A Few 2014 Debut Authors
We all have those authors we’re watching and waiting, sometimes anxiously, for whatever they are going to publish next. I know I do. But sometimes I like to make it a point to read something by a first-time author. Perhaps it is the librarian version of the thrill of discovery. I have to admit, it is kind of exciting to read a book and think “This is a writer I’m going to watch.” Here are a few debuts that just may add to your “watch list.”
Historical fiction fans take note of What the Moon Said by Gayle Rosengren. This middle grade novel takes place during the Great Depression as Esther and her family move from the city to a small farm in Wisconsin to try to make a go of a different life. The story centers on Esther and her mother, and it is a heartfelt look at family relationships. Rosengren is a former children’s librarian from Wisconsin, and she offers lots of great information about the time period of What the Moon Said on her web site. I loved this book, and I will definitely add Ms. Rosengren’s future books to my must-read list. (9780399163524. Feb 2014. Gr. 4-6)
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Sovern might feel like a historical novel to young readers. It is set in the 1980’s, and there are all sorts of pop culture references that give a real sense of life in the ‘80’s for those who, unlike me, don’t remember the time. Sovern writes what she knows in her first novel, which was inspired by her own family, and it really is family that is at the heart of this book. The narrator, Maggie, marches to her own beat, but she certainly charms readers. She’s in the dark about the details of her father’s illness for much of the book, but eventually she must face the truth. You might want to have some tissues handy for this one. (9781452110219. May 2014. GR. 4-6)
I don’t read fantasy very often, but when The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White appeared on my desk, I was intrigued. The story begins when Kara Westfall is six years old. Her mother is convicted of witchcraft, and Kara must prove that she isn’t a witch like her mother. She passes the test, but it isn’t enough for the villagers. She’s labeled a witch’s daughter and basically shunned by her community. The magic and suspense will keep your attention and have you itching for the next book in the series. (9780062257246. May 2014. Gr. 5-8)
What first time authors are you excited about in 2014? You can find a whole list of them at OneFour Kidlit, a group of authors sharing their debut publishing adventures.