming out in ongoing series:

Galactic Hot Dogs: The Wiener Strikes Back by Max Brallier, illustrated by Rachel Maguire & Nichole Kelley

Cosmoe and his wild and wacky space opera adventures are back!  In an exercise of pure silliness, we return to Brallier’s universe for more insane adventures.  This time Cosmoe and his crew encounter a mysterious space circus that’s not all it seems!  Be ready for more hilarity as The Wiener Strikes Back!

Book one appears to be getting a new cover treatment to match the second volume.

Expected publication 5/3/16




The Lost Realm by J. D. Rinehart

The adventures begun in The Crown of Three continue here with three different story arcs as our triplets struggle to find their way and fulfill the destiny that awaits them.  Epic fantasy full of magic, monsters and and adventure.  Fans of the first book will find this one expected on the shelves  5/31/16.

Aliens Love Dinopants by Claire Freedman,  illustrated by Ben Cort

Yes folks, the creators of Dinosaurs Love Underpants are at it again with a new hilarious picture book adventure that brings the aliens and dinosaurs together.    While I can’t say I’m a huge undergarments fan, kids who’ve loved the rest of this series will be eager to snap this one up!

Expected publication is 5/17/16.



So there’s a peek into some of the speculative fiction from Simon & Schuster  coming out this Spring and Summer! Mind you, I’ve only mentioned speculative fiction titles here, and there are some gorgeous and exciting works coming out from the publisher that do not fit this category–I recommend you check out their website to see what else is Coming Soon!


About Stephanie Whelan

I'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.

Posted on March 7, 2016, in General Posts, Lists, Publisher Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Oh, the Harper Hall trilogy! Loved those books! I should read them again. I like that cover.

    I like the covers of the Changers series, too. The premise reminds me of the Animorphs: now that was a great series!

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