Holidays bring abundance of new books

  • Written by Deborah Stone
The holidays will soon be upon us and as always, gift-giving ideas abound.

If you have readers in your family or circle of friends, there are plenty of new books to consider by tried and true authors, as well as a number of exciting debuts.

The ever-resourceful librarians at Woodinville Library have several suggestions for shoppers to contemplate.

In the picture book category, author Jon Klassen follows up his incredibly popular I Want My Hat Back with This is Not My Hat.

This time around, the hat in question has been stolen by a small minnow who boldly claims he is the thief of a small bowler hat.

The real owner of the hat is a much larger fish, who soon tracks down the bandit.

Author Ari Berk is also releasing a picture book that’s sure to be a hit.

Night Song is the story of Chiro, a young bat, who expresses concern to his mother about his maiden flight.

It’s a tale which not only describes the wonders of echolocation as a bat’s navigation device, but also celebrates the qualities of independence and trust.

Loren Long’s illustrations of the adorable Chiro are outstanding.

Another new picture book, which also focuses on animals, is Oh No! by Candace Fleming, with illustrations by Eric Rohmann.

A series of jungle creatures, one by one, fall into a hole while trying to rescue a frog, much to the delight of the tiger who is waiting to see what might be his next meal.

If Christmas-themed picture books are on your list, you won’t go wrong with How Do Dinosaurs Say Merry Christmas? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague.

Continuing their very successful How Do Dinosaurs…series, the authors joyfully describe what “naughty” dinosaurs might do on Christmas Day and then give them the opportunity to redeem themselves so they can be well-behaved, polite dinosaurs — ones who are more apt to be on Santa’s “nice” list.

In the category of new chapter books for kids, Lemony Snicket’s Who Could That Be At This Hour? has all the ingredients of a quirky, mirthful mystery.

The first book in a planned series of four (supposedly an autobiographical account of Snicket’s childhood), it describes the author’s apprenticeship with S. Theodora Markson.

The pair is tasked with discovering why the sea has disappeared from the town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea, a town made famous by the ink it produced from octopi.

Newbery Honor author Jacqueline Kelly’s Return to the Willows, a sequel to Kenneth Grahame’s beloved The Wind in the Willows, is getting very positive reviews.

The author honors the tone and charm of the original characters of Toad, Mole, Badger and Rat, while introducing new characters who carry forward the amusing and comforting tale of old friends.

Fans of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland will like The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver.

Main character Liza discovers her little brother has lost his soul to the Spindlers — awful, evil, spider people.

When her parents don’t believe her, she takes it upon herself to recover his soul by entering the world through the hole behind the bookcase, where the Spindlers and other incredible fantasy creatures exist.

Finally, for enthusiasts of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, who have been patiently awaiting author Jeff Kinney’s next installment, the wait is finally over.

The Third Wheel – Diary of a Wimpy Kid #7 will hit shelves just in time for the holidays.

In this eagerly anticipated sequel, the possibility of love in Greg Heffley’s future and a Valentine’s Day dance at his middle school throws the young boy’s world into turmoil.

Older kids and teen readers will be happy to learn that a number of sequels and continuations of favorite and popular series are now available or due to come out soon.

In the final book of a series that began almost 20 years ago, author Lois Lowry returns to the world she first created in her dystopian classic, The Giver, which won the Newbery Medal.

With this newest title, Son, the author completes a quartet that has included The Giver, Gathering Blue and Messenger.

In the domain of Son, conformity is valued above all, but the mother of Gabriel, who Jonas initially rescued in The Giver, somehow missed being given the pills that are designed to stop people from having feelings.

What she feels — loss, loneliness, and love —  causes her to fight to find the son she was forced to give up.

Another sequel that teens will be excited about is Days of Blood & Starlight, by Laini Taylor.

Following on the success of last year’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the author’s fans will most likely find this continuation of the battle between the seraphim and chimaera a tale more about war, while the first book was primarily a love story.

Fun and adventure are at the heart of Perry’s Killer Playlist, a second installment to author Joe Schreiber’s well-received Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick.

Main character Perry Stormaire has put the crazy events of the first book behind him — the ones that were the result of Gobi, who rather than being the prom date he was expecting, turned out to be a Lithuanian hired assassin.

Perry is wrong, however, in thinking that his life will calm down now because while his band Inchworm is on a dream tour of Europe, Gobi returns to wreak havoc once again.

Also greatly anticipated by teens is Reached, by Allyson Condie.  It’s the conclusion to the author’s Matched trilogy, which began with Matched and continued with Crossed. Set in a dystopian existence, Cassia lives in a world called the Society.

All of the inhabitants of the Society’s decisions are made for them, including who they will marry.

In Reached, Cassia joins the Rising, a rebellion against the Society that aims to return the power of choice to individuals.

Adults, too, have a number of good reads coming on the market in time for the holidays, including John Grisham’s The Racketeer, the latest in the prolific author’s engaging legal thrillers.

When the FBI discovers the dead bodies of a federal judge and his secretary in the judge’s cabin, a prisoner, who also happens to be a lawyer, proclaims knowledge of who killed the judge and why.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan takes place in London during the 1970s and finds new MI5 agent and avid book lover, Serena From, on her first mission.

She is thrust into the literary world of a promising young writer and falls into a love affair.

Devotees of Danielle Steel’s books will rejoice upon hearing that the author has a new book. In The Sins of the Mother, Steel explores the complicated dynamics of family. Heroine Olivia Grayson made many sacrifices while running her own successful business, including missing out on much of her children’s lives. She attempts to make up for lost time by planning extravagant yearly vacations to demonstrate her love and desire to know her kids.

Well-known author Barbara Kingsolver adds to her body of work with another compelling read.

Flight Behavior focuses on bored housewife Dellarobia Turnbow, who unexpectedly stumbles across a mysterious biological occurrence on the Appalachian mountainside and finds herself caught between science and faith.

In the nonfiction genre, a number of new biographies are available detailing the lives of such individuals as Napoleon, Joseph Kennedy, Susan Mary Alsop, Saul Steinberg, Thomas Jefferson, Bruce Springsteen and Robert De Niro, among others.

Memoirs are also hot items, penned by the likes of Tony Bennett, Kirstie Alley, Willie Nelson, Neil Young, Richard Russo and even Lil Wayne.

And for some holiday inspiration, there’s Being Santa Claus: What I Leaned about the True Meaning of Christmas, by Sal Lizard with Jonathan Lane.

Lizard, a veteran Santa, reveals heartwarming true stories and lessons from his 20-year career spreading Christmas magic.

Deb Perelman, food blogger extraordinaire, contributes to the cookbook realm with The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook and then there’s Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust, the latest mouthwatering collection of recipes from the Food Network star.

With these and many more selections on tap, gift-givers have a wonderful array of new titles to choose from for the upcoming holidays.

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